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Ash writes: "Donald Trump has spent his entire life being very, very sure that he is in total control of events around him and impervious to failure. But that's not what his CV says. A closer look at Trump's less than exemplary past includes an alarming history of train wrecks that he walks away from, but others do not."

Fomer U.S. Army General and National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn. (photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Fomer U.S. Army General and National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn. (photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

ALSO SEE: Trump Campaign Aides Had
Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Is the Country in Danger?

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

15 February 17


f Michael Flynn was forced to resign, it was a foregone conclusion that the Trump/Bannon/Miller-run White House would distance itself from “Flynn’s” actions. Appearing telephonically on MSNBC, retired four-star general Barry McCaffrey, however, said he could not imagine a scenario in which Flynn could have communicated with Russian officials regarding sanctions without then-President-elect Trump being onboard. If true, that leaves one dangerously irresponsible individual separated from the national security apparatus and at least one other in total control of it.

Russia does not appear to be onboard.

Multiple reports circulating today indicate a substantial increase in provocative military acts by Russia toward US assets: a Russian spy ship (in international waters) off the Delaware coast, the deployment of a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and reports of Russian war planes “buzzing” a US destroyer operating in the Black Sea.

It should be noted that these acts, taken individually, don’t necessarily indicate impending conflict, and as always the US is at least as guilty as the Russians, particularly in the Russian view. But the timing is strange. We have a newly sworn-in president who is virtually effusive in his praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin and seemingly giddy at the prospect of improved relations. So why the saber-rattling?

If we are looking at conditions that have changed, the ostracizing of Michael Flynn is at the top of current events programming. The interesting thing here is the now-viral outtake from the Justice Department warning to the White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Presumably, Flynn was reticent about admitting to transition-team leaders that he had discussed US sanctions with Russia prior to having the official capacity to do so. But that doesn’t add up.

That would have required Flynn to be making commitments for Trump without Trump’s knowledge or consent. Neither Flynn nor his Russian counterpart would have shown up for that meeting. He had to have been, as McCaffrey pointed out, acting under authority. So if that did not make Flynn susceptible to blackmail, what did — and is it causing increasing US-Russian tensions?

It also bears noting that blackmail is not now mentioned for the first time in this saga. Blackmail as a concern for Trump himself was at issue in considering the much-maligned Christopher Steele dossier. In retrospect, one might wonder whether the dossier was the iceberg or the tip.

Donald Trump has spent his entire life being very, very sure that he is in total control of events around him and impervious to failure. But that’s not what his CV says. A closer look at Trump’s less than exemplary past includes an alarming history of train wrecks that he walks away from, but others do not.

What if Putin … is not our friend?

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+14 # DurangoKid 2017-02-15 10:41
No, Putin is not our friend, but it hardly matters. And since when are good relations with Russia a bad idea? What do we really know about Flynn that isn't spin of one sort of another? The real question is does the Deep State want war with Russia and what are they willing to do to get it? Maybe not a shooting war, but war none the less. Trump seems to be noise in the system. What's the signal?
-5 # mashiguo 2017-02-16 10:56
Putin is more of a friend to US than the CIA is.

Putin stands to profit from cooperation.
The CIA stands to profit from war, death and destruction.

Wake up America!
0 # DurangoKid 2017-02-20 16:54
If you consider which side of the class divide the CIA resides on, quite true. I'm sure Putin would love to enlist the help of working Americans against the Deep State.
+36 # DongiC 2017-02-15 10:43
What if a Trump orchestrated trainwreck is approaching between the US and Russia? And, Trump's luck holds once again. And, Putin is not our friend. Scary, indeed.
+54 # humanmancalvin 2017-02-15 10:54
It's not only in Denmark where something stinks. Mike Moore & I had a similar thought: Mr. Flynn is being paid off in some way to keep his mouth shut.
At this point I do not think that even the GOP itself would mind terribly if the president (cannot bear to mention his name) were to suffer the agony of impeachment. All of the GOP's usual suspects are being pushed to the side in favor of those that the president is surrounding himself with. But from the ranks of these sycophants, there will have to be at least one who spills the rancid can of beans, perhaps in lieu of immunity from prosecution.
I am certainly hoping so although a President Pence is hardly a very pleasant thought in itself.
-30 # CDMR 2017-02-15 10:59
I don't think we've heard much of the Flynn story yet. He will probably write a book in the next six months and tell what he knows.

More troubling that Trump's efforts to get his administration in place and working smoothly is the all out assault on the Trump administration by the CIA. Its leaks to the WaPo and CNN are just astonishing. The so-called "intelligence community" says it never reveals sources and methods, but in this case it did just that -- an intercepted phone call that was listened to and recorded in real time. It is a violation of international law regarding diplomats for a government to listen into their phone calls. The NSA's methods were illegal. We may all know these crimes are committed every day, but they are crimes. Obama had to apologize to Germany's Merkel after she discovered the NSA was hacking her phone.

The reason the CIA is trying to destroy Trump appears to be that it wants a new Cold War with Russia. That is what is truly scary.

Putin is our friend, but he is not the fiend of the CIA or the Deep State. We have far more to fear from the Deep State than we do from Putin and Russia.
+17 # Anonymot 2017-02-15 12:48
Yes. THanks. It's good to see that there's still a progressive voice left in this assemblage of CIA/Hillbilly hysterical mindset.
Granted, the Central department is fighting to retain Deep State's control of foreign policy with its theater of the absurd, but Trump, the amateur stumblebum is so unpredictable neither they nor the other establishment forces know where to start. That inability to understand unconventional forces is what has killed us in every war since Korea. Ask Gen. MacArthur. And Deep State backed them all.
+1 # Jaax88 2017-02-15 16:27
The word "friend" here is used too loosely.
How can a dictator, non-democrat, unrepentant former communist killer be a friend of America, a country that tries to be democratic in nature and uphold human rights. An opportunist held at arms length maybe.
+1 # Depressionborn 2017-02-17 10:51
Yes, CDMR 2017-02-15 10:59

Flynn was againt the Iran deal, going to expose it. If trump fails it is war with Russia.
+34 # 2017-02-15 11:08
Trump is already a giant trainwreck!!
0 # Depressionborn 2017-02-18 20:51
Trump is already a giant trainwreck!!

Darn, he's driving my train.
+30 # thekidde 2017-02-15 11:26
Donnie is a coward and acts like one.
+24 # thekidde 2017-02-15 11:34
Drumpf is a proven coward and continues to act like one. No one should be surprised given his history of evading things such as Vietnan.
+32 # Maybe 2017-02-15 11:40
Putin our friend? Putin, the former head of the KGB? I don't think so. What I see is two narcissists enjoying mutual admiration except one of them is a dangerous, clever, manipulative megalomaniac and the other is ... well, isn't. He's the puppet to Putin's puppet master. Yes, the country is in danger. But more from internal causes than external. One party rule is dangerous enough. One party rule filled with extremists means the idea of checks and balances is passe. There must be other Republicans beside John McCain who know this administration is a railroad careening down a hill with no brakes and faulty rails. The best that can be said for the members of both Houses is that they are spineless, And their spinelessness can - and will - destroy our Democracy.
+7 # mashiguo 2017-02-15 13:27
Putin was never in charge of he KGB.
In fact he lost his job with them when he left Germany. After that he was hired by the mayor of St. Petersburg to work for the city council.

The Russia bashing is all based on lies.
Wake up.

And then explain why we should have trusted Bush I? He was head of an intelligence agency which is hell bent on the destruction of US so called democracy.
+27 # Femihumanist 2017-02-15 11:44
I've said before. None of them, Trump or those around him, have any ideological convictions and no loyalty to each other. I'm betting that that's even true of Trump's children or pretty-boy Kushner.

That means, a good old fashioned Shakespearean free-for-all in the Trump empire and they all kill each other off (metaphorically , in this case) grasping for money and power.
+9 # mashiguo 2017-02-15 12:21
America is in very deep danger, but not from Russia.

Rather it is in grave danger from the CIA, the deep state and most especially the press that has whored itself out to them whole hog.

When is/was the point of no return from
this insanity?
That point in time has nothing to do with Russia, and everything to do with a country of self-adulatory-ignoramus-sleepwalkers.
Wake up and learn or sleep and die.
+14 # Observer 47 2017-02-15 12:43
I notice three comments so far that mention the CIA/Deep State, including yours, and all of them have multiple thumbs down. Wonder why that is?

Your last sentence is the money quote, absolutely. It does appear that "someone" is trying to engineer conflict with Russia, and whoever or whatever that power is, it's hidden very far behind the scenes.
-6 # Jaax88 2017-02-15 16:38
I don't think you are telling a straight and honest story here.
+7 # elkingo 2017-02-15 13:19
But Pootie and El Donaldo are on the same team:dictators of capitalist, imperialist, nuclear armed warfare states. Maybe Donny intends a corporate merger with Russia, (Russamerika) one great state - a la Orwell in order to nuke China. But even that,alas is faulty planning: where would we get our egg rolls, and we could not farm out American manufacturing jobs there for coolie wages and cast American labor even further down the ziggurat of suffering and dispossession?

But "seriously folks" - both these boys are also talking recharged nationalism/imp erialism (see the contradiction?) , which is what we least need now. The Nation State has gotta go. One big happy planetary family, or the "tubes" for all of us.

And this sabre rattling, whoever does it, is dangerous. One kid leans on one trigger when he didn't mean to and...
+10 # Charles3000 2017-02-15 13:48
I am not sure the right question is being asked. Think about this question. What would a very real alliance between the USA and Russia look like? What if the two nations actually collaborated militarily, diplomatically and economically? They are hard to answer but you can be sure some folks are looking at these issues very carefully and those who are fighting the possibility think they have something to lose, those who see it as a benefit will support it and many, being not sure what it might mean, are on the sidelines observing the entertainment!
+9 # dotlady 2017-02-15 14:31
Charles - agree some are looking into it carefully - Rosneft and Exxon.
+15 # dusty 2017-02-15 14:43
Having grown up during the idiocy of the Cold War and the hate directed at every socialist state this whole thing is laughable. Now the USSR is gone and we have a capitalist state in Russia, close or the same in China,and everybody is ape ___ about the danger from these capitalist states. Neither the USSR or PRC ever attacked the US nor did they threaten to attack the US. Oh, there were all those scare stories about what they could do in response to what we did. The Crimea was part of Russia historically until Khrushchev let it to Ukraine. When the Ukraine turned into a neo-fascist client for the west why wouldn't Russia take back its territory, especially since it has bases on the Crimea. Time to get real and quit listening to the type of crap we were dished out to us by the Cold Warriors back then. If we hadn't gotten rid of our draft armed forces and gotten into an "all" volunteer military much of this mess wouldn't be happening. In the American Revolutionary War one of the big principles fought for and that became part of our Constitution was the Civilian control of the military and as we have left that behind after the cold war and Vietnam we have let our country slide into the hands of the military-intell igence(oxymoron )-industrial complex where bull__it pronouncements about the danger we are in hypnotize people into accepting HLS, etc and all the other military crap.
-3 # Jaax88 2017-02-15 17:16
Haven't you forgotten about the Korean War?

Neither Russia nor China are capitalist states in the normal sense of the word as applied to Western industrial states. Russia is an oligarchy run in the form of a fake democracy overlying an expansionist regime. China is an out and out dictatorship that does not even follow its own constitution requirements, does not follow the rule of law, denies universal human rights if any of those things interfere with the Party's dictatorial control.

Why write erroneous facts, that is unless you are trying to convince someone to believe a false position or premise?
+9 # myungbluth 2017-02-15 14:44
Is the country in danger? Does smokey poop in the woods? Is the pope Catholic? Is Mike Flynn a nut-job?
+9 # janie1893 2017-02-15 16:06
While we are all busy calling names and bemoaning our lost freedoms, there are actual cases of collateral damage occurring, people being scooped and incarcerated illegally, citizens and green card holders being denied access to the country, the rest of humanity wondering what has happened in the US to cause this national insanity.

What we need now are some rational plans to get out of this mess, and we need them now!
+8 # mashiguo 2017-02-16 00:20
We had one.
It was called Bernie Sanders.

Trump is US.
He is our ignorance, our narcissism, our bellicosity, our greed, our impatience, our arrogance, he is what we are.
He is the perfect mirror.

Get used to it or change yourselves.
Don't blame the mirror for what you look like.
0 # MindDoc 2017-02-15 23:01
Wow - It's refreshing to hear straight (empirical, factual) reality. Some very important questions obviously emerge, among them the most salient being "What did DJT know or do?" and "Does Congress really see the emperor's ego & gold-plated clothes as just magnificent?" Is this all O.K.? "Justice"?

Some other good real and rhetorical questions here (article & comments). The answers are scary. More worrisome to some, the Ministry of Alt-Truth team is hard at work 24/7, churning out tweet-sized memes & decrees than 'the boss' will comprehend & love, while Congress seems to be prioritizing "stopping leaks" which may be the last-gasp efforts of dedicated public servants to sound alarms as everything else has been silenced.

Meanwhile, Science facts are being wiped from government records - EPA, NASA, etc. Save Our Science! SOS!

But "the media is bad, very bad". Conspiracy? Sure sounds like the 'mind' of NewsMax, DJT, Bannon & Flynn. (See psych syllabi for "projection"). Bannon says to factual press: "shut up".

Meanwhile all our heads are spinning & we have nobody willing &/or able to focus on possibly seditious and/or impeachable relationships with foreign powers &/or oligarchs. Congress is outraged- about leaks - and disinterested in simply "following the money", beginning with taxes, dirt and emollients, for starts.

I see a lot of trauma on top of nonstop TMI, too much repeating the lies until it's the undisputed "truth". Bannon minds the press focus, DJT blasts!
+1 # aljoschu 2017-02-16 03:58
Dear Americans,
why are you so upset? "... A closer look at Trump’s less than exemplary past includes an alarming history of train wrecks that he walks away from, but others do not." - I remember George W. Bush's cv: A whole sequence of "train wrecks", alcoholism, dodging military service in Vietnam, etc. - which he didn't even think a second to walk away from.
To be honest, Americans: "Train wrecks" in your personal history almost appear to be a prerequisite for a successful American presidential candidacy. Only with Trump this becomes a scandal all of a sudden. Obviously because he does not originate from the illustrious US political aristocracy, because he is an uncouth nouveau-riche upstart.
+4 # Skeeziks 2017-02-16 11:15
It's Déjà Bush all over again.

You go have a beer with Bush and he starts a fight in the bar, leaves, and there you are, doing the fighting all alone. You elect him as President, he turns it into president(small "p"). We spend, maybe 3 trillion dollars, and he's "outta there"!
+3 # Rhetoric 2017-02-16 11:24
Ash caps his speculative article with a disingenuous question. Putin doesn't need to be our friend. It's enough that he's the leader of Russia. It should be noted that he enjoys an overall approval rating of 81%, is well regarded internationally , and is an absolute Prince compared to Yeltsin. It should also be noted that the plans for Russia include breaking it up into separate regional governments that can more easily be accessed by dominant powers. To say that his military is sabre-rattling the U.S., which outspends him 10 to 1, is laughable.

It should be of domestic concern that Ash appears to be siding with the neoliberals who wish to pursue a renewed cold war/red scare policy to quash domestic dissent and maintain status quo inside the beltway proclivities, profiteering of war and the resultant immiseration. From the article:
"A new Cold War would indeed be immensely profitable. The NATO expansionism, arms race, and military escalations in strategic locations all around the world would be a great way to justify hemorrhaging billions upon billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the gears of the military industrial complex. Americans could be leveraged into pouring the money they get from their real time and real labor into a fake, manufactured arms race based on lies instead of buying real food and real clothing for their children."
+1 # aljoschu 2017-02-17 02:48
Thanks, Rhetoric, for this vista through the manipulative fog. I agree 100%.
-4 # pegasus4508 2017-02-16 13:40
With all the brouhaha over Mike Flynn, why has no one asked what was JILL STEIN doing sitting at the same table. What?

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