Donald Trump

Jared Kushner's Russian Escapade

It raises the perennial question about Trump: What's worse-if he doesn't know what he's doing or if he does?

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Olivier Douliery / POOL/EPA/Newscom

Suppose that shortly after the 2008 election, Barack Obama's adviser Valerie Jarrett met with the Chinese ambassador and suggested using a secure link at his embassy to communicate with Beijing beyond the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies. Congressional Republicans and just about everyone else would have been shocked and aggrieved.

Why? It would have indicated she was putting more trust in an unfriendly regime than in her own government. It would have put her in debt to ruthless foreigners who might use her to advance their malignant interests. It would have raised grave questions about her (and Obama's) intentions. We might have heard chants of "Lock her up!"

That's the equivalent of what President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, did with the Russians, according to The Washington Post. Yet Trump loyalists and allies have done their best to treat it as normal or commendable.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said, "Any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russia is a good thing."

A back channel is a fine option, agreed national security adviser H.R. McMaster, because "what that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet manner." Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said it was "perfectly natural."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took a different tack, insisting the whole story is not believable. Well, he can believe it, because Kushner hasn't denied it. Neither has the White House, though it has defended his right to make such contacts.

The responses of Kelly and McMaster should come as good news to convicted spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, who are serving life sentences for their back-channel communications with the Kremlin. Maybe Trump will pardon them to show he approves of covert dealings with the Russians.

The secrecy sought by Kushner fits a pattern of hiding his Russia contacts. When he filled out his security clearance form, he failed to disclose the meeting with the Russian ambassador, a December meeting with the head of a Russian state-owned bank and dozens of other contacts last year with foreign officials—omissions that could expose him to a felony charge. His lawyer attributed them to an "administrative error."

One puzzle about his December meetings is what purpose he had. It's entirely possible that Kushner, a foreign policy novice, came up with the idea because he had no clue what he was doing, what dangers it held or why anyone would object. Conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said it could have been merely "galactically stupid."

That's the optimistic view. A worse possibility is that Kushner was trying to negotiate with the Russians to lift Obama's sanctions on a government that Trump likes. In that case, he was way out of line, because Trump had not taken office and had no business undercutting the sitting president of the United States.

"There's no way that it can be appropriate to say, 'I want to use a hostile government's communications system to avoid our government knowing anything about it,'" Eliot Cohen, who was a top aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, told the Post.

In 2008, President-elect Obama declined an invitation to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Washington. "We firmly believe there is only one president at a time," Obama's spokesman said. That didn't used to be a novel concept.

Given the lax ethics of the Trump circle, it's hardly inconceivable that Kushner, a real estate tycoon whose father-in-law is a real estate tycoon, had financial motives—trying to reach a discreet deal that could enrich him or Trump, possibly in exchange for kinder treatment of Russia by the U.S. government.

And given Trump's distrust of American intelligence agencies, Kushner might have preferred to deal with the Kremlin free of their scrutiny.

In that case, what was the rush? Why not wait until Trump took office and the agencies were under his control?

Kushner, of course, may not be the person responsible for this strange outreach. More likely, it was Trump who brought it on through his naivete, disdain for established norms, corrupt intentions or fondness for Vladimir Putin.

It's inexcusable regardless. "What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or an appropriate idea?" asked former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

It raises the perennial question about Trump: What's worse—if he doesn't know what he's doing or if he does?

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  1. Republican President Pud…What a colossal Dud!

    1. Simple Mikey isn’t the only one who is soothed by idiotic rhymes, it appears.

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        This is what I do… http://www.webcash10.com

  2. Doesn’t Jared look like the perfect Sherlock Holmes villain?

    1. I was actually just wondering whether the dead hooker disposal comes out of the White House budget or whether Trump pays for it out of pocket.

    2. He looks like a nerdy little kid after being dressed by his mom for church.

      1. He still gets to bang Ivanka.

        1. If he can get over his aversion to girl cooties.

          1. Yeah, Tony. That must be tough……..for a faggoty little fuck like you. Anyway, didn’t I already tell you to go and drink some Drano?

            Go fucking drink it!

            1. Elias is known for his Churchill-esque prose.

              1. Thanks Crusty, I try.

              2. LOL

            2. I don’t take menu advice from people who fuck their sisters.

              1. So no Lena Dunham diet for you?

  3. The crux of the argument is even if anyone in the Trump administration did contact any foreign power before Jan 20, 2017 was it illegal?

    The Logan Act is the only law that I could think of but that would require Russia having a dispute with the USA and someone negotiating with them. Opening communications with them is not illegal.

    Of course as the article points out, Obama’s administration opened communications with China before his inauguration. Obama would also be within the statute of limitations and would need to be indicted too.

    1. An operative of Obama opening communications with the Chinese was a theoretical. It didn’t actually happen. That’s why it says “suppose” before describing the situation. It was meant to highlight how irregular a lot of the behavior that is swirling around the current administration really is. Nearly daily, the public finds out about objectionable activities the WH has done, any one of which would be a sizable scandal if any previous administration had done it.

      The specific legality of any particular action is not really the point, by the way. Especially when judging the POTUS, metrics of morality, decorum, etc., arguably matter more as the POTUS is freed from many of the laws that bound other citizens.

      1. Nearly daily, the public finds out about objectionable activities the WH has done

        Almost all either false or things that have been done for decades and are sort of needed to maintain any semblance of foreign policy between different administrations.

        Remember, the press acted like the mass resignation of political appointees at State was a slap at Trump and not, instead, what is done for every single administration ever.

        1. Nearly daily was perhaps an exaggeration. The basic point is still applicable though. The Michael Flynn story alone would probably have been enough to sink any other administration – especially if Congress was controlled by the opposing party.

          1. It did not sink the Obama administration and Flynn was on their payroll.

          2. If anything Hillary’s actions alone should have sank the Obama administration so there is no equivalence that people keep looking for

            1. What actions would those be?

              1. Using her foundation to sell US foreign policy to, of all people, the Russians.

                1. Not to mention 20% of our uranium reserves, at least some of which is now in the hands of the Iranians

              2. Getting Americans killed in Libya.

              3. Using private servers to handle classified information about the USA and allow someone who was not authorized to handle said classified information (Weiner) have access to said classified information.

      2. And any wrongdoing by the incoming Trump administration is theoretical too. That was my point.

        I guess I did word my last paragraph as a fact rather than fact if it happened.

        JFK actually used a “back channel” with Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis. Communicating with foreign powers is not illegal.

        1. JFK operated a back channel when he was already the sitting president and as a means to diffuse a potentially world-ending crisis. You can’t seriously be equating that to what Kushner did.

          Also, see my point about legality and the POTUS. You are missing the point.

          1. What is the point? Never speak with foreign powers as a President-elect?

            President-elect Obama used Robert Malley to back-channel communicate with Hamas and Iran.

            I guess its TDS all the way down. Man the left hates the internet because you can easily and quickly find their past lies and show them for the liars and hypocrites that they are.

            1. Ok…..

              Malley was an informal adviser to Obama when, as part of his work with his non-profit, Malley had communications with Hamas. He made no attempt to hide this, and voluntarily stepped back from his advisory role to avoid the appearance of impropriety (this was back when public figures cared about the appearance of impropriety). Other than the most circumstantial of relationships, there is absolutely nothing to suggest Malley was acting in any way to communicate on Obama’s behalf.

              It is transparently disingenuous and partisan to EQUATE this to what we know about Kushner and his dealings with Russia.

              1. I always assumed this kind of thing was standard during every transition. But I guess when you hate someone as much as some of you hate Trump it becomes a crime. Like when he fired all those DOJ appointees.

                1. RE: I always assumed this kind of thing was standard during every transition

                  You assume that un-appointed relatives of the POTUS set up secret communications with a US-sanctioned bank that is also run by the US’s chief rival? And for these information to be just one piece of a widening investigation having to do with said country? I expect to see a certain amount of assumption of guilt when it comes to the government on a libertarian website, but it feels pretty extreme to assume that level of potential corruption.

                  RE: But I guess when you hate someone as much as some of you hate Trump it becomes a crime. Like when he fired all those DOJ appointees.

                  I’ll speak for myself, thank you very much. Just because I’m saying “hey, this Kushner and Russia stuff looks shady AF” does not mean I buy in to every silly liberal attack posted on Twitter.

                  1. Morti, are you really this much of a partisan hack moron. Every administration sets up lines of communication with various foreign powers, but because Trump…….treason!

                    Is that about the size of it?

                    1. RE: Is that about the size of it?

                      I can’t stop you if you insist on misinterpreting what I wrote. I’ve said multiple times now why I think these actions by the current administration warrant concern, while superficially similar actions taken by other administrations aren’t “the same thing!”

                      There are many ways to disagree with my POV in rigorous, intellectually honest ways, but calling me a “partisan hack moron” is not one of them.

              2. OK. I know what I provided directly illustrates the hypocrisy of the left about this issue.

                He acted on behalf of President-elect Obama. Informal or formal does not really matter.

                Obama Aide report

                You have to believe the source of the report being an Obama aide but unnamed sources don’t stop the media from printing garbage speculation about Trump.

            2. I think the issue is that he lied on the paperwork, no? If this was the first “opps” of the administration, I do think it would have been an issue, but since it looks as a continuing trend, on the Russian topic, there is concern.

              1. Which I understand was corrected the next day by his lawyer. The problem is that much of this article is supposition and contradicted by other reports. There was a report the other day that it was the Russians who suggested the back channel.

                I find all these stories to be pure speculation. But it gives a lot of people the ability to have their notions confirmed. To me, that is the bigger problem, how many people will take this story and say: see I told you so. Let’ s see what the evidence is before coming to conclusions.

                1. the very next day,without prompting? If that is the case, I agree with you 100%, and even though I do not like the POTUS at all, this is BS.

                  I just poked around and Rep Ted Lieu (never heard of him before) claims that his revised form also has inconsistencies, but he is based his info on the press.

                  This needs to go away. If there was a clear, 100% without doubt link between President Trump, the Russians and the election, President Obama would have paraded it to all to see and we would be in full “those pinko commy Mother Fers” mode.

            3. Consider that you may have reverse TDS. There’a a whole lot of smoke there and you’re sitting here insisting that anyone who thinks something’s amiss with the current administration has a mental disorder.

              1. RE: Consider that you may have reverse TDS

                Also, at best he’s basically saying Trump is just as bad as Obama. And he hates Obama.

              2. I voted Gary J, so I find it annoying that I feel compelled to counter the left’s lunacy and bold lies.

                In other words, your TDS has caused me to align with Trump’s accomplishments.

                You people have the mental disorder. Do you not realize that? Of course, crazy people don’t realize that they are crazy.

                You people cannot even argue what Trump is doing wrong because you are making most things up. Its Trump too. Not really hard to find flaws there. I get that the left cannot admit the good points about Trump, especially since he is getting some real anti-left people to dismantle the Nanny-State.

    2. “Of course as the article points out, Obama’s administration opened communications with China before his inauguration. ”

      Early start with the stupidity today. Keep at it.

      1. I was just doing what you do- make no sense.

        As I pointed out in other post, I did not make that sentence a fact if it happened but rather a fact.

      2. On that note, As President-elect Obama did use Robert Malley to speak to Hamas and Iran.
        Obama and Hamas/Iran

        1. Which is perfectly OK to you, right?

          Just trying to get your argument straight.

          1. On re-reading my comment, it did not clearly express what I wanted to say, so I tried to amend it via followup post.

            The day any lefty admits they are wrong and try to fix it, I will be long dead.

            1. That’s a cold blooded ZING!

  4. Aldrich Amesbury? Robert Hanssen? Seriously?

    Those men didn’t just “have contact” with Russian officials. They SOLD SECRETS to the Russians.

    One would hope the difference would be pretty obvious.

    Shall we next look forward to Reason denouncing Edward Snowden “having contact” with Russia?

    1. Damn you autocorrect! Of course I meant Ames, not “Amesbury”.

  5. Funny, I don’t remember such hand-wringing about Obama’s campaign’s “secure link” with the Iranian government before he was elected.

  6. “””””beyond the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies. “””

    So being beyond the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies is now against the law?

    1. If you even once criticized Hillary’s handling of emails in your entire life, and you stand by this statement, you might have set a record in hypocrisy.

      1. Early start with the stupidity today. Keep at it.

      2. If you even once criticized Hillary’s handling of emails in your entire life, and you stand by this statement, you might have set a record in hypocrisy.

        So, you now ADVOCATE government officials keeping secrets about what they did when we were paying them? The issue isn’t that intelligence services couldn’t access her emails. It’s that public records, which by law must be saved, were specifically being hidden.

      3. mortiscrum|6.1.17 @ 10:34AM|#
        “If you even once criticized Hillary’s handling of emails in your entire life, and you stand by this statement, you might have set a record in hypocrisy”

        mortiscrum actually posted that. I just copied and pasted it.
        Notice confusing purposely collecting outside intel with treating classified material as if it were your laundry list.
        It takes years of practice to get this stupid. YEARS.

      4. Morti……..seriously? Hillary actually arranged the sale of US uranium for her own personal gain. Trump people may have had some contact with Russians during the transition. Not exactly the same.

        And the email thing? FFS that was a stupid thing for you to say.

        1. No she didn’t and you’re stupid.

          1. It’s a proven fact you fuckwit. Unlike any of the Trump accusations. She signed off on the fucking deal herself, and parties to the deal paid the Clinton foundation $35 million.

            How are you this stupid?

              1. Snopes has it wrong. This stuff is all documented.

              2. When a lefty newspaper like NYT even exposes the Hillary to get paid scheme, you know Snopes is a left-wing joke.
                NYT article

                1. “you know Snopes is a left-wing joke.”

                  Tony would be too, except he’s too stupid to be funny. Right, Tony?

                  1. Correct, Tony isn’t funny, just stupid. And probably smelly too.

  7. Hangem high. Traitor motherfucker.

    1. The only traitors are democrats.

      1. I consider those supporting a police state to be traitors too. Most of them are not democrats.

  8. “”””And given Trump’s distrust of American intelligence agencies,””””

    You make is sound as if it was a bad thing.

    I trust American intelligence agencies, to lie, spy on Americans, failure to ever give accurate information of what’s happening in the world, operate a black budget which rips off the US taxpayer and also to selectively leak to the meida whenever its in the intelligence agencies interest.

    1. Yeah. Anybody who trusts the intel community is a certified moron now.

      1. Jesus Christ you people.

        1. Sure Tony, sure. Look into a nexus center some time and tell me that the “intelligence community” isn’t in the business of spying on U.S. citizens.

          The only thing they’re interested in is abusing and growing their power, the same as all the other political machines.

        2. You’ve missed the repeated evidence of them spying on Americans for no reason for years now?

  9. The worst part of the article isn’t Steve Chapman’s hyperbolic hysteria, that comes standard. It’s the remnants of the commentariat acting like Steve Chapman made one cogent point in an intellectually honest manner. Behold how far this place has fallen.

    1. I am pretty sure people have been whining about this website’s content since it’s inception, so not that much has changed.

      1. This shit never happened when Virginia Postrel was in charge.

  10. What’s worse?if he doesn’t know what he’s doing or if he does?

    You never needed a coherent reason for pants-shitting before. Why start now?

    1. Sick burn, yo. Sick. Burn.

  11. since the deep state has shown that it is spying on Trump i don’t blame Trump for trying to hide things from them. how does the star wars saying go “the tighter your grip the more will slip through your fingers”.

    1. Actually it’s derivative of an old Romulan saying, ‘ be careful, lest your reach exceed your grasp’.

      1. Those sayings are communicating 2 very different ideas.

        1. Both the messages are about masturbation.

          1. Go on…….

  12. Our intelligence agencies had been investigating the Trump campaign since at least six months before Trump was elected (when their first FISA warrant request was rejected).

    Meanwhile, John McCain gave the infamous piss-gate dossier to Comey a couple of days before Trump was inaugurated.

    Trump campaigned on forming a collaborative relationship with Putin on fighting ISIS, which undermines the deep state’s responsibilities, funding, and turf–and they’ve done everything they can to undermine Trump’s attempts at forming a working relationship with Russia ever since.

    It isn’t hard to understand why the President might want to talk to Putin without the deep state listening.

    1. even at that if Trump uses his own personal phone it will still be monitored by NSA since they monitor all phone calls there is no escaping the monitoring so the smart thing is to talk to them in code what do you think that Covfefe text was about that was code talk between Trump and Putin.

      1. press ‘Covfefe’ was a typo for “press [coverage]”.

        Regardless, when the head of the FBI has pitifully dismissed charges against Hillary (something he wasn’t even allowed to do–that’s the AG’s job), and the intelligence services are listening to your campaign members’ discussions with the Russians (to the point that they actually went to the trouble to go to a FISA court to get a warrant), it isn’t hard to imagine why the Trump administration might want to talk to the Russians without the intelligence services listening in.

        And there’s the infamous piss-gate dossier that John McCain gave to Comey–after Trump was elected but days before his inauguration. I still want to hear exactly how McCain got that dossier.

        1. Exactly. The DOJ should rightly start devoting the bulk of it’s resources to prosecuting and imprisoning the real traitors, the democrats. Given the activities of the Clinton’s, and the Obama administration, Sessions has his work cut out for him. So all this Russia investigation nonsense needs to end so we can get rid of America’s real enemies.

          1. Start with John Brennan and James Clapper, and then work your way down from there to the Susan Rice types.

            1. Plus Hillary, Hokder, Lynch, etc.. No shortage of prominent democrats guilty of sedition and treason these days.

        2. You do realize I was joking about the text as code? but i’m running with that and see how the left treats it

  13. “The Russian government warned U.S. authorities that Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a violent radical Islamist more than a year and a half before the April 2013 bombing, but authorities missed multiple chances to detain Tsarnaev when he was traveling to and from Dagestan for terror training, according to a soon-to-be released Congressional report.”

    NBC News
    March 25, 2014

    http://tinyurl.com/zbtan2q

    Thank goodness for cooperation like that, right?

    Of course, when Trump tells the Russians about ISIS targets in Syria, where the Russians are operating, the press treats it like Trump is a either a reckless idiot or he’s hiding his secret dealings with Putin and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    It’s amazing. On the one hand, the lefties in the press are still trying to come to terms with why Hillary lost–and they would still rather blame it on Russia than believe that the American people really wanted Trump rather than Hillary. On the other hand, the neocons, led by McCain, are pumping this Russian angle up because they want to deal with Syria on their own–in their own neocon way–rather than concede Syria’s ISIS problems to Russia and their allies.

    The progressive press and the neocons are trying to create the same shit-storm for their own independent reasons.

    1. Yea when your enemy is willing to fight your enemy for you, let them, don’t try and get in the middle and muddle things like McCain and Hillary wanted

      1. We tried invading Iraq, but that sucked.

        We tried arming the enemies of both ISIS and Assad in Syria, but that sucked, too.

        We’ve worked with bad guys when it was in our interests to do so before. That’s partially how we won the Cold War. We defeated the Nazis and chased the Japanese out of China by collaborating with Stalin.

        A better, working relationship with Putin doesn’t mean condoning anything he does in his country, but refusing to work with Putin IF IF IF and when it’s in the best interests of American security to do so–because Putin is bad on things like gay marriage? That’s at best foolish and at worst treasonous.

        We were under neocon presidents for 16 years, for so long, that we’ve forgotten how we used to get shit done. We won the Cold War with the help of some not very nice people. We won World War II the same way. If and when we defeat ISIS, it probably won’t be because we only worked with people who were the sweetest, most golden-hearted people in the whole wide world.

        When Trump campaigned on putting America’s interests first in foreign policy, this is the kind of thing he was talking about. It isn’t new or novel. It’s pragmatic realism. Scocroft, Jean Kirkpatrick, Jim Baker, and George Shultz understood this well.

        1. We put a man on the moon, therefore Trump’s a rocket scientist.

          1. “Covfefe” makes more sense than your comment, Tony. What are you trying to say?

            1. Trump isn’t a pragmatic realist in the mold of Scowcroft, he’s a severely mentally ill moron surrounded by Russian stooges and flat-earthers.

              1. He’s advocated pragmatic realist foreign policy positions since before he was elected. That’s what makes someone a pragmatic realist–the polices they consistently advocate.

                You and your friends calling people names doesn’t make them anything.

                1. So you must have been a great fan of Obama’s foreign policy, which was so pragmatic pundits were pouting in their high chairs over not being able to concoct a “doctrine” to describe it.

                  As for Trump, maybe I’m not reading the right articles, but his foreign policy seems to amount to “China bad. Give me a binkie! Now Melania BINKIE!”

                  1. Unlike many libertarians, I supported what Obama did in Libya–in theory. I thought it was in our best interests (long term) and continue to hold that position. I opposed what Obama did in Libya on the basis that it was unconstitutional. He should have obtained a declaration of war from Congress. Incidentally, I think the reasons Obama did it were wrong. I think he did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

                    I wouldn’t chalk Obama’s foreign policy up to pragmatism. If he was inconsistent, it’s because his foreign policy was largely about playing the polls. For the most part, however, Obama acted like a neocon–certainly in regards to how he treated other nation’s leaders. From Putin to Duerte, Obama was far more concerned with whether the leader in question was pure of heart than what was in America’s interests.

                    In Obama’s real heart, he seemed to treat the idea that America’s interests might be the most important consideration as racist, selfish, and disgraceful. From the Paris climate accord, which wasn’t in our best interests, to the Iran nuclear deal, his primary objective seemed to be to tie the hands of his successors into making sacrifices for the general good–as he saw it.

                    If pragmatic realism is about us pursuing our best interests, how can Obama’s policy of forced sacrifice for the benefit of others be pragmatic realism?

                    1. Obama came to office and remained very skeptical of intervention, tried the half-assed approach when he felt he didn’t have another choice, and came to regret most of those decisions. You’re right about one thing: he relied on polls, as in he didn’t think he had popular support for too much intervention even if he wanted to do it (people can disagree about whether that’s a virtue in a president). Your unpatriotic do-gooder characterization is just a nonsense caricature.

                      I suppose we can disagree about whether the Paris and Iran deals were in the US’s national interest, but you’d think they were the bee’s knees if Obama had an (R) after his name, which is, after all, the only reason you’re bothering to waste your energy defending the current president, knowing full well what a monumental fuckup he will continue being and that he’ll be lucky to last a full term.

                    2. He was at war from day 1 instead of the less interventionist we were promised. He bombed 7 different countries on his way out the door.

                    3. No, the Paris and Iran deals would be far worse if agreed to by a republican. We all know democrats are evil, but republicans are at least supposed to know better.

                      Tony, this is why your party tolerates, and even cherishes, serial rapists, murderers, and child molesters. You have no standards, and never hold anyone accountable for anything, unless they no longer have any usefulness, like Weiner. As long as people like Bill Clinton, or a Ted Ieenedy remain useful, they can kill and rape with impunity.

                    4. Huh. I thought Quackdaffy was in the greater interest of the US, had been for some yrs. after showing he was domesticable. I thought he was one of those not-sweet, not-golden-hearted types who’d help you win wars.

                  2. Tony, I’ll bet you would be a lot happier with Hilldawg in charge. Who said she would start a hot war with Russia during one of the debates.

                  3. Obama had a cohesive foreign policy? Other than doing the most idiotic thing he could?

        2. Ken, most of the people here attacking Trumo spent the last 15 years bemoaning neocons. It’s just all a bunch of hypocrisy.

          1. It was pretty remarkable to hear these people shit their pants when Trump told Europe they needed to start defending themselves.

          2. You can’t be against neocons and Trump at the same time?

            1. The word “neocon” has no meaning to you. You use it interchangeably with “asshole”.

              For other people, words have meanings. Hillary Clinton is a neocon.

              “Neoconservative foreign policy is a descendant of so-called Wilsonian idealism. Neoconservatives endorse democracy promotion by the U.S. and other democracies, based on the claim that they think that human rights belong to everyone. They criticized the United Nations and detente with the USSR. On domestic policy, they endorse a welfare state, like European and Canadian conservatives and unlike American conservatives.”

              —-Wiki on Neoconservative

              http://tinyurl.com/y7mmaujh

              That part about opposing detente with the USSR is key to the subject of this thread. Neocons say you don’t make deals with the devil. With a bit of simplification, this is in contrast to realist pragmatism, in which you do what’s in the best interests of your nation and its security. If not making deals with the devil is in country’s best interests, you don’t do that, but if it is, . . .

              You might oppose Trump, but if you’re opposing him on the issue of forming a working relationship with Putin to fight ISIS specifically because Putin is a mean, mean man, then, no, you probably can’t be against Trump on this issue for the same reason as the neocons and also be opposed to the neocons on this issue.

              1. Ken, you just said a bunch of stuff Tony can’t possibly understand.

              2. Trump wants a relationship with Putin because he likes how manly and powerful he looks on his stupid horse. Just because Trump isn’t a neocon doesn’t make him a brilliant foreign policy mind, I believe was the point I was making. And he isn’t exactly extricating the US from any of the neocon adventures it’s currently engaged in, is he?

                1. Christ you’re a stupid, stupid, communist piece of shit. It takes time to undo Obama and Hillary’s gigantic fuck ups. Much longer than it took to make them.

                  1. A long time indeed, since they were originally Bush and Cheney’s fuckups.

                    But as I said above, Obama won the office on an explicitly anti-neocon platform and governed as best he could in that mold, so you guys must think him the best foreign policy president in a generation, n’est-ce pas?

                    1. so you guys must think him the best foreign policy president in a generation, n’est-ce pas?

                      Maybe, but that’s sort of like a “tallest midget” award.

                    2. Tony, everyone originally agreed to go to Afghanistan. Iraq was won, and unraveled due to Obama’s incompetence. Libya, well that was all Obama and Hilldawg.

                      There’s your history lesson moron.

                    3. If by history lesson you mean a bowl of dogshit served by Matt Drudge’s dead fuckboy, okay.

                    4. Iraq was won, and unraveled due to Obama’s incompetence

                      I think it’s a bit much to suggest that Iraq was “raveled” by the Bush Administration. Bush left a house of cards that was on fire. Blaming Obama for Iraq’s disintegration is just more team-ism.

                    5. It wouldn’t have fallen apart the way it did if Obama maintained a status of forces agreement. Something he never had any intention of doing. He is literally primarily responsible for the rise of ISIS in it’s present form.

                      I’m not saying Iraq would have been a trouble free bed of roses in the alternative, but it almost certainly would not have fallen apart like it did thanks to Obama’s bungling. And let’s face it, obama’s foreign policy(if one can discern a cohesive policy) was homogenously shit and/or garbage.

                    6. It wouldn’t have fallen apart the way it did if Obama maintained a status of forces agreement.

                      You mean if Obama had totally changed course from the plan developed by the Bush Administration rather than simply continuing to implement it, then it wouldn’t have been all Obama’s fault?

                    7. They planned to keep some troops there for logistical support and training. What are you talking about?

                2. That’s just stupid shit, Tony.

  14. So Chapman’s basis for al, this is some WaPo article? Haven’t we already agreed that everything they print is progressive fan fiction?

    Really though, fuck you Chaoman, you subversive retard piece of shit.

    1. It’s a Post article based on an anonymous letter that they won’t show to anyone. Seriously. They have an anonymous letter that says all of this and they won’t publish the actual letter.

      It is bad enough that it is anonymous and there is no way to check its veracity. But the Post won’t even let people confirm its contents. The only reason anyone is taking it seriously is that it tells them what they want to hear.

      1. Pretty much. Their ‘anonymous letter’ could theoretically have been written by Keith Ohlbermann and Kathy Griffin for all anyone knows. If it even exists. Which given the ongoing pattern of Trump stories exclusively based on unverified ‘anonymous sources’, means approximately nothing.

        WaPo squandered what little credibility they had left. I hope some vicious litigator puts together a class action suit of their subscribers for fraud, and breach of contract. They need to be bankrupted.

        1. It is why NYT v. Sullivan needs to be overturned. All the actual malice standard does is give media outlets a license to lie and not do any fact checking. All they have to say is “we didn’t mean harm and we didn’t know it wasn’t true” and they can publish as many lies as they want and slander anyone they like, provided they are a “public figure”. Worse still, you become a public figure and lose your due process rights to obtain recover for libel and slander because the media chooses to make you one. If the media puts its attention on you for whatever reason, you are now a “public figure” whether you like it or not or ever intended to be one.


          1. Worse still, you become a public figure and lose your due process rights to obtain recover for libel and slander because the media chooses to make you one.

            This I actually do have a problem with myself, but otherwise I would prefer to avoid prior restraint no matter how well intentioned.

  15. The responses of Kelly and McMaster should come as good news to convicted spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, who are serving life sentences for their back-channel communications with the Kremlin.

    Robert Hansen and Aldrich sold the names of American agents to Russia. Go fuck yourself, Chapman. You are a disgusting human being. I know you are stupid and likely don’t do well with the higher order thinking that is required to understand analogy and metaphor, but you are not this stupid. You understand the difference here. You are just a pathetic hack.

    Why does reason publish this shit? Why is Chapman employed? It is just baffling that someone that awful and stupid can be employed by a publication.

    1. Why is Chapman allowed to consume oxygen? It truly is a mystery.

    2. Because Reason never sold itself as a pro-Trump propaganda outfit?

      Do you really think this administration is going to end well? Do you really think defending it is worth the energy?

      1. Shut up Tony. You are too stupid to understand the conversation and add nothing to it.

        1. Perhaps you can spell out the deep and thorough argument you were making in your post.

          1. He already did you fucking retarded piece of shit.

            How you remain unmurdered is truly baffling.

            1. “Go fuck yourself Chapman, you retarded hack.”

              How John remains off the nonfiction bestseller’s list is also baffling.

              1. It’s because he has not attempted to publish anything that would put him there. Stupid asshole Tony.

                Your attempt at wit is, as usual, a pathetic failure.

    3. Not to defend Chapman, but you can find many even stupider and awfuler columnists writing for major newspapers.

      1. Fair point zeb. Fair point.

      2. Zen, we should expect better from Reason.

        1. My comment was not intended to say anything other than what it said.

          I don’t know why they keep publishing Chapman. He’s just a syndicated column and doesn’t work for Reason. Maybe they get it for free or something. Or he’s got dirt on Welch.

          1. I’m not calling you out. I just think Nick should demand better writing than we see from Chapman, Dalmia, Richman., and often Robby.

    4. Why does reason publish this shit? Why is Chapman employed?

      As to why he’s employed by the Chi. syndicate, I can’t help you. But as to what he’s doing here, that goes back to Kochtopus strategy 40 yrs. ago.

      Once it became clear in the 1970s that libertarianism, no different from other such -isms, wasn’t going to become a mass movement in the USA?this is a country that practically revolts against the very concept of mass movements?the strategists who’d pinned some hopes on the Libertarian Party (& were already seeing those hopes dashed) hoped to steer radical libertarians to the top of a sort of pox-on-all-houses tendency. They hoped to sell liberty as a kind of common-sense rejection of the extremes of “left” & “right”. But that required soft-pedaling the -ism by fuzzing it. This was most starkly seen in Inquiry magazine.

      “Byline”?radio commentaries by the Cato Inst.?faced an add’l constraint: the Fairness Doctrine had still not been repudiated. So Chapman became 1 of the regular “Byline” commentors, to help hide the fact that Cato was pushing any viewpoint overall via radio. Presumably Chapman was recommended to someone at Reason yrs. ago on the basis of such experience, even though Reason had neither need nor reason to fudge the ideology. A pitfall of hiring (or establishing relationships generally): not looking beyond the summary, TL;DR.

  16. A better question in my mind is: which is worse, if the WaPo et al knows what they’re doing or if they don’t know what they’re doing? Just about every bit of this shit is negative spin on second-hand hearsay of an alleged rumor by an anonymous source – nobody’s got actual quotes even, let alone documents or named sources. This doesn’t even qualify as news, it’s just “I heard this one guy say….” entirely speculative bullshit. If you hate Trump so much that you’ll repeat every negative thing you come across about him, how much negative shit do you think you’re going to get fed by people with an agenda? Shouldn’t you wonder who these people are and what their agenda is?

    What if all this crap is a Russian disinformation campaign designed to delegitimize Trump and the American electoral system and the very US government all together? Would WaPo be acting as unwitting dupes or a treasonous fifth column? Or what if it’s not the Russians, but Obama and the DNC, willing to see the US harmed, crippled, destroyed out of sheer spite rather than see Trump be successful? Or the Deep State, having quietly taken over the levers of power from the Constitutional branches of government unwilling to see their coup d’?tat rolled back? Which of these scenarios would WaPo be willing to work toward, which would they would regret learning they’ve been duped into furthering?

    1. And suppose it is true and he did talk to the Russians. Any guesses on how anyone knows this? They know it because the NSA picked it up and illegally unmasked Kushner’s name and leaked it to the media. I was always under the impression that misusing the Intelligence community to smear political opponents was a big fucking deal and something Libertarians were not down with. Yet, Chapman, who is at least employed by a Libertarian publication, sees no problem with it.

      1. FOX news pickles brains dude. It’s like Sesame Street for fat, old idiots. The word of the day is “unmasking!”

        1. Tony stop emoting. Calm down and maybe look into getting some meds. When you do and can explain how anyone knows about this call, assuming it happened, other than the IC community listened and leaked it, get back to us.

          1. Because members of the Trump campaign team were under investigation.

            The thing about FOX is that the thinner their line of horseshit, the longer idiots like you go on repeating long-debunked stuff and making an ass out of yourselves.

            1. Tony, I can’t argue with the voices in your head. Go live in another universe where reality fits your delusions or something.

              1. It’s obvious to anyone paying the remotest attention that “leaks” and “unmasking” are lines directly from the administration meant to distract from the Russia story. FOX News of course repeats it like the dutiful propagandists they are. And here you are being their buttmonkey, but what else is new.

                As this is a libertarian site I will stand by the principle of not repeating the White House’s blatant horseshit as fact and calling you out on it when you do.

                1. As this is a libertarian site I will stand by the principle of not repeating the White House’s blatant horseshit as fact and calling you out on it when you do

                  Yeah, nothing says “concrete facts” like reporting something that someone supposedly read to you over the phone without demanding a copy of the document for verification.

                  You do understand the difference between a primary source document and hearsay, yes? At least the actual Pentagon Papers were leaked and not read over the phone like some present-day Journo-tard version of a 900 number.

                  1. It’s still early in this thing.

                    I expect libertarians to have certain biases. Not taking the word of a wannabe autocrat sitting his fat orange ass behind the Resolute desk would, I imagine, be one such ideological tilt.

                    But what the fuck do I know, that greasy frat guy and Boobs McGee on The Five repeat Sean Spicer verbatim, and what could be more freedom-esque than that?

                    1. It’s still early in this thing

                      What, was the leaker’s fucking private email account broken? Doesn’t know how to scan a pdf and send it off?

                      Not taking the word of a wannabe autocrat sitting his fat orange ass behind the Resolute desk would, I imagine, be one such ideological tilt

                      Don’t accuse others of acting gullible when you’re taking hearsay as “shit that actually happened” just because it happens to fit the narrative you dopes have been running ever since you decided Russia being our number one threat wasn’t “1980s policy” anymore.

                      But what the fuck do I know

                      Not fucking much, that’s for goddamn sure, unless a late-night talk show host is telling you what it should be if you don’t react to the news correctly.

                2. I love it when you talk Tony. You help showcase the need to bring back McCarthyism. America definitely needs to be cleansed of everyone that is like you. Commie piece of garbage.

                  1. Tell me more about how much you love freedom.

                    1. I love it enough to put an end to your kind to protect it. You’re the carbon copy of the same filth who made Soviet Russia, Maoist China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia happen. As enemies of the US, and humanity, , you all need to be stopped.

                    2. Oh, how many commies have you murdered to date?

                    3. It’s not possible to murder soulless things.

                3. Tony|6.1.17 @ 1:00PM|#
                  “It’s obvious to anyone paying the remotest attention that “leaks” and “unmasking” are lines directly from the administration meant to distract from the Russia story.”

                  I’m guessing twit here has a whole collection of tin-foil hats, and the stupid shit STILL hasn’t figured out the shiny side goes outside.

      2. What makes you think the NSA is behind it? Remember how, on his way out the door, Obama left that big stinky turd on the hall rug of allowing all those other agencies to rummage through the NSA databases as much as they pleased? This is why – exponentially more eyeballs on the data means exponentially more leaks and exponentially more trails to follow if you want to try to figure out who’s leaking. That little going-away present was a giant middle finger to Trump’s eye as that bastard walked off. Obama knew he might be leaving but tons of his minions were staying behind and he trusted they knew their duty and would serve their master.

        1. That is what I mean; that NSA picked it up and some other dirtbag then used it. I didn’t mean to imply that the NSA was behind it, only that it was likely an NSA intercept that was misused.

        2. This is about as good a reason as any for Trump to just go ahead and deep six the Deep State.

          Their value was highly questionable to begin with, and now that they appear to have been thoroughly compromised there’s not much point to keeping them around at all anymore. Because America’s enemies and Obama’s enemies are two entirely different things.

          1. Da, da, is good idea.

      3. In all fairness John, the only author at this rag that I recall even tangentially talking about that angle is Nick which tells you just about everything you need to know. Robby has verbatim claimed that ‘we know things’ from these anonymous sources. They are truly scraping the bottom of the journalism barrel at Reason. Or, a worse scenario, this is considered good journalism by todays standards.

        Trust, but verify is apparently archaic. Now, it’s publish or perish. Perhaps the latter has always been the truth, if I’m being totally honest.

    2. Like this bit about Kushner and the back channel – for all we know Kushner and this Russian guy got together and had a few drinks and at some point Kushner put his hand on the Russian guy’s thigh and whispered seductively in his ear, “Wanna go someplace private and engage in some back-channel exchanges?” You just don’t know what exactly was said, all we’re seeing is WaPo’s synopsis of it and I don’t trust them to give us the straight facts. These are people who can report on Trump nodding at an aide as a snub because he didn’t say “Hi” as he nodded and this is strong evidence that this aide is not in Trump’s good graces, about to be fired, possibly because the aide’s a secret child molester. And this will be printed under the headline “Trump’s Connection To Child Molesting Revealed”.

      1. How would anyone other than Kushner and the Russian know what was said in such a conversation much less know it in the claimed detail? Without knowing who is leaking this and why they would have any reason to know what they are claiming to know, no reputable publication should have published it. Of course, no reputable publication did. The Washington Post published it.

      2. I think you’re confusing the Russian with John Podesta.

  17. The responses of Kelly and McMaster should come as good news to convicted spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen

    We’re really making this comparison? I guess we are. Holy fuck.

    1. Those two are along with Walker, the biggest traitors of the Cold War. Their actions resulted in the execution of dozens of Russians who were working with the CIA. And fucking Chapman thinks that is analogous to Kushner having a talk with the Russian Ambassador. It is a new low even for Chapman, who is a bottom dweller, to begin with.

  18. Suppose that shortly after the 2008 election, Barack Obama’s adviser Valerie Jarrett met with the Chinese ambassador and suggested using a secure link at his embassy to communicate with Beijing beyond the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies

    Suppose? I fully expect Barack Obama’s advisors to have done this sort of thing… and more.

    1. The Clintons certainly did.

    2. Why does “beyond the reach of intelligence agencies” matter? Does Chapman really think all elected officials should submit their activities and communications to CIA scrutiny? Where is the legal or ethical requirement that every public official communicates in ways that allow the US intel community to listen in?

      That is what Chapman is arguing here. It is pretty amazing the hypocrisy and logical pretzels he will tie himself into in order to feed his Trump derangement.

    3. And Kushner didn’t work for the government. He was and is as far as I know a private citizen. So, Chapman apparently thinks everyone should only communicate with foreign governments and officials in ways that allow the US intelligence community to listen in.

      1. Don’t hurt yourself as you reach.

      2. You know, it seems like just a year or two ago that the Reason “libertarians” hated the surveillance state and warrantless eavesdropping.

        Oh right, that’s because it WAS only a year or two ago! Gee, I wonder what changed since then?

        1. A reason article complaining about someone talking ‘outside the reach of US intel agencies” is pretty fucking rich.

          1. The water is much nicer in the other pool. You should come swim over there sometime.

            1. It is I am sure. And I will.

  19. I’m confused. Last I heard it was uniquely awful of Trump to say that the government had been spying on him before his inauguration, but now apparently it’s uniquely awful of Trump to make it harder for the government to spy on him before his inauguration.

    1. Yeah, you need to file those two items separately in your mind–where they’ll never run into each other.

      On the one hand, Trump is a paranoid lunatic for thinking that the Obama administration was doing surveillance on his campaign’s ties to Russia.

      On the other hand, the evidence that the Obama administration’s surveillance turned up on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia is damning.

      1. Is there really anything despicable enough that anyone would be surprised to hear Obama did it? I mean, his crimes are without number, and his villainy without end. He truly was the Traitor King.

  20. How cockeyed do you have to look at this thing to see it, if it occurred, as something bad? Before his inauguration, Trump’s evading official scrutiny in indirect communication with a foreign party is exactly the sort of thing these electro-pages say we should all be allowed & able to do! After his inaugur’n, what’s the point of being POTUS, w diplomats & all, if they can’t negotiate in secret w foreign powers?

  21. Mr. Chapman, Goebbels would be proud of you. Keep up the good work!

  22. Chapman ‘I want to use a hostile government’s communications system to avoid our government knowing anything about it,'”

  23. Interesting conundrum posed by the last sentence- does the minority president have any idea what he is doing and what the consequences of his actions could be or is he totally clueless? Which is less dangerous to the US and its people? How many excuses can be made for secret dealings with a foreign government? How, by any stretch of the imagination can secret discussions with bankers from a hostile government be a good thing? What was the purpose- to get monetary support for the Trump Organization- which would be a crime, since the minority president would be seeking personal enrichment through his office or was it something darker and more dangerous? There is no way these conversations can be construed as innocuous- stupid yes but harmless- never.

  24. This guy is a Harvard Grad. Not saying all Harvard Grads are the brightest bulbs, but you can bet your ass he knew what he was doing was not normal and likely illegal. He may not be a Hawking, but he’s not stupid either.

  25. If Trump had already been secretly colluding with Russia, why would Kushner need a “back channel”?

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