38 thoughts on “Eulogy for a Friend and for a Country”

  1. and even after death, John McCain serves his country


    from the daily beast:  John McCain Sounds the Alarm on Trump and Russia in New Documentary ‘Active Measures’

    Active Measures, a new documentary from director Jack Bryan, would be timely even without the presence of John McCain. And yet the senator, who died of brain cancer less than a week before this film’s August 31st release, adds an additional dose of relevance and urgency to its central thesis: That President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, are far more intertwined than you know.

    “The fact that there was an attack on the fundamental — the absolute fundamental — a free and fair election, should alarm all of us,” McCain says in the exclusive clip below. He’s referring to the reports from August of 2016 that Russian hackers were targeting voter registration databases in states like Arizona.
    Along with McCain, the documentary is populated with Hillary Clinton, former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and others who express concern over both what happened during the 2016 election and what could take place in future elections.
    But it is the many connections between Donald Trump and Russia that dominate the bulk of the film. As the first frame explains, “active measures” is a Soviet term for the “actions of political warfare conducted by the Russian security services to influence the course of world events.” Just as New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait recently made the case that Trump may have been a Russian “asset” since 1987, director Bryan spends nearly two hours arguing that Russia had been cultivating Trump years before he became a realistic presidential candidate.
    “The Russians have a particular type of mark who they go after,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) says early in the film. “They go after someone who has business resources, perhaps some shady morals so they are amenable to bribery. Or perhaps they’re in a difficult financial situation or has either political connections or aspirations.” After a dramatic pause, he adds, “I’ve just described Donald Trump.”
    Bryan told The Daily Beast by email this week that he wanted McCain in the film because he was “the most forceful voice in Congress at speaking out against Russian aggression and standing up for democracy worldwide.”
    “In 2004 when Putin tried to rig an election in Ukraine, John McCain stood with the Ukrainian people. In 2016 when Putin tried to do the same thing in America, he was one of the few voices in his party who refused to remain silent,” Bryan added. “He and Hillary Clinton were Vladimir Putin’s greatest adversaries in the United States, and without their voices it would be impossible to understand how and why our country arrived at this point.”
    In contrast to Trump’s “sycophantic” commentary about Putin, McCain can be seen in the film decrying the Russian leader as “an individual who poses a threat to the world” and “has no moral standards that I’ve been able to detect.” His interview presumably came before Trump’s joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki, which McCain memorably described as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
    The film also implies that Trump’s most damning attack on McCain came right out of Putin’s mouth. Before Trump infamously declared, “I like people that weren’t captured,” Putin noted, “Mr. McCain was taken prisoner in Vietnam and was put not just in jail but in a pit. He sat there for several years. Anyone would go nuts after that.”
    The fact that Trump “despised” McCain (and vice versa) has been well documented, but McCain’s role as enemy number one in the Russian propaganda machine became more widely apparent after his death.
    As New York Times Moscow correspondent Andrew Higgins reported this week, Russian state television has referred to McCain as “the chief symbol of Russophobia” in its coverage of his passing. Higgins quoted the man behind the “Russians for Donald Trump” Facebook page, who  lamented that other hawkish senators like Lindsey Graham won’t be able to fill McCain’s shoes. “None of them is as charismatic as John McCain,” Alexander Domrin said. “It will be hard to find somebody who can replace him as the main Russophobe.”
    McCain seems particularly disturbed in the documentary by the Trump campaign’s successful effort to remove from the Republican Party platform a provision condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukraine.
    “I think that’s part of this whole scandal that needs to be resolved,” McCain implores. “Why would the Republican Party remove a provision that would help people who have been invaded and slaughtered defend themselves?” He smiles slyly, gives a slight roll of his eyes and adds, “Interesting.”
    The film ends with a stark warning from McCain, Clinton and others about the near certainty that Russia will continue to interfere with American elections this year, in 2020 and beyond. Taking one last shot at Trump for failing to take his own “active measures” against Russia for attacking American democracy, McCain says, “As long as people can do things without penalty, they’re going to continue to do them.”

  2. I heard Joe Biden’s eulogy for McCain yesterday. It was probably the best eulogy as those things go that I have ever heard.

  3. I still don’t think Joe should be ruled out of contention for age. Give him one term to clean up this mess, then hand it over to one of the youngsters way down the learning curve.

  4. more on that documentary.  this time from the guardian:


    ‘The story goes so far back’: new film attempts to untangle Russiagate

    The defining paradox of what’s come to be known as the “Trump-Russia scandal” is that it’s both the most-covered story of the Trump presidency and the one that, broadly speaking, seems to interest voters least. Either its gravity is lost on us, or we struggle to unfurl the complex web of financial ties, or it’s given so much airtime on cable news, often at the expense of a litany of other cruel and corrupt acts, that “Russiagate” amounts to less than the sum of its parts. That’s a shame since, as the film-maker Jack Bryan sees it, we’ve come upon one of the wildest and most comprehensively orchestrated scandals in political history.
    His new film Active Measures is the first of what will surely become its own cottage industry: the Trump-Russia doc (to say nothing of the unavoidable Donald and Melania melodramas, the Trump cabinet screwball comedies and the Woodward and Bernstein-esque political thrillers). While a host of other shoes will inevitably drop after it is released, this film is intent on giving context to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election by tracing a history of its government’s shrewd geopolitical machinations – hence the doc’s title, a kind of shorthand for Soviet political warfare. The “active measure” here is the Kremlin’s cultivation of a useful American asset in Trump, an operation which the film suggests far predates the 2016 election.
    “When we started this project in March of 2017, there had been a lot of good reporting on Trump-Russia stuff. But we felt nobody was really getting it because the story goes so far back that you needed context,” says the 33-year-old Bryan, whose credits include two low-budget indie features, The Living and Struck. “If you think this operation started in 2015, it all seems very strange. But when you realize these were several ongoing operations, some of which have been going on for decades and were then turned toward the 2016 election, it all makes more sense.”
    Bryan’s year-long immersion in the research, and the participation of Clinton and McCain, was particularly helpful when it came to getting people on board the documentary. After all, asking someone in the spring of 2017 to appear in your Trump-Russia project is not the most original of pitches, and he encountered some trepidation among folks who didn’t want to speak prematurely on a subject that had come to engulf Trump, the intel community, and the entire DC establishment.

    “Their vetting process was incredibly appropriate and harsh,” Bryan says of Clinton and McCain, who were “making sure we weren’t going to be saying crazy things or trying to get them to say crazy things”.

    Active Measures, to its credit, is an earnest and all-inclusive attempt to make that job a bit easier. Viewers who can consume and compartmentalize heaps of information at once will find themselves aghast at the scope of Russia’s infiltration. Others will have to rewind, and maybe watch with paper and pen, just to keep things straight. The film, in any case, will be an interesting time capsule to return to once Russiagate is ironed out, that is, if Robert Mueller’s investigation isn’t quashed before we get a chance to see what it yields.

  5. Talking head chatter is that today might be very interesting in the indictment area because the Mueller DC Grand Jury is meeting today.  That means a few of them ham sandwiches should have their names spread across to twitterverse soon.

  6. Poobah, I’m with ya on Biden. He’s certainly not showing any signs of the mental decline we’re seeing from the WH.

  7. She’s BAAAAACK  Finally got the Chrome problems fixed so I can use it here and don’t have to fight with Safari.

    Biden was wonderful yesterday.  Trump tweeted through the whole service trying to distract from the fact his fat face wasn’t all over TV.  It didn’t work.

  8. Jamie – technology is great (sometimes).  The maga people are afraid of it.  Any day now we can expect SFB to declare a national emergency  and the need to put phone booths on every corner.

  9. Biden’s eulogy was very moving.  Reminding us all that we are in this together despite differences of opinions.  But danm… I will admit sometimes it’s hard to like Republicans or trumpers.

    I like Joe…  but he will not be receiving my vote in the 2020 primary should he decide to run.  I do hope he sticks around as an elder spokesman though.

  10. Bloomberg news:

    A former associate of Paul Manafort, Sam Patten, was charged Friday with failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent for his work lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party, Bloomberg News reports.

  11. Renee, for me the primary vote will depend on who the field is and what they are saying about how they would each like to guide the country.  Part of the calculus for me will be head to head polls against SFB – all other things equal I’ll vote for the biggest margin against IMPOTUS.


    Poobah, because you like to know these things, I suspect the issue with slow loading is the WordPress platform.  Regardless of whether I’m on a Mac, a Windows based PC, Google Chrome or Safari, the site takes 3-4 times or more  longer to load than other sites, including VERY dense sites like WaPo and Amazon.

  12. Actually Pogo, the latency is more likely due to having to share a hosting package on our server with other sites. It’s sort of like the old telephone party lines. Speed depends on how much traffic on the other sites sharing the server. Dedicated servers are much more expensive, which of course Amazon/WAPO can afford aplenty. Still, it’s probably time for a chat with server company to see if they can do any tweaking, perhaps move us to a server with less competing traffic. Sometimes the ole squeaky wheel gets grease works with them.

  13. Oh, I see.  I couldn’t believe TM had so many bells and whistles and popups and … that it would take this long. And it seems to have gotten much slower over the past month or so – but that may just be my perception (and increasing impatience as I age).

  14. pogo & craig, i’ve observed trail over time the slowest loadings happened on threads when there were a lot of youtube posts on them… not counting the initial thread topic videos such as sunday serendipity. it happens mostly when we go nuts remembering our favorite songs and musicians and comedians.
    and i’m one of the worst offenders.

  15. If Trump isnt gone by that ti me….I want someone like Avenetti to the rescue.  I have to say that im glad that the super deli-gets have been curbed….specially that petulant Donna Brazil….she lost some power…tha voters gained a little…….

    Wonder if i can ask for a little help?  I have been looking for a book named….. “Mental Prowess” …. that was published in 1965….maybe in India and translated here in english…. about self healing, mediation, hand yoga, mudras etc…..i don’t know the Author of if…but i need it to add to my books of research on various subject that it brings up….it also has a few books in it that are referenced that i probably would add to my collection of these types of books……thanks ahead of time……..nice day going for a long walk…..

  16. Pogo… it’ll be very interesting to see who does and doesn’t throw their hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race.  My primary being the first, sometime in February, means that I’ll have the largest number of candidates with the least amount of polling data from which to choose.  I just googled W. Virginia and found out your primary is in May.  By then, the polls will have much more to reveal and the field will probably be somewhat whittled down.  I’m sure we’ll both make the best choices with what info we have.

    Craig…  I thank you for being willing to be that squeaky wheel.

  17. more on the former Manafort colleague

    the hill:
    Sam Patten, a former associate of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to illegally acting as a foreign agent.
    Patten was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent in the United States.
    The charges are related to Patten’s work lobbying on behalf of a political party in Ukraine, known as the Opposition Bloc, according to the criminal information document federal prosecutors filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday.
    The criminal information filing typically comes before a subject pleads guilty, according to Bloomberg, who first reported on the charges.
    Patten is accused of knowingly and willfully acting as an agent for a Ukrainian political party and its members without registering with the attorney general, a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
    The government alleges he worked with a Russian national, known only in court documents as Foreigner A, on lobbying and political consulting services, and helped Foreigner A and a prominent Ukraine oligarch set up meetings with members of Congress, specifically senators on the Foreign Relations Committee and representatives on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as officials in the State Department and members of the media.
    Patten is scheduled to enter a plea at an arraignment hearing Friday morning before federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in D.C

  18. more also about Manafort’s associate sam patten in the guardian:

    The charge was brought by the US attorney’s office in the capital. Patten’s case was referred to that office by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election interference, links between Trump aides and Moscow and potential obstruction of justice by the president.
    A spokesman for the US attorney’s office said the charge against Patten was a felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and also carried potential fines. Stuart Sears, an attorney for Patten, declined to comment.

    Patten formed a consulting company in the US with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political operative with alleged ties to intelligence services. Kilimnik also worked extensively with Manafort, who was a consultant to Opposition Bloc in 2014.


    Kilimnik is charged alongside Manafort in a separate criminal case brought in Washington by Mueller.

    Patten also carried out work for Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct consultancy that is under scrutiny for its work on Trump’s 2016 election campaign. A page on Patten’s website that has since been removed said he “worked with one of London’s most innovative strategic communications companies to introduce new technologies and methodologies” during the 2014 US election.
    During an interview last year with a British academic researcher, Patten said: “I’ve worked in Ukraine, Iraq, I’ve worked in deeply corrupt countries, and [the American] system isn’t very different.”

  19. cbs news:
    A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had then-candidate Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.
    The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.
    The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Mr. Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit.
    The people who discussed Ohr’s interview were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the closed session and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
    Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting. It was not clear from Ohr’s interview whether Steele had been directly told that or had picked that up through his contacts, but the broader sentiment is echoed in Steele’s research dossier.
    Steele and Ohr, at the time of the election a senior official in the deputy attorney general’s office, had first met a decade earlier and bonded over a shared interest in international organized crime. ….
    Ohr told lawmakers he could not vouch for the accuracy of Steele’s information but has said he considered him a reliable FBI informant who delivered credible and actionable intelligence, including his investigation into corruption at FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.
    In the interview, Ohr acknowledged that he had not told superiors in his office, including Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about his meetings with Steele because he considered the information inflammatory raw source material.


  20. All the stuff you’re posting patd is interesting.  I’ve been wondering why trump ran for president in the first place.  He was older…  could easily have turned his businesses over to his kids….   and probably would have gotten away with laundering Russian money through his real estate business.  He had to have known that he’d be under a microscope.  Yet he runs and doesn’t give his businesses up.  And surrounds himself with his family(who are the only people he seems to trust) for advisors.  A lot of people speculate that it was his ego that made him run.  But what if it was the Russians “having him over the barrel” that told him to run.

    I don’t really know…  and I’m just having some fun speculating on a Friday afternoon.

  21. Trump has wanted to run for president for a long time.  I think if anything the Russians offered him money and help.  IMPOTUS problem is he thought he was elected king

  22. KGC… you could be right.  But if he really wanted to run and be king, then why were so many reporting that he was caught off guard when he did win?  Remember when he was whining about the electoral college…   it did seem he really thought Hillary was going to be the next president and was surprised when he won.

    Once again…  just speculating…. but something sounds off to me.  And unfortunately I gotta go.  I’m going to a play tonight with a friend…  I LOVE live theatre.

  23. For some reason the home insurance market does not believe SFB about climate warming and sea level rising.  My home insurance company is cancelling my policy November 2.  Something about living close to coastal waters.  Eh?  I live on the high area which is not affected by a Category 4 hurricane.  I guess being an island in fifty years would change the calculations.

    We are in the countdown for indictments.  There have been a couple, but nothing spectacular – yet.


  24. patd, this is par for the course for Nunes.  The investigation is rigged – the HoR Judiciary and Oversight committees are doing what Sessions said will not be done so long as he is overseeing the DoJ – applying partisan political pressure to the workings of the DoJ.

  25. Ahhhh, a long weekend – gonna trade the keyboard and email for a trimmer and lawn tractor.  Much more satisfying.

  26. It looks like there may be a break in the rain for the funeral.  I hope he gets a rainbow like Ted Kennedy did.

  27. Yertle & Pitence & Lyin’ Ryan…gag.   Nobody cares what the three stooges had to say about a man who was soooo much better at being a human being than they could hope to be.

  28. Well…

    A good thousand $ later, I have new house insurance, car insurance, “jewelry” insurance, and flood insurance.  Life is good.

    Special insurance and boat insurance are by others.  What a time.

  29. Jamie, Aretha had her “going home” and so did John.   couldn’t find a clip of his single piper at yesterday’s service  so this will have to do

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