Gates Out and Walsh In

Katie Walsh, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, is leaving that post to work as a senior advisor for America First Policies, a nonprofit group created specifically to support the Trump Administration’s political agenda. The nonprofit has so far failed to have any political impact.

Rick Gates, a founding America First Policies member, left his position with the organization because of his connections to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.  This is the same Paul Manafort who, due to his work for the Ukrainian government, was forced to leave the Trump Campaign last summer.

Mr. Manafort recently volunteered to speak before the House Intelligence Committee, which is currently looking at questionable contacts between the Russian Government and Trump campaign officials.

The hope is Mrs. Walsh, a well established GOP operative with a proven track record, will bring stability to the under-performing organization.

Meanwhile in Russia

Today, Russian dissident Denis Voronenkov was assassinated in Kiev. Mr. Voronenkov, a colonel in the Russian Armed Forces and a former member of the Russian Parliament, was an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Mr. Voronenkov planned to testify against former Ukraine President Victor Yanukovych. Mr. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian Putin ally forced into exile since 2014, is being tried in absentia for treason. From at least 2006 until 2012, Mr. Yanukovych employed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort as a political consultant.

[How Trump adviser Manafort revived his career — and business fortunes — in Ukraine]

There is a point where coincidence ends and conspiracy begins. Not the tinfoil hat type X-Files  conspiracies, but the two interested parties working together to achieve mutual goals.

The Russian government did not want Hilary Clinton to win the 2016 Presidential Election. They didn’t necessarily want Donald Trump to win, but like Bernie Bro voters, the Russians were in the anybody but Hillary camp.

Donald Trump and his supporters wanted to win the 2016 election. That is a “no shit Sherlock” statement true of any campaign, but you do what you need to do to win.  And supporters select candidates based on their interests.

That Paul Manafort, a well established GOP player, supported Donald Trump in 2016 isn’t much a shock. It also isn’t shocking that the Russian Government, who wants anybody but Hillary Clinton to win, would use those connections (and the power of the state) to advance their national interests.

Everything  else that follows is just business.

And that is why business and government shouldn’t mix. Business is about making money and maximizing profits for investors.T here isn’t any ethical long term goal beyond profit.

Government is about enacting policy that benefits it’s citizens. Government doesn’t make a profit. Government works for the security and benefit of all citizens. Government is ethical, or at least it should.

And if you elect a profit driven businessman who then surrounds himself with other profit driven businessmen……….



From Russia Without Love

During a March 20th 2017 five-hour hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed the FBI is actively investigating allegations that members of President Trump’s 2016 Campaign team worked with the Russians to influence the election outcome.

“We’re investigating whether there was any coordination between people associated with the Trump campaign and the Russians,” Comey said.

And yesterday, the Associated Press reported that in 2005 Paul Manafort collaborated with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to advance the interests of the Russian government.

Mr. Manafort is the former campaign chairman for President Trump. He left the Trump campaign in August 2016 due to questionable financial dealings with several Russian organizations.

Mr. Manafort is a well established GOP operative, and his client list reads like a collection of Bond villains. Mr. Manafort has worked/lobbied for such distasteful assholes as Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Jonas Savimbi.

He also represented former Ukrainian president  Viktor Yanukovych. Mr. Yanukovych, who now lives in exile in Russia, is wanted by the Ukrainian government for high treason.

And for those keeping score, former Trump National Security Adviser and raging Islamophobic d-bag Michael Flynn was forced out of his position after lying about talks he had with the Russian Ambassador.

Despite what they say, the Trump Administration has a Russia problem. And it isn’t going away anytime soon.