GOP, Ukraine and Russia

Section of The Berlin Wall

I am unable to fathom how the Republican Party of my youth, the die-hard anti-Soviet party of Ronald Reagan and George Shultz, has transformed into the Party of Putin. Not all of the current Republicans are on Team Putin instead of Team America, but there are so many! How did this happen? When did this happen? Did it occur because of Trump, or was it again a case of Trump just saying loudly what many said quietly?

Could it be that after the Citizens United decision, Russian billionaires started contributing heavily to various GOP SuperPACs? There have been allegations that the National Rifle Association collected money from wealthy Russian individuals and funneled it to various GOP senators, maybe this is more widespread than we know?

I am also sort of surprised that Rupert Murdoch is part of this collective. I’d have assumed that Murdoch, by virtue of his age, and Paleolithic Republican status, would also be anti-Russia, but assumptions would be wrong. Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and others are consistently celebrating Putin on Murdoch’s propaganda channel.

What can Putin’s end game even be? If he installs a puppet government in Ukraine, how can anyone take it seriously? The Ukrainian people are not going to consider the Revolution of Dignity as an aberration, nor will they view Putin puppet Yanukovych as their legitimate leader.

FBI Raid On Paul Manafort Storage Locker

One Step Forward
One Step Forward

Michael Cohen being raided is big news, but there are other threads we are following, including the Paul Manafort case. 

The FBI found a storage locker with lots and lots of documents that Paul Manafort was saving, perhaps to be made whole. This will come up again, mark my words.

Betsy Woodruff reports:

According to court documents, one of Manafort’s former employees led an FBI agent to a storage locker filled with paperwork on Manafort’s businesses and finances. The person’s name is redacted from the filings. But he’s now at the center of a fight over evidence that could play a significant role in the government’s case against Manafort.

“People do strange things when confronted with authoritative FBI agents,” said Sol Wisenberg, a criminal defense attorney with Nelson Mullins.

The person whose name was redacted also gave the FBI agent “a key to the lock on Unit 3013 and described the contents of Unit 3013,” according to the affidavit. That person also gave the FBI agent “written consent” to search the storage unit, and opened it for the FBI agent.

The FBI agent then looked into the storage unit and saw about 21 boxes of documents, as well as a filing cabinet. One box was marked as containing expenses, paid bills, invoices, and legal complaints. Another box said it contained “Ukraine Binders,” as well information about ballot security, Georgia, research, and “Ukraine Campaign.”

Manafort and Gates have been involved in Ukrainian politics for years, and helped prop up Kiev’s Putin-friendly strongman, Viktor Yanukovych.

The FBI agent seemed to figure out immediately that the storage unit’s contents were interesting, because the law enforcement officials started surveilling the storage unit facility to see if anyone went in to take out any files. The day after seeing the storage unit, the FBI agent filed the affidavit—which was more than 20 pages long—with a magistrate judge.

(click here to continue reading A Second Paul Manafort Associate Has Turned on Him.)

I guess these guys haven’t heard of a document shredder or something. I shred stuff on a regular basis and I avoid criminal or even sketchy business! Why wouldn’t these guys have a contract with a shredding company to come every other month?

Gleamingly Banal
Gleamingly Banal

A sign of one’s age when this is the birthday present I bought myself

Kiva Loan Number 12

Ganna Levitskaya from Ukraine has fully repaid a Kiva loan

Location: Nadvirna, Ukraine

Repayment Term: 12 months (more info)

Activity: Retail   Repayment Schedule: Monthly

Loan Use: To purchase mineral fertilizer

Ganna is married with four grown children: a son, three daughters and six grandkids. Her whole family lives in Nadvirna, Western Ukraine. She offers various goods for sale. Ganna owns two vending kiosks at two different local markets – central marketplace and farming supply market. Moreover, she has just bought a small store in a village to offer fresh produce to residents of that neighborhood. Ganna started small about 20 years ago. She worked hard to keep her business running. Lending services have helped her grow and expand her small venture. Currently, Ganna has about 30,000 Grivnyas in the vending business. Her net monthly profit is about 6,000 Grivnyas.

Ganna is requesting a loan of 16,000 Grivnyas to purchase mineral fertilizer wholesale for further retail sale at one of her vending locations. She has much experience working in the sphere of trade and commerce for over 37 years. After Ganna retired, she ventured to launch her small vending business and hasn’t been sorry about it. Today her business is the main source of income for her family and kids.

On the photo, Ganna is pictured at one of her vending locations where she offers clothing items for retail sale.

(click to continue reading Kiva – Ganna Levitskaya from Ukraine has fully repaid a Kiva loan.)

Country: Ukraine
Avg Annual Income: $8,000
Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia (UAH)
Exchange Rate: 7.6670 UAH = 1 USD