“People Were Startled”

Contra to more savvy political operators, Donald Trump holds his secret meetings in public. Perhaps at 71, he’s come to the conclusion that skulking around is bad for the hips.

By most accounts, the newly revealed second meeting with Putin was startling to nearby observers. Given the American president and his associates’ alarming proclivity to elide their contacts with the Russian president and his own cadre, it seems like yet another in a series of optical missteps.

For someone who is trying to get away from the cloud of suspicion, he does a piss-poor job of making escape attempts. As if on cue, today he said he wouldn’t have hired Jeff Sessions if he’d known Sessions was going to recuse himself on L’affaire Russia instead of faithfully running interference on attempts to investigate that tangled web.

Don can’t seem to quit Vlad. Vlad in turn seems to revel in the influence he openly wields over a man in a position it is often claimed is the most powerful in the world. Trump carries Putin’s water on issues like undermining NATO, the removal of sanctions against Russia, and ending a covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels.

The nation’s CEO is a threat to the fabric of society on his own. And while a great many threads in that fabric are in dire need of repair or replacement, his inclination is to blame immigrants for the shoddy workmanship, throw it in the dumpster and buy a new one with his name branded on it. He hopes his extraordinarily rich Russian friend approves.

Under normal circumstances, some of the political actions undertaken wouldn’t be so concerning. Take his order re: Syria. Whether the CIA should be involved in the matter is an ongoing and legitimate question. American foreign policy can often be monsterous, yet is seems Trump lacks any moral or philosophical grounding in his decision-making process. From the outside, it seems like it has everything to do with giving Vladimir Putin what he wants.

That, for me, is the pith of what startles. A fascist who rose to power through an admixture of cult of personality, elevating racist/nationalist sentiments and foreign collision is eminently swayable to the suggestions of another, far cannier authoritarian. Whether the cause is intellectual enfeeblement or blackmail doesn’t matter. What matters is that nothing substantive has been done to stop it by the party in power, and the danger is rising.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Eighty-One)

US Stammers Regarding Chechnya While Lithuania Slays

The gay and bisexual men that are seeking refuge from the atrocities of the Chechen gay purge are finally starting to see some support from the world.

The US had the chance to be the hero and grant visas to the fleeing men, but left them in the cold like that one munchkin in the Wizard of Oz that wouldn’t let Dorothy in to see the wizard, because nobody gets into the US, not nobody not no how.

The nation of Lithuania granted visas to two of the refugees, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia no less.  Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, winner of the Most Awesome Name contest that I just made up, made the announcement himself and called on other European nations to do the same.

Linkevicious tweeted:

Today is zero-tolerance day against hatred, fear, discrimination of all forms of sexuality. Denying reality is not an option |

After which, at least in my mind, he punctuated his tweet with a fab Tongue Pop.

Hello Americans! Would I Lie To You?

Salutations, American dogs!

I’m sorry, English is not my native language. Allow me to try again.

Howdy, despicable Western scum! That’s much better. My legion of patriotic “information specialists” (heh, heh) penetrated your puny firewall in three seconds. You seem as good a site as any to spread the world to the other idiots. I have no time to spare. I’m a busy man – Germany has an election coming up.

The FSB has notified me that Useful Idiot Donald is not good at keeping secrets. This pleases me immensely when they are USA secrets, and not so much when they are secrets about how Mother Russia is bending you all to our mighty iron will. I personally have the impressive strength of three Kamchatka brown bears and six Amur tigers. I rule the waters like a Greenland Shark.

If you were not stupid and knew about the rest of the world, you would understand my true power. Let me explain it to you in a way your pitiful intellect can grasp. My nickname in the KGB was “Corpsemaker”. Think about that for a while.

Let me assure you that your president is not Russia’s marionette, dancing and prancing to my expert hand manipulations. To even give entertainment to the idea is to surrender to conspiratorial thinking. If he were my puppetman, I would be very, very disappointed in how he and his friends are no good at covering their tracks, and how several times the imbecile didn’t take my strongly worded advice. And if this were all the case, I’d be happy that he finally made himself useful by giving my men important classified information.

But I have nothing to hide. Why would I lie to you? I am a traditional, trustworthy Russian strongman who has never met Aleksandr Dugan, whoever he is. I don’t want to destabilize the West and tear NATO apart! You really need to stop listening to the talking heads on your TV.

As a show of good faith, we will provide our record of this meeting that has ruffled so many eagle feathers to your… whatever you call your Duma. We recorded it for safekeeping, knowing that your uncontrolled, non-state media would spread all sorts of anti-Russia slander. And then this controversy can be over and done with, yes?

America, I believe you can put your Russophobia to rest. Have strength of character, like I have. If you’re not complete ignorant swine you will come to see things my way. You should be so lucky to have a man like Putin.

Camps in Chechnya

Concentration camps are real.  Like, REAL real.  And happening right now.  Like, RIGHT NOW right now.

Normally I would try to throw in some jokes to gussy up a story involving members of the LGBT community losing their rights or being threatened.  There’s no joke in this.  There is no way I can use humor to ease the situation.

If you haven’t heard the latest on Chechynya’s gay concentration camp, know that the stories are pretty horrific.  100 gay men were rounded up purge style and held prisoner in camps.

Razman Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic, is thought to have given the order to have these men carted off, although he denies the accusation, claiming that he’d never give an order to purge gays from Chechnya because Chechnya doesn’t have any gays.

Alvi Karimov, Kadyrov’s spokesperson, also denied the camps, saying,  “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.  If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”

Fucking bone-chilling, man.

The men face various forms of torture.  Accounts say they are detained in the same crowded room.  They are beaten.  Their hands are electrocuted.  One account even mentioned being forced to sit on bottles.  Some of the men are confirmed dead, or feared to be.

Earlier today a protest was organized at the Russian Embassy in London to combat the existence of the camps and to call on it’s leaders to do something.

Tanya Lokshina from Human Right Watch in Moscow posted an in depth article about the horrific events.

‘It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya,” She says, “Where homophobia is intense and rampant. LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to “honour killings” by their own relatives for tarnishing family honour.’

Let’s Talk About Anything Other Than Russia

Has the roaring waterfall of Russia-related stories exhausted you? Us too. It’s like, okay, we get it, Russia is a country. Big deal. So they want to meddle in foreign affairs. It’s not like they invented it. Oh, cool, they were Soviets for a while. Are we supposed to be impressed?

That’s why we won’t be talking about Russia in this post. Who knows? Maybe we won’t ever talk about it again. We’ve had our fill. We’re up to our necks in conspiracy theories about Eurasian superpowers. Instead, we’d like to bring to your attention some things that will brighten your day and restore your faith in the state of the world.

Let’s start with the most adorable picture of a precious yawning pupper!

See, this isn’t so difficult. We’re just like Buzzfeed!

Hey, did you hear about the 20-year-old pony in New Zealand who was washed away in a flood, only to return home 13 days later? Animals are so smart and loyal! You’ll be pleased to know th–

BREAKING NEWS: Trump campaign chief linked to Putin interests

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The White House on Wednesday acknowledged the AP’s revelations had “started to catch a lot of buzz” but brushed them aside, though some members of Congress expressed alarm.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

No. NOPE! NOPENOPENOPE. We’re not doing this. Nice try, Associated Press. This is a Russia-free zone.

We can get through this. We’re a safe space from international turmoil. Deep breaths.

How about a quirky story? Quirk is good. Did you hear that Cadbury’s had to spen

BREAKING NEWS: Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam

The German bank that loaned $300m (£260m) to Donald Trump played a prominent role in a money laundering scandal run by Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin, the Guardian can reveal.

Deutsche Bank is one of dozens of western financial institutions that processed at least $20bn – and possibly more – in money of “criminal origin” from Russia.

Great. Russia’s ruined everything again. Can’t we go one lousy post without the Russian Federation shitting all over our hopes and dreams? Is it too much to ask?!

You know what? No. Quitting now would be letting Putin win.

This will insert joy right into your feels. Marines helped to relocate 1500 desert tort

We give up.

(Year Zero/Day Sixty-Two)