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Mike 03

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Modesto California
Home country: United States
Current location: Arizona
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2008, 05:14 PM
Number of posts: 16,616

Journal Archives

I think congress and law enforcement will see them

and that the most important things in them will come to light as evidence of criminality emerges.

Most of us will need forensic accountants to fully understand the meaning of what is in those tens or hundreds of thousands of pages anyway. Just dumping them on the internet wouldn't be all that helpful. Even getting the taxes only opens the door to having to locate offshore/overseas/bogus accounts and run down suspicious transactions. Who is on the other end of those transactions? It will probably be a long process, way beyond simply getting our hands on his taxes.

The NYT did a very good job of pointing Americans in the general direction of where the suspicious activity lies. And before that, there were a number of good books like the one on Deutsche Bank (Dark Towers), and a couple of years before that Craig Unger's book House of Trump, House of Putin.

EDIT: I forgot to mention David Cay Johnson. He's shown remarkable tenacity in examining, to every extent possible, what might be gleaned from Trump's taxes.

Increasingly, the organizations trying to destroy us from the inside have

various forms of support from counterparts foreign countries (including from very high up, as is the case with Viktor Orban and Putin) and, regardless of whether these groups are racist or Christian nationalists, the list of nations supporting them often has the same suspects:

Hungary
Russia
Georgia
Ukraine (often Russian Ukrainians, though)
Poland
Now, Portugal is mentioned in this article.

This fatal connection with international backers is something discussed in both Sarah Posner's book Unholy and also touched upon in Katherine Stewart's book The Power Worshippers, and they also explain the toxic overlap between the Christian Nationalists and the White Supremacists--who disagree on particulars but find common ground with the idea of rejecting Democracy in favor of a nation where everyone looks and worships as they do.

Does the U.S. have mechanisms in place to prevent Trump from emulating this Putin tactic?

It's an old scheme that Putin began using when he worked in the office of the Mayor of St. Petersburg in the early 90s. You allocate an enormous sum of government money for products that would seem to benefit the people of your country but never actually arrive, and the money vanishes into offshore or foreign accounts. Or, you arrange to have a lot of that money skimmed off the top and deposited in an overseas or otherwise secret accounts. The products do arrive, but they have been wildly overpaid-for:

On 28 June 1991, he became head of the Committee for External Relations of the Mayor's Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments[54] and registering business ventures. Within a year, Putin was investigated by the city legislative council led by Marina Salye. It was concluded that he had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived.[55][33] Despite the investigators' recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996.[56][57] From 1994 to 1996, he held several other political and governmental positions in Saint Petersburg.[58]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin#1990%E2%80%931996:_Saint_Petersburg_administration

More recently:

Special Report: Billion-dollar medical project helped fund 'Putin's palace'

But a Reuters investigation has found that two wealthy associates of Putin engaged in the same profiteering and suffered no penalty.

They sold medical equipment for at least $195 million to Russia and sent a total of $84 million in proceeds to Swiss bank accounts, according to bank records reviewed by Reuters. The records also indicate that at least 35 million euros ($48 million) from those accounts were funneled to a company that then helped construct a luxury property near the Black Sea known as “Putin’s palace” - a nickname earned after a businessman alleged that the estate was built for Putin. The Russian leader has denied any connection to the property.

These findings are part of a Reuters investigation into how associates of the Kremlin profit from state contracts in the Putin era. This and a later article examine what became of the president’s grand hospital undertaking. Another story, drawing on a confidential database of Russian bank records, will explore billions of dollars in spending on state railway contracts.


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-capitalism-health-special-repo/special-report-billion-dollar-medical-project-helped-fund-putins-palace-idINBREA4K0D220140521

This tactic is also discussed in the new bombshell video report "Putin's Palace: The $ Billion Dollar GRIFT - narrated by Alexei Navalny" now viewed by more than 60 million people.



There is a lot of suspected corruption in the dealings over COVID-19 supplies, including the now well-known overpayment for ventilators:

House Democrats find administration overspent for ventilators by as much as $500 million

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/house-democrats-find-administration-overspent-ventilators-much-500-million-n1235252

And a fascinating report by the Brookings Institute:

Addressing the other COVID crisis: Corruption

he need for oversight of Trump administration coronavirus spending has reached an inflection point.[1] Over the past few weeks, there have been reports that 27 clients of Trump-connected lobbyists have received up to $10.5 billion of that spending;[2] that beneficiaries have also included multiple entities linked to the family of Jared Kushner and other Trump associates and political allies;[3] that up to $273 million was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to Trump’s election efforts;[4] that unnecessary blanket ethics waivers have been applied to potential administration conflicts of interest;[5] and that many other transactions meriting further investigation have occurred.[6]

All this comes in a climate of Trump administration hostility to oversight. During negotiations on the CARES Act, the president claimed that he personally would “be the oversight.”[7] He backed up that assertion with a signing statement after passage of the CARES Act stating that he would not treat some of the inspector general reporting requirements as mandatory.[8] The Treasury Department followed his lead by initially refusing to disclose the recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.[9] They only relented in the face of crushing public and congressional pressure, resulting in a bevy of startling disclosures that call out for oversight.[10]


https://www.brookings.edu/research/addressing-the-other-covid-crisis-corruption/

But, like many of you, I worry this is only the tip of the iceberg. We also had a series of expensive and rushed arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.



Do we have mechanisms in place that would prevent Trump from using financial transactions to sequester large amounts of money in offseas or sheltered accounts in foreign countries? Is this something we will be able to investigate in great depth now that we control both houses and the presidency?

The Night Stalker is back in the news.

Apparently, Netflix is running a well-reviewed series/documentary about the serial killer Richard Ramirez (the "Night Stalker" ) who terrorized Los Angeles in 1984/5. Earlier this year HLN also unveiled a two-part, two-hour documentary on the same.

Did any DUers live in Los Angeles around this time, or perhaps live in other areas but follow these crimes? Or have any of you watched this new Netflix program? I'd be interested to see your views.

I was a junior in college living near downtown Los Angeles during this period, and during the summers I lived on the second floor of a a light-colored fraternity house with unlocked doors (and briefly no front door at all) that had proximate access to both the 110 and Santa Monica Freeways. I was running at 4 A.M. without a care in the world, and blissfully unaware we had a active serial killer rampaging through Los Angeles until the very end of August 1985 when I heard on the radio of a huge commotion in East Los Angeles leading to the capture of Richard Ramirez.

Looking back at Ramirez, the most interesting thing to me is that he was somewhat different than a lot of serial killers in that he had no victim preference and vague objectives. His only concerns were: Can I find a house that I can make entry into? Is it light-colored enough that I can see what I'm doing as I scale the exterior in the dark? (Thus, he showed preference for white and yellow colored homes). Is the house close to a freeway so I can quickly escape? He seemed to like to enter the second storey of dwellings. Although he did sexually assault many of his victims, that was not a primary consideration. Age was irrelevant, as he killed the very young and the elderly. Gender was irrelevant. He didn't seek out homes in wealthy areas; so, although he stole, seeking items of value was not a priority for him either. Maybe he sought to dominate whatever environment he entered, and part of the appeal of entering blindly is he never knew who or what he would encounter? I'll leave that speculation to the forensic psychiatrists.

Interestingly, I don't know if Ramirez was ever seriously, intensely interviewed by experts who study serial killers the way others have been. His crime scenes were in some ways so different that I wonder if experts would say he had a signature, like other SKs. The signature is some act committed during the crime that answers the question: What need is the murderer gratifying by committing this crime? Ramirez left gratfitti pentagrams at some crime scenes, and that is a "calling card" but not a signature.

Here is some background on the case, and a review of the Netflix series:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Ramirez

Summary:

Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez (/rəˈmɪərɛz/; February 29, 1960 – June 7, 2013), known as Richard Ramirez, was an American serial killer, serial rapist, kidnapper, pedophile, and burglar. His highly publicized home invasion crime spree terrorized the residents of the Greater Los Angeles area and later the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area from June 1984 until August 1985. Prior to his capture, Ramirez was dubbed the "Night Stalker" by the news media.[1]

He used a wide variety of weapons, including handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron, and a hammer. Ramirez, who claimed to be a Satanist, never expressed any remorse for his crimes.[1] The judge who upheld Ramirez's nineteen death sentences remarked that his deeds exhibited "cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding".[2] Ramirez was convicted in 1989 of thirteen counts of murder, five attempted murders, eleven sexual assaults, and fourteen burglaries[3] and died of complications from B-cell lymphoma while awaiting execution on California's death row.



Early Life:

As a 12-year-old, Richard—or "Richie", as he was known to his family—was strongly influenced by his older cousin, Miguel ("Mike" ) Ramirez,[7] a decorated Green Beret combat veteran who often boasted of his gruesome exploits and abuses during the Vietnam War. He shared Polaroid photos of his victims, including Vietnamese women he had raped.[8] In some of the photos, Mike posed with the severed head of a woman he had abused.[9] Ramirez, who had begun smoking marijuana at the age of 10, bonded with Mike over joints and gory war stories.[10] Mike taught his young cousin some of his military skills, such as killing with stealth.[11] Around this time, Ramirez began to seek escape from his father's violent temper by sleeping in a local cemetery.[11]

Ramirez was present on May 4, 1973, when his cousin Mike fatally shot his wife, Jessie, in the face with a .38 caliber revolver during a domestic argument.[12] After the shooting, Ramirez became sullen and withdrawn from his family and peers. Later that year, he moved in with his older sister, Ruth, and her husband, Roberto, an obsessive "peeping Tom" who took Richie along on his nocturnal exploits.[13] Ramirez also began using LSD and cultivated an interest in Satanism.[14] Mike was found not guilty of Jessie's murder by reason of insanity and was released in 1977, after four years of incarceration at the Texas State Mental Hospital. His influence over Ramirez continued.[15][16]

The adolescent Ramirez began to meld his burgeoning sexual fantasies with violence, including forced bondage and rape.[17] While still in school, he took a job at a local Holiday Inn, where he used his passkey to rob sleeping patrons.[18] His employment ended abruptly after Ramirez attempted to rape a woman in her hotel room, before her husband returned to find them.[19] Although the husband beat Ramirez senseless at the scene, criminal charges were dropped when the couple, who lived out of state, declined to return to testify against him.[20]


Netflix Series Review:

‘Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer’ is controversially immersive

“Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” tells the stories of prolific serial killer Richard Ramirez, nicknamed the “Night Stalker,” The narrative follows Gil Carrillo, an up-and-coming detective who led the investigation of the series of crimes we now know were the work of the Night Stalker.

Adopting the perspective of detective Carrillo was an interesting and necessary decision for telling this macabre story. The choice lets viewers approach the events clinically, interpreting disparate facts and attempting to form patterns that aren’t immediately apparent. As the number of victims increases and their stories are told, the audience empathizes with the victims and searches for clues to seek justice for them. Carrillo’s storytelling is aided by the accounts of victims who survived, fellow law enforcement agents and reporters who covered the cases. It’s also notable that, while most true crime tales tend to highlight police incompetence, “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” paints detective Carrillo and his partner Frank Salerno as highly skilled investigators searching for answers.

Ultimately, the combination of storytelling devices forms a cohesive and nuanced picture of how unprecedented violence can affect a community and, perhaps even harder to watch, how there are phantom traces of humanity within reckless, unthinkable cruelty.


https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/%E2%80%98night-stalker-hunt-serial-killer%E2%80%99-controversially-immersive

I take polite exception to the implication of this sentence:

The series highlights how, despite Los Angeles’s economic success and cultural prevalence, the mirage of peace was rattled by an underbelly of crime unseen before.


There was no "mirage of peace" in Los Angeles. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, Los Angeles (and California generally), had been a haven for serial killers for over a decade when the Night Stalker began to make headlines. Only a few years before, Los Angeles had been terrorized by two overlapping serial killer teams you possibly have heard of: The Hillside Stranglers, and Lawrence Bittaker and his demented partner Roy Norris. I wonder if people had almost become a little bit blase about it. By 1984, just in California alone, there had been numerous active serial killers:

The Zodiac
The Hillside Stranglers (Los Angeles)
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris (Los Angeles)
William Bonin (Los Angeles)
Randy Kraft (Los Angeles)

Leonard Lake and Charles Ng
Ed Kemper
Santa Rosa Hitchhiker murders

And that's just a few of the ones that made headlines. I wonder if people were beginning to realize this was an emerging phenomenon that we might have to accept as an ongoing development in our society. By 1984 the idea of an active serial killer was not a novelty. And Southern California had seen its fair share.



They both talked big but feared face-to-face conflict.

Both relied on intermediaries to carry out some of their crimes.

It's a decent point. Of course Trump had actual power and Manson's power was, like David Koresh's, so contingent upon the agreement of his followers that he was their leader--something that can change abruptly.

Evolved thinking about Manson looks at whether his cult was entering a crisis period where Manson feared an emerging dominance contest with Tex Watson, with Manson upping the ante by ordering first the Tate murders and then the Labianca murders. In doing so he jumped the shark, because he wasn't actually willing to kill anybody, and was maybe hoping Tex Watson would get in trouble. I haven't done the research myself but have seen newer analysis by F.B.I. behavioral experts.

Highly recommended.

This documentary is a stunning and inspiring act of resistance, by a heroic figure whose current condition and future should be of great concern to us.

I watched it yesterday and plan on watching it again today. Sometimes, the amount of information divulged in the narration is overwhelming, though it is often accompanied by organizational charts. Still, it is a lot to digest. There is some help from Wikipedia on this, especially the chart under the "Financing" section:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putin%27s_Palace

Here is a compilation of images from the "Residence at Cape Idokopas."

https://www.google.com/search?q=Residence+at+Cape+Idokopas&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj32-ziv6_uAhXbPH0KHeqABtwQ_AUoAnoECAsQBA&biw=1164&bih=796

It's taught me a lot too.

But that dawning realization about how stupid or hateful or susceptible "others" are usually goes hand in hand with the recognition that we've been naive about the actual state of our world.

The Christian far right will accept Pence back, but the good news is he will

never be president and likely won't run.

He's idolized by the Christian Nationalists and they won't break with Pence over what's transpired these last weeks. In fact, the Christian far right is fully aware that it sold its soul to support Trump in the first place. That marriage was always tenuous, forced and rocky. They might go back to supporting Ted Cruz or someone else more sincerely devoted to their cause.

Over the last few weeks we've seen those headlines suggesting the RW Christians are trying to estrange themselves from the Trump debacle: "Christian Evangelicals in a moment of soul-searching..."

And now for the soul-searching:

And yet, as we in the media reckon with our role in the present catastrophe, Fox often gets left out of the story. You can see why. Dog bites man is never news. Fox’s vitriol and distortions are simply viewed as part of the landscape now. The cable channel has been a Republican propaganda outlet for decades, and under President Trump’s thumb for years. So while the mainstream media loves to beat itself up — it’s a way, sometimes, of inflating our own importance — we have mostly sought less obvious angles in this winter’s self-examination. The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan concluded last week that the mainstream press is “flawed and stuck for too long in outdated conventions,” but “has managed to do its job.” MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan said the media had “failed” by normalizing Trump.


Will they remember the lessons learned when the next Trump emerges?

Masha Gessen has some important thoughts about media culpability in her book Surviving Autocracy.

More than anything, this is what enraged Trump about Comey

In the letter to Comey, Trump emphasized Comey's repeated assurances that the president was not a focus of the FBI investigation. That changed, though, when Trump fired Comey, prompting Mueller's appointment and launching a new line of inquiry into whether Trump was trying to obstruct a federal investigation.


He could never get Comey to make that statement publicly.

Then he fired Comey and brought the investigation he most feared into existence.
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