Tuesday, October 2, 2018

JFK Predicted His Own Demise 55 Years Ago Today

It was October 2, 1963, and a remarkable story, written by Richard Starnes, appeared in the Washington Daily News. It claimed that the CIA was working diligently to undermine JFK’s Vietnam policies and that his own Ambassador to Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, was complicit in this subterfuge. Frustrated by South Vietnamese President Diem’s inability to unite his people in resistance to the aggression of the communist North, Kennedy hesitantly agreed to the CIA’s call for a regime change. But he did not sanction the assassination of Diem. On November 1, 1963, the CIA, in a plot concocted by Lucien Conein, murdered Diem in spite of JFK’s wishes. Furious at the CIA’s unwarranted actions, Kennedy vented to Starnes. In that interview, JFK tried to warn the American people that the CIA was out of control and capable of anything, including the murdering its own President.

From pages 170-171 of my book JFK and the End of America:

Together Conein and Lodge, perhaps knowing that JFK’s days were numbered, defied the President and gave the go-ahead to kill Diem. The South Vietnamese generals, having been informed that Kennedy was going to pull out of Vietnam entirely by 1965, saw the regime change as their only chance to win the war against the North before America left.101 On November 1, just hours before the coup, Lodge lied to Diem by telling him there was nothing to worry about.102 Later that day Diem was assassinated. When JFK received the news he was, according to Arthur Schlesinger, “somber and shaken”; he knew the CIA, through their emissaries Lodge and Conein, had arranged the murder against his wishes. As he had done after the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy told intimates that he needed “to do something about those bastards; they should be stripped of their exorbitant power.”103

In his own way, Kennedy was aware of the storm that was coming. He was, in all likelihood, the source for incendiary quotes about the CIA which appeared in major East Coast newspapers in the early fall of 1963; his intent was probably to alert an oblivious public to the dangers the CIA posed to American democracy. Scripps-Howard reporter Richard Starnes wrote an article for the Washington Daily News which ran on October 2 under the headline, “Arrogant CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam.” In it, Starnes quotes a high U.S. official [President Kennedy] saying that “if the United States ever experiences a Seven Days in May (a reference to a popular early 1960s fictional book detailing the overthrow of a U.S. president), it will come from the CIA and not the Pentagon.”104 The following day Arthur Krock wrote a sort of corollary piece which ran in the New York Times and was less harsh on the CIA. Still, Krock quoted “a very high American official [Kennedy]” who compared the CIA’s growth to a “malignancy…[and] was not sure even the White House could control…any longer.”105

Less than a month later, Conein pulled off the CIA-connected murder of Diem. Just three weeks after that, Conein was, quite possibly, in Dallas to witness the demise of the CIA’s public enemy number one. On 11/22/63 he (or his identical twin) was photographed with a self-serving smirk on his face as JFK’s limo passes. Kennedy is looking straight ahead and does not notice the Conein lookalike staring directly at him. Less than a minute after this photo was taken, the fatal shots rang out. If Conein played a part in the execution, it was the second time in less than a month that he helped topple a head of state. As Neil Sheehan wrote in A Bright Shining Lie, “[Conein] had accomplished the act that is one of the highest professional aspirations for a [secret agent]—setting up a successful coup d’etat.”106


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fox News Does Its Best to Ignore Trump's Cronies Being Found Guilty of 16 Felonies

On a day when Trump's campaign manager was found guilty on eight felony counts and his personal lawyer pleaded guilty to eight felony counts, I couldn't resist turning on Fox News to see what the propaganda arm of the administration was saying about the walls closing in on Donny Douchebag. How could FNC ignore this one? Well, Tucker (Joseph Goebbels) Carlson did his best. For most of the show Goebbelson aired the Money Launderer-in-Chief's wildly erratic and self-promoting speech in Coal Country where truth (about coal and criminals) is a dirty word. Then we were treated to a lengthy segment on the murder of a white Iowa girl which has been blamed on an illegal Hispanic immigrant--a bone to the drooling Troglodytes who have to be kept in the Dark Ages for Donny Bone Spurs to survive.

Any fading semblance of journalistic integrity attached to FNC should be abandoned after Goebbelson's disgraceful show. Does he really think that by ignoring the obvious criminal implications for his Fuhrer will somehow make it all blow over? For Chrissakes, Cohen even stood up in court, under oath, and announced to the world that his boss directed him to make the felonious payoffs to porn stars. In a normal world that would suffice for impeachment proceedings to immediately commence. But not in this Putin-Limbaugh-Giuliani-Hannity-Carlson-Graham-Nunes dystopian nightmare where up is down, the earth is flat, and truth isn't truth.

No, desperate to change the topic, Goebbelson exploited the grief of an Iowa family. Never mind that since the launch of Fox News not one case of a white man killing someone in Iowa has ever aired. Hundreds of Caucasians, wielding guns they should not have had, but for, in part, FNC's coddling of the firearms lobby, have murdered unlucky citizens from Dubuque to Mason City without Goebbelson ever expressing his righteous indignation. But let one illegal Latino be accused of taking a life in the lilly-white Heartland, and Tucker's rage turns his face Donny-orange, his beady eyes narrow with ire, and spittle flies from his vile mouth.

Meanwhile, Cohen and Manafort are going to the Big House and, before they do, might come forward to divulge all of Donny Dumbshit's dirty secrets. The day that happens I'll turn on the Fourth Reich's favorite network to see what Goebbelson's airing. Maybe a replay of Hillary's Benghazi testimony to Congress? Or perhaps another good, old-fashioned hillbilly/Nuremberg rally like the one in West Virginia last night.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

National Security Expert Calls Trump Putin's Slave; Says Trump is Being Blackmailed by the Russians

National Security expert, and ex-Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, says Donald Trump is being blackmailed by Russian intelligence and has become Vladimir's Putin's slave. Peters made the claims during an interview with MSNBC's Ari Melber. A partial transcript of the interview is reprinted here:

"I worked against the Russians for many years," admitted Peters, "and I think I know them pretty well. In my view, I am convinced that Donald Trump is a slave of Vladimir Putin."

Peters, who once worked as a commentator on Fox News, explained, "Trump is obviously afraid of Putin. Putin is the only person he will never criticize. [In Helsinki] the world was treated to the spectacle of an American president groveling to the new czar of Russia. The worst part, though, isn't what happened before our eyes. It was terrible, an act of treason, siding with Putin against his own government, his own intelligence agencies. But what worries me far more is what damage might have been done, and probably was done, behind closed doors. Trump went into that one-on-one session with Putin utterly unprepared. He doesn't know the background; he doesn't read his notes. Putin, even without blackmailing Trump, could run circles around him."

"I do believe the salient points [including Trump's sexual perversions] of the infamous dossier are true. I believe Trump is subject to blackmail. Certainly financially...he's got four bankruptcies and a lot of murky business dealings. And that would have been the initial thing that attracted the Russians.

"The Russians give us (American citizens) more credit than we deserve sometimes. They would never have dreamed ten years ago that we would have elected Trump president. Rather, they would have been attracted to him because of his media role and influence, and the chance to launder money through his real-estate deals. They didn't get serious about actively supporting Trump until he started winning primaries. And then they did go all in.

"The Russians try to get you two ways if they can. From what we know of Donald Trump's character, can we believe that he [would turn down] two gorgeous Russian hookers? This is a man who is a perfect target for Russian intelligence. He has a sense of sexual entitlement, no self-restraint whatsoever, and he's got those tangled financial deals. And everything Trump did in Russia [with the hookers] was recorded.

"Trump has been, and actively is, betraying his country."

There you have it, America, from someone who would know. Your president is a pervert and a money launderer who is being blackmailed by the Russians. Donald the Narcissist is nothing more than Putin's slave. MAGA.


Monday, July 16, 2018

The Russians Colluded Not Just With Trump, But With the Entire GOP

A Russian spy named Maria Butina, who has been arrested and charged with espionage in an attempt to sabotage American democracy, established a secure back-channel for Republican Senators and House members to coordinate their campaigns with high Russian officials.

In an affidavit filed by Kevin Helson, an FBI Special Agent, Butina is accused of filtering millions of Russian dollars through the NRA to GOP (Government of Putin) candidates in the U.S. Congress in an effort to defeat their Democratic opponents. Helson’s affidavit states that Butina was successful in “securing a very private line of communication between the Kremlin and [Republican] party leaders through…the [National Rifle Association].”

Once established, the back channel, presumably, provided a means by which Republican congressional leaders could have privately strategized for ways to win the 2016 U.S. elections–through social media propaganda, through the use of Russian bots and memes to deceive American voters, and through targeted media-ad buys with the money provided by Russian donors. This was the very blueprint that the Trump campaign used to win the White House. It is now apparent that Russians were bent on gaining control of Congress as well as the White House.

The NRA’s acceptance of Butina as an active member of the pro-gun organization is now seen as a dubious maneuver. It is possible that the NRA knowingly colluded with Butina to help undermine the integrity of U.S. elections.

To reiterate, it is illegal for any foreign power to sabotage any U.S. election through any means–with money, with propaganda, or through direct communication with candidates or their agents. And any U.S. citizen who aids and abets such efforts is committing treason,a crime that is subject to the death penalty.

This indictment casts a new light on GOP senators’ July 4th visit to the Kremlin. They were reaffirming their loyalty to Putin and Russian oligarchs, and, in essence, tacitly reassuring Moscow that they want to continue their “back-channel” conspiracy to maintain control of the U.S. Congress.

I finally know what MAGA means: it’s a concerted effort to transform the United States of America into the United States of Russia.


Russian Hackers Deleted Registered Democrats in All 50 States, and May Have Changed Vote Totals Too

Russian hackers likely broke into election systems in all 50 states during the 2016 U.S. presidential race, according to the testimony of Michael Daniel, the Obama administration’s former cyber czar, more than double the number previously given by the Department of Homeland Security. The White House cybersecurity coordinator from 2012 to 2017, made the remark while appearing on Capitol Hill during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing involving Russian interference in the race.

“We have received from the Department of Homeland Security inconsistent and varying numbers on the number of states whose systems were scanned by the Russians,” said Sen. Susan Collins. “How likely do you think it is that Russian cyber actors at least scanned all 50 states?”

“I think it is highly likely,” responded Daniel. He added that “there was no reason why they wouldn’t have at least attempted penetration of all 50.”

Daniel's worst suspicions have been confirmed by Robert Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents. Not only did they break into voting systems in key swing states, they probably accessed the election infrastructures of all 50 states and may have even altered vote tallies. It is now a literal fact, Russia stole the election for Trump. And since then, Trump and his congressional GOP (Government of Putin) cronies have conspired to cover up the crime. It is nothing less than high treason, for which Trump, McConnell, Ryan, Jordan, Nunes, Gowdy, and all the other traitorous jackals in our government should be facing the death penalty.

According to the indictment, GRU officers Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev began probing election infrastructure in the United States in June 2016. In July 2016, they allegedly identified a vulnerability and hacked into an unnamed state's board of elections and stole information related to approximately 500,000 voters. They also broke into computers belonging to an unnamed supplier of software for verifying voter registration information for the 2016 elections.

The hackers scrambled to cover their tracks after an FBI alert in August 2016 revealed that the FBI was aware of efforts to compromise election systems. The hackers nonetheless continued to look for vulnerabilities in other parts of the country in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida as late as October of 2016. They broke into the computer systems of at least five Florida county elections offices just days before the 2016 presidential election, according to five county officials who say they received malicious emails described in a leaked intelligence report. Election supervisors in Hillsborough, Pasco, Citrus and Clay counties have confirmed this.

The first attempt targeted VR Systems, a Tallahassee-based vendor that sells voter registration software to all but three of Florida's 67 counties. The second attempt was aimed at 122 election management officials across the country, just days before the election, and was disguised as a routine message from VR Systems. VR Systems' software helps check in voters at the polls and doesn't tabulate ballots. But since the attack could have infected election workers' computers, it is quite possible that vote tallies were altered in Trump's favor.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report says that in at least six states the Russian-affiliated cyber operatives "went beyond scanning and conducted malicious attempts on voting-related websites." In most of those cases, the Russian cyberattackers attempted to use an SQL injection which involves using special characters on a public website to gain access and to either read or manipulate data.

The report says that in "a small number of states," the Russian operatives were in a position to alter or delete voter registration data. And it's a safe bet that it was registered Democrats' who were knocked off the rolls. This alone could have determined the election by dictating who could and could not vote. In North Carolina, for instance, some legitimate voters in blue precinct could not vote because the e-poll registration system asserted that some legitimate voters weren’t registered.

As for changing the vote tallies, the right-wing is desperately trying to convince us the Russians didn't do it. I don't believe them. The GOP has lied to us about everything else, why not this? Hell a delegation of them just got back from the Kremlin where they may have been begging Putin's hackers to rig the midterms for them.

The mainstream argument has now come down to this: despite their motivation to subvert our national elections, Russian leadership might still hesitate to alter vote tallies out for fear of getting caught. My counterargument is this: what would stop Putin from doing this? He knew that after his boy Donald was elected, there would be no retribution from the United States of Russia.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Prominent Psychiatrist Pulls No Punches--Trump Is a Psychopath

Psychiatrist Andrew Spitznas, in a courageous move, has broken from his American Psychiatric Association colleagues and provided a diagnosis of Donald Trump, so that all Americans can be duly warned of what sort of monster occupies the White House. Spitznas's article, simply titled "Donald Trump, Psychopath," appeared in the July 1 edition of Patheos. Significant portions are reprinted below:

Psychopathy has four key components: antisocial personality traits, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, paranoia, and sadism. So let me elaborate on how Trump displays all four of these.

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

Using the gold standard for American practice, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5), a person with ASPD must show compelling evidence of one of the following seven features. Going far beyond that minimum requirement, I’m going to show how Trump displays all seven.

First, a sociopath (the term for someone with ASPD) may engage in unlawful, criminal behavior. Despite Trump’s perseverative tweets of “no collusion” and “witch hunt,” the 20 criminal indictments issued by Mueller against Trump cronies indicate for all but the brainwashed that our president is a crook and traitor. Or look at his real estate dealings, signaling that Russian shell corporations and money laundering have been financing the tacky Trump lifestyle for over a decade. I’d urge you to read Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s essential The Road to Unfreedom, and see if you don’t come away completely convinced that our president is in bed with Putin and his thugocracy.

A sociopath typically lies profusely. Are 3200 falsehoods, by The Washington Post’s last count, enough for you? I’ve made a habit of reading Trump’s tweets daily, and one gets far closer to the truth by adding a “not” to whatever he belches out. Every day is opposite day in Trumplandia.

Impulsivity is another hallmark of the sociopath. Trump lacks coherent policies, as his off-the-cuff remarks take Congressional Republicans and members of his own cabinet by complete surprise. (Remember how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson learned he was out of a job?)

The person with Antisocial Personality Disorder is often irritable and aggressive. Here, we have reliable reports of Trump’s frequent angry outbursts in the White House. The celebrity who bragged of grabbing women by the pussy, and the candidate who urged followers to get violent with protesters, is now the president who posts violent Hillary-themed tweets and engages in phallic nuclear brinksmanship with Kim Jong-un over the size of their buttons.

Speaking of North Korea, Trump’s game-playing in the lead-up to his feckless summit shows another sociopathic symptom, a disregard for the safety of others. The president is also heedless of the consequences of his racist speechifying and its correlation with the rise in hate crimes in our country.

Next, sociopaths commonly exhibit irresponsibility in such areas as work obligations. The businessman with 3500 lawsuits for failing to pay contractors and employees is the president who spends more time watching Fox News sycophants than studying security briefings. One of his rare periods of media silence was the weekend Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, when Trump couldn’t be pulled away from a golf tournament.

Lastly, Trump displays a sociopath’s lack of remorse. Surprise, surprise, the candidate who famously asked Anderson Cooper why he would ever need to repent hasn’t suddenly grown a conscience. No apology ever arrived for saying there were fine people on both sides in Charlottesville. Per his equally nasty spokespeople Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his most offensive statements are just jokes or are willfully misinterpreted by his foes in the “fake news” industry.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

For NPD, we’ll again turn to the DSM-5 to understand Trump’s extreme narcissism. The DSM-5 requires that five of nine criteria must be met to make the diagnosis. I’ll be less exhaustive here than with ASPD, showing how the president meets seven of the criteria.

First, someone with NPD typically has a grandiose sense of self-importance. Evidence for this trait in Trump overflows; let’s just consider how he describes himself as a “very stable genius,” despite an elementary school vocabulary and innumerable typos in his covfefe tweets. Or how about his belief that he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, despite manifestly making the world a less safe place?

Trump is also preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power. How else to explain his admiration for thuggish leaders like Assad and Duterte, or his recent utterance that he’d like to see Americans stand for him as they do for North Korea’s Kim?

The narcissist’s unquenchable desire for unwarranted admiration shone through in the sickening toadying by his cabinet at their televised first gathering. We hear about it in the reports that his advisors highlight flattering news items in his daily briefings. We saw it in the coverage of his whirlwind visit to Puerto Rico last October, when he asked the island’s congressional representative to repeat some of her flattery to him, so all of the media present could hear it again.

Trump’s sense of entitlement comes through in his hate speech against the mainstream media (“the enemy of the people”), which has the gall to write truthful, negative things about his conduct and its consequences. And how about his outrage towards James Comey, who wouldn’t promise him undiluted loyalty? Our “law and order” president thinks he should be able to pardon himself (not that he’s broken any laws, mind you).

His interpersonal exploitation and lack of empathy are seen in the fact that everyone, including his children, only matter to him as a means to his own betterment, not for any intrinsic worth they have as human beings. Lastly, his envy crystallizes in his fixation on Obama and his hatred of Justin Trudeau, knowing that he will never possess their substantive charisma or earn the affection of good citizens as these two leaders have.

Paranoia and Sadism

After antisocial personality traits and a diagnosis of NPD, the third defining component of the psychopath is paranoia. We observed this early in Trump’s presidency, with his conviction that the popular vote was fraudulently stolen from him, and his assertion that President Obama had wiretapped his NYC residence. It continues with his unilateral initiation of a trade war with allies like Canada and Germany, framed by his assertion that these countries are laughing at us. His choice of media sources also speaks volumes; no investigative journalism for him, but rather the deluded conspiracies of the National Enquirer and Info Wars.

The fourth trait of sadism can fairly be said to define Trump and his presidency. The celebrity who body-shamed Rosie O’Donnell and former beauty pageant contestants, whose catchphrase was a demeaning “you’re fired,” has unsurprisingly carried his misconduct into the Oval Office.

His abusive name-calling (Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary, Crying Chuck Schumer, Liddle Bob Corker, Crazy Mika) shows an immature cruelty that would be unacceptable on a kids’ playground. The continued chants of “lock her up,” egged on by him at his rallies, are unfit for a democracy.

Here again, his admiration of Rodrigo Duterte (and his extrajudicial killings) and Bashar al-Assad (turning his country into a vast killing field) reveals the murderous potential of Trump. His loathsome policy of separating immigrant children from their parents is trauma on a massive scale, which only a man devoid of empathy and reveling in psychological torment could enact.

Why Precise Labels Matter

Hopefully, my gathering of the evidence has convinced you that our president is unquestionably a psychopath, a malignant narcissist. My data presentation is hardly exhaustive, so I’m quite sure my readers can come up with many other examples of Trump’s statements and misconduct that could further bolster my case.

It’s now fair to ask why naming our president a psychopath matters, and I can come up with three key reasons. First, in an age of rampant lies, we need to be wholly honest. In the immediate shock of Trump’s election, it was enough to vaguely posit that our new president was dangerous and make a long list of his concerning traits. But now that we’ve had more time to collect our thoughts and far more data, mental health professionals have a public obligation to use our training and knowledge to speak out with clarity.

This frankness will allow all of us to comprehend what we’re dealing with, to understand our societal prognosis, if you will. Knowing that our psychopathic president is in the august company of Muammar Gaddafi, Joseph Stalin, and serial killers, we can dispense with the fantasy that the Oval Office will somehow make him behave presidentially.

Instead, we can accept the truth that the key to managing a psychopath is containment and damage minimization. This is why the mid-term elections are so important, and why the continued protest and light-shining on this administration’s vile policies remain necessary.

Accepting that Trump is a psychopath will also buttress our own mental health. As I wrote last week, it is exhausting and traumatizing to live under the rule of a psychopath. However, just as there is power in a therapist helping a client to realize that her husband is abusive – and to overtly deploy the word abuse – I think there is something paradoxically empowering in acknowledging our current national predicament.

Possible Objections or Drawbacks

Reviewing the potential objections to truthfully labeling Trump a psychopath should further underscore why taking this step is so important. Hopefully, no one with even a dollop of integrity and critical thought is still dragging out the lazy argument that diagnosing Trump stigmatizes everyone who suffers from mental illness. Let’s all say it together again in unison: Trump’s psychopathy is not a stand-in for all mental illness, and those who struggle with a psychiatric disorder run the same gamut of virtue and villainy as those fortunate enough to be free of mental illness.

Some will contend that making public pronouncements about the mental health of public figures violates the “Goldwater Rule,” formulated in 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Rather than rehash this debate, I will refer readers to my previous columns that tackled this in detail. Even better, you may want to peruse Friday’s editorial in Psychology Today, penned by my brave colleague, Bandy X. Lee, M.D., calling upon the APA to modify their antiquated, unscientific gag rule.

Others may argue that it is careless to diagnose a public figure from afar, without interviewing him. However, diagnosing someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, Trump’s DSM-5 diagnosis that should cause the greatest alarm, is seldom done primarily through interviewing the patient. For obvious reasons, sociopaths are not keen to have themselves labeled as such and will misrepresent themselves to the interviewer. The diagnosis therefore is typically, largely made through collateral sources, such as information from concerned family members or legal records. A parallel process is occurring when I confidently assess Trump by way of his speeches, media appearances, and biographical sources.

(By the way, this is in stark contrast to nearly every other psychiatric diagnosis that I’ve encountered in my 24 years as a psychiatrist. On a weekly basis, I have new patients introduce themselves by saying, “I think I’m bipolar.” Much of the time, their self-assessment is correct. Contrarily, only once has a patient told me he thought he was a sociopath, and bless his sensitive soul, he was wrong.)

A greater personal concern to me is that mental health allies may fear I’m going too far in my pronouncement of Trump’s psychopathy, causing our movement to lose respectability. However, time is not on our side here. Doing the math, it took nine years for the APA to issue their 1973 Goldwater Rule, since the triggering offense occurred during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 run for the presidency. In the face of Trump’s ongoing dangerousness, we can’t vitiate our public statements while we await the slim possibility that the APA might see the error of their ways.

By contrast, I’m losing no sleep over alienating Trump’s supporters. Since 90% of Republicans still think Trump is doing a heckuva job – since they flare indignantly when Sarah Huckabee Sanders is refused a meal, but don’t bat an eye at her lies about children in cages – I have no hope of persuading them of any logical, humanistic, data-supported proposition. My biggest hope is that speaking out like this might nudge young and minority voters to turn out for the midterms. With a psychopath in the Oval Office and the current batch of thumb-twiddling enablers in Congress, our best hope for this country’s future is a shift in Congressional control, while using our keyboards and taking to the streets in protest.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Trump's Deep Corruption Extends to High Court: Son of SCOTUS Justice Kennedy Loaned More Than $1 Billion of Laundered Russian Money to Trump

The mainstream media, overwhelmed by so many mass shootings and the immense scope of Trump crony-corruption, has overlooked the real story behind the retirement of SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy claims he just wants to spend more time with his family; the truth is, he might be getting out one step ahead of Robert Mueller's clutches.

It turns out Justice Kennedy has a "special" relationship with Donald Trump. Kennedy's son, as head of Deutsche Bank's global real estate capital department, loaned Trump over $1 billion at a time when no other bank would go near Trump's notoriously fraudulent real estate schemes.

During young Kennedy's tenure, Deutsche Bank became Trump's most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago. According to an analysis by Bloomberg, Trump now owes Deutsche Bank around $300 million. He has four large mortgages, all issued by Deutsche's private bank. The loans are guaranteed against the president's properties, including a new deluxe hotel in Washington DC's old Post Office. But Trump leases the Post Office, meaning he cannot take out a mortgage on it. What he has is a loan that he "personally guaranteed." These shady financial arrangements are indicative of a shell game, possibly as part of a money laundering scam for Russian oligarchs.

Deutsche Bank has long been suspected of financial dirty dealings with Putin and his cronies. In January, the bank was fined $630 million by the U.S. Department of Justice for helping Russian oligarchs launder their money. One common way for crooked banks to launder money is to invest it in fraudulent real estate transactions, like the ones commonly affiliated with Trump hotels. Hotels are erected and space is rented by anonymous parties, but the buildings go unoccupied and the leases are sold for enormous profits in due time. If the government looks the other way, the laundered money comes out clean on the other end. This would explain Trump's overly cordial and complementary disposition towards Putin, and his cozy relationship with a Supreme Court Justice who just happens to retire right before the Mueller investigation reaches its conclusion.

The Trump/Kennedy conversation of February 2017 now takes on more sinister connotations. After his first address to Congress, Trump went out of his way to engage Kennedy:

"Say hello to your boy," Mr. Trump said. "Special guy."

Kennedy responded in kind by thanking Trump for the special treatment that his son was afforded by the Trump family.

Trump isn't the only member of his administration with deep ties to Deutsche Bank. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also has a tangled and seedy relationship to the bank. And Jared Kushner's real estate company finalized a $285 million loan with Deutsche Bank right before the election, which he subsequently failed to disclose.

In May, House Democrats asked Deutsche Bank "to hand over its findings on two politically charged matters — its banking on behalf of Trump and trades from the bank's Moscow operation that helped move some $10 billion out of Russia." They refused, citing client confidentiality.

But now Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena requesting the bank turn over its documents relating to its Trump family transactions. Kennedy's son will certainly be a key figure in those transactions. And his links to Russian oligarchy money laundering will undoubtedly be exposed.

Given this new information, it is illuminating to look back now on Justice Kennedy's recent decisions on controversial cases. He ruled in favor of dark money invading politics, opining that corporations would not necessarily corrupt politicians. He has also ruled in favor of Trump's racist immigration ban, casting the deciding vote in the 5-4 decision. It appears not even the highest court in the land is free of the rotten poison of Trump's vast corruption.

It is fair then to ask: Why is Kennedy really retiring? Was he paid off? What involvement/knowledge does he have concerning Trump's money laundering connections with Russian oligarchs? Is he afraid he will be subpoenaed by Mueller? Did he resign to allow Trump to choose another right-wing lunatic judge while he still can?

What we do know is that Kennedy rode off into the sunset one step ahead of Mueller's posse.