Here is what we know about Paul Whelan and his arrest in Russia.
- A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Whelan was deployed twice to Iraq before he was court-martialed by the Marine Corps in 2008 on charges of attempting to steal more than $10,000 worth of currency and bouncing checks up to $6000, resulting in a discharge for bad conduct.
- Whelan is head of physical and personnel security for BorgWarner, an auto parts manufacturer. Previously worked for Kelly Services.
- Whelan holds passports from four countries: the United States, Britain, Canada, and Ireland.
- He has visited Russia “every six months or so” since 2006.
- He has an account on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook. Most contacts are in the Russian military.
- The American ambassador to Russia has visited him in Lefortovo Prison; Britain and Ireland are seeking consular access.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for an explanation for Mr Whelan’s detention and said his release would be demanded if his detention is found to be inappropriate.
- He is accused of receiving a usb stick containing the names of people at a “classified security agency.” But Russia is known to plant false information.
- Lawyer: Vladimir A. Zherebenkov. He suggested that Whelan might be exchanged for Maria Butina.
- His brother says he is not a spy.
Adam posted a reasonable analysis a couple of days ago. I’ve condensed it, but you can find the full comment at the link.
Whelan was born in Canada and is a naturalized US citizen. Because his family – parents or grandparents – had recent citizenship in Ireland and the UK, he also claimed British and Irish citizenship…It is not too uncommon for people to do this even as it is still not a lot of people in total…
It has now been reported that Whelan has integrity issues…And somehow he developed a Russophilia. This, last bit, by itself, isn’t a major issue. Lots of people become Russophiles…through reading literature, listening to symphonies and operas, viewing art, liking the cuisine, etc. However, most people I know on 12 to 18 month deployments either went home for their mid deployment leaves or went to interesting third countries and paid to bring their spouses and/or families to vacation with them. Going to Russia for two weeks is a bit odd. I will caveat that, however, with the reality that if he had long time social media friends in Russia who had invited him and given that he was a Russophile, this would be a relatively inexpensive way to do a visit as his airfare would be paid and he’s paid while on leave.
What I think happened, however, is that Russian intelligence quickly flagged this guy trying to make contacts on Russian social media/social media used by Russians as he was trying to learn the language and explore the parts of Russian history and culture that interested him. They did a full profile on him – criminal background, work history, social media history, military service, operational psych assessment – and they then quickly took control of some of his social media interactions, encouraged his interests, etc. When he got to Russia a human intelligence specialist made contact. One of two things then happened. They either just presented as a friend and kept cultivating him and keeping a tab on him and encouraging his Russophilia in case they needed him or they specifically presented as from one of the countries that he has citizenship in. And most likely not the US, probably someone from Russian intel claiming to work for British intelligence. And they recruited him that way. Either way, they had their hooks into him and could use him if they needed him when it was convenient for them. Right now Putin has a hostage that four different countries have a stake in. That’s a lot of leverage.
Here’s another theory, not too different from Adam’s.
2. Whelan’s larceny conviction suggests he may have been amenable to earning a quick buck. At a minimum, he was clearly open to approaches by unknown Russians, suggesting a high degree of naïveté about his new Russian “friends.”
— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) January 6, 2019
4. If the FSB wanted to entrap Whelan (either for reasons pre-dating Butina’s arrest or as trade bait), he would have been an ideal target — almost Carter Page-like. And it would have been so easy. All they had to do is ask him deliver a thumb drive to a friend. Boom, trap set.
— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) January 6, 2019
These are reasonable guesses. Unfortunately, everyone I’ve talked to about it, including Adam, says that there is something strange here. I concur. But what is it?
Several knowledgeable people have noted that the United States would not run a spy in Russia withough diplomatic protection, which means being stationed in the US embassy and having a diplomatic passport, neither of which is true of Whelan. The plan for Butina is to deport her in six months, so there is no need for an exchange.
I would ask if Whelan belongs to an evangelical Christian church or is a member of the NRA. Both have been targeted for influence by Russia. Maria Butina is the obvious face of the infiltration of the NRA, but evangelical churches in the US have found common cause with the Russian Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church works closely with the Russian state.
What if Whelan’s Russophilia had its roots in that Russian effort? Perhaps he was trying to act as an emissary of good will toward Russia, or was being cultivated to spread good will toward Russia in America, or perhaps more than that. Such cultivation would have had a net result similar to the scenarios above: Whelan could easily have been duped into becoming a pawn. Or perhaps he volunteered to be her counterpart so that he can be exchanged for her. All this is speculation.
But Whelan’s earnest Russophilia is reminiscent of Carter Page’s. Both Mike Carpenter in the tweet above and Julia Ioffe saw that similarity, along with me.
This account makes Paul Whelan sound more like Carter Page than a LeCarre spy. The weirdness continues. https://t.co/kWbKkxZfuz
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) January 4, 2019
We still don’t know the full story of how Carter Page became one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisors, but the trail goes through Iowa. Amazing how many midwestern Republicans have been swept up in Russophilia.
On the other hand, there have been two more detainments of Russian citizens by the United States, one before Whelan’s arrest and one after. A Russian national, Terada Mira (Oksana Vovk before 2017), was detained at Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport on December 15 at the request of the United States. She is accused of drug trafficking and money laundering while living in the United States in 2013-2016. Whelan was arrested on December 28. Now the Russian Foreign Ministry says the United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko on the Northern Mariana Islands on Dec. 29 and had moved him to Florida.
It’s possible that something larger is going on that we don’t yet see the full extent of.
Thanks to Dan Yurman for supplying some useful links and helpful discussion.
I’m headed out for a bit. Will comment when I get back.
I know it isn’t relevant, but I find that first bullet point pretty distressing.
hells littlest angel
A failed criminal who likes Russian “cuisine.” By all means, let’s bring him home so Trump can nominate him to a cabinet position.
Real name: Mongo.
I’m trying hard to give a fig about this guy, who sounds sketchy as hell and even Manafortish.
O/T, but oops:
A Ghost To Most
All the particulars of this person make me very reticent to assume he is an innocent bystander.
James E Powell
I’m curious how he got to the second bullet point after the first.
Sister Golden Bear
Interesting take on a possible Evangelical-Kremlin connection, although the author admits there’s no known evidence of one (the article circles back to the Russia stuff about halfway through).
But it’s still illustrative of both the evangelicals who are rabid Russia supporters and how Russia might exploit that opening.
@A Ghost To Most:
In total it is a bit much isn’t it?
So unless he’s actually a US intelligence asset or one from a US friendly nation, I’m not sure he’s all that much of a trading pawn. Yes, he’s a US citizen, but he sounds like a pretty loose version.
Why the heck does an auto parts manufacturer need a head of physical and personnel security?
@James E Powell:
Seems almost a requirement for the security industry. //
There’s a lot that we don’t know, but there’s even more that I don’t know. Unknown levels of complexity.
My first impression of Whelan — which has only gotten stronger with every new detail revealed — is that he seems to have a lot in common with a guy I’ve known since we were both in college. Certifiably high IQ (something he is only too happy to share), hardcore libertarian, ‘destined to succeed’ and yet never *quite* living up to his youthful potential. Mostly because he’s got a fatal weakness for Very Clever Ideas that don’t pan out… either he’s just a little too far ahead of the curve, or he loses interest when the latest project goes from ‘Somebody could make a ton of money… ‘ to ‘This is where six months of dedicated effort is required’. Also has spent a lot of time visiting the Russian-adjacent countries since the 1990s, because FREE ENTERPRISE UNLEASHED!!!
What we know about Whelan, so far, is that he’s got a history of attempting & failing to be a ‘sharp operator’, stockpiling passports, getting in over his head on currency flips, talking up his Russophilia. Yup, sounds like just the sort of wannabe ‘master of the universe’ who gets targeted & plucked by more expert operators…
Sister Golden Bear
Also too, to add to Adam’s thoughts about Russophilia, there’s also a segment of misogynist white men who are attracted to Russian (and other former Eastern Bloc) women who they believe to be “properly” submissive and subservient. Might be one reason for the regular visits. Although, in that case I’d think most of his Vkontakte would be women rather than Russian military (presumably) men.
Curious and curiouser….
@James E Powell:
He was a US Marine. Maybe no one asked him why he no longer is one. I am a navy vet and no job has ever asked me about that or any part of my service. And I once had a job where I knew the boss, had worked for him as a contractor and when I applied for full time had to have 3 interviews with other department heads. Not one of them gave a damn about my service, not sure than any of them even knew of it. Usually it’s a line item on your CV, a marker for the years otherwise not accounted for. It would be more if you made a career of the military. I wonder how many police departments actually give a shit about one’s service record?
@James E Powell:
Perhaps because he’s white?
@Sister Golden Bear:
Being raised in a highly misogynistic Evangelical community seems to lead quite a few men to ‘sympathizing’ with the Russian autocrats, religious or otherwise. Like recognizes like; the men in question don’t have to have remained overt believers.
(On the positive side, I also know a couple good guys raised in hardcore ‘traditionalist’ religious communities who end up a Russophiles because they sympathize with the Russians who are similarly eager to escape their upbringing, so there’s that.)
They travel to a lot of places to look at production facilities in far away places? They are the same sort of people who took a job from individual 1 and now have a secure phone room, or travel with protection that they shouldn’t have any need for? Makes them feel special!
There is a cure for russophilia! Ask your doctor.
This Whelan guy is certainly a character. A novelist could have a field day with this stuff.
He started visiting Russia before he went to Iraq and ended up in trouble and dishonorably discharged.
In a novel, the charges could be to give him a disreputable background as cover. Or he would be approached by some official and given a chance to redeem himself.
Either way, it is interesting that he found a way to get a respectable job later.
Anyhow, in the real world, this is a fascinating story. No idea what it all means.
Because they need someone well-educated enough to keep the spreadsheets with all the security guards’ shifts and pay dates. And he settled for an elevated job title when his negotiations for a higher salary was refused.
(I’m biased; many years ago, my dad used to tell people who asked how he ended up as a dockmaster in the NYC Port Authority that ‘They needed someone on the docks with better than third-grade reading comprehension.’)
Thanks for the summary, it is very much appreciated.
If Whelan was, as it appears from this summary, a Russian asset of some type then Putin must have burned him, or at least is is putting him at risk.
@Anne Laurie: He does appear to be a stooge. I’d be disappointed if he happened to be a spy because I’d worry about our talent pool.
@germy: A manufacturing company needs physical security to keep the raw materials from being stolen by employees or other folks looking to make a buck.
To control access to computers that could be compromised, have keyloggers installed, and such.
To keep people working there safe from deranged boyfriends that get aggro.
And so on.
Amazing how often that is it. Ability to do more than elementary school level reading/writing/arithmetic.
hells littlest angel
The Russians will send Whelan back with a message for Trump: “Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?”
@Sister Golden Bear:
I have been exposed to that stereotype. They don’t just think Russian women are submissive. They’re objects. The Mail Order Russian Bride is a pretty blonde stamped out of a machine with no personality or individual details. That’s the idea floating in their heads.
I have an evangelical raised friend who became a Russophile, even switched to Orthodoxy, mainly because he loves the art and language. However, he hates his bigoted evangelical roots and is ‘fuck Russia and the Russian church’ these days because Russia is spreading the same bigotry.
I highly recommend this story on Kent Sorenson, a Tea Party guy in Iowa who became a state senator, was on a path to run for Congress, and ended up in prison. The parts about Ron Paul’s organization’s strength in Iowa were really interesting and worth a look again knowing how close the relationship is between the Paul family and Russia. I would expect there is something there in how so many midwestern Republicans seem to have Russian connections.
Perhaps chosen as a bargaining chip because Trump will recognise so much of himself in an obviously kindred spirit.
Part of Whelan’s history in the Marine Corps suggested he attempted to put himself forward for assorted awards and medals via improper access to his superior’s computer account. This suggests he’s a fantasist, a “Walter” as the British military call them, folks who claim to have been Special Forces, SAS, Commandos etc. They usually have a chest full of medals at veterans parades and talk themselves and their exploits up to their neighbours and others.
It’s possible Whelan was being a dashing secret agent in his own mind (the multiple passports deal is another red flag), planning to come home with a treasure-trove of secret data garnered from his private-enterprise espionage efforts in Russia to much acclaim and congratulations from the US government which would have to retract the court-martial verdict he unjustly received having been proved wrong about him.
It seems like the Russians have been working on infiltrating the right through white supremacy and Christianism, but are too cheap to pay quality people.
Mike in NC
Hard to believe a clown who got booted from the Marines with a BCD would be hired to spy in Russia.
I don’t see how a realistic ‘Russophile’ could be naive about Russian spy mania and the closely related Russian police habit of entraping naive foreigners. At best, there’s some blindness there– so one possibility is that Whelan is suffering from significant delusions. Makes it hard to imagine what he thinks he’s up to.
In any case, Whelan put himself out there– the police had a motive to pick him up, regardless of any actual guilt or innocence.
@Mike in NC: Hard to believe a fat ass draft dodger could be the darling of Nam Vets.
Hmm, turns out that fundamentalism is good indicator of brain damage. But I think we knew that.
@germy: I’ve bought several really crappy sets of ignition wires over the years, so I can understand why some of these manufacturers would need to have a robust security detail.
I hope someone is paying attention to this Whelan guy’s work history with Kelly Services. I don’t know anything about them, but with the hints about human trafficking as one of the potential pits of criminal behavior wafting around, I think examination of the scope of their business re international staffing contracts is in order.
Mike in NC
@RAVEN: Yup. The “Veterans for Trump” signs at his rallies were bizarre. White nationalism is the best explanation.
@Mike in NC: Right wing radio probably has something to do with it. That’s my guess.
My surprise is the ones who say Melania brought back class in the White House. I don’t care what type of career she had previously, but to compare her career to Michelle’s is mind boggling.
Seems just as weasely and corrupt as any other non-10-tooth Trump supporter these days. MAGAs seem to come in two flavors: the “uneducated” who just love Trump because by golly he was so great on The Apprentice, and the cynical and wholly corrupt who see in DT a man exactly like themselves.
@Mike in NC: I just spent some time with a good buddy in New Orleans who is a deep water diver in the oil biz (actually he’s a supervisor now) and he said he’s usually the only liberal on any of the teams. Lot’s of SEALs and other spooky dudes.
Hey, speaking of wanna-be BigSwingingDicks who admire the pluck and determination of young women who’ve succeeded by leveraging their opportunities after the post-Soviet collapse… There’s this NYC businessman who not only made Melania his third wife, he wangled an ‘Einstein visa’ permanent residency for her!
Bad conduct discharge and he’s in charge of security? That’s weird, but it’s an interesting set of hypotheses laid out.
@germy: More importantly, why hire someone convicted of attempted theft as the head of security? That’s industrial-strength stupidity.
We ought to consider a trade of Whelan, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Glen Greenwald for Maria Butina in July, when she was scheduled to go home anyway. Hell, send her in April if they will also turn over their Jill Stein and Bernie files.
By the way, “ou sont les Neigeden d’antan?”
@RepubAnon: Who knows the thief better than the thief?
Actually, his bother said Whelan never told them about his thievery and dishonorable discharge, so I suspect his employer did not know either.
@Immanentize: Even the Russians want nothing to do with Greenwald.
@B.B.A.: But they have a file. I am certain they have a file.
@Immanentize: Not sure what you want with a few hundred pages of “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP” in Russian, but okay.
This sounds fairly plausible to me as a motive on his part. The fact that he was convicted of trying to give himself awards he didn’t deserve doesn’t seem like a great CIA cover for anyone.
I do wonder WTF Huntsman went to visit this mope personally since that seems to be very unusual even for someone who was picked up as a spy. A message through back channels saying, We have your idiot, somebody with authority had better come negotiate?
I dunno, the folks on the Russian side seem to have done pretty well. I think the problem is the lack of quality on the American side of the equation. Low-quality hires, as Kay likes to say.
@B.B.A.: OK, that was excellent and made my Sunday “I’m dreading Monday” alright! Thank you.
P.S. “I said SHUT UP!!!!” Who breaks first; GG? Or the interrogator?
@Mike in NC:
Was most pleased to see guys sporting “Veterans against Trump” tshirts at a Hillary rally.
“Won’t be fooled again.”
What was the line in “Raising Arizona”–“You want to find a donut shop, call a cop. You want to find an outlaw, call an outlaw.”
–Randall Tex Cobb
That’s ’cause the smarter SEALs are doing things other than diving in civilian life. Check out this overachiever that rikyrah posted a link about yesterday: Navy SEAL, Harvard Medical, AND astronaut!
As a friend on Facebook said when I posted that same link, when little Jonny’s kindergarten teacher told him he couldn’t be a SEAL, a doctor, and an astronaut, little Jonny said, “HOLD MY MILK!!!” ?
Can anyone here play quarterback? Asking for a friend who’s a Bears fan.
@trollhattan: Love that movie — Never has bullets in his gun.
@Mnemosyne: That’s just silly.
@patrick II: easy
This stands out. Let Whelan cool his heels on Ivan’s dime for awhile.
Did I mention that he got a summa cum laude with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics? It looks like he’s a GI Bill guy since he went straight into the Navy after high school.
He’s either going to become the youngest president ever or have a nervous breakdown by 40. No middle ground there.
@patrick II: tough defenses meet so-so offenses.
I feel I opposed GW Bush as well as anyone in my sitch could (which was pretty good), but forget for a moment the amazing forever FLOTUS Michelle; Laura Bush taking a back seat in class to Melania is the stuff that really bad romance novels and 10 cent dictatorships are made of. And Hillary always was and still is a very top rate classy person. Even her in ugly unfair defeat has been classy.
@Mnemosyne: I suspect someone that gifted didn’t need the GI Bill, they probably threw scholarships at him.
Among the Cohen bros’ very best and definitely my favorite Nick Cage role. And Holly Hunter. And, and and…
@chris: Also explains the religious lunacy seen at 12-Step meetings.
@Wild Cat: Be kind, really. Religiosity in 12 step programs is just an attempt at trying to replace one external power with another. For some it works which can be a very good result.
@Frankensteinbeck: I don’t get how some Americans change religions like it were fashion in clothes or hair. Like that Rod Dreher person, for example. I was a this then I became a that and then a that.
Ella in New Mexico
The two scenarios that keep popping into my head with this guy:
1. Paul Whalen was acting for the US-but as a confidential informant as opposed to, say, an employed CIA operative.
The crimes he committed to be given a Bad Conduct discharge were embarrassing enough that he never told his own twin brother.Over the years afterwards, he created a new “career” in law enforcement and security, which means he had to hide the facts of his BCD.
What if Whalen and his frequent travel to Russia and his working for companies that do business with Russia got on OUR radar as well as Russia’s? What if like with most ordinary CI’s, he got caught in lies and falsifications that the CIA then held over his head in order to get him to do work for us? “You feed us information and we won’t tell your employers or your family about your messy little military history”. Then Russia needed a human shield for the DOJ/Mueller investigations, knowing we would be unlikely to sacrifice one of our own.
2. Russia compromised Paul Whalen with the exact same information and threats, and now they’re willing to double-cross him because he’s low level Carter Page material in their eyes. Which sounds crazy but might explain why Pompeo appeared caught completely offguard–we may find out later that Paul Whalen, Trumper, is closer to the Trump-team than we might now know. And they’re scared.
So then why won’t she just shut up and go away? Huh? Can’t answer that can you libtard?
(I am so tired of pwning the libs. I blame World of Warcraft.)
@Immanentize: That comment causes me to say that I know, high school boys love to google and look at her pictures. f..kem.
I’ve been teasing my friends who write Navy SEAL romances (yes, that’s an actual subgenre) and telling them that they’ve obviously been thinking too small when it comes to their books’ heroes. ?
@trollhattan: Oh how I longed for Holly Hunter. Which I admit is kinda on the short side of desire objects. I once got into an actual argument with a woman I was dating because I mentioned I was very attracted to Veronica Lake — who had sadly already died more than ten years before the argument. So, I kept my Holly Hunter thoughts to myself. Although, no joke, I had a dermatologist who looked exactly like her! I was eager for her to cut off suspicious moles.
@Mnemosyne: I don’t know about all that hero shit but the dudes can swim.
@Immanentize: Did you like Kim in LA Confidential?
@trollhattan: PS My wife hated Nick Cage with some internal cold fusion — except for Raising Arizona and Moonstruck. It was the hand scene….
@JPL: My air force vet friend called her genius because she speaks 5 languages. Whatever. I speak 3 languages well and his wife speaks 4. I don’t think that makes me or her a genius. I was just exposed to many languages when I was growing up, that’s all.
@Sister Golden Bear: Everyone should read the linked article and the sources it links to.
The New Apostolic Reformation is a disturbing group. The blog talk2action had a great deal of information on it. (I think the blog is now inactive, but its reports may still be up on the internet.)
IIRC they had several articles about the NAR’s ties to Sarah Palin.
I believe the blog was among several who were trying to get the M$M to investigate dominionist forces working toward political power. Any mention of dominionism was simply dismissed as fringe.
Hopefully after 80+% of white Evangelicals pushed Trump into the WH NO ONE IS DISMISSING THE DANGEROUS POTENTIAL OF EVANGELICAL IDEAS!
@Immanentize: yeah, but if you’re going to put someone in charge of your SECURITY operations wouldn’t you want to make sure he was honest, trustworthy, and not a thief?
Seems like a kinda important qualification…
Isn’t that the proof of anti-classiness? I mean, I was NOT looking for pics of Audrey Hepburn when I was in High School!
OK, maybe college….
@Wild Cat: Is that why you don’t go?
(I’ve mentioned here that I’ve been to a lot of meetings. As an atheist.)
@sukabi: Of course I would! But many people see “VET” on a resume and look no further. We got burned kinda badly at my University once on this issue.
TS (the original)
Class – white – for all MAGA people.
@raven: I feel that you are being rather unfair in testing my obvious and stated preferences!
But for the record, “yes, why yes, I did.”
@Sister Golden Bear: There used to be several dating links at nearly every site I visited. Nearly all had pictures of 20 something Russian, Ukrainean, other Eastern European women who were ‘interested.’
@schrodingers_cat: My grandfather was a Czech refuge and spoke five languages. He was amazing, smart, and a violent alcoholic. Not really a genius.
@Immanentize: “I used to be strung out on drugs, now I’m strung out on the lord”
Not much progress really.
@schrodingers_cat: 5 languages my ass. Be Best.
@raven: That film is a keeper. Classy noir, Veronica Lake indeed.
Makes me think of Mike Ermentraut in Better Call Saul
@Achrachno: The lord is certainly less tough on every system in the body than alcohol or drugs. But in the mind? Pretty similar grip. But a healthy(ier) body is nothing to sniff at.
@BruceFromOhio: Them Aussie’s ain’t bad either!
@Chip Daniels: @Chip Daniels: People say we is twins.
@sukabi: Perhaps, English is not one of the 5.
West of the Rockies
OT, but too weird not to share (I hope no one has already posted on this)…
Koehler is offering a smart toilet. It comes with full Amazon Alexa support, ambient mood lighting, And speakers(?!?). It offers a “fully immersive experience”.
Most people trace the outline of their desired behavior, then shop around for a religion, or scripture that supports that.
@raven: aye we did get a nice intro to a dashing young Mr Crowe. Basinger’s award for Best Supporting Actress was well-deserved.
@Chip Daniels: To me, religion is something one is born into. Since I am borderline atheist, to me its more about culture, the stories you have in common etc.
@Mnemosyne: A major sub-genre—right up there with cops/sheriffs/Marines/cowboys.
And then there’re the vampire/shapeshifter sub-genres
@raven: @BruceFromOhio: I also will see your Kim B. and raise you one Veronica L., the original
A Ghost To Most
@Immanentize: Those people prefer to be lied to. In fact, they insist on it.
All religion is bullshit.
And Guy Pearce too!
@schrodingers_cat: Have talked to people who are in awe of any one who can speak more than 1 language. They usually don’t realize the fact that most Europeans speak at least 2 languages. Most more. They have no conception of how close the different countries are.
@debbie: Memento! With Trinity!
@A Ghost To Most: And all change is loss.
J R in WV
…@West of the Rockies:
OMFG!!! No way, no smart device is going to help me in the toilet dept.!!!
Just not gonna happen!
Yep! Also Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which had the added bonus of Terrance Stamp.
@West of the Rockies: Just say no
@debbie: A cock in a frock on a rock!
I keep trying to watch the most recent episode of Madam Secretary, but I just can’t watch more than a few minutes. The mom and her daughter cross into the US, thinking they are finally safe and they are picked up by some border control that says they will help them, they are taken to the station and the officers say they are going to take the little girl to get food and water.
We, of course, know that’s a lie because the Episode is called Family Separation: Part 1 and we know exactly what is going to happen. Part II is tonight. I feel that if a high profile network show is brave enough to touch this topic that I should at least watch it.
That this is happening to real people is so heartbreaking. It’s disgusting and our government is doing this in our name. I hate feeling helpless.
@Immanentize: A good rule: Deal with your addictions in the order in which they will kill you.
@Achrachno: Yes. This. Many of them just trade one addiction for another – from drugs/alcohol to Jeebus. An addictive personality is inherited – you have to learn to live with it – it never goes away …
@J R in WV:
Apparently, some Japanese toilets are so complicated, that you have to study the instructions before you can use them properly.
When a monarch uses a toilet, is that a royal flush?
@Brachiator: Maybe you just say Alexa , Alexa I can’t give a shit.
@J R in WV: sometimes shit … just happens.
Whelen seems like the blue collar version of Carter Page. A little bit weird and “off” in some way and perhaps a wannabe. But also bumbling enough to not be any kind of sophisticated operative.
Anyone around here old enough to remember Eugene Hasenfus? who got shot down by the Contras in 1986? Another former marine who was “linked” to the CIA but not an actual agent. He was actually running guns for the Contras. I think there are a lot of these former military types who poke around the edges of covert ops and are usually just harmless drunks telling tales in expat dive bars around the world. But sometimes get crosswise with actual events and are useful idiots for the government when they want deniability.
Not saying that is the case here. But it just “feels” like it.
@chris: that is a great summary of my adult life to date.
@debbie: so great. Love that flick.
And, of course, “To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar “
@raven: why is Julie Newmar always listed as a lingerie developer? Wikipedia joke or reality?
@Immanentize: Beats me. GO BEARS!
@raven: Oy. I never put that together, but you are!
@Immanentize: Julia Chalene Newmeyer was born on August 16, 1933 in Los Angeles, California, the eldest of three children. Her father, Don, was a one-time professional football player (LA Buccaneers, 1926), her mother, Helen Jesmer, was a star of the Follies of 1920, who later became a fashion designer under the professional name of “Chalene”. From an early age, Julie studied piano, dance and classical ballet. She graduated from high school at the age of 15, and spent a year touring Europe with her mother and brother. She became prima ballerina for the Los Angeles Opera. She attended UCLA studying classical piano, philosophy and French.
Newmar went to New York and tried out for Broadway musicals; in 1955, she made her Broadway debut as the ballerina in “Silk Stockings”. Julie won acclaim for her role as Stupefyin’ Jones in “Li’l Abner”. Though audiences and critics alike were stupefied by her good looks, that was not the compliment Julie wanted.
60 Minutes has on el-Sisi after the government asked not to air the interview. Trump tweeted his praise of el-Sisi today and Pompeo is going to give a speech in support of him in a few days.
@raven: and so long Iggles. It was a nice championship while it lasted.
@Immanentize: This shit is far from over.
Speaking 5 languages is a lot different to being fluent in 5 languages.
Being able to order coffee in five languages is not the same as being able to discuss Wittgenstein of a cup of coffee in those same languages.
There should also be an investigation into how Melania managed to get an EB-1 visa while Trump’s girlfriend. Trump has often told us the US visa process is corrupt, apparently he knows exactly how corrupt it is.
@Immanentize: Let’s not be too hasty now…
@raven: @dr. bloor:
Can a boy not hope?
@Immanentize: I want the Eagles, but I also wanted the Ravens, Seahawks and Texans.
OT, but Winona Ryder is great in Age of Innocence.
Hasenfaus was a CIA contract pilot for Southern Air Transport, a CIA front company like Air America or Evergreen Airlines.
Alexa, Alexa Holy Shit.
@JPL: you want the Eagles over Da Bears?? What kind of Democrat are you?
@Immanentize: Look at my comment at 134.. I’m a democrat.
so I switched channels to watch the el-sisi interview and I don’t understand why Trump and team would come out and praise him today. I also don’t understand why every team I wanted in the wild card games have lost so far. Maybe the Eagles can change that.. Comment interrupted by oh fuck.
the mutt just left the room to go to bed because he is not fond of the language.
@JPL: no doubt about it. The Texans?
I may have to care about them again next year with the Immp in Houston. Wah!
@Immanentize: I’m a New England fan at heart and I thought they’d be easier to beat. The only team I hate is the Cowboys.
el Sisi’s a military dictator. So of course the Orange Bloat will slobber all over him.
I’m one out of four. This is why I don’t bet though.
@JPL: my father loved the Giants and the Cowboys. But that was the ’80s. Cowboy hatred is on my menu every week. Dolphins too. I need Snoop to explain fully
@hells littlest angel:
who the fuck likes russian cuisine? it’s like liking british food.
I loved Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Age of Innocence,” but Ryder did not quite work for me.
But I note that Ryder won a Golden Globes Award for Best Supporting Actress and was also nominated for an Oscar.
BTW, I probably won’t watch the Golden Globes, but will check later to see who won. I thought that this was an excellent year for movies.
Among my favorites: The Favourite, Black Panther, Widows, Incredibles 2, If Beale Street Could Talk, and the recent animated Spider Man movie.
@chopper: with more little bones
Britain has wonderful food, especially London. French restaurants, Chinese restaurants, Italian restaurants, Caribbean food…
I love Russian cuisine (broadly construed — what Russians eat, although a lot of it is not of Russian origin). Pelmeni, pirozhki, shchi, borshch, vinegret, etc., etc., etc. — delicious!
@Immanentize: I also like the cowboys in the eighties when we lived in Dallas. Jerry Jones is an ass.
Yes, along with Daniel Day Lewis. Did you ever see My Beautiful Laundrette? He was great in that too.
That’s what I thought the first few times I saw it, but I just watched her last scene with DDL, and I thought she was superb.
No, I haven’t. And I’ve never seen Unbearable Lightness of Being — is it any good? I just watched a great clip from it, of the 1968 invasion with a Czech version of “Hey Jude” in the background.
@Immanentize: Also when I was in junior high, I thought Y.A. Tittle was pretty special, but you have to remember the Patriots didn’t have much of a team to cheer for then.
A Ghost To Most
Never kick the ball when the other team calls timeout!
Yes, I also liked that very much.
Even though it’s not my favorite of Kundera’s novels, it’s an excellent film. Definitely worth watching. Also has one of the great insights into why we love our pets so much.
@Brachiator: I love British food. They got a bad rap from GIs in WWII when they had no food and cooked whatever was available badly.
When they have the usual ingredients their food is wonderful ( unless you require insanely spicy.)
@raven: ugh. Me and my big jinxing mouth
@MomSense: I love Kundera. Even though his first, everything about “The Joke” still sticks in my brain. I love that book.
Chris Ladd, a former Republican operative sounds just like the rest of us. Bob has been one of my favorite former Republican/conservative voices. Although I must say at times he does pearl clutch.
@Immanentize: At least in NYC there are 12 steps meeting that cater to nonbelievers.
@Viva BrisVegas: I don’t consider being able to order coffee as speaking a language. Speaking as in being fluent enough to carry a conversation,. not just exchanging pleasantries
Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho
@Mike in NC: Impossible even. @RAVEN: Nearly impossible, but it seems it happened rarely at least.
There is a russian restaurant in Portland and the food is awesome! I’ll hit any russian restaurant. I dont’ think it’s any better or worse than polish food which I like most of the time.
Where’s Mnemosyne? Good Place humor alert!
Joke explained here:
Good one! LOL
Loves me some Kundera, too. More cerebral than most a what I usually enjoy, but there’s sumpin bout the way he weaves philosophical yearnings and inquiry with earthy characterization that I finds esp. poignant. My fave: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
Yes, we of course know that now. But at the time when it was first being reported there was a lot of denial and obsfucation on the part of the government. The Sandanistas had him and the US government at first denied any knowledge of him. This was the timeline: http://articles.latimes.com/1986-12-18/news/mn-4103_1_eugene-hasenfus I’m not saying that this guy is at all the same. But it is sort of a familiar pattern for former military types to be “affiliated” with special ops and the CIA without actually being direct CIA employees. With Whalen who knows. But given his history there is some plausibility. I have a hard time believing that the Russians would snatch someone up who didn’t at least have some connection to CIA ops whether real or wannabe imagined. There are probably enough real operatives messing around in Russia that they don’t really need to make one up out of thin air.
My rule of traveling in countries I don’t speak the language of was to learn 3 words in the native language, if nothing else. Hello, please and thank you.
I never ever failed to find someone who was more than willing to speak to me in english as long as I did that. I’ve studied French, Russian, Spanish and learned pretty much nothing, I think because I’m dyslexic, especially with words and spelling.
@Kent: my favorite fellow like this has always been Raymond Davis. He was driving a CIA van when some Pakistani intelligence officers tried to stop him. So he killed them.
Much hair pulling ensued. But Davis got back to the USA after we paid a couple of million in blood money (literally) only for him to fall utterly apart in Colorado.
@A Ghost To Most:
Icing the kicker never works. Until it does. Wowzers.
@A Ghost To Most: That poor guy is done. As are the Bears.
@J R in WV: Seconded. Nextthing you know you’ve got your ass being broadcast on the internet.
My favorite, too.
It really is a great book.
@dnfree: Hopefully, because they’d have to hire a security guard if he returned.
@Ruckus: My list would be “thank you”, “where is the bathroom”, “stop that at once”, and “take me to the US consulate”.
If you learn the first two and act like a human being, you don’t need your second and third. Besides just saying US consulate is pretty well understood most places and is usually ignored in any event, if you are talking to the police. And if you aren’t, it won’t get you shit.
I commend your discriminating taste and laud your uncommon Momsense.
Read alla Kundera (what was then extant) as a fumbling youth by ’92, then found myself somewhat unexpectedly in Czech Republic (‘mong other places) in ’93. Added immeasurably to the sperience.
@chris: Don’t take other people’s inventories . . .
@Ken: Three words to learn in Japanese, if you ever visit there — “Gomen” = “I’m sorry”, “Sumimasen” = “Excuse me”, and “Wakarimasen” = “I don’t understand”. Conveniently “toilet” is Anglicised as “toiru”.
Historically, the CIA has used well regarded ex-Military folks for Logistics and “Black Ops”. Well regarded. Ex-Green Berets, SEALs, Delta for “Black Ops”, Air Force, Navy, Marine pilots for logistics.
Right now, CIA “Black Op’s” staffing is huge.
A Cashiered ex-Marine Clerk with delusions of grandeur, working as a Property Loss Manager for Borg – Warner, is not “meat” for being a CIA “spy”. As it was pointed out, the various Russian Agencies would have “flagged” him from Day 1.
#2, Walter Mitty Complex
#3, some “private” MAGA/Trumpist reach around to the Russians.
The Dutch SIS hacked into the IRI security cams and computer cameras and mikes in real time, and working with other Western Intelligence Agencies identified the 17 GRU Officers running the Op.
Hasenfus was a decorated Marine Pilot, qualified on everything from a Cessna, to a Globemaster, who worked for Air America in Asia, ( Thailand, Vietnam, Camodia, Laos), who was also qualified as a Load Master. He was well qualified for “smuggling” Op’s across the Nicaraguan border into hostile air space. What he was though, was not supposed to have a parachute or files onboard.
@Immanentize: “ou sont les Neigeden d’antan?”
Where *are* the Snowdens of yesteryear?
“ou sont les Neigeden d’antan?”
Apart from my abject ignorance of the poem itself, many literary allusions I were (also) completely unaware of (tho had allus wondered, but never investigated, Heller’s reference). Thanks for that.
The Pale Scot
Sorry, don’t believe it. The paradox would rip the universe apart. Unless your dad was running a Paradox Machine powered by a TARDIS. Or there must of been two of them, like that Star Trek episode. A courageous Giant fan and a dastardly Cowpie fan :D