Canary in the Coal mine and Felix Sater

Kurt Vonnegut compared creative types to the canaries British coal miners used to carry into the mines to detect odorless poison gases like carbon monoxide.    When the tiny-lunged bird keeled over in his cage the miners knew it was time to get out of there.   (This practice was apparently stopped in 1986 when electronic sniffers replaced the wee birds).  Vonnegut meant by this comparison that those who fret and worry about communicating to others are often more prone than the rest to succumbing to the invisible deadly gases that are looming to kill everyone.

In an age when the kind of straightforward information in the paragraph above can be found by anyone with internet access and a few seconds to spare, why do we have so much plainly bogus news?   How can lies be fed to us so consistently, so brazenly, with no consequence for the liars?   We are busy living lives of quiet, increasingly hectic desperation in a dangerous world on the brink of massive catastrophe.   WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WASTE!  Time is MONEY! Wasting money is a sin.   (As our over 500 billionaires know so well).

It is quaint, I know, to find history fascinating, as I do.   It all flashes by so fast, after all, it’s hard to take note of it.   Did you know, for example, that there is a twenty year-old Supreme Court case, Clinton v. Jones, holding that there is no bar to suing a sitting president in federal court for acts done before he was president?    You could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say.   [1]

I knew that Clinton’s lies under oath in that case (about sexual relations with a former intern called as a witness by Paula Jones’ attorneys, though she didn’t meet Clinton until years after the president exposed himself to Jones) were the basis for his impeachment.  I remembered (and heard again recently on a Showtime documentary) that the case was dismissed, suggesting then Arkansas governor Clinton did not show his dick to Ms. Jones.   I don’t ever recall hearing that Bill Clinton paid former employee Paula Jones more than $850,000 to end the sexual harassment lawsuit, suggesting strongly that he did something very wrong.  [2]

I don’t know why the intricacies of this world are so intriguing to me, but they are.   I had a friend who attends services and Bible study at the Chabad of Port Washington.   In 2010 and 2014 Port Washington Chabad’s Man of the Year was a wealthy Jew named Felix Sater.   Sater lost his broker’s license after slashing a guy’s face and breaking his jaw in a bar.   He spent a relatively short time in a minimum security prison for the felony assault.   A few years later he pleaded guilty to fraud in a couple of massive financial scams, and gave evidence against his co-conspirators to stay out of prison (and keep his fortune).  

Since he was barred from finance he got into another lucrative line of work, real estate development, and was partners with our current president in at least two massive development deals.  He was the money man for Trump SoHo and the liaison with Russian officials for the planned Trump Tower Moscow.  I’ve been wondering about this nefarious little fucker for about two years, since I first heard of him.  Congress is going to talk to him next week.  He will be under oath, too.

It is so easy to get the outline of the facts these days, but SO MANY FACTS!  [3]

The president is a liar, he can’t help himself.  He’s apparently always been this way.   Everybody knows it.  His defenders say that he never promised not to lie, so there’s that.  Plus, his lies are always in the service of making the country great again.  Plus, he frankly calls “bullshit” on people who call him a liar.  Plus, there’s no law against lying, unless you lie under oath.  If the president ever lied under oath, like the disgraced Bill Clinton, we don’t have the proof of that, and, anyway, if he got away with it doesn’t it just show how smart he is?  He’s not like other people.   He is the president of the United States and the richest, most successful man in the world!

If he paid off a couple of women he had extra-marital sex with to dummy up about it in the final days of his presidential campaign, whose business is that?  Many Americans wouldn’t have voted for him if those stories came out, if he didn’t pay off these women.   He basically had to pay them to shut up or he would have lost the presidential election, because Americans are so judgmental about this kind of thing.   Felony, shmelony!   USA!   USA!!!!

Have we ever had a compulsive liar as president? That would take some digging to know for sure, but I don’t think we ever did.  There have been several total shitbird presidents, without a doubt, but our current guy seems to be setting a prodigious record for lying.  And, most impressively, he’s doing it in an era of almost instant fact checking that can show the lies in real time.   His defenders will point out that he has never been convicted for lying, so shut up, nothing to see here.

It’s morning in America, boys and girls, and history is being written in the blood of those who hate our freedom, their innocent neighbors and a million fucking canaries.    The stories we read about it, so many of them, cunning and deadly as that gas that so often fills my own beak.

 

[1] Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case establishing that a sitting President of the United States has no immunity from civil lawlitigation, in federal court, against him or her, for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office.[1] In particular, there is no temporary immunity, so it is not required to delay all federal cases until the President leaves office.[1]

[2]   Wikipedia:

As a consequence of his conduct in the Jones v. Clinton civil suit and before the federal grand jury, President Clinton incurred significant administrative sanctions. The Independent Counsel considered seven non-criminal alternative sanctions that were imposed in making his decision to decline prosecution: (1) President Clinton’s admission of providing false testimony that was knowingly misleading, evasive, and prejudicial to the administration of justice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas; (2) his acknowledgement that his conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Arkansas Supreme Court; (3) the five-year suspension of his license to practice law and $25,000 fine imposed on him by the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas; (4) the civil contempt penalty of more than $90,000 imposed on President Clinton by the federal court for violating its orders; (5) the payment of more than $850,000 in settlement to Paula Jones; (6) the express finding by the federal court that President Clinton had engaged in contemptuous conduct; and (7) the substantial public condemnation of President Clinton arising from his impeachment.   source

[3]    Wikipedia:

Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky; Russian:Фе́ликс Миха́йлович Шеферовский; March 2, 1966) is a Russian-American former mobster, convicted felon, [6] real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC,[7] a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City.  Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization,[8] Rixos Hotels and Resorts, Sembol Construction,Potok (formerly the Mirax Group), and TxOil.

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia,[9][10] and became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors, assisting with organized crime investigations. In 2017, Sater agreed to cooperate with investigators into international money laundering schemes.[11]

During the 2015-16 American presidential campaign, Sater worked with Michael Cohen, former attorney for The Trump Organization, to broker a deal to build aTrump Tower Moscow, asserting to Cohen that he could boost Trump’s election prospects through his Russian contacts. He is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on March 14, 2019.[12]

(and a few details:)  

Felix Sater has been described as a career criminal due to his links to organized crime.[30][31][32][33][34] In 1991, Sater got into an argument with a commodities broker at the El Rio Grande restaurant and bar in Midtown Manhattan. He stabbed the man’s cheek and neck with the stem of a cocktail glass, breaking his jaw, lacerating his face, and severing nerves, creating a wound that would require 110 stitches to treat. Sater was convicted of first degree assault, and spent 15 months in minimum security Edgecombe Correctional Facility in New York City before being paroled.[35][4][23] 

In 1998, Sater was convicted of fraud in connection to a $40 million penny stock pump and dump scheme conducted by the Russian Mafia[9][10]involving his company White Rock Partners. In return for a guilty plea, Sater agreed to assist the FBI and federal prosecutors as an informant in organized crime.

In 2009, he was sentenced to pay a $25,000 fine and served no prison time. As a result of his assistance, Sater’s court records were sealed for 10 years by Loretta Lynch, then the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch’s decision to seal his records was discussed at her 2015 Congressional confirmation hearings to become attorney general; she stated that Sater provided “information crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra.”[36][37][38][39]

The Financial Times, citing five sources with knowledge of the matter, reported that Sater had agreed to cooperate with investigators looking into an international money laundering scheme involving Viktor Khrapunov, a former government minister in Kazakhstan. Khrapunov, who now lives in Switzerland, has been accused by the Kazakhstani government of embezzling millions of dollars and is wanted by Interpol.[11]

Sater received multiple subpoenas to produce documents and be deposed in the case against Mukhtar Ablyazov who is alleged to have defrauded BTA Bank of up to $5 billion as chairman.[40] Ablyazov’s alleged fraud is one of the biggest cases of financial fraud in history.[41]

Involvement with Trump Organization during presidential campaign   [edit]

The Trump Organization pursued a luxury hotel and condominium project in Moscow—dubbed the Trump Tower Moscow—during the Trump presidential campaign. This project was facilitated by Michael Cohen, then an attorney for the Trump Organization, and from January 2017 to May 2018 Trump’s personal attorney. Trump signed a nonbinding “letter of intent” dated October 13, 2015, to proceed with the project.[42] The letter, also signed by Russian investor Andrei Rozov, was forwarded to Cohen by Sater. He boasted to Cohen about his connections to Vladimir Putin, saying in an email to Cohen on November 13, 2015, “Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this. I will manage this process.” He also asserted that he had secured financing for the project through the Russian state-owned VTB Bank, which was under sanctions by the United States government.[43]BuzzFeed News reported on March 12, 2018, that Mueller’s investigators had questioned Sater,[44] and on April 13, 2018, reported that a former Russian spy had helped secure financing for the project.[45] In 2010, Sater was provided business cards describing himself as “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump” with an email address at TrumpOrg.com.[46] In a 2013 sworn affidavit, Trump said “If [Sater] were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like,”[47] and in 2015 he stated “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not that familiar with him.”[48] Sater is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on March 14, 2019.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Sater resides in Port Washington, New York. He has three daughters.[50][51] Felix Sater was a member of the Chabad of Port Washington and was named their Man of the Year in 2010 and 2014.[52][53] In November 2017, Sater put his home inSands Point, New York on the market for $2.5 million.[54] The home sold in February 2019 for $2.03 million.[55]

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