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Neoliberalism

 The ideology that dare not speak it's name is actually a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Version 6.3

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on organized labor Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Globalization of Financial Flows
Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura Neoliberalism and Christianity Key Myths of Neoliberalism Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Anti-globalization movement
Zombie state of neoliberalism and coming collapse of neoliberalism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism  Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Definitions of neoliberalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocons New American Militarism Casino Capitalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism War is Racket Inverted Totalitarism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Neoliberal corruption Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries   Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization
Alternatives to Neo-liberalism Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions  Key Myths of Neoliberalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Gangster Capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump The Deep State Predator state Disaster capitalism Harvard Mafia Small government smoke screen Super Capitalism as Imperialism
The Great Transformation Monetarism fiasco Neoliberalism and Christianity Republican Economic Policy  In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few YouTube on neoliberalism History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

- New York Times

Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans

The Kremlin Stooge

Greatly simplifying Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"  It is a neo-Trotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"  in famous  slogan  "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" and permanent "Color revolutions" as a variation and enhancement of Trotsky idea of  "Permanent revolution"

Neoliberalism is a very interesting social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR by buying out Soviet nomenklatura, including KGB brass). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention.  In this system, like under Stalin's version of socialism, the state play the leading role in enforcing the social system upon the people, brainwashing them with wall-to-wall 24 x 7 USSR-style propaganda an, if necessary, by state violence (As Sheldon Wolin mentioned neoliberalism try  to use violence selectively, as overuse of state violence undermines the social system, see  Inverted Totalitarism).

Instead of regulating predatory tendencies  of capitalism like under New Deal, state became just a corrupt policeman that serve large corporations and against the people. In this sense any neoliberal country is to certain extent is an "occupied country" and the neoliberal regime is occupying regime, much like Bolsheviks (with their theocratic state) were in USSR space. Much like during Robber barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21.

The neoliberal state justifies its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms. To the level of a secular religion in which "market" and "competition" are new deities.

Neoliberalism radically transforms welfare state. The idea of welfare is not abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up.

In labor relations  neoliberal pursue a staunch anti-unit stance. Labor is atomized, unions suppressed and individuals put on the market "naked" on conditions dictated by employees. Which means squeezing goo paying job in favor of terms and contractors, outsourcing and other anti--labor measure designed to preserve falling profitability in the market condition characterized by falling consumer demand (due to lower standard of living for the majority of population). And this is done at any cost. Even at the cost of human life. That situation gave rise to the term "naked capitalism". 

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. that gave a rise of verious (often stupid) metrics and cult of "performance reviews". It redefines citizens as consumers, who exercise they political power mainly buying and selling, the process which supposedly rewards merit (producing market winners) and punishes inefficiency. It postulates a primitive (and wrong)  dogma that “the market” always delivers benefits that are superior and could never be achieved by planning. Which is definitely untrue for military contractors. In a way "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of  "all powerful deity". Which makes neoliberalism a variation of a secular religion (compare with "God building" faction of Bolsheviks Party which included such prominent figures as Lynacharsky). As such neoliberalism, like Marxism before, is very hostile to Christianity. And while Marxism absolutize the power of human compassion and redefines paradise as a social system that supposedly can be built on Earth (communism), neoliberalism denigrates the power of human compassion and enforces "greed is good" and "homo homini lupus est" morale. Which turns into law of jungle for lower and middle class. In this sense it is more like a branch of Satanism, with greed as a virtue ("Greed is good"), speculation as a noble activity (while according to Chris Hedges "Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged." )  and the slogan "Homo homini lupus est" as one of the key Commandments.  See Neoliberalism and Christianity

This social system can be viewed as dialectical denial of socialism and represents the other extreme in classic triad "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". We do not know yet what the synthesis will be like, but neoliberalism as a social system after 2008 shows definite cracks. Much like the USSR after the WWII when people serving in Red Army discovered what the standard of living was in Central and Western European workers and start to understand that "state socialism" as practiced in the USSR can't deliver promise high standard of living.

And that helped decimated communist propaganda once and for all, although Bolshevism as a social system still was around for another 40 years or so. Like Bolshevism before it, neoliberalism proved to be unstable social system. A utopian system which is unable to deliver promised benefits to the common people, and which destabilizes capitalism in comparison with  New Deal capitalism, producing periodic crisis with increasing severity. The first of such crisis was "savings and loans" crisis, followed by dot com bubble burst, and the financial  crisis in 2008 which led to the Great Recession. 

In 2008 the large banks, which are the core of neoliberal economics, were saved from facing consequences of their  "transgressions" only by massive state intervention. All powerful market was unable to save those sick puppies. The consequences of 2008 crisis did buried neoliberal ideology which from this point looks like cruel and primitive hypocrisy designed to restore the power of financial oligarchy to the level the latter enjoyed in 1930th.   In 2016 it led to the election of Trump who managed to defeat establishment candidate, neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton despite all the efforts of the neoliberal/neocon establishment to derail him.  Trump pursues the version of neoliberalism which can be called "bastard neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism limited to the USA with implicit  rejection of globalization (or at least large part of it).  Which makes Trump_vs_deep_state somewhat similar to Stalinism. Unlike Trotsky Stalin did not believed in the "World  Revolution" mantra.

In the absence of alternatives neoliberalism managed somewhat recover after 2008 debacle, and even successfully counterattacked in some LA and European countries (Argentina, Brazil, Greece),  but the Great Recession still left of huge and ugly scar on the neoliberal face. In any case glory days of triumphal march of neoliberalism all over globe are over.

Also the lowering of the standard of living of the  middle class is no longer possible to hide ("it 's not enough cookies for everbody"). Outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing in the  USA -- the citadel of neoliberalism led to epidemic of opiod abuse similar to epidemic of alcoholism among workers in the late USSR.

Impoverishment of lower 20% of the society (those who have so called McJobs) reached the level when we can talk about a third world country within the USA.

All those factors created pre-conditions for a sharp rise of far right nationalism.  In a way neoliberalism creates far right  nationalism splash much like  Gilded Age and the maker crash of Sept 4, 1929 capitalism created precondition for the rise of national socialism. Reading NDSAP 25 points program (adopted in 1920) we can instaltly feel that many problem that exited then are now replayed on the new level.  After approximately 40 years of global dominance is shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became strong enough to provide upsets, albeit temporary, which demonstrated itself in Brexit, and election of Trump. Who, despite his election-time claims to be a fighter against neoliberal globalization, for restoration of local jobs, and against the wars for expanding neoliberal empire, folded in two-or three months  after the inauguration.  

Like Soviet version of Communism before it,  Neoliberalism failed to meet its promises of rising standard of living  (and the key idea of justifying of raising of inequality and redistribution of wealth up under neoliberalism was "rising water lifts all boats" mantra, or as Kenneth Galbraith famously defined it  “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” ). We can stress again, that the current opiod epidemics in the USA is not that different from epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR under Brezhnev's "well developed socialism".  It is important to understand that under neoliberalism the key priority is the maintenance of global neoliberal empire for the benefits of multinationals (with the associated idea of Global Neoliberal Revolution  which makes is similar to Trotskyism).  Opening new markets is vital for the interest of transnational corporations and that means that the USA government supports the war for neoliberal empire explosion at the expense of interests of regular US citizens. Outsourcing and atomization of the US workforce (squeezing unions) means that neoliberal government has an  adversarial attitude towards its common citizenry. They are, by definition, the second class citizens (Undermensch or as Hillary Clinton elegantly coined it "basket of deplorables" ) .  While neoliberal themselves ("creative class") are new Ubermench and like old aristocracy are above the law.  So the idea Implemented in Soviet nomenklatura is now replayed on a new level.

As it evolved with time, neoliberalism is a somewhat  fuzzy concept ( much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism and then to Brezhnev's socialism  ). In various countries it can morph into quite different "regimes", despite the common "market fundamentalism" core.  The simplest and pretty precise way to define is is to view it as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich" ("Elites of all countries unite !"  instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...).  So Stalins's idea of socialism in a single country mutated into "socialism for the upper strata of population and corporations, especially transnationals".

In this sense neoliberals are as "internationalists" as communists were at their time, and may be even more. Thhe term "globalism" is commonly used instead of "internationalism".  And like "Communist International", the  "Neoliberal International" accepts the elite from any country, but only a very narrow strata of the elite and only on a certain conditions, with the leading role reserved for the USA elite and part of G7 elite.  Much like in Comintern the role of Moscow as a leader was something that can't be even discussed.  Only taken for granted.  Although spying capabilities of "Neoliberal International" via "five eyes" are tremendously more powerful then the rudimentary capabilities of Comintern and the technology of staging "color revolutions" is more polished then Trotskyite approach to staging proletarian revolutions.

Neoliberals also have more money and that matters.  The allow to create a powerful "fifth column" in countries other  then G7 who are on the receiving end of neoliberal expropriation of wealth to the top countries of Neoliberal International.  Like in Comintern, "all pigs are created equal, but some pigs are more equal then others."

The key idea of obtaining power by training the cadre of "professional revolutionaries" introduced by social-democratic parties and, especially, Bolsheviks  are replaced with no less effective the network of neoliberal think tanks. In other words neoliberalism borrowed and perverted almost all major ideas of social-democratic parties. The party core typical for Bolsheviks, and instrumental to the success of their coup d'état in October 1917 against Provisional government by Kerensky was essentially replaced by the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored. Monte Perelin society (the initial neoliberal think tank)  explicitly tried to adapt successful idea of western social democratic parties and Bolsheviks to neoliberal doctrine. One such "appropriations" is the level of secrecy and existence of "underground" part of the party along with "legal" parliamentary faction (a set of honorable (in a sense, what hey such politicians for example in the USA congress (honorable politician is the one who after he was bought stays bought) politicians are just a tip of the iceberg), . Some important work was also done by renegade Trotskyites in the USA (aka neoconservatives, especially by James Burnham as well as staunch neoliberals like James Buchanan (The Guardian)

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”. Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”... Gradually they would build a [well-paid] “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

It also created it's own Neoliberal newspeak  and a set of myths ("greed is good", "invisible hand", "the efficient markets hypothesis", "rational expectations scam", Shareholder value scam, supply side voodoo aka "rising tide lifts all boats", etc).  In "neoliberal newspeak" the term "freedom" is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich.  For example "free market" means the market free from any coercion by the state (read "free from regulations") which makes it the corporate jungle where the most powerful corporation dictate the rules of the game and eat alive small fish with complete impunity.  In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair.  Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and  enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed

It facilitates over-consumption and getting into the debt both on the country (neo-colonialism)  and on the individual workers (debt-slavery) levels, and has sophisticated mechanisms  of  enforcing this situation on unsuspecting population (IMF, World banks on the level of the countries), credit card companies, mortgages, student debt on individual level. And a worker with a large debt is, essentially,  a debt-slave. Atomization (neoliberalism is openly and forcefully anti-union) and enslavement of the workforce is exactly what neoliberalism is about: recreation of the plantation economy on a new technological and social levels. Not that unions are without problems in their own right, but crushing the union is the goal of every neoliberal government starting with Thatcher and Reagan. The same model that is depicted in famous song  Sixteen Tons. With replacement  of the company store debt and private corporate currencies with credit card debt. 

Like Trotskyism it is pretty militaristic creed and the dream of global Communist empire led from Moscow was replaced by the dream of global neoliberal empire led by Washington.  Neocons in this sense is just a specific flavor of neoliberals --" neoliberals with the gun" as in Al Capone maxim "You Can Get Much Further with a Kind Word and a Gun than with a Kind Word Alone" ;-). This "institualized gangsterism" of the US neocons represents probably the greatest threat to the survival of modern civilization.  

Neoliberalism elevates of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms. The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of neoliberal economics (and economists). When this authority collapses the eventual collapse of neoliberalism is imminent. This is a classic "the castle built of sand story. "

Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page --  Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2017 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Jun 22, 2018] Mexico Readies for Revolt Against Neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Michael J. Ard is a former deputy national intelligence officer for the Western Hemisphere and the author of ..."
"... ." He teaches international relations at Rice University's Master of Global Affairs program. ..."
Jun 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Like a Dos Equis ad, Mexico is "keeping it interesante ." On July 1, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the veteran left-wing politician known as AMLO, will likely win Mexico's presidential election , to the horror of policy analysts, U.S. government officials, and the Mexican business community. As head of the upstart National Regeneration Movement (MORENA, the Spanish acronym, also means "dark skin"), AMLO pledges to make Mexico self-sufficient on food, halt foreign investment in the oil industry, and grant amnesty to drug traffickers. AMLO hates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- although he's promised to stay in it for now -- and "the Wall" even more.

Washington's days of having a predictable and compliant partner in Mexico may be over.

This election is likely to radically transform Mexican politics. MORENA is surging in the polls and may give AMLO a strong legislative bloc. Nationalist-minded legislators from other parties could also defect to his agenda. That would cause a major Mexican political realignment, under which for the next six years it could be governed by a self-described "revolutionary nationalist" ruling coalition. It makes sense: Mexico's neoliberal era had to end sooner or later. AMLO's longtime critique of an unfair economy and a complacent and unresponsive political system has finally resonated.

What accounts for this sudden turnaround? Several factors have aligned in AMLO's favor. Start with AMLO's opponents, who, in a time of change, represent continuity, splitting the neoliberal vote in Mexico's "winner-take-all" system. The conservative National Action Party (PAN), his strongest competitor, diluted its solid brand by running in coalition with two leftist parties. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) selected a well-qualified former finance minister who is out of his depth as a campaigner. That's left the once-powerful PRI mailing this campaign in, and AMLO siphoning up its traditional voters.

A Destitute Mexico: Is That What We Want? Why We Want Immigrants Who Add Value

Insecurity and corruption, according to polls , are the top issues for Mexican voters, and on these AMLO scores well. Especially on managing corruption and crime, Mexico's political elite have appeared notoriously inept. The former head of the state oil company PEMEX, a close ally of President Enrique Peña Nieto, has been credibly accused of taking up to $10 million in bribes to approve contracts from the corrupt Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. Several governors have been indicted for racketeering and graft; one even went on the lam and was arrested in Guatemala. Recently, Mexico's 12-year campaign to corral drug trafficking organizations fell apart, and violence skyrocketed. Twenty-eight thousand Mexicans were murdered last year, and political candidates are being physically attacked. Meanwhile, drug trafficking gangs ("cartels") are placing parts of the country off limits.

Then there's President Trump, who has treated Mexico as a problem and not as a partner by insisting that it fund his humiliating border wall. When asked in 2015 by Wall Street Journal editors if he thought the U.S. should promote stability and economic growth in Mexico, he replied, "I don't care about Mexico honestly. I really don't care about Mexico." Trump has bolstered AMLO's long-held view that Mexico has relied on the United States for too long. On the campaign trail, AMLO has vowed to put Trump "in his place."

Still, these more immediate causes don't entirely explain AMLO's impending success. At a deeper level, AMLO seems to be Mexico's answer to Samuel Huntington's key "who are we?" question on national identity. AMLO's MORENA explicitly seeks to revive the abandoned ideals of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920): anti-imperialism, defense of national resources, equality, and the protection of peasant rights. Tellingly, AMLO cites as his heroes two successful presidents who propelled Mexico forward: Benito Juarez, the black-clad Zapotec Indian who defeated the French-backed 19th-century "empire," and Lazaro Cardenas, the former revolutionary general who nationalized the oil industry and built the modern Mexican state.

Despite his populism, AMLO hasn't always been an outsider. He started his political career during the 1980s, when the PRI was still was Mexico's governing party. But he soon saw the changes happening in his rural native state of Tabasco, when the oil boom pushed out the farming and fishing industry. AMLO dissented from the PRI's decision to liberalize the economy and joined the opposition in 1988.

Led by Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was president from 1988 to 1994, the country embarked on a strict neoliberal development path and internationalist agenda, reversing its program of statist economics and authoritarian governance. Its ruling politicians sold state industries, embraced market reforms, let the peso float, and joined the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over the last several years, Mexico City has even permitted greater American involvement in its war against drug traffickers. Under Peña Nieto, Mexico finally allowed its oil industry to permit foreign investment.

In truth, these reforms worked well enough: Mexico democratized and developed into a solidly middle-income country with steady economic growth. Net immigration into the United States has come to a halt. Security issues were messy, but unlikely to destabilize the country.

These reforms represented a big win for Washington. If American intervention was needed for the occasional peso crisis or drug trafficker menace, we were happy to oblige. Mexico made a difficult partner at times, but on the policy side, it was where Washington wanted it to be.

But the cost of these changes may have been Mexico's identity, its sense of self. Returning to Huntington, his "The Clash of Civilizations?" article described Mexico as a state "torn" between its economic future and political and cultural past. After a top advisor to President Salinas described the sweeping changes the government was making, Huntington remarked, "It seems to me that basically you want to change Mexico from a Latin American country into a North American country." Salinas looked at him with surprise and exclaimed: "Exactly! That's precisely what we are trying to do, but of course we could never say so publicly."

AMLO and his followers have brooded about these radical changes for years. To this day, he refers to the arch-neoliberal Salinas simply as El Innombrable -- he that cannot be named. Neoliberalism launched AMLO not just on a political career but on a personal crusade to bring the country back to its former ideals.

When AMLO won the Mexico City mayorship in 2000, he built up a national political base and became a burr in the saddle of President Vicente Fox, who had embraced the liberal reforms of the formerly ruling PRI. AMLO criticized Fox relentlessly, and in retaliation, Fox attempted to have him legally prohibited from running for president in 2006.

This clumsy effort failed, giving AMLO a boost. But he narrowly lost the contest to the PAN's Felipe Calderon, whose campaign linked AMLO with Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez. Embittered in defeat, AMLO immediately claimed the voting was rigged against him. AMLO and his raucous followers held protests for months and even formed a parallel government. He may have lost in 2006, but he solidified his position as the leader of Mexico's alternative left.

AMLO's anti-system stance has given weight to the claim that he'd be another Chavez. The comparison seems invidious, as the late comandante of Venezuela, an avowed Marxist and coup plotter, crushed democratic institutions, set up a socialist economy, and in general drove what had been a prosperous South American country into the ground. AMLO, an authentic democrat, appears less megalomaniacal and more rules-focused, more the romantic reactionary than the revolutionary radical.

Still, many of the same forces that propelled Chavez are driving AMLO now. Like Chavez, AMLO is coming to power after a period of neoliberal reform and perceived intractable corruption. Like Chavez, AMLO enjoys an almost mystical bond with his nation's poorer classes. And very much like Chavez, AMLO is instinctively, but probably not irreversibly, anti-American in outlook.

How these characteristics will play out with AMLO in power is hard to predict. The two main parties won't be behind him, but many of their followers might. All of those alienated by neoliberalism, the perceived kowtowing to Washington, the surrender of economic resources to foreign companies and the free market, will flock to his banner. It is remarkable how some former members of the right-of-center National Action Party and the PRI have backed his campaign.

Some of AMLO's policy proposals seem less the stuff of hard leftism than nostalgic nationalism. He focuses heavily on national development for industry and agriculture aimed at self-reliance and reducing imports. He proposes holding referendums on the enacted legislation, a move to broaden democracy, which would require constitutional reform. He seeks to raise the minimum wage, but refreshingly pledges "no new taxes."

AMLO loves to wax nostalgic about Mexico's strong state traditions and will almost certainly attempt to restore the waning power of the Mexican presidency as an anti-corruption pulpit. In the tradition of newly inaugurated Mexican presidents, he'll probably look to prosecute a node of corruption in Mexican society: a prominent businessman or politician, rather than a labor union like his predecessors.

Much of the progress the United States has made with Mexico on security cooperation will probably be jeopardized. It's hard to believe that AMLO will endorse the close relations that the DEA, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community have forged with their Mexican counterparts in the war on drugs. The extradition of the notorious drug kingpin Joaquin el Chapo Guzman to the U.S. in 2017 will probably be the high watermark in the relationship. It is doubtful that AMLO will permit more high-profile extraditions. President Trump's disdain for a close relationship that has taken us decades to build may come back to haunt us.

But a poor relationship between Washington and Mexico City doesn't have to be inevitable. Despite the rhetoric, the flamboyant American billionaire has much in common with the austere Mexican populist. Both countries have too many common interests to go down separate paths. The question is: does AMLO have to build the bomb to get Trump to care about Mexico?

Michael J. Ard is a former deputy national intelligence officer for the Western Hemisphere and the author of "An Eternal Struggle: The Role of the National Action Party in Mexico's Democratic Transition ." He teaches international relations at Rice University's Master of Global Affairs program.


Youknowho June 21, 2018 at 7:30 am

Another diplomatic triumph of Trump

And just because they are similar do not expect that they might agree. Expect them to antagonize each other to play to their bases.

Carlos , says: June 21, 2018 at 10:52 am
That's just the thing, AMLO isn't "an authentic democrat." He founded MORENA so he could keep his presidential aspirations going; he's indistinguishable from the party. After losing in 2006, he notoriously said "to hell with institutions." His followers won't admit this, but his platform is as diluted as the rest: he's taken in suspects of corruption and has allied himself with both a very "conservative" party (the small, evangelical PES) and Mexico's hard leftists.
Hibernian , says: June 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm
"Washington's days of having a predictable and compliant partner in Mexico may be over."

What about Mexico's days of having a predictable and compliant partner in Washington?

[Jun 21, 2018] Mexican Business Elite, US Government, Brace for Likely Win by Leftist Obrador as Mexico's President by Yves Smith

After dramatic neoliberal counterrevolutions in Brazil and Mexico, neoliberals might face a defeat in Mexico
Notable quotes:
"... Business Insider ..."
"... Wall Street Journal, ..."
"... clase política. ..."
"... Dan La Botz' article in Jacobin succeeds masterfully in resolving relatively bland phrases like "coercive influence of the United States" that are part of left discourse into "a rational fear of murder by US-backed interests." ..."
"... Martin Luther King is said to have felt himself to be a "dead man walking" in the last months of his life; Amlo must feel much the same way. ..."
"... Mexico's predicament cannot be understood without the context of the war on drugs. I recommend a fun graphic novel: "Narcotráfico para inocentes: El narco en México y quien lo U.S.A." Mexico is in a similar situation as China during the Opium war or the US during prohibition. The book does an excellent job explaining how and why US interests created and foster the "war". ..."
"... The so-called 'pink tide' has been mostly, but certainly NOT completely, rolled back in the last few years. If AMLO's win is isolated, he probably won't change much. But, if this is the start of a new 'pink tide', then he might have more breathing space to get things done. ..."
"... I think Brazil is still the linchpin of the region. Prospects look quite dim there, but things can turn rather quickly. ..."
"... Neoliberalism somehow thought it could balance the budget and it would balance capitalism. So where do those ideologues go from here. It's a dead end. The only way to save the usefulness of capitalism at this point is to turn back to social spending. ..."
"... It avoids destructive over-banking and mirage profits by financialization because the money goes where it should go. But Obrador doesn't sound like he would dare suggest anything but austerity to rebalance spending priorities in Mexico. His priorities are fine, except he doesn't have a road map to get there. But interesting the political tide is turning. ..."
Jun 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The US press has largely ignored a potential sea change in our neighbor to the South. A self-styled radical, former mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, looks set to win Mexico's presidential election on July 1. That possibility is giving heartburn to corporate interests in Mexico and the US, as well the US officialdom.

His opponents depict him as a wild-eyed radical, but while Obrador, widely referred to as Amlo, has called for agricultural self-sufficiency, infrastructure development, higher minimum wages, improved public education. But he's also promised no new taxes, and as mayor of Mexico, entered into a public-private partnership with billionaire Carlos Slim to redevelop the downtown area.

Indeed, the website In Defense of Marxism had to make quite a case for its readers to vote for Amlo. They depict him as a type of Third Way figure:

AMLO does not propose a fundamental change of the system – replacing capitalism with socialism – what he proposes is a return to a more humane form of capitalism . He does not propose a programme of expropriations, nor the development of a large-scale nationalized industry, as there was before neoliberalism. To the capitalists, he offers a country of opportunity, without special privileges and without corruption.

For the poorest, he also offers a good list of proposals, particularly for the youth: he is committed to providing education for all at all levels, universal healthcare – not the so-called "seguro popular" ("people's insurance"), but healthcare systems like the IMSS and the ISSSTE (the Mexican social security and the public employees' healthcare programmes) that will be made available for everyone. He also speaks of scholarships for young people and programmes where the state will employ millions of youths a year. He says he will raise pensions for seniors and for single mothers and so on. All of this is a good start and we support it.

He proposes that the funding for these reforms and a large-scale national infrastructure plan will be drawn from eliminating corruption and cutting the high salaries of the bureaucracy, as well as reducing the number of state workers, reducing unnecessary state expenditure and so on. That is to say, he proposes that the interests of the big companies and the banks are not to be touched, and that no more foreign loans are requested. We have real doubts about the possibility that the money he saves with his proposed measures will cover all his planned reforms.

The Financial Times reported on Almo reassuring Mexico's top bankers :

"I will support banks. We won't confiscate assets. No expropriations, no nationalisations. We'll have a country more focused on its main problem: the cancer of corruption. That's my proposal, to end corruption," he said .

But he stuck to his guns on his main policy pledges, including austerity, an end to fat-cat salaries, a president setting a moral example to fight graft, greater co-ordination of security forces which Mr López Obrador said he would personally supervise with a daily 6am security cabinet meeting .

He promised no rollback on structural reforms passed by the current government; a "very few" reforms of his own around the middle of his term, including removing the ban on a president being able to be tried for corruption. However he said there would be "no need to increase taxes, no new taxes, no VAT on medicine and food . . . no petrol price shocks". He also pledged to respect the autonomy of the Bank of Mexico and to establish an "authentic rule of law".

So why are so many people in and outside Mexico in a tizzy about a probable Almo win? Jacobin argues that if Amlo hasn't been convincing enough in his move to the right, he's likely to assassinated. That's not a far-out idea, given Mexico's long-standing history of dirty election, including past assassinations, which Jacobin recounts in gory detail.

From a profile of Amlo in the current issue of the New Yorker:

I told him that many Mexicans wondered whether he had moderated his early radical beliefs. "No," he said. "I've always thought the same way. But I act according to the circumstances. We have proposed an orderly change, and our strategy seems to have worked. There is less fear now. More middle-class people have come on board, not only the poor, and there are businesspeople, too."

Even though Amlo has a strong left-wing economic agenda which makes him extremely popular in the poor south, the election has come to be more and more about fighting corruption. Again from the New Yorker:

With every major party implicated in corruption, López Obrador's supporters seem to care less about the practicality of his ideas than about his promises to fix a broken government. Emiliano Monge, a prominent novelist and essayist, said, "This election really began to cease being political a few months ago and became emotional. It is more than anything a referendum against corruption, in which, as much by right as by cleverness, amlo has presented himself as the only alternative. And in reality he is."

"Implicated" is an understatement. "Knee deep" would be more accurate.

Even in his measured way, Amlo intends to turn Mexico away from neoliberalism, which is enough to make heads explode. The US press either ignores or considerably downplays how poorly Mexico has fared under its tender ministrations. Again from In Defense of Marxism :

Mexico has been immersed in neoliberalism for 32 years and the results are overwhelming: "Under Porfirio Diaz, 95 percent of the population was poor. In 1981 it had fallen to just over 40 percent. Now it is actually 85 percent", said Dr. José Luis Calva Téllez, a member of the Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), in an interview with Contralínea. (Contralínea 2015)

In addition, the purchasing power of wages dropped by 71.5 percent. It is practically impossible to live on the minimum wage

The driving priority was "macroeconomic management above everything else. More than 1,000 state-owned companies were privatized to stop state intervention in the economy. Foreign trade was liberalized by drastically reducing all taxes or tariffs on foreign products; the Mexican financial system was privatized." .

In the three neoliberal decades, GDP per capita has grown at a rate of 0.6 percent per year; that is, an aggregate growth of 21 percent. That is not to mention the millions of Mexicans who emigrated in search of jobs they do not find in our country. "Counting the emigrants, the growth of GDP per inhabitant is scarcely 0.3 percent per year, or an aggregate growth of 10 percent in 32 years." (José Luis Calva, Mexico Beyond Neoliberalism: Options Within The Global Change)

Jacobin highlights another manifestation of the failure of neoliberalism: the rise of crime and rule by drug lord :

Mexican immigration to the United States -- historically seen as a safety valve in a country where about half the population lives in poverty -- has declined to the lowest level in years. The unemployed and the underemployed are forced to stay home and can't live on Mexican wages. With a population of 127 million, some 55 million live in poverty.

Violence remains a way of life and has not improved under the current administration. There are over 200,000 dead in the drug wars since 2006 and another 32,000 disappeared. Business Insider wrote on April 23 :

The 104,583 homicide cases registered since [President Enrique Peña Nieto] took office in December 2012 are more than the 102,859 officially recorded under his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, who deployed military personnel around the country to confront organized-crime and drug-related violence.

The US is clearly not happy at the idea of an Amlo presidency. His instincts are nationalistic but both the New Yorker and Michael Ard, a former deputy national intelligence officer, see Amlo as willing to deal with America, just not on as one-sided terms as before. As the New Yorker notes :

In campaign events, López Obrador speaks often of mexicanismo -- a way of saying "Mexico first." Observers of the region say that, when the two countries' interests compete, he is likely to look inward. Mexico's armed forces and law enforcement have often had to be persuaded to coöperate with the United States, and he will probably be less willing to pressure them.

And Ard elaborates :

Much of the progress the United States has made with Mexico on security cooperation will probably be jeopardized. It's hard to believe that AMLO will endorse the close relations that the DEA, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community have forged with their Mexican counterparts in the war on drugs. The extradition of the notorious drug kingpin Joaquin el Chapo Guzman to the U.S. in 2017 will probably be the high watermark in the relationship. It is doubtful that AMLO will permit more high-profile extraditions. President Trump's disdain for a close relationship that has taken us decades to build may come back to haunt us.

But a poor relationship between Washington and Mexico City doesn't have to be inevitable. Despite the rhetoric, the flamboyant American billionaire has much in common with the austere Mexican populist. Both countries have too many common interests to go down separate paths. The question is: does AMLO have to build the bomb to get Trump to care about Mexico?

But the US is already hostile. As Jacobin put it:

The business press is exceedingly gloomy about the future under a president who promises to improve the lives of Mexico's working class. The New York Times wrote on April 26 that:

In addition to threatening refinery profits in the United States, his proposals could slow oil production in Texas and impede deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by international oil giants like Exxon Mobil and Chevron. They would also jeopardize the United States' energy trade surplus with Mexico, which reached roughly $15 billion last year.

Mary Anastasia O'Grady, a columnist in the Wall Street Journal, writing on López Obrador's "reinvention as a moderate," suggests that her readers shouldn't believe it:

Morena's " declaration of principles ," posted on its website, asserts that the liberalization of the economy is part of a 'regime of oppression, corruption and privileges.' And that it is the work of "a true Mafioso state built by a minority of concentrated political and economic power in Mexico." If that's what Mr. López Obrador believes, fixing it would seem to require more of a socialist revolution than he proposes.

She writes that, "Over the years he has earned a reputation as a populist demagogue who uses the streets when democratic institutions block his path to power." And she warns her readers against his "socialist party," Morena .

The Council on Foreign Relations, the foreign relations think tank of the American ruling class, writes:

Champions of civil society, transparency, and strong independent public institutions can derive little comfort from some of [AMLO's] recent pronouncements . On the stump, he offers a return to a time of business subsidies, state ownership, and agricultural self-sufficiency. He repeatedly questions energy and infrastructure contracts -- including those undergirding Mexico City's new $13 billion airport -- and promises to roll back the educational shifts underway.

The reports in the business press and the warning from the Council on Foreign Relations are intended to convince the American business class and the State Department that something must be done to stop López Obrador.

The article concludes on a downbeat note:

I would be delighted if my speculations proved wrong and if AMLO could defend a social-democratic program and avoid being pulled into the arms of the US State Department and the Mexican clase política. But as they have for over a hundred years, the prospects for democracy in Mexico look dim.

Mexico desperately needs and wants change and Amlo has long sought to be a catalyst. Let's hope he can fulfill his ambitions.


TiPs , June 21, 2018 at 7:19 am

Hopefully the third time is the charm for Obrador. He's contested the last two outcomes, and I'm sure he had a case in at least one of them if not both.

armchair , June 21, 2018 at 11:40 am

An interesting historical 'what if', is what if AMLO had won in 2006 over Calderón? Calderón unleashed the drug war that we know and see today, and was a faithful steward of neoliberalism. México might be in a very different place today.

hemeantwell , June 21, 2018 at 7:35 am

Dan La Botz' article in Jacobin succeeds masterfully in resolving relatively bland phrases like "coercive influence of the United States" that are part of left discourse into "a rational fear of murder by US-backed interests."

Martin Luther King is said to have felt himself to be a "dead man walking" in the last months of his life; Amlo must feel much the same way.

Pym of Nantucket , June 21, 2018 at 9:11 am

Mexico's predicament cannot be understood without the context of the war on drugs. I recommend a fun graphic novel: "Narcotráfico para inocentes: El narco en México y quien lo U.S.A." Mexico is in a similar situation as China during the Opium war or the US during prohibition. The book does an excellent job explaining how and why US interests created and foster the "war".

johnnygl , June 21, 2018 at 9:18 am

I suspect the outcome is going to be influenced, perhaps significantly, by how the political context in the region unfolds in the next few years. The so-called 'pink tide' has been mostly, but certainly NOT completely, rolled back in the last few years. If AMLO's win is isolated, he probably won't change much. But, if this is the start of a new 'pink tide', then he might have more breathing space to get things done.

I think Brazil is still the linchpin of the region. Prospects look quite dim there, but things can turn rather quickly.

PhilK , June 21, 2018 at 9:23 am

I wouldn't think that the Mexican PTB would be too worried. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas almost surely got the most votes in his election, too.

Lord Koos , June 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm

I've never understood why business interests fight so hard against the welfare of the poor. If more poor people can get into the middle class, they then have more money to buy the crap they sell. Would love to read the graphic novel that is mentioned, but there seems to be no English edition of it.

Susan the other , June 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Interesting politics in Mexico. But dangerous. Failed capitalism, or even failed neoliberal freemarketism, is an existential threat to marxism. Neoliberalism somehow thought it could balance the budget and it would balance capitalism. So where do those ideologues go from here. It's a dead end. The only way to save the usefulness of capitalism at this point is to turn back to social spending.

Varoufakis, yesterday, was logically fudging neoliberalism – by going around the banking of surpluses and putting them directly into EU-wide stimulation/projects. It is very MMT but he doesn't say so. It avoids destructive over-banking and mirage profits by financialization because the money goes where it should go. But Obrador doesn't sound like he would dare suggest anything but austerity to rebalance spending priorities in Mexico. His priorities are fine, except he doesn't have a road map to get there. But interesting the political tide is turning.

Tim Williams , June 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

We destroy their indigenous agriculture by dumping cheap corn, then complain bitterly about all the 'illegals' who seem perfectly willing to harvest our dinners since we won't do the work. Then we try to make 'Agricultural Self-Sufficiency' sound like a bad thing. Godd luck Senor Obrador, you're just what we need.

[Jun 21, 2018] The neoliberal agenda is agreed and enacted by BOTH parties:

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the progressive left has been destroyed. All that's left is the Democratic Party which CALLS ITSELF "progressive" but actually acts in a way that undermines progressive ideals. ..."
"... Both Obama and Trump are faux populists. Both were probably thrust upon us in very slick operations. Proof? In hindsight, their political opponents (McCain, Hillary) were so flawed as to be ridiculous, especially because they were each the very embodiment of an establishment that most people KNOW works against them. In our current, money-driven political system electing a real progressive is virtually impossible. ..."
Jun 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Jun 21, 2018 10:16:05 PM | 34

Fernando, Almand

You may be interested to know:

Civil Rights Attorney Asked Obama To Close Migrant "Baby Jails" In 2015

Why The "Abject Silence" From The Left About Child Migrant Detentions Under Obama?

This shows how hypocritical and partisan the left is in the U.S. That's because the progressive left has been destroyed. All that's left is the Democratic Party which CALLS ITSELF "progressive" but actually acts in a way that undermines progressive ideals.

karlof1 is right. Revolutions happen from the bottom up. Not by electing those who have been selected to run for office. Both Obama and Trump are faux populists. Both were probably thrust upon us in very slick operations. Proof? In hindsight, their political opponents (McCain, Hillary) were so flawed as to be ridiculous, especially because they were each the very embodiment of an establishment that most people KNOW works against them. In our current, money-driven political system electing a real progressive is virtually impossible.

The establishment agenda is agreed and enacted by BOTH parties:

  1. neo-feudalism : low taxes on the wealthy and roll-back of social programs;
  2. legal usury : very low interest rates for best credit / very high interest rates to ordinary people;
  3. neolib taking of the commons ; Example from the neolib Sith Lord himself: Obamaland Fiasco Worsens
    A presidential library became Obamaland... The center will not be a presidential library because Obama's archives and documents won't be there there and it won't be federally run.

    [Furthermore] The taxpayer bill for the Obama Center to be built on Chicago's Southside is now $224 million, not $172 million as initially reported, and it's certainly not privately funded as initially promised.

  4. global hegemony via massive spending on military & spying; It's for the children. No, not YOUR children.
  5. divisive politics to keep lower classes occupied; Let's talk about bathrooms and statues and "rocketman".
  6. militarized police & massive propaganda . You are now a consumer of government services not a citizen. Have a nice day.

[Jun 21, 2018] Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball around a field for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.

Jun 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PlutoniumKun , , June 21, 2018 at 4:17 am

As Gary Lineker said:

Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball around a field for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.

I leave it to others to think of the applicable metaphors .

sixpacksongs , , June 21, 2018 at 12:30 pm

As one hard-partying Mexican supporter told a reporter after that match, "The Germans never win in Moscow!"

[Jun 21, 2018] The obsesstion of the British establishment's paranoia about Russia might be explained that the British sooser tem no longer has Sergey Skripal as the main asset

Jun 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Looney -> JustPrintMoreDuh Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:57 Permalink

the obsessive quality of the British establishment's paranoia about Russia. That's probably because at the World Cup, the England soccer team is very weak without its main asset, Sergey Skripal. ;-)

Buckaroo Banzai -> JustPrintMoreDuh Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:57 Permalink

Can't wait until Trump invades the UK, deposes the royal family for treason, kicks out the pakistani filth, dissolves parliament, seizes the City of London, and restores the Stuarts to the throne.

Ghost of PartysOver -> JustPrintMoreDuh Thu, 06/21/2018 - 13:00 Permalink

Russiaphobes going bonkers. To damn funny. BTW Russian interference in US elections has been internet postings only. What does that say about our country's intelligence when some social media post sends the Snow Flakes into a tizzy. What does that say about our future?

[Jun 21, 2018] The Media is a complete weapon for propaganda. The "writers" are propagandists. There never is a report on Russia from the Western media that does not vilify or demonize Russia or Russians in some way.

Jun 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel | Jun 20, 2018 11:53:53 PM | 34

When I saw that Shawn Walker Tweet, and the mostly brilliant take-down responses, I hoped b would mention it. I can think of no one better suited to address this particularly putrid propaganda. Bravo! And to the (almost) universally excellent barfly commentariat.

BBC created a whole genre of Russian World Cup scare mongering. One they did was on the deadly threat of "Russian Football Hooligans." RT did an excellent 4 minute job of combining journalism with humor to expose that bit of 100% Fake News.

They also expanded it into a full set-piece. Here's the trailer:

Red Ryder , Jun 20, 2018 11:57:21 PM | 35

The Media is a complete weapon for propaganda. The "writers" are propagandists. There never is a report on Russia from the Western media that does not vilify or demonize Russia or Russians in some way.

The World Cup is experienced by hundreds of thousands of tourists in Russia. They are going to be the truth-tellers.
The event, like Sochi Winter Olympics will stand for itself. It will be splendid.

And the lies will die.

Never expect the truth from the Media.

Always expect the Russian people to be extraordinary. They have demonstrated it for a century.

[Jun 21, 2018] China's Oil Trade Retaliation Is Iran's Gain by Tom Luongo

Jun 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

China's Oil Trade Retaliation Is Iran's Gain

by Tyler Durden Wed, 06/20/2018 - 23:05 13 SHARES Authored by Tom Luongo,

I've told you that once you start down the Trade War path forever it will dominate your destiny.

Well here we are. Trump slaps big tariffs on aluminum and steel in a bid to leverage Gary Cohn's ICE Wall plan to control the metals and oils futures markets . I'm not sure how much of this stuff I believe but it is clear that the futures price for most strategically important commodities are divorced from the real world.

Alistair Crooke also noted the importance of Trump's 'energy dominance' policy recently , which I suggest strongly you read.

But today's edition of "As the Trade War Churns" is about China and their willingness to shift their energy purchases away from U.S. producers. Irina Slav at Oilprice.com has the good bits.

The latest escalation in the tariff exchange, however, is a little bit different than all the others so far. It's different because it came after Beijing said it intends to slap tariffs on U.S. oil, gas, and coal imports.

China's was a retaliatory move to impose tariffs on US$50 billion worth of U.S. goods, which followed Trump's earlier announcement that another US$50 billion in goods would be subjected to a 25-percent tariff starting July 6.

It's unclear as to what form this will take but there's also this report from the New York Times which talks about the China/U.S. energy trade.

Things could get worse if the United States and China ratchet up their actions [counter-tariffs] . Mr. Trump has already promised more tariffs in response to China's retaliation. China, in turn, is likely to back away from an agreement to buy $70 billion worth of American agricultural and energy products -- a deal that was conditional on the United States lifting its threat of tariffs.

"China's proportionate and targeted tariffs on U.S. imports are meant to send a strong signal that it will not capitulate to U.S. demands," said Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University. "It will be challenging for both sides to find a way to de-escalate these tensions."

But as Ms. Slav points out, China has enjoyed taking advantage of the glut of U.S. oil as shale drillers flood the market with cheap oil. The West Texas Intermediate/Brent Spread has widened out to more than $10 at times.

By slapping counter tariffs on U.S. oil, that would more than overcome the current WTI/Brent spread and send Chinese refiners looking for new markets.

Hey, do you know whose oil is sold at a discount to Brent on a regular basis?

Iran's. That's whose.

And you know what else? Iran is selling tons, literally, of its oil via the new Shanghai petroyuan futures market.

Now, these aren't exact substitutes, because the Shanghai contract is for medium-sour crude and West Texas shale oil is generally light-sweet but the point remains that the incentives would now exist for Chinese buyers to shift their buying away from the U.S. and towards producers offering substitutes at better prices.

This undermines and undercuts Trump's 'energy dominance' plans while also strengthening Iran's ability to withstand new U.S. sanctions by creating more customers for its oil.

Trade wars always escalate. They are no different than any other government policy restricting trade. The market response is to always respond to new incentives. Capital always flows to where it is treated best.

It doesn't matter if its domestic farm subsidies 'protecting' farmers from the business cycle or domestic metals producers getting protection via tariffs.

By raising the price above the market it shifts capital and investment away from those protected industries or producers and towards either innovation or foreign suppliers.

Trump obviously never read anything from Mises, Rothbard or Hayek at Wharton. Because if he did he would have come across the idea that every government intervention requires an ever-greater one to 'fix' the problems created by the first intervention.

The net result is that if there is a market for Iran's oil, which there most certainly is, then humans will find a way to buy it. If Trump tries to raise the price too high then it will have other knock-on effects of a less-efficient oil and gas market which will create worse problems in the future for everyone, especially the very Americans he thinks he's defending.

* * *

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[Jun 21, 2018] Why OPEC Isn't Going To Give Up On High Oil Prices That Easily

Jun 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the most highly-anticipated OPEC meeting since November 2014 taking place Friday in Vienna, Macrovoices host Erik Townsend made this week's podcast all about oil. He started his three-part interview series with Dr. Ellen Wald, the author of "Saudi Inc.", a book about Aramco. During their discussion, Wald shares what she learned about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and - most importantly - how the royals view both Aramco and the oil market. This perspective is important, she explains, in interpreting why former Saudi energy minister Ali Al Naimi made the infamous decision back in November 2014 to keep OPEC oil production targets unchanged . That decision precipitated another leg lower in oil prices, eventually sending them to $30 a barrel. Many observers criticized the Saudis for shooting themselves in the foot by standing against production cuts. But the one thing that these critics didn't understand, Wald said, is that the Kingdom has always treated Aramco like a family business.

They have two twin objectives: long-term profit and power. And when they look at Aramco, they're not concerned about meeting, say, what their quarterly reports are going to show or their stock price. They're looking at this in the long term, in a generational perspective.

And so in 2014 when it seemed as though oil production was increasing around the world – there was lots of other sources – not just shale oil production in the United States but we had really increasing from all over – they went into that OPEC meeting and everyone thought oh, they have to cut production. If they don't they won't maintain the price they need for the budget and this is what has to be.

Instead, they surprised everyone by basically walking out and saying to heck with it, we're going to produce as much as we possibly can. And the reason, it seemed to me, was very clear: They knew that no matter how low the oil price went it was going to be that much worse for everybody else and not as bad for Saudi Arabia.

When Townsend asks about the decision to float 5% of Aramco in a foreign stock market (a plan that is reportedly on hold, for now at least), Wald explains that the Saudis respect their company's "American heritage" (the Saudis slowly nationalized Aramco in stages during the 1970s and 1980s, buying it in stages) and they view the company as an international oil company like Exxon.

But in another sense, I see this as a natural progression for a company that was an NOC but has always seen itself as really a major international oil company. And it's expanding its research, it's expanding its downstream operations, in order to have a profile similar to that of an IOC. They are very, very proud of the patents that they've acquired and they compare it to the number of patents that, say, Exxon gets. It's really very evident throughout this.

Next, Townsend turned to energy analysts Anas Alhajji and Joe McMonigle for a three-way discussion about what to expect From Friday's meeting. Earlier this month, we heard from fellow "geological expert" Art Berman, who speculated that the current glut of oil created by the shale boom in the US is a temporary anomaly

But the bigger factor here is Venezuela and how quickly Venezuelan crude has come off the market. Venezuela was producing about 1.4 million barrels a day. It's probably 1.3 now, in June. Under the OPEC agreement, they could be producing close to 2 million barrels a day. Berman speculated that the global demand curve is growing at a pace much more quickly than most market experts anticipate, and that - regardless of whether OPEC decides to raise or maintain production - the world will inevitably find itself mired in a supply crunch. But McMonigle asserted that the collapse of crude production in Venezuela has left a massive production hole that should be filled by OPEC members. Because of this, Saudi Arabia doesn't have a problem with higher prices, and even OPEC itself is anticipating that demand will remain strong in the second half of the year.

So that's 600-700 thousand barrels extra that has really accelerated crude stock drawdowns and I think has really supported higher prices quicker than most people thought. I was in the camp, and I think others were, that in the second half of this year we would be around between $70 and $75.

Obviously, we got there pretty quickly at $80. And most of that had to do with Venezuela. And then, of course, you had the Iran sanctions – which we've been talking about for a long time – that we expected to come. But there are a lot of people on the market that just didn't think Trump would pull the trigger on it. Well, he did. And so that really pushed things up to over $80. There isn't any crude yet coming off the market, but we certainly expect that there will be.

[...]

First of all, I have to say I don't think OPEC is going to give up that easily on higher prices. I think the Saudis are quite comfortable with prices around $80. They don't really see a production problem. The physical oil markets are pretty well-supplied, as I think Anas will talk about. But they really have a political problem instead of a production problem.

And the political problem is this: You know, higher prices, you've got some calls for action. Trump, of course, with his tweet a couple of weeks ago while the compliance committee was meeting in Riyadh I think really took them by surprise. I think there is kind of an implicit agreement to help because of the Iran sanctions. And that's something that Saudi Arabia and UAE and all the other Gulf countries support.

However, the one thing that could change their minds, is a political issue concerning their relationship with the US. Following Trump's aggressive Iran policy, there could be a consensus forming among the Gulf countries to support higher production levels that would held rein in prices. But this might not be in the long-term best interest of the Saudis.

JailBanksters Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:51 Permalink

$80 just happens to be the point to make shale oil and fracking become profitable.

Until that point they are sinking more money into getting the oil out than what they can sell the Oil for.

Oldguy05 Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:51 Permalink

"Why OPEC Isn't Going To Give Up On High Oil Prices That Easily"

Cause they need money?

[Jun 21, 2018] Some Notes on Trump's Trade War Threat by Yves Smith

Trump's "national neoliberalism" has some interesting side effects...
Notable quotes:
"... All it takes is for confidence to falter, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down ..."
"... I have felt for a long time that our consumption based economy is a way to keep people so self absorbed that they don't ask too many questions . ..."
"... As tempting as it is to attribute this to personality failings, I don't believe that Mr. Trump's China tantrum is geopolitical one-upmanship. It is more likely a reaction to the annual Industrial Capabilities Report released on May 17 by the Pentagon's Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, in parallel to a similar review being conducted internally by the White House. ..."
"... The Pentagon has concluded that two decades of financially-engineered corporate concentration and out-sourcing of skilled work to China has stripped the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex of its "organic industrial base." It appears evident that the White House has decided that tariff barriers on China are the only way to rebuild a population of of "qualified workers to meet current demands as well as needing to integrate a younger workforce with the 'right skills, aptitude, experience, and interest to step into the jobs vacated by senior-level engineers and skilled technicians' as they exit the workforce." ..."
"... I find myself confused and in a quandary. Is it not neoliberalism and global trade that over the past 25 years or so has led to corporate mega-wealth and the beginning of the end of the US middle class, and the further impoverishment of the working class? If so, then as a good progressive, should I not welcome a trade war or whatever economic change will end this global economic tyranny? Is the skepticism or outright opposition to a trade war of so many progressives simply based on the fact taht t's being initiated by the colossal idiot in the White House who may inadvertently be doing something beneficial? ..."
Jun 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The trade war-mongers are in the driver's seat . From the Wall Street Journal :

The White House's tough stance represents the ascendancy, for now, of trade hawks in the administration, particularly White House senior trade adviser Peter Navarro and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer

"It's clear that China has much more to lose" than the U.S. from a trade fight, said Mr. Navarro.

Mr. Lighthizer said additional tariffs wouldn't be imposed until the U.S. picked the products, and received industry comment, a process that will take months and leaves open the possibility of additional negotiations. But so far there is no indication that such talks are on the horizon, and the Trump administration is signaling that it is increasingly confident of achieving goals through a dramatically more confrontational approach to China

Next up from the administration is a plan to halt Chinese investment in U.S. technology, due to be released by the Treasury Department by June 30 .

Mr. Trump has backed away from threats before .In April, Mr. Trump threatened a dramatic increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, but didn't follow through. Instead, he approved negotiations Mr. Mnuchin led to get China to buy more U.S. goods and make changes to its tariffs and other trade barriers. That led to a temporary reprieve in the tensions as the two sides sought to negotiate a truce.

The White House has since judged those efforts a failure, especially after Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Trump were criticized by cable TV hosts and some lawmakers of being weak on China. During a June trade mission to China by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Beijing offered to buy nearly $70 billion in U.S. farm, manufacturing and energy products if the Trump administration abandoned tariff threats. Mr. Trump rejected that offer as another empty promise.

Trump's negotiating strategy, if you can call it that, appears unlikely to work with China . If one were to try to ascribe logic to Trump picking and then escalating a fight with China, it is presumably in the end to bring them to the negotiating table. But China is not North Korea, where the US threatened the Hermit Kingdom with nuclear devastation and Kim Jong Un with being the next Gaddafi and then dialed the bluster way down as China pushed and South Korea pulled North Korea to the negotiating table. And the good luck of the Olympics being in South Korea facilitated the process.

One could argue that all of the theatrics was to enable Trump to talk with Kim Jong Un and not look like a wus.

With China, Trump's escalation to threatening another $200 billion of Chinese goods after his initial $50 billion shot is a reaction to China going into tit for tat mode as opposed to negotiating. This should not be a surprise. The more detailed press reports were making clear that China was initially not engaging with the US (as in making clear that they weren't receptive to US demands and accordingly weren't deploying meaningful resources to talks).

Even if China incurs meaningful economic costs in hitting back at the US, politically it's a no brainer. China's sense of itself as the power that will displace the US means it's unacceptable to be bullied. China has been bizarrely sensitive to slights, for instance, lashing out during the 2007 IPCC negotiations and getting testy when the US put countervailing duties on a mere $224 million of goods . Recall that when the US put sanctions on Russia, its strategists seemed to genuinely believe that Russians would rise up and turf Putin out. Instead, his popularity ratings rose and even the Moscow intelligentsia rallied to support him.

Oh, and while we are speaking about North Korea, Kim Jong Un is in Beijing . It's not hard to get the message: there's no reason for China to play nicely in the face of US trade brinksmanship.

Trump appears to be relying on the idea that since the US imports more than China exports, we can do more damage to them in a tariff game of chicken . On the one hand, as Marshall Auerback has pointed out, in trade wars, the creditor nation, which would be China, typically fares worse than the debtor nation. However, China can do a lot a damage to US companies in China. The US has long had a policy of promoting the interests of US multinationals based on the claim that deeper trade relations would reduce the odds of war and make countries more disposed towards democracy. And when "free trade" ideology got a life of its own, economists and pundits regularly treated the idea of trying to protect domestic jobs as retrograde, even when many of our trade partners negotiated their deals with that consideration in mind.

As Bloomberg points out :

American businesses from Apple Inc. and Walmart Inc. to Boeing Co. and General Motors Co. all operate in China and are keen to expand. That hands Xi room to impose penalties such as customs delays, tax audits and increased regulatory scrutiny if Trump delivers on his threat of bigger duties on Chinese trade. U.S. shares slumped Tuesday as part of a broad sell-off in global markets in response to Trump's threat.

The total amount of U.S. goods exports to China only amounted to $130 billion last year, meaning Trump's potential tariffs on $250 billion or more of Chinese imports can't be matched, at least directly. But if you measure both exports and sales of U.S. companies inside China, the U.S. has a surplus of $20 billion with China, according to Deutsche Bank AG .

One advantage of this tactic for Xi is that this time the numbers are on his side, as U.S. investment in China is far larger than the reverse. American companies had $627 billion in assets and $482 billion in sales in China in 2015, compared to just $167 billion in U.S. assets and $26 billion in U.S. sales for Chinese companies .

A change in trade priorities to focus on domestic employment isn't nuts . It's hard to know what Trump is trying to achieve as he calls for China to reduce its trade deficit by $200 billion. Given that the Administration said it will focus on the sectors depicted as priorities in China's "Made-in-China 2025" plans in next round to tariff targets, China has good reason to think Trump's real aim is to check its rise as a superpower.

Even though Trump is giving trade negotiations a bad name, there's every reason to give domestic employment higher priority in trade negotiation. The reason Trump is so fond of tariffs is that they are a weapon he can deploy quickly and unilaterally, while negotiations and WTO cases take time. And even though the pundit class likes to decry manufacturing as oh-so-20th century, Ford's Rouge plant employed more people than Apple does in the entire US. Restoring infrastructure would create a lot of employment, as would increasing domestic manufacturing.

But the US has eliminated the supervisor and middle managers that once ran operations like these. If we were to seek to build some areas of manufacturing, the US would have to engage in industrial policy, which is something we do now, but only by default, with the defense industry, financial services, health care, housing, and higher education among the favored sectors. So given our political constraints, it's hard to see how we get there from here.

Mr. Market is anxious . Anxious is well short of panicked. Chinese stocks took the worst hit, but the latest round of threats took 4% off the Shanghai composite, taking it back to its level of 20 months ago. Chinese indexes were mixed today . By contrast, the Dow was down 1.15% and the S&P 500, 0.4%.

Having said that, the Fed is in a tightening cycle and stock valuations already looked pretty attenuated. Trade tensions and the uncertainty over how the threat to global supply chains will play out may lead investors to curb their enthusiasm, particularly if the Trump initiative starts looking less like another fit of pique and more like a change in the rules of the game that looks unlikely to work out well.


PlutoniumKun , June 20, 2018 at 3:57 am

I think the Chinese response depends on the great unknown of the Chinese Communist Parties long term strategy. One line of thought is that the 'Asian model' of trade surpluses is for them just the means to an end for China to reach 'high development' status, from which point they would seek a much more balanced internal economy. The other, sees Chinas trade surplus – in particular the deliberate over production of strategic products such as microprocessors and pharmaceuticals as an end itself – warfare by means of trade. Both aspects are variations on the Japanese Yoshida Doctrine , something the Chinese have studied in detail.

If the former, then its entirely possible that the Chinese see Trump's threat not as a challenge, but an opportunity to carry out the necessary deep structural changes to balance their economy. A populist trade war would be the cover the government needs to dramatically cut over-production and focus instead on ensuring China has all the strategic products it needs (the most crucial of course is food). The CCP's fear is always inflation in food prices – this is historically the trigger for urban unrest, as in the 1980's. But if they have a foreign scapegoat for that, they may see it as a risk worth taking. Urban riots where people attack CCP buildings terrifies the leadership. Urban riots where people burn Trump effigies, less so.

If the true strategy is the second, then Trumps attacks are an obvious threat. The Chinese are aware now of the growing awareness in the US of just how vulnerable the US has become to shortages of products which are now almost entirely Chinese made or controlled – many processed metals, pharmaceuticals, key electronic components, etc. If it is indeed Chinese strategy to use these for leverage at some future date, then they won't want to risk undermining this in a tit for tat war. In this situation, they will tread much more carefully and won't be worried about a minor loss of face if they stand down and give Trump the victory headlines he craves.

In a broader sense, Trump believes that the biggest stick always wins a war like this, and he and his advisor clearly believe the US has the biggest stick. But in military terms, the winner in a war is not the country who has the biggest army, but the country that can bring the biggest army to the right field of battle. The Chinese (along perhaps with the Europeans and Mexicans) may believe that if they fight smart and focus on specific battles – such as US farm goods or key US aerospace and consumer electronics companies – they can make Trump and the Republicans really hurt. They know the electoral cycle in the US, which gives them a big advantage. It will be interesting to see if Trump forces all sorts of new and unlikely alliances in opposition.

Loneprotester , June 20, 2018 at 6:58 am

Interesting analysis. Do you think Trump's aim could be to throw a spanner into their works, whatever the plan is, thereby buying more time to re-industrialize and wean US industries off of China? Also, it strikes me that Trump is consciously disciplining US-based businesses like Apple every bit as much as he is China.

Left in Wisconsin , June 20, 2018 at 1:35 pm

It would also require companies like Apple to show some interest in U.S. manufacturing, which is not the case at this time.

I'm all for whatever barriers are necessary to re-invigorate and modernize U.S. manufacturing. But it will be impossible to make progress if U.S. multi-nationals refuse to go along. Trump doesn't play the long game and there is really no evidence that he is willing to challenge/threaten U.S. firms in substantive ways. Remember the campaign threats against Ford? Since then, Ford has not upped its U.S. investment but instead chosen to get completely out of the small car business. And that is a company that still has an extensive U.S. manufacturing presence, unlike, say, Apple.

I think this is what the Chinese understand (maybe Trump does too and this is all just theater for 2020). They can play hardball with Trump as long as US MNC's are on the side of China against the U.S. In the last 6 months, have you heard a single large U.S. manufacturer voice support for Trump's trade policies? I haven't.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 20, 2018 at 10:02 am

If the Chinese focus on key areas that can 'make Trump and the Republicans really hurt. They know the electoral cycle in the US ,' wouldn't that be outright election meddling?

Clive , June 20, 2018 at 4:16 am

There is the same logic, possibility, at work in Trump's thinking (and thinking may be too generous a term for it but we do I suppose have to assign some sort of plan being pushed through here) to that of the U.K.'s Brexit Ultras.

For the Ultras, reestablishing political and sovereignty independence is conflated and intertwined with economic independence which all -- through a mechanism which is never adequately explained -- will result in domestic economic revitalisation that doesn't require government direct intervention.

No, it doesn't stack up or make a great deal of sense, but having been around many hard-core Brexit'eers in the Brexit heartland (and the Conservative party's local association in a Brexit stronghold) the people who hold this worldview do make it work within the confines of their own minds. It goes something like: if you neutralise or at least weaken the power blocks which are winning out politically and you'll reap a reward economically. The fallacy assumes that you can give Johnny Foreigner a good kicking at the sovereignty and international power-broker level and because you're a geopolitical shaker and mover, that'll pay off in trade terms. All without consequences.

But of course there are always consequences. Other countries can decide to endure downsides (not least because the various ruling elites don't end up on the receiving end of these, usually) -- this was the same gamble the U.K. government made, unsuccessfully, with the EU ("we're in the unassailable position because we import from them more than we export"). And so also with China. If Beijing is prepared to play a long game, it can tough it out with the US, potentially longer than the US is prepared to tolerate.

This has always been the case with the US (and the U.K. too, for that matter) -- they never expect anyone else to tolerate any downside which is imposed. They're astonished when Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Russia, China and even to a lesser extent the EU don't simply fall into line when they click their fingers.

John B , June 20, 2018 at 4:57 am

There are different power centers operating in the Trump administration's trade policy. Trump himself may be motivated by no more than a desire to appear tough -- and as Yves notes, tariffs are one of the few ways a US president can act swiftly and unilaterally to do so.

His advisers are another matter. They would like to pressure China to have more open and fair policies, but are OK with the consequences if China refuses -- i.e., an extremely large decrease in US trade volumes with China, and, indeed, the entire world. They have probably performed a calculation similar to the one outlined by Paul Krugman in his June 17 column on trade wars . Basically, a global trade war would not have a giant impact on global GDP -- perhaps 2-3 percent assuming tariffs on everything in the neighborhood of 30 percent. There would be displacement of jobs and workers while everyone readjusted, but that's a price the Trump administration would probably be willing to pay. And, what Krugman does not mention, the United States as a very large economy would in fact do less badly in a trade war than most others countries. By losing less, it would "win" in the zero-sum universe Trump seems to inhabit.

That's a difference between Trumpers and Brexiters. Britain is an island that has always depended on trade. The US has two oceans around it, still the world's largest economy (more or less), adequate natural resources, and a whole hemisphere to pick on.

PlutoniumKun , June 20, 2018 at 7:17 am

I think you are right in suggesting that the calculation is that even an all out trade war would not be catastrophic, and the US would come out best.

I think the problem with this thinking is that it assumes symmetric actions by all the major parties, but in this sort of trade war it will be more targeted and asymmetric. By which I mean that the Chinese and Europeans in particular have immediately targetted more obvious, vulnerable US sectors. At first, these are just rather obvious ones, like Harley Davidson bikes or Levi Jeans, but its not hard to see that if it gets serious there might be co-operation to target what they see as Trumps heartlands. As I suggested above, a targeted attempt to hit key US food exports at the strategically right time could be devastating for US farmers, and domestically China and other countries may accept the 'hit' domestically as they have a convenient scapegoat.

I should say though that whatever the outcome, the uncertainty created by Trumps action is likely to make all investors much more wary of businesses which depend on widespread global supply chain networks, which can only be a good thing for people trying to keep jobs local and to reduce emissions. Its unfortunate that when these come about through trade wars the impacts (as usual) will hit ordinary people first, at least in the initial stage

Clive , June 20, 2018 at 7:50 am

I do agree that the zenith of long, complex and ultimately not especially resilient global supply chains has passed. For at least 20, possibly 30 years these have received and been able to rely on unstinting political aircover and hidden subsidies.

Not any more. There's some minor tremors already being felt with the distinct possibility of some bigger systemic shocks in store.

el_tel , June 20, 2018 at 8:24 am

I do agree that the zenith of long, complex and ultimately not especially resilient global supply chains has passed.

Indeed – anecdotally and slightly tangentially – the days of outsourcing call-centres etc are numbered. Whilst many knowledgable people have shown that the cost savings have not turned out to be anything like as large as the corporations predicted, consumer hatred cannot be understated. I have gone through several weeks of arguing with Three over their service, being bounced around various call-centres offshore. Finally, an email to the CEO, pointing out (in a measured way) how my business calls and those of other businesses who use them will very quickly be affected, it was amazing how quickly things progressed, with my complaint being escalated to the CEO executive group. I phrased it in terms of the fact their business model now actively encouraged (and in many cases only supported) people to use phones known to be vulnerable to hackers and companies are really not going to like that, even if they're cheap. Furthermore Three are immensely vulnerable come the next 5G spectrum auction (they are significantly in trouble spectrum-wise) and I was about to be escalated to the Ombudsman, and told the CEO I'd be highlighting their security vulnerabilities – something they really don't want, even though they'd done it to save a bob or two in outsourcing.

Things were sorted ASAP; it was obvious that a UK programmer redid the whole Three app and web interface over a weekend (I used to program in Fortran in my PhD and diagnosed their problem straightaway). Three used to be innovative in carving out a niche segment regarding its roaming plans – but has not kept innovating, and EU laws on roaming now mean its advantage is largely gone whilst Vodafone staff in stores gleefully tell customers that you'll talk to a British call-centre – they have calculated that the price premium is worth it, if people don't have to go through what I did, particularly high-value customers.

The days of long supply chains are numbered, most definitely. Systemic breakdowns would simply kill a company that operated as they did. Now rapid changes seem to be in motion to make supply chains more robust and acceptable .

PlutoniumKun , June 20, 2018 at 9:29 am

I hope its true – the fascinating shipping stats that Lambert posts in WaterCooler most days shows that transport is still a huge and growing business, and seems to have recovered from the changes made 5 years ago when the oil price peak made a lot of companies think twice about long supply chains. But there do seem to be a converging set of factors which must surely make companies think twice. If you combine energy price risks, political risks, increasing tarrifs, consumer resistence, etc., there are more and more incentives for companies to tighten and simplify supply chains. But I think it will be quite a while before we see the impacts (and I'd never underestimate the power of inertia behind globilisation either).

Its often forgotten of course – mostly by economists who never study history – that we've been here before, most notably in the late 19th Century when the trade was highly globilised, thanks to the major empires. That unravelled with startling speed.

el_tel , June 20, 2018 at 11:14 am

Indeed, I see his statistics and agree regarding interia. But, as you say, economists are rubbish at history – and coupled with their fascination with models that are ergodic (when the climate models suggest we are entering new territory with complete "breaks" in the relationships and possible sudden shifts to new equilibria with associated huge, fast, cyclical changes) I can't help but wonder if the supply chain models simply must collapse if the climate scientists are right and the economists are wrong. But only time will tell .

Jim Haygood , June 20, 2018 at 9:11 am

Speaking of 'bigger systemic shocks,' Doug Kass puts a finer point on it [lifted from the Z site this morning]:

[Trump's] policy and negotiating tactics hold the risk that business confidence could be jeopardized and supply chains may be disrupted.

I have long argued that the "Orange Swan" would ultimately be market unfriendly – that an untethered Trump would "Make Uncertainty and Volatility (in the markets) Great Again." (#MUVGA)

And, I have recently argued over the last few months that the president's behavior is now beginning to impact the capital markets.

Acting upon his impulses, growing more isolated and becoming more unhinged -- the Supreme Tweeter is now an Orange Swan headwind.

" Rex, eat your salad " – President Trump

What numerical analyses such as Kurgman's miss is confidence. Popular mood has propelled Bubble III to stratospheric heights, with equities and property dear worldwide.

All it takes is for confidence to falter, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down with a crash far out of proportion to the minor changes in economic stats that will be visible at the time. ' No one could have foreseen ' etc

Bubbles, and their aftermaths, are self-reinforcing both on the way up and the way down. A manly square jaw and a glorious orange helmet will take you only so far when you haven't a clue what you're doing. :-(

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 20, 2018 at 9:58 am

Since Kass mentioned 'negotiating tactics,' presumably many now also are aware that factor.

Judging by how the bubble is holding up, can we say that, so far, the key market players are receiving that message and remain (again, so far the Nasdaq dropped just a bit yesterday after the additional $200 billion tariffs news) confident on this front (but whose confidence can be shaken on other fronts for example, perhaps by others who worry openly and warn that the sky is, at this moment, falling).

False Solace , June 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Who needs confidence when the Fed has proved it will just step in and buy whatever's necessary to prop up the market. Loot on the way up, loot on the way down. Fearing volatility is for smallfolk.

Left in Wisconsin , June 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm

All it takes is for confidence to falter, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down

But U.S. MNCs have had no confidence in U.S. manufacturing for decades. Which is why we need to never anger the bubble-driven "confidence fairy." On the fundamentals that affect most people, the house blew down long ago.

liam , June 20, 2018 at 10:01 am

What's amazing, is that right at the time when being part of a large trading block would seem to be an imperative and not just an advantage, Britain decides to leave the EU. Even the very timing is wrong.

Left in Wisconsin , June 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Much as I would like one, I am quite confident there will not be a global trade war. Trump has no long game and in any event no stomach for taking on the entire U.S. business class. There will negotiations, flip-flops, photo-ops, some marginal claimed "wins," no real change, and on to 2020.

Jim Haygood , June 20, 2018 at 8:42 am

'Basically, a global trade war would not have a giant impact on global GDP -- perhaps 2-3 percent assuming tariffs on everything in the neighborhood of 30 percent.'

Kurgman seems to assume that the radical adjustment to supply chains is nearly frictionless. But it's not. Vast capital investment will be needed, at a time when corporations are already highly leveraged by piling up debt to buy back shares.

A trade war is just the pin we need to pop Bubble III and send it crashing to earth like the Hindenburg -- oh the humanity!

It's a heavy price to pay, just to turf out Herbert Hoover Trump after one term and highlight Peter Rabbit Navarro as the PhD Econ know nothing who wrecked the global economy. Even the benighted Kurgman sees that Navarro is a total charlatan.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 20, 2018 at 9:51 am

Is it the trade war (this week) or raising rates (last week) that will actually be the pin we need to pop Bubble III?

jsn , June 20, 2018 at 11:07 am

It has been interesting for the last few years watching the pigs cotillion that passes for a "western elite" pull pin after pin after pin on what have been assumed to be grenades thus far without any detonation.

Jim Haygood , June 20, 2018 at 11:50 am

Though we'll never know for sure, the Fed's bond dumping is a financial pin, while trade wars are a confidence smasher.

Once a stampede starts, it acquires a momentum of its own: you're obliged to run, not because you were scared, but because a thundering herd is coming at you.

PlutoniumKun , June 20, 2018 at 7:23 am

I'd agree very much with this, Clive. I would add that this sort of delusion seems largely restricted to major powers who haven't suffered a major loss (or at least not one that couldn't be quietly forgotten) in a century or so. Those of us who live in smaller countries always know that true absolute 'sovereignty' in the real world is a chimera. What matters is what areas you maintain control, and which ones you let go – and its always better to let some go than have them ripped from your hands. And those countries who have suffered humiliations in the recent past (Germany, France, China, Japan) have fewer delusions about the dangers of arrogance and powerplay, although the French in particular are prone to forget.

The Rev Kev , June 20, 2018 at 5:31 am

An overly dynamic situation is one thing so long as it does not end up in a 'kinetic' situation. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Trump's threats against China are a gamble but will have to explain it a bit. For about two decades after the collapse of the USSR we lived in a unipolar world with the axis located in Washington DC. You had people like McCain, Rubio, Navarro, Lighthizer and Graham working through their careers in this 'golden age' but those times are now definitely over. The world is once more reverting to its normal state of a multipolar world and people like the aforementioned people cannot tolerate this.
To push back against this reversion, they have been trying on a wide front to use American military and economic power to make countries bend to their will. Threatening allies if they purchase Russian weapons, blackmailing the EU to abandon Iran in preparation for a cruel embargo, threatening Turkey by withholding sales of the F35 fighter, etc. have all been tried. For several reasons, this approach is not working so well anymore. So at this point, after wrestling some time with countries like Russia and Iran, the US has decided that they need to attack the center of gravity in this new multipolar world and that means China.
The US demanded that China reconfigure their entire economy to enable US corporations to have more power and say in China while demanding that China curtail their advancing their technological development program. China balked at this but did offer compromises to no effect. With the lunatic policy of pushing China and Russia together, a massive political and economic federation is slowly forming on the mass of lands from Vladivosok all the way through to Europe. If that happens, then the US definitely becomes a second rate power. The clock is ticking on this development hence the attempt to cower China which is the linchpin for this.
Trump has been convinced that the US holds the upper hand and decided on a gamble, a doubling down if you will, so that a decisive victory will be achieved on the cusp of the 2018 US midterm elections. The trouble with all this is that the US is hemorrhaging both soft and hard power and is in a weaker position now. There is more and more countries seeking to bypass use of the US dollar as being too dangerous to use for some countries and working with an American company and buying America products is also being seen as risky. An example is when the US forbid Airbus selling its own aircraft to Iran due to the presence of US parts. I am willing to bet that a lot of other companies sat up and took notice of this. So now for Trump he is going all in to try to overturn these developments but as we say in Australia, he has two chances – his and Buckleys

liam , June 20, 2018 at 7:22 am

They do seem to be caught in something of a chinese finger puzzle alright. Everything they do seems to make their opponents stronger in some fashion or another. As per PK above, I wonder if Trump is not, unwittingly, doing the Chinese a favour?

False Solace , June 20, 2018 at 1:07 pm

There's a reason historical trade routes followed the Silk Road, a reason horsemen swept out of the Mongolian plains to conquer the world time and again. The axis of human trade runs through Europe/Asia. It has never run through North America and never will. The US can't be the axis of the world because it quite simply isn't located in the right place along the right population vectors. This is a fact the US military is well aware of. If the US tries to maintain its position in the long run it will fail. That's just the way it is, and the sooner US stops propagandizing its own citizens to the contrary, the better.

Steve H , June 20, 2018 at 7:23 am

Gen. Qiao Liang: " One Belt, One Road "

Louis Fyne , June 20, 2018 at 8:02 am

to throw out an unconventional thought: if you're an environmentalist/anti-climate change, you should want a trade war. I guess per the media and Democratic pundits it's: Reduce, reuse, recycle–Unless your goals align with a Trump policy on a discrete issue. you should want to stop the government-subsidized 5/10,000-mile supply chain. Government-subsidized as in: favorable taxation for fuel oil, government subsidized port facilities/roads, lax emissions regulations, lax labor laws, etc.

el_tel , June 20, 2018 at 9:11 am

to throw out an unconventional thought: if you're an environmentalist/anti-climate change, you should want a trade war

That thought occurred to me too. Of course this is one of those situations in which the supply conditions support this but the demands of the population ? Nasty situation ..People are going to have to learn (maybe the hard way via the oft-quoted "war-like BREXIT economy on here") that lots of foodstuffs currently grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are simply going to become unavailable. A 2-5 degree increase in average temperature in many of the countries there – particularly those with high humidity – means that unless they have a LOT of energy to air condition people for large parts of the day, then human life will be impossible – the body can't sweat enough to eliminate excess body heat if not cooled and death is inevitable. Nasty times ahead for lots of countries in the "middle" of the planet ..and besides the (obviously) huge human cost to them, the days of producing nice vegetables out of season for us at higher latitudes will soon be over.

cnchal , June 20, 2018 at 8:12 am

But the US has eliminated the supervisor and middle managers that once ran operations like these. If we were to seek to build some areas of manufacturing, the US would have to engage in industrial policy, which is something we do now, but only by default, with the defense industry, financial services , health care, housing, and higher education among the favored sectors. So given our political constraints, it's hard to see how we get there from here.

Perhaps, Trump is using the method of obliquity to get what is important to the powers that be, the fraudsters of Wall Street.

For instance, three nano seconds after the billionaire's tax cut was passed his top economic advisor, Gary Cohn resigned , and the reason given was his opposition to the direction trade policy was going, but really, who is dumb enough to believe that?

Quoting Trump:

"Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again," Trump said in a statement to Times. "He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people."

Substitute "billionaire class" for "American people" to get closer to the truth. Gary is a venal mercenary that went to Washington to get a jawb done.

Two of the "demands" by the US when it comes to "trade" is that intellectual property be respected and that US "companies" operating in China be permitted to do so without the requirement to form partnerships with Chinese (CCP offshoots really) companies, and to get there, my cynical self suspects that all peasants are nothing more than cannon fodder in this trade war so that the fraudsters of Wall Street can go into China unfettered and loot the Chinese as much as they have looted Americans, and without sharing a cut with Chinese "partners".

a different chris , June 20, 2018 at 9:19 am

Sadly, the Europeans are key to preventing this. Only they have the purchasing power to offload China's current surplus, and eventually proceed to an even trade relationship as the other terminus of the Belt.

I say sadly because they are the wimps of all time, and they will simply not let go of Mother America's apron strings. So at least for my lifetime (another 20-30 years I'm expecting) things aren't going to change -- well, they will actually get worse for the 90% in the US as well as everywhere else, but the overall state-level power dynamics will remain.

Funny also because the F35 sucks, you can barely tell where they detonated the MOAB, Elon Musk is building strange, badly-thought out tunnels, our military is just tired, tired tired . yet still everybody cowers. What are they afraid of?

EoH , June 20, 2018 at 10:10 am

You make a good point in deriding Trump's vacillating positions as not a policy. (For comparison, Kirstjen Nielsen's consistent behavior in having her dept. separate would be immigrant adults from children – without tracking who belongs to whom – is a policy.)

Trump's focus on domestic jobs would be an excellent, indeed, a necessary policy. Successful economic competitors in Asia and Europe do exactly that. For Trump, however, it's not a policy, it's a talking point.

As you say, American mythology is that it has no industrial policy. The reality is that it has one, but it's written, implemented and policed by the private sector. It does not want government to make a priority of domestic employment because it has largely abandoned the idea as impossibly unprofitable.

In that, Elon Musk's reduction of at least 9% of his manufacturing workforce is the standard antediluvian response to management's inability to meet its self-imposed objectives. He has decided, all evidence to the contrary, that his line workers and the processes they are implementing are adequate to meet his objectives. They just need someone to crack the whip a tad harder.

But which jobs is Musk cutting? Largely middle management supervisors and technical staff. These are the people with manufacturing know-how, the very people most likely to fix Musk's manufacturing-cum-quality process defects.

Musk is throwing out the people who could most help him meet his objectives. Adopting policies to which Detroit has long been addicted will produce the consequences they always have before.

bronco , June 20, 2018 at 10:11 am

Krugman is not to be taken seriously on anything. He may actually know economic theory but he sold out so long ago that anything he writes I dismiss out of hand as propaganda . I don't think he even has the potential to be stopped clock right about anything . Every column is econo-babble designed to support whatever message his handlers need put out there. I think of him as the Baghdad Bob of the economics bloggers.

As far as trade wars go I say bring it on. We have gotten so soft here in the US that everyone seems to walk around wringing their hands and moaning all the time. My parents grew up during WW2 they had ration coupons and no passenger cars , no gasoline , full on recycling of everything. I'd like to see some belt tightening of that sort in the here and now. I grew up in the 70's I remember the energy crisis clearly, and people under 45 or 40 maybe literally have no clue what it means to have limitations on basic necessities , not I can't afford the new Iphone but that it just can't be bought period.

Where ever one is in the golbal warming spectrum or the environmental spectrum personally , we just can not go on the way we are . We need to put pressure on people to think about how they live and how they spend and what our government is doing in our name.

Synoia , June 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm

and what our government is doing in our name.

many, many thing of which I do not approve, and wish to have no part of. However, in some manner I feel responsible as this is a democracy, and I should have some influence (minuscule as it is).

Isotope_C14 , June 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm

The US is an oligarchy, even Princeton academics agree. Part of the way to end that problem, is seize control back from the tyrants. My suggestion is to join the poor people's campaign, and do whatever you can do for them, whether it is protest, make signs, or send small donations.

Don't let the oligarchs make you believe that what they do is in your name. It is not, and the only way to stop them is to make them fear the population.

Elections won't do it – not as long as black-box voting machines and interstate cross-check ensure that the poor voice is as quiet as possible.

bronco , June 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm

I have felt for a long time that our consumption based economy is a way to keep people so self absorbed that they don't ask too many questions .

WHEEE I got a new Iphone , instead of why are we bombing these people. Looking back I was a happier person when I had less possessions. I don't know when the cut off point was though. I mean as a young man I did without and wanted things and then there was a period of fuzziness and now my house is full of shit that I don't even care about.

I can remember waiting in line at a gas pump with my dad so we could go to nantasket beach. I didn't mind waiting in a hot car for an hour because I was excited to go. Now you see a family out in a car everyone has their device and do they even care where they are going?

In a world of plenty everything seems cheap and tawdry . Bring on the trade war , lets see people start to do without and then realize the garbage they can't get isn't even important.

False Solace , June 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

> One advantage of this tactic for Xi is that this time the numbers are on his side, as U.S. investment in China is far larger than the reverse.

That's a really weird definition of the word "advantage". The factories and plants US companies built in China employ Chinese workers and consist of infrastructure that exists in China. If China cracks down on those plants it's basically punching itself in the face. Share prices for those US companies would fall, but as a working class American I honestly DGAF.

cbu , June 20, 2018 at 2:54 pm

The American companies get far more revenue from their Chinese operations than their Chinese workers can get from their salaries. So China's retaliation will disproportionately affect the revenue of these companies instead of the income of their Chinese workers.

David in Santa Cruz , June 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

As tempting as it is to attribute this to personality failings, I don't believe that Mr. Trump's China tantrum is geopolitical one-upmanship. It is more likely a reaction to the annual Industrial Capabilities Report released on May 17 by the Pentagon's Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, in parallel to a similar review being conducted internally by the White House.

The Pentagon has concluded that two decades of financially-engineered corporate concentration and out-sourcing of skilled work to China has stripped the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex of its "organic industrial base." It appears evident that the White House has decided that tariff barriers on China are the only way to rebuild a population of of "qualified workers to meet current demands as well as needing to integrate a younger workforce with the 'right skills, aptitude, experience, and interest to step into the jobs vacated by senior-level engineers and skilled technicians' as they exit the workforce."

In short, the U.S. MIC is running out of bombs. https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/05/22/americas-industrial-base-is-at-risk-and-the-military-may-feel-the-consequences/

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 20, 2018 at 2:46 pm

It's good to have an 'organic industrial base.' And Chins is well aware of the Japanese Judo, which advocates using someone's energy to do the work for you. Here, workers in the US can take advantage of the energy of the MIC to achieve the goal of making American manufacturing and employment great again.

Synoia , June 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Form the headline:

Mr. Market is anxious. Anxious is well short of panicked.

When was "the market" not anxious? It appears to me that fear, anxiety, is paramount. They, the market participants, are anxious where they are making money, they are anxious when not making money, they are anxious when they have money, and they are anxious when they don't have money.

Fiddler Hill , June 20, 2018 at 2:19 pm

I find myself confused and in a quandary. Is it not neoliberalism and global trade that over the past 25 years or so has led to corporate mega-wealth and the beginning of the end of the US middle class, and the further impoverishment of the working class? If so, then as a good progressive, should I not welcome a trade war or whatever economic change will end this global economic tyranny? Is the skepticism or outright opposition to a trade war of so many progressives simply based on the fact taht t's being initiated by the colossal idiot in the White House who may inadvertently be doing something beneficial?

[Jun 21, 2018] No one believes the bloody presstitutes anymore!

Notable quotes:
"... Fact is that the Guardian and the Telegraph are full of anti-Russian propaganda. There is no piece in them about Russia or Putin that does not include snide and fear mongering or repeats long refuted claims about this or that incident for which Russia is claimed to be responsible. The military industrial complex gave order to condemn Russia and the "western" main stream media follow through. ..."
"... But don't pity them. They made their choice, and are well rewarded for their services. With respect, I would rather despise them. ..."
"... And Shaun is trying to sneak out: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/20/police-england-fans-russia-nazi-salute-world-cup ..."
"... I can't prove Shaun Walker and Luke Harding are MI5 operatives but I feel it in my gut. ..."
"... Shawn Wanker personally witnessed Russian AFVs invading Ukraine when he was 1) too far away from the border to see them 2) had amazingly forgotten to bring his smart phone so he could take a geolocated photo. So his credibility is low. As in lower than snake shit. ..."
"... What a tangled web the west has woven for itself through its deceits. How these presstitutes had to work through the night, and sweat the details, to try to patch the holes in the sinking ship - while those who were part of the truth of discovering the reality of Russia slept soundly, and probably with a great beer buzz, and the ring of real people in their ears. ..."
Jun 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Guardian's Moscow Bureau Chief joined in and also retweets the Walker claim spreading it further and further:

Andrew Roth @Andrew__Roth - 14:37 UTC - 19 Jun 2018

Andrew Roth Retweeted Shaun Walker
Absurd the responses to this incident that multiple correspondents saw. And their point is that it was an outlier in what sounded like a fine night at the football. Context is all here, should they ignore it instead?

If two British scribes say they heard something, which each describes differently, then it must be true. "Evidence? We don't report with evidence. Trust us."

This morning a Russian blogger posted some evidence (machine translated from Russian):

Borisenko @amdn_blog - 7:58 UTC - 20 Jun 2018

Remember yesterday there was a lot of talk about the English journalist who wrote about the alleged Russians who sang Nazi songs in a bar in Volgograd? They found them. But they were not Russian, but... British. Actually, for that, it's e... Lo must be beaten. This is Volgograd! Stalingrad!

The attached a video shows three drunk British blokes in an 'Irish' pub where the menu is written in Cyrillic letters and World Cup flags hang from the ceiling. The blokes sing a line about putting someone to Auschwitz, give the Hitler salute and shout "Sieg Heil!" The pub where the video was taken seems to be a different one than the Harat's Walker and Luhn visited. But the point was made.

Fact is that the Guardian and the Telegraph are full of anti-Russian propaganda. There is no piece in them about Russia or Putin that does not include snide and fear mongering or repeats long refuted claims about this or that incident for which Russia is claimed to be responsible. The military industrial complex gave order to condemn Russia and the "western" main stream media follow through.

Both of the scribes quoted English fans who lament about the false picture they had when they arrived in Russia. Might that have something to do with the constant stream of russophobe trash the British media provides? Should a British correspondent in Russia take some time to reflect upon that?

But the two scribes go off to have lots of beer to then send spurious, late-night, anti-Russian claims to their 100,000 followers without providing any evidence. Then they lament about being called out for that.

They are mediocre propagandists who's words no one trusts or believes. One must truly pity these guys.

Posted by b on June 20, 2018 at 04:14 PM | Permalink

FHTEX | Jun 20, 2018 7:20:21 PM | 11

Pity these guys? Not really. Remember, they are not journalists. They are propagandist, hired mouthpieces. They say what they are scripted to say by their corporate bosses, it doesn't matter how absurd, the point is to just hammer and hammer and hammer away and mold public opinion via brute force. The old Soviet Union had more subtle liars.

But don't pity them. They made their choice, and are well rewarded for their services. With respect, I would rather despise them.

Vitor Vieira , Jun 20, 2018 7:43:08 PM | 16

And Shaun is trying to sneak out: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/20/police-england-fans-russia-nazi-salute-world-cup
PhilK , Jun 20, 2018 8:00:26 PM | 17
RT's coverage of the Nazis:

England fans give Nazi salutes, sing Hitler song in World Cup city invaded during WWII (VIDEO)

Lochearn , Jun 20, 2018 8:11:39 PM | 19
I can't prove Shaun Walker and Luke Harding are MI5 operatives but I feel it in my gut. I got banned from the Guardian for contrasting Walker's article on the supposedly insanely loud, strident music in hotels at the Sochi Olympics with a real journalist who said the music was quiet and varied between classical and soft pop.

Most people are reading the sports journalists, thankfully, and watching them...

Mischi , Jun 20, 2018 8:17:25 PM | 20
@Peter 2 - I was going to write the same thing about Shaun Walker. He tried to start a war singlehandedly. I am amazed he still has a job!
PhilK , Jun 20, 2018 8:54:03 PM | 21
@20 I am amazed he still has a job!

Trying to start a war IS his job.

Bart Hansen , Jun 20, 2018 9:04:03 PM | 22
Every day the NYT has one or two op-ed pieces critical of Putin/Russia. Today it was by Alexey Kovalev, and titled "The World Cup Is Fun. Except for the Russians Being Tortured." I'm still waiting for a mention that the host team scored 8 goals in their two matches.
Patrick Armstrong , Jun 20, 2018 9:12:16 PM | 24
Shawn Wanker personally witnessed Russian AFVs invading Ukraine when he was 1) too far away from the border to see them 2) had amazingly forgotten to bring his smart phone so he could take a geolocated photo. So his credibility is low. As in lower than snake shit.
Den Lille Abe , Jun 20, 2018 9:34:59 PM | 25
Aaaaaaaaaand in the meantime, people around the world are are amazed at the beautiful stadiums, the fantastic atmosphere, the great welcome from local people who ar suddenly "invaded", they wonder at the well functioning machine behind it all, the wonder at the tight security and safety of spectators and sport stars.

Congratulations Russia and Russian people, well done! You are doing this exceptionally well. The World Cup, will be billions of dollars worth in positive reviews.

Great to see that Brit fans laid a wreath at the memorial. Shows May and Johnson are not connected to the public,

Jen , Jun 20, 2018 11:04:49 PM | 31
Seeing that the homophobia and racism claims are not sticking well in their relentless anti-Russian narrative, the MSM has dug up the case of the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov who is currently on hunger strike while in jail in Labytnangi, in northern Siberia, for planning to carry out terrorist acts on public infrastructure and a statue in Crimea and to set fire to government office buildings in Simferopol in 2014, and is flaying it for all it's worth.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/ukrainian-film-director-on-hunger-strike-in-a-russian-prison-casts-dark-cloud-over-world-cup-20180620-p4zmmr.html
Grieved , Jun 20, 2018 11:28:38 PM | 32
The sports writers are the truth, while the established anchors are the party line. It was never any different.

We forget the upside. We forget how much energy it takes to keep a lie believable. We forget how the west has to strain against incredulity itself in order to counter the random and unschooled manifestations of the truth.

What a tangled web the west has woven for itself through its deceits. How these presstitutes had to work through the night, and sweat the details, to try to patch the holes in the sinking ship - while those who were part of the truth of discovering the reality of Russia slept soundly, and probably with a great beer buzz, and the ring of real people in their ears.

We have to do something, but we don't have to do everything, in order to counter the lies of the liars. The universe itself - the very nature of reality - abhors untruth, and causes the truth to show the shallowness of lies on countless, unscripted occasions.

And these occasions are usually a party. A celebration by ordinary people, joining in common understanding.

What the rulers most fear.

Because all it takes is a small consensus of 10-15 percent of any population and you have an activist force. They know this. Minions like the presstitutes mentioned here probably don't understand this in words, but in their bowels they know.

[Jun 20, 2018] FBI Agent Strzok Was Escorted Out Of FBI Building

Jun 20, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI Agent Strzok Was Escorted Out Of FBI Building

by Tyler Durden Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:53 454 SHARES

In the aftermath of the publication of the Inspector General's report on FBI abuse, if there was one thing that was made abundantly clear, it was that FBI special agent Peter Strzok - who was in charge of the Clinton email investigation and then probed Trump for "Russian collusion" while texting his lover Lisa Page that "we'll stop" Trump from becoming president - was acting out of pure, political bias and anger at Clinton's loss. It was certainly not lost on Trump, who made his feelings on the subject abundantly clear on twitter:

And while Lisa Page had the wits to quit shortly before the publication of the OIG report, Strzok did not and in fact was still employed at the time of the report's publication last Thursday. But maybe not much longer because as CNN first reported , Strzok was escorted out of the FBI building on Friday, even though he is still technically employed and, as we reported some time ago, he has been stationed in Human Resources since dismissal from Mueller team.

me title=

Shortly after the report, Strzok's attorney confirmed the report saying that Strzok was escorted from the building amid an internal review of his conduct.

"Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks," his attorney Aitan Goelman said in a statement.

It gets better : in the layer letter, attorney Goelman writes that "Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks."

But wait, it gets even better , because in the very next line Strzok's attorney complains about the " impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence ." Yes, this coming from the "impartial" and "unbiased" FBI agent who led a failed coup against the president, vowing to "stop" Trump , an act which in another time would have much more serious consequences than simple termination and being expelled from the FBI.

And speaking of that, the lawyer next complained that "instead of publicly calling for a long-serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure." We are confident that everyone will be very interested in watching the "impartial" disciplinary process play out fully in the coming months.

Goelman's conclusion: "Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings." It was not clear how Pete could not have complied with being escorted from the building but we'll leave it at that.

While Strzok's career at the FBI now finally appears over (with possible disciplinary consequences to follow), many questions remain including some revelations made later in day by the Inspector General Horowitz, who during a hearing on Tuesday said that he's no longer convinced the FBI was collecting all of Strzok's and Page's text messages even outside the 5-month blackout period when it archived none of the texts due to a technical "glitch", which means a number of other Strzok responses to Page likely missing.

me title=

Most importantly however, Horowitz ended an MSM talking point, clarifying that "we did NOT find no bias in regard to the October 2016 events." Strzok's choice to make pursuing the Russia espionage case a bigger priority than reopening the Clinton espionage case suggested "that was a BIASED decision." In other words, as we noted last week, Strzok was clearly biased in his pursuit of Trump and dismissal of Clinton: a perversion of the entire FBI process.

me title=

There were were serious "hot takes" as well, including this one:

me title=

To all this, all we can add is that while there is still zero evidence that Trump "colluded" with Russian, Strzok's expulsion from the FBI building is sufficient

Twee Surgeon -> rbg81 Tue, 06/19/2018 - 20:39 Permalink

"Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure ."

Get a good Lawyer and they can build a friendly face on Sedition ?

Now it's 'Pete', the friendly down home guy that used his position to try to Nobble an Election and a Government ?

He will be in magazines doing a BBQ with crippled children from the orphanage next. Pictures by the pool with a Cripple.

Pete, St Pete, is his Lawyer joking or something ? This guy has made himself an historical figure in future American history, if their is any. Unfuckingbeleivable to be honest. Fuck me! The people in the Goobermint can't possibly be this Stupid, can they ?

Offthebeach -> The_Juggernaut Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:10 Permalink

Hey, he was just THE HEAD OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE. Not just "a agent", the head, chief domestic spy. And, as if he shouldn't be busy enough, what with those people who we will never know their true motives, stabbing, running over, pressure cooker bombing, van truck and car bombing, mowing down fags. ...nope he's got time to text like a ADD 14 year old girl...AND...heroically investigate the Secretary of State, Presidential Cannidacandidate te. Himself investigate. Yup, The big guy, corner office, G5 Gulfstream on call 24/7, body guards. He stoops to does the leg work. Yup. Superman. If only Hoover was alive. Oh, oh( I close fist punch my forehesd. Twice ) He has time to investigate DJT too! O-M-(fkn) God!Where do we get some men? Head of counterintel. Texting like a Jap schoolgirl on meth, clears Hillary of Rose Law firm, and finds Russians in Trumps tighty whiteys.

[Jun 19, 2018] How The Last Superpower Was Unchained by Tom Engelhardt

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits. ..."
"... This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained." ..."
"... In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows"). ..."
"... The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels. ..."
Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Engelhardt via The Asia Times,

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren't so grim.

If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. "The Americans and South Koreans," wrote reporter Motoko Rich, "want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country's resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens' economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive."

Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that's before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that's still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

"Clueless" is not a word Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a government. Yet how applicable it is.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there's another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn't be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don't have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist's couch, this might be the place to start.

America contained

In a way, it's the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – "empire," always "empires." Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.

This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two "superpowers," the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.

Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire , which it worked assiduously to " contain " behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.

However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.

This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained."

In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows").

The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.

That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn't triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.

America uncontained

Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, " the end of history ." Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call "the last superpower," the " indispensable " nation, the " exceptional " state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn't all-American any more).

In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the "last superpower" at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a "peace dividend" – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country's citizens).

Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington's attic. Instead, with only a few rickety "rogue" states left to deal with – like gulp North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.

Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.

And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world's greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).

In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn't gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.

Unchaining the indispensable nation

On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.

William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.

To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that " Pearl Harbor of the 21st century ," it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, "Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not."

Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be "at war," and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have "terror networks" of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration's potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.

In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.

There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush's top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.

In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.

And this wasn't to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration's "unilateralism" rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration's National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to "build and maintain" a military, in the phrase of the moment, " beyond challenge ."

They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be "shocked and awed" by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known."

Though there was much talk at the time about the "liberation" of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet's lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a "conservative" one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.

It was radical in ways that should have, but didn't, take the American public's breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.

Shock and awe for the last superpower

Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.

It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.

But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.

Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn't cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?

Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of " infinite war " and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed states , destroyed cities , displaced people , and right-wing "populist" governments, including the one in Washington?

Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?

Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down . Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.

The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America's rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.

Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America's political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.

The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.

Whether you're talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of "regime change" on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that's likely to prove to be.

All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush's boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump's America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.

[Jun 19, 2018] Study Confirms Most Psychopaths Live in Washington DC by Joe Jarvis

Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

Murphy also included the District of Columbia in his research, and found it had a psychopathy level far higher than any other state. But this finding is an outlier, as Murphy notes, as it's an entirely urban area and cannot be fairly compared with larger, more geographically diverse, US states. That said, as Murphy notes, "The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere."

Surprised? I didn't think so. But still, fun to get some scientific confirmation.

Psychos are drawn to power . It is not just that power corrupts, it is that already corrupt people seek power . Government is the best industry to be in for someone with no morals.

The study is called Psychopathy By State , conducted by Ryan Murphy . He surveyed samples from the lower 48 states and Washington D.C. to find the prevalence of personality traits which correspond to psychopathy.

The personality traits generally corresponding to psychopathy are low neuroticism, high extraversion, low agreeableness, and low conscientiousness.

Of course, D.C. came in first by far. But as he notes, that this is not exactly a fair comparison, as it is a city being compared to entire states. The study finds that urban areas, in general, correspond to more psychopathic personality traits.

Another interesting finding is that a higher concentration of lawyers predicts higher psychopathy prevalence. I kid you not.

So removing D.C. can you guess which states come in the top three? I bet you can.

  1. Connecticut
  2. California
  3. New Jersey

New York ties for the fourth highest concentration of psychopaths among U.S. states. Interestingly, it ties with Wyoming which I would not have expected. But the author notes there was a relatively small sample surveyed from Wyoming.

The least psychopathic states are :

  1. West Virginia
  2. Vermont
  3. Tennessee
  4. North Carolina
  5. New Mexico

And it should not be surprising that the main correlation was that state with the lowest percentage of people living in urban areas also had the lowest concentration of psychopaths.

Perhaps psychopaths need to be around more victims, or constantly switch out their friends and acquaintances as they become wise to their antisocial behaviors. Note that antisocial does not mean loner, it means lacking empathy, remorse, and behaving in a manipulative way that hurts others .

It is possible that psychopaths are more easily recognized and ostracized in smaller communities and rural settings. Since humans could speak, gossip has been a regulator of social behavior . This has its benefits and detriments of course.

But to be clear, the paper is not so much identifying where all the psychopaths live, as much as identifying general population traits which correspond to psychopathy.

This certainly leads to a higher frequency of psychiatrically identifiable true psychopaths. But it also means that a large percentage of the population behaves in a somewhat psychopathic manner.

While a very small percentage of individuals in any given state may actually be true psychopaths, the level of psychopathy present, on average, within an aggregate population (i.e., not simply the low percentages of psychopaths) is a distinct research question. While empirical operationalizations of psychopathy frequently treat it as a binary categorization, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (Hare 1991) treats it as a spectrum. The operationalization of psychopathy found here is consistent with psychopathy as thought of as a spectrum.

The study concludes:

Areas of the United States that are measured to be most psychopathic are those in the Northeast and other similarly populated regions. The least psychopathic are predominantly rural areas. The District of Columbia is measured to be far more psychopathic than any individual state in the country, a fact that can be readily explained either by its very high population density or by the type of person who may be drawn [to] a literal seat of power (as in Murphy 2016).

Hailing originally from Massachusetts, I can attest to the highest corresponding personality trait being "Temperamental & Uninhibited." Where did you think the term Masshole came from.

If you aren't a psychopath when you enter the state, you soon become one from the traffic alone. And I wonder if just being in such close proximity to people makes it a necessary adaptation to care a little less about how your actions affect others.

There are just too many variables, so you become numb to the plight of others, and just need to get the hell out of this traffic jam before I go insane!

But if you feel held captive among psychopaths, maybe it is time to start on your two-year plan to free yourself.

You don't have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It's not as hard as you think

Identify. Plan. Execute .

Yes, deliver THE DAILY BELL to my inbox!

[Jun 18, 2018] Second FBI Informant Tried To Entrap Trump Campaign With $2 Million Offer For Hillary Dirt Roger Stone Zero Hedge

Jun 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say that a meeting Stone took in late May, 2016 with a Russian appears to have been an " FBI sting operation " in hindsight, following bombshell reports in May that the DOJ/FBI used a longtime FBI/CIA asset, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, to perform espionage on the Trump campaign.

When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said.

The meeting went nowhere - ending after Stone told Greenberg " You don't understand Donald Trump... He doesn't pay for anything ." The Post independently confirmed this account with Greenberg.

Aftter the meeting, Stone received a text message from Caputo - a Trump campaign communications official who arranged the meeting after Greenberg approached Caputo's Russian-immigrant business partner.

" How crazy is the Russian? " Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted "big" money, Stone replied: "waste of time." - WaPo

Stone and Caputo now think the meeting was an FBI attempt to entrap the Trump administration - showing the Post evidence that Greenberg, who sometimes used the name Henry Oknyansky, " had provided information to the FBI for 17 years, " based on a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status.

He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a "significant public benefit."

Between 2008 and 2012, the records show, he repeatedly was extended permission to enter the United States under a so-called "significant public benefit parole." The documents list an FBI agent as a contact person. The agent declined to comment.

Greenberg did not respond to questions about his use of multiple names but said in a text that he had worked for the "federal government" for 17 years.

"I risked my life and put myself in danger to do so, as you can imagine," he said. - WaPo

"Wherever I was, from Iran to North Korea, I always send information to" the FBI, Greenberg told The Post . " I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger . Based on my information, there is so many arrests criminal from drugs and human trafficking, money laundering and insurance frauds ."

Stone and Caputo say it was a "sting operation" by the FBI:

" I didn't realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now ," said Stone.

"If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you," Caputo said in an interview.

Greenberg told WaPo he stopped working with the FBI "sometime after 2013."

In terms of the timeline , here's where the Greenberg meeting fits in:

April 26, 2016 - Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud allegedly tells Trump campaign aide George Paoadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton

Papadopoulos' statement of offense also detailed his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud at a London hotel. Over breakfast Mifsud told Papadopoulos "he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian governmental officials." Mifsud explained "that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained 'dirt' on then-candidate Clinton." Mifsud told Papadopoulos "the Russians had emails of Clinton." - The Federalist

May 10, 2016 - Papadopoulos tells former Australian Diplomat Alexander Downer during an alleged " drunken barroom admission " that the Russians had information which "could be damaging" to Hillary Clinton.

Late May, 2016 - Stone is approached by Greenberg with the $2 million offer for dirt on Clinton

July 2016 - FBI informant (spy) Stefan Halper meets with Trump campaign aide Carter Page for the first time, which would be one of many encounters.

July 31, 2016 - the FBI officially launches operation Crossfire Hurricane , the code name given to the counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign.

September, 2016 - Halper invites Papadopoulos to London, paying him $3,000 to work on an energy policy paper while wining and dining him at a 200-year-old private London club on September 15.

Foggy memory

Stone and Caputo say they didn't mention the meeting during Congressional testimony because they forgot, chalking it up to unimportant "due diligence." Apparently random offers for political dirt in exchange for millions are so common in D.C. that one tends to forget.

Stone and Caputo said in separate interviews that they also did not disclose the Greenberg meeting during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because they had forgotten about an incident that Stone calls unimportant "due diligence" that would have been "political malpractice" not to explore . - WaPo

While Greenberg and Stone's account of the meeting mostly checked out (after Greenberg initially denied Stone's account), Greenberg said that a Ukrainian friend named "Alexi" who was fired by the Clinton Foundation attended as well, and was the one asking for the money - while Stone said Greenberg came alone to the meeting.

"We really want to help Trump," Stone recalled Greenberg saying during the brief encounter.

Greenberg says he sat at a nearby table while Alexei conducted the meeting. " Alexei talk to Mr. Stone, not me ," he wrote.

The Clinton Founation has denied ever employing anyone with the first name of Alexi.

Caputo's attorney on Friday sent a letter amending his House testimony, and he plans to present Caputo's account of the Greenberg incident to the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice, which has announced it is examining the FBI's use of informants during the Russia probe. Stone said his attorney has done the same. - WaPo

Second FBI informant

Caputo hinted at the interaction in late May when he said that there were multiple government informants who approached the Trump campaign:

"Let me tell you something that I know for a fact," Caputo said during a May 21 interview on Fox News. " This informant, this person [who] they tried to plant into the campaign he's not the only person who came into the campaign . And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came into the campaign."

" I know because they came at me ," Caputo added. " And I'm looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public. This is just the beginning. "

https://www.youtube.com/embed/l8NO1uRTPAY

Stone told the Post that he may be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and charged "with a crime unrelated to the election in order to silence him," and that he anticipates the meeting with Greenberg may be used to try and pressure him to testify against President Trump (leaving no Stone unturned), which he told the Post he would never do.


roadhazard Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Roger Stone has his own problems. Great source for truth and credibility.

Cambridge Analytica folks now working for Trump 2020.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-2020-cambridge-analytica-data-propria-a8402656.html

gregga777 -> roadhazard Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

There were several times during the Roman Empire when the Praetorian Guard murdered the Emperor and then auctioned off the Emperor's position to the highest bidder. We're probably close to that point ourselves where the FBI and CIA just dispense with the pretense and murder the President and auction it off themselves to the highest bidder.

yrad Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

What a wicked web we weave...

NidStyles -> yrad Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:15 Permalink

Indeed, trying to entrap a President.

Ms No Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Greenberg.... another of a long list of coincidences.

[Jun 18, 2018] Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted.

Notable quotes:
"... Then behind the scenes Obama did very little to back up his speeches with actions as he went with the flow. ..."
"... Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted. ..."
Jun 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

John Wright , , June 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

You wrote:

> Unlike Obama who played up his anti-Iraq War vote.

Obama was not in the US Senate at the time to vote.

From https://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/obamas-war-stance-revisited/

"The rally featured a pointed anti-war speech from Obama, then a fairly anonymous state lawmaker, who deemed the impending Iraq engagement 'a dumb war.'"

The political entertainer Obama gave a number of speeches advocating transparency in government, advocating for financial reform and even mentioned "we tortured some folks" decrying torture.

Then behind the scenes Obama did very little to back up his speeches with actions as he went with the flow.

Obama's Illinois anti-war speech served him well, as he could milk this "anti-war" stance for years while running military actions as President.

Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted.

Bernie Sanders actually DID vote against the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq

[Jun 17, 2018] Is Anti-War Fever Building in the US by Gaius Publius

Notable quotes:
"... It wasn't just bad intelligence, it was consistently purposeful bad intelligence. The consequences have been dire for the world, and our country as well. The Russians in that period never represented a serious military threat even to the continent of Europe, far less the US. ..."
"... You are correct. The forever wars are just one of the ways to bleed the Middle Class dry. The media propaganda and rule by the 10% can't let the suckers know what is really going on. There are always enough men to man the colonial wars but they are unwinnable unless the whole nation is involved. ..."
"... Then behind the scenes Obama did very little to back up his speeches with actions as he went with the flow. ..."
"... Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted. ..."
"... The MSM is waging a propaganda campaign at every level completely obscuring the truth. And the politicians play the fear card at every level. I don't believe any of us is in "happy compliance" at the airport. I for one, grind my teeth and cuss out the crooked corporations (including that bastard "skull" Chertoff who personally benefited from the x-ray screening machines) that reap a bundle of money from the so called screening and invasive body searches. Travel has become something to dread. ..."
"... The officer corps might be an opponent but I think that America has been badly served by them due to how officers are selected & trained and who makes it to the top. The only time they balk is when some idiot in Washington pushes them to fight the Russians or the Chinese. And most people don't really care in any case so long as the US wins. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. ..."
"... It's harder and harder to sell these military actions to the public. What are we in Korea and Japan for? To contain China? If you ask most people, they'll probably tell you that China won, or at very least our bosses are in league with their bosses. ..."
"... The Borg moves without regard to public sentiment, so we have to replace politicians with those who'll bring it to heel. That's a death sentence, but I feel like enough people have the guts to try and make it happen. ..."
"... *sigh* someone please trot out that Goering quote again: To the extent that public opinion matters, public opinion is easy to arrange. ..."
"... I don't mean to suggest that there isn't a solid electoral reason to have nice vague policies, not least because a campaign against foreign wars would be an excellent way for the left to make common cause with some parts of the right, such as the paleoconservatives and isolationists. ..."
"... It did for Russia. There is now an ongoing civil war on its border in Ukraine. NATO went to war with Serbia in the later 1990's. The breakup of the Atlantic Alliance will splinter Europe. Humans being humans. The strong will try to steal from the weak. ..."
"... The old adage that our country rallies around a war president is no longer operative IMHO. In a nation tired of perpetual war, the commander-in-chief would get at best a short-term surge in public approval by opening up a new battle zone, before slipping precipitously in the polls. Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy? ..."
"... Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy? ..."
"... Those are their constituents: beltway bandits, private contractors, public/private partnerships, insurance companies, arms companies, private equity firms, military contractors, and whatever other combinations you want to come up with. ..."
"... I remember when Tim Kaine gleefully suggested that we needed an "intelligence surge" to protect the country. I almost gagged. It was a not so subtle message of "prepare for the handouts to the private military contractor industry". ..."
"... How does positioning 2,000 – 4,000 US troops in Syria fit into your "Trump is a peace-maker" narrative? How about the comment Wednesday that the US will attack Syrian forces if they attack Sunni jihadis (er "moderate rebels") in SW Syria? ..."
"... How about us aiding and abetting a famine in Yemen that could kills tens of thousands? ..."
"... I think you are attributing a sentiment to juliania that her comment does not actually contain. She doesn't say Trump is a peace-maker, she says he was far in front of Bernie in using "anti-war rhetoric as a strategy." The example of Nixon doing the same thing indicates that juliania is well aware that strategic rhetoric and actual decisions are not the same thing. ..."
"... I know a fair number of Trump voters, and my read is similar to juliania's: Trump's anti-war rhetoric was a big draw for a lot of people, and helped many be able to hold their nose and vote for him. Understanding this and commenting on it does not make one a Trump supporter, obviously, or indicate that one puts any credence in his dovish rhetoric. ..."
"... You might be correct and my apologies to juliania if I misread her post. I have heard so much of the "Trump is fighting [the deep state, Wall Street, the neocons]" on other blogs that I am a bit hypersensitive and go off on a rant when I see or perceive that argument. From my perspective, Trump is doing everything in his power to entrench Wall Street, the neocons, etc. ..."
"... The war in Yemen is to secure the Saudi monarchy and our interest in their vast reserves of oil and gas. ..."
"... Are militarism* and democracy compatible? I'm not so sure they are. ..."
"... A lot depends on how you define "democracy", "will of the people" etc.. What the role of "finance" in a context of "capitalism" and "democracy" should be, e.g., citizens united(note orwellian language) may be considered a " reason why they would not be compatible" and even antithetical. ..."
"... America itself is the most destabilizing force on the planet. i would love to see what America leaving the world to its' own devices would look like. Like Weimar/Nazi Germany, nothing good comes from these kind of "American Values." ..."
"... The military is A-ok with Trump and this is what seems to matter. The roar of hysteria from the media over Trump first 2-3 months in office died down considerably when he showed a willingness to engage in a show of force by striking Syria (remember when he was so concerned about the welfare of children?) ..."
"... Only a *faction" of the security establishment is anti-Trump because he is skeptical of *neoliberal* globalism. ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Prez who can't seem to enact *anything* to make lives better for the people who put him in office, is magically able to enact the agenda of the 1%. This repeat of the 1% 's manipulations is one I can do without. ..."
"... Regarding the question posed by this post I think there is very little evidence of an anti-war "fever" and even if there were, and if it were projected into the streets and/or ballot box, I am pessimistic that it could have any effect on the U.S. government of today. I don't think the U.S. government cares what the American people think or feel about anything -- except of course as those cares and feelings affect the mechanisms of control through the propaganda pushed through our media, the levels of surveillance and suppression, and the increased viciousness of our "laws" and their enforcement. ..."
"... I believe the U.S. government is run by several powerful and competing interests. So I think I'll ask a different question -- though in the same vein as that posed by the title of this post. Are those interests who compete with the interests of the MIC and Spook Industrial Complex (SIC) beginning to see the futility and stupidity of our endless wars? ..."
"... "Peaceniks are Kremlin stooges!" It's depressing when you can predict the media's response six months in advance. ..."
Jun 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Is anti-war fever building in the U.S.? One would not think so given all the signs -- apparent public apathy toward multiple military involvements, happy compliance with "security" at the increasingly painful airport, lack of protests and so on.

Yet there are two signs I'd like to put forward as indicating a growing willingness to forgo foreign "entanglements" (undeclared wars), springing either from a weariness with them, a nascent abhorrence of them, or a desire to focus U.S. dollars on U.S. domestic solutions, like the hugely popular Medicare for All . (Click to see just how popular Medicare for All, called "Medicare Buy-In" at the link, is across party lines.)

The first sign is Bernie Sanders, the most popular politician in America and by far its most popular senator, making statements like these in the speech linked and discussed in the video at the top of this piece. For example, at 9:00 in the clip, Sanders says (emphasis his):

SANDERS: In other words, what we have seen in time and time again, disasters occur when administrations, Democrat and Republican, mislead Congress and the American people. And when Congress fails to do its constitutional job in terms of asking the questions of whether or not we should be in a war. And I think we need to ask that very hard question today.

And here is the point that I hope the American people are asking themselves. Is the war on terror, a perpetual, never-ending war, necessary to keep us safe?

I personally believe we have become far too comfortable with the United States engaging in military interventions all over the world. We have now been in Afghanistan for 17 years. We have been in Iraq for 15 years. We are occupying a portion of Syria, and this administration has indicated that it may broaden that mission even more.

We are waging a secretive drone war in at least five countries. Our forces, right now, as we speak, are supporting a Saudi-led war in Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians and has created the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet today.

Talk like this is anathema in our militarized state, comments usually relegated to the fringes of public discourse. For Sanders to say this (and similarly anathemic remarks elsewhere in the speech) certainly denotes a shift, especially since Sanders during the campaign was not considered strong on foreign policy, especially progressive (non-orthodox) foreign policy.

As Jimmy Dore said in reply to the last sentence quoted above, "It's not Syria? Can you [say] "stop the butcher" is the worst? No. Turns out what we're doing is the 'worst humanitarian crisis in the world today,' committing siege warfare in Yemen, which is a war crime. And we're doing it, with Saudi Arabia."

Sanders also says we're "fighting terror" in 76 countries. Let that sink in, as Sanders wishes it to -- we're engaged in military conflict in 76 countries, almost a third of the nations in the world. I'm not sure many in the lay public appreciate the importance, or the likely consequences, of that surprising fact. (For one example of those consequences, consider that foreign wars often come home .)

Elsewhere in the video Dore asks, "Do you see Chuck Shumer saying our wars have had 'dire consequences'?" Sanders, it seems to me, is launching a toe-to-toe battle with what right-wingers have lately been calling the American "deep state" and I've been calling the security establishment.

The second sign comes from Donald Trump during the campaign. This isn't just Sanders going out on a limb -- taking a flier, as it were -- on a deeply unpopular position. Consider how often Donald Trump, the campaign version, made similar statements:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4ThZcq1oJQ

He also famously said this about NATO and its mission:

What I'm saying is NATO is obsolete. NATO is -- is obsolete and it's extremely expensive for the United States, disproportionately so. And we should readjust NATO.

If the U.S. security establishment is working to get rid of Trump, to take him out by whatever means necessary, campaign statements like that would be one of many reasons.

If Americans Could Vote Against the Forever War, Would They Do It?

I recently noted how different the outcomes are when the public indicates policy preferences with their votes versus polling data. DC politicians of both parties ignore polling with impunity. Votes, on the other hand, especially in party primaries, can force change -- witness the Trump nomination and the Sanders (stolen) near-nomination.

In some ways, small but not insignificant, the 2016 election was a test of the anti-war waters, with Trump asking questions about the need and mission of NATO, for example, that haven't been asked in over a generation, and Clinton, the proud choice of the neocon left and right, in strong disagreement .

It's too much or too early to say that Trump's public pullback from U.S. hegemony helped his election, though that's entirely possible. But it's certainly true that his anti-Forever War sentiments did not hurt him in any noticeable way.

I'll go further: If Sanders runs in 2020 and adds anti-war messaging to his program, we'll certainly see the title question tested.


Rob P , June 16, 2018 at 12:56 am

If the U.S. security establishment is working to get rid of Trump, to take him out by whatever means necessary, campaign statements like that would be one of many reasons.

Bernie had better watch his back then. Make sure no one associated with him has any contact with any Russians or Iranians or whatever.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

The "security establishment/Blob" no coubt has already filled its supply chain with anti-Bernie Bernays-caliber ordnance, ready to deploy. I don't doubt that there are plenty of James Earl Rays out there, happy to be the ones who will "rid the Blob of this troublesome politician." Just remember that Bernie has a summer house, and his wife was president of a failed college, and he's a GD Socialist, for Jeebus' sake!

Any stick to beat a dog

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm

There's far less than six degrees of separation between any one person and someone who is Russian or Chinese or Iranian or whatever. Even two degrees of separation is enough for a headline these days.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:56 am

Districts with military casualties correlate to Trump votes. I'd would be nice to see Sanders do a Town Hall on the empire, in six months or so when this speech has time to sink in, in one such district.

hemeantwell , June 16, 2018 at 9:11 am

Yes. Sanders is going to have to pull off a communicative high wire act bridging relatively acceptable criticism of "unnecessary and expensive foreign entanglements" to hinting at the idea that the US citizens have to understand the expansive pressures that flow from capitalism and the MIC. I've appreciated the regular links here to American Conservative and Unz articles. They are valuable reminders that some on the Right aren't in complete denial, at least about the MIC.

One scenario would see a revival of the terms of discussion that briefly saw daylight in at least the late 1940s, when state planners openly linked a "defensive" military posture with a need for markets. It would at least get the cards out on the table and assist in clarifying how world politics isn't just a matter of great and secondary powers inevitably pushing each other around. The idea of Realpolitik is a fundamental and fatal ground of reification.

johnnygl , June 16, 2018 at 10:48 am

Presidential ambitions aside, it would be a good idea to pressure trump's crew that are plotting to attack Iran. Plus, any chance to push back against the awful Dem leadership is also a positive. We need to see more grassroots pushback against that leadership. Sanders is the best around at generating that grassroots pushback.

Pookah Harvey , June 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Bernie makes many salient points on the Military Industrial Complex in a floor speech concerning the Defense Dept. budget bill. I especially like the part where he is trying to add an amendment that would limit the compensation of CEOs of defense contractors to no more than the Secretary of Defense ($205,000). This speech will not make him any friends among the military corporate contractors. (26 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psWHpTJ26lk

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Exactly. NATO is a suicide pact. It's absurd.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm

We are in the world's most favorable geopolitical position. We have the Atlantic to the east, the Pacific to the West, Canada to the North, and Mexico to the South. We have enough nukes to blow up the world many times over. I don't know why we don't don't treat the entire imperial enterprise as a sunk cost and get out, starting with the Middle East (and by get out, I mean cut off all funding, too).

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Strangely, I think we're in a "Trump Peace". Yes, there are still brushfire wars raging, but this just happened:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44507090

The Taliban announced the three-day halt to hostilities earlier this month, days after a unilateral ceasefire lasting until Wednesday was ordered by the government.

It is the Taliban's first ceasefire since the government they ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.

I don't know if it's Trump or it's just coincidence. But peace has broken out in Korea for hte first time in decades, and now peace has broken out in Afghanistan for the first time in decades.

I'm just happy it's happening.

Richard , June 16, 2018 at 2:59 am

You should take a look at The Threat by Andrew Cockburn. Fairly exhaustive detail about how Russian military might was inflated, in the 70s and 80s, in virtually every possible way. From badly coordinated civil defense, to the complete inreadiness of its airforce, to the caste system pervading the army that had reduced morale to almost nothing, the overall picture is pretty stunning, compared to the magnitude of the threat that was presented to the US public.

It wasn't just bad intelligence, it was consistently purposeful bad intelligence. The consequences have been dire for the world, and our country as well. The Russians in that period never represented a serious military threat even to the continent of Europe, far less the US. Nor do they now, spending less than a tenth on their military than the US. The 80 billion dollar incease in the US military budget this year was more than the entire Russian military budget. Meanwhile,our own bases encompass the globe, and we wage war and threaten genocide wherever we choose.

The facts are abundantly clear, that our own military represents by far the greatest threat to human life on this planet.

I want to tell you, that you and I and everyone in this damned country, we are not just the most lied to people in the world. We're arguably the most lied to people in history, at least if you consider the number and frequency of lies. It's a wonder we get anything right at all! I encourage you to read more, and read more widely, and to start at a position of distrust, with any foreign policy reporting that isn't based on first hand knowledge.

I am heartened by the position Bernie is taking, even as I disagree with him on the Russia hysteria and wonder at some of his qualifications like "blunder" to describe out and out imperialism. We need to start somewhere, and why not start with "let the people and the people's representatives decide when we use our military"?

Ashburn , June 16, 2018 at 9:52 am

I know many progressives on the left have questioned Bernie's foreign policy positions and for not going far enough in opposing our imperial wars. Personally, I think Bernie knows exactly how stupid, immoral, illegal, and costly our wars are, especially as it "crowds out spending" on his favored domestic policies. Bernie is also smart enough to know how he would be attacked by our right-wing corporate media and the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex if he were too outspoken. So, he tempers his statements, not just because his domestic agenda is most important to him, but also because he knows attacking our militarized foreign policy will not play well with the working class base he needs to appeal to. Unlike Obama who played up his anti-Iraq War vote, only to expand our wars across the Middle East and Africa (after collecting his Nobel Peace Prize), Bernie is holding his cards closer to the vest.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

> play well with the working class base he needs to appeal to

I think the working class in the flyover states is ready to hear that the endless war needs to end. It's tricky message to convey, because "Are you saying my child died in vain?" But Trump saying Iraq was a strategic blunder went over very well, and military casualties correlate with Trump votes . I think Sanders (or his as-yet-unknown successor) must deliver that message, but it's going to be tricky, if only because it will smash an enormous number of rice bowls in the national security and political classes (which overlap). Maybe we could move all the uniform-worshippers to an island, give them a few billion dollars, and let them play war games among themselves. Cheap at twice the price.

UPDATE I would bet "addiction" would work as a trope in the flyover states; "the war machine is a needle in America's arm" is the concept. Especially because veterans are prone to opioid addiction . Again, the rhetoric would be tricky to avoid blaming victims or "hating the troops," but I think there's good messaging to be found here. (People do horrid things when trapped in addictive systems. That's why they seek cure )

The Heretic , June 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Sanders needs to protect the people who are part of the 95% who work for the military industrial complex. He does this not by raising welfare (which Americans find humiliating), not by only giving extensive retraining benefits, (which in an opportunity starved country like America, will only lead to work stints at an Amazon Warehouse) but by repurposing the capitol and retraining the working people to issues that must be addressed for the future, such as energy sustainability or infrastructure that can resist increasingly severe climate chaos. Furthermore, he must announce and do both simultaneously, probably via an MMT program and raising Taxes on rhe elite 2% and via transaction taxes on all capitol outflow from the USA.

Stopping the war machine, but putting people out of work, will never be acceptable to those who work for the war machine or the friends and family of those people.

VietnamVet , June 16, 2018 at 5:52 pm

You are correct. The forever wars are just one of the ways to bleed the Middle Class dry. The media propaganda and rule by the 10% can't let the suckers know what is really going on. There are always enough men to man the colonial wars but they are unwinnable unless the whole nation is involved.

The Bolshevik Revolution and the Bonus Army were within living memory of WWII leaders. The new global aristocracy has lost all history and doesn't perceive the inevitable consequences of inequality. My personal opinion was that for Marshall and Truman one of the reasons for the use of atomic weapons on Japan was that they did not want millions of combat tested soldiers traveling across the USA by train with the ultimate destination a number of deadly invasions of the Japanese Islands. Each worse than Okinawa. They were afraid of what the soldiers would do. This is also the reason why these Vets got a generous GI Bill.

ArcadiaMommy , June 16, 2018 at 6:52 pm

You reminded me of Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq. She protesteted at the GWB TX compound if you recall and remains an activist to this day. I can't speak for her but it seems to me like she understands that her son should not have died to further this ugly, pointless war.

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com

I can't begin to understand the pain of losing a child, spouse, parent, etc., but I can wrap my head around it enough that I don't want anyone to experience it. And I have no doubt that facing the true causes of the war would make the pain worse. But every time I hear this nonsense about how some poor kid "didn't die in vain" in VietRaq, I want to scream "yes they did! Now what are we going to do to stop it from happening again???".

The tropes of "supporting the troops", yellow ribbons, "they are protecting us", etc. just keeps the propaganda ballon inflated. Here is how I support the troops: I'm against war.

The Heretic , June 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

This reminds me of Forest Gump where some well meaning hippies call Forest Gump a baby killer. The peace activists must refrain from blaming and shaming soldiers as a group; specfic criminals (such as those who committed crimes at my lai) should investigated, shamed and punished, the whistleblowers should be greatly honoured, and soldiers ad a group should be respected and not blamed for going to war, as indeed many do not know the truth for why the war was fought. On the other hand, politicians, lobby groups, and venal media and intelligence agencies should be exorciated for the lies that they believe or spread, as indeed it should be their business to try to discern the truth.

Hence it was very admirable when members of the Mossad leaked out facts that Iran was not pursuing development of the Nuclear bomb, even while Netanyahoo was pursuing a media blitz to justify greater economic and ultimately military aggression against Iran

ArcadiaMommy , June 16, 2018 at 8:06 pm

Who is "blaming and shaming" anyone? I'm saying that I agree with this mother who lost her child that we should be extremely skeptical about the motivation for war of any kind. And the lack of skepticism (expressed or not) impedes any real movement away from war without end.
The Sheehans are real people who lost a son and brother. Forest Gump is just some character from a dumb movie. Good grief.

a different chris , June 17, 2018 at 9:19 am

Think Heretic was fleshing out your thoughts, not disagreeing?

ChrisPacific , June 17, 2018 at 11:22 pm

I think that you can respect the sacrifice and commitment of people who sign up to fight for their country while still criticizing the uses that leaders have chosen to put them to. In fact I think that makes the message stronger: the willingness of our friends, family, children etc. to sign up to fight and die for America places a duty and obligation on our leaders to ensure they are deployed wisely and for the betterment of America and the world. Those leaders – the ones we elected – have failed in that trust, and continue to fail. Our military friends and family haven't let us down – we've let them down, by not holding our government accountable. It's time we changed that!

John Wright , June 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

You wrote:

> Unlike Obama who played up his anti-Iraq War vote.

Obama was not in the US Senate at the time to vote.

From https://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/obamas-war-stance-revisited/

"The rally featured a pointed anti-war speech from Obama, then a fairly anonymous state lawmaker, who deemed the impending Iraq engagement 'a dumb war.'"

The political entertainer Obama gave a number of speeches advocating transparency in government, advocating for financial reform and even mentioned "we tortured some folks" decrying torture.

Then behind the scenes Obama did very little to back up his speeches with actions as he went with the flow.

Obama's Illinois anti-war speech served him well, as he could milk this "anti-war" stance for years while running military actions as President.

Obama had two groups to satisfy, the populace and the elite. The populace got empty words, the elite got what they wanted.

Bernie Sanders actually DID vote against the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq

Montanamaven , June 17, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Obama was not in the Senate until 2005. He could not vote against the Iraq war. He gave a speech in Chicago prior to the war.

Lambert Strether , June 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Sadly, there is no contemporaneous transcript* or recording . I remember the 2008 controversy vividly, because the Obama campaign released a campaign ad that purported to be Obama delivering the Chicago 2002 speech, but it quickly emerged that he had re-recorded it for the campaign (see the link).

This site purports to have a 2002 transcript, but the Wayback machines says the material was first posted in 2007 . So.

Adding, I can't even find a contemporaneous link to Obama's "dumb war" formulation , though with Google's crapification, who knows.

oh , June 16, 2018 at 10:40 am

I think we're more than being lied to. The MSM is waging a propaganda campaign at every level completely obscuring the truth. And the politicians play the fear card at every level. I don't believe any of us is in "happy compliance" at the airport. I for one, grind my teeth and cuss out the crooked corporations (including that bastard "skull" Chertoff who personally benefited from the x-ray screening machines) that reap a bundle of money from the so called screening and invasive body searches. Travel has become something to dread.

marku52 , June 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm

You can tell a lot about a country's intent by the design of the army they assemble. Here is a deep technical description about the new army the Russians are putting together. Hint: it is not designed to attack.

"The decision to create a tank army (armoured corps in Western terminology) is an indication that Russia really does fear attack from the west and is preparing to defend itself against it. In short, Russia has finally come to the conclusion that NATO's aggression means it has to prepare for a big war."

Interesting technical take on the whole thing. Worth a read.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/04/russia-prepares-for-a-big-war-the-significance-of-a-tank-army.html#more

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

That is a very good link, both parts one and two.

Oregoncharles , June 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

The preventive for tank warfare isn't more tanks, it's effective anti-tank weapons, preferably at the foot soldier level.

Those exist; even Hezbollah has them. The disadvantage is that they're relatively cheap, compared to tanks, and much more defensive.

Plenue , June 17, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Well, Russia could probably triumph over the austerity-racked countries of the EU, with the possible exception of France. But it wouldn't be able to hold much for long if it had to occupy anything. And it would take a mauling in the process, a mauling that would be prohibitively expensive to repair. The modern Russian military simply isn't organized in a fashion that is conducive to large scale conquest. It has exactly one fully integrated, combined arms unit suitable for full-scale armored warfrare, the 1st Guards Tank Army, which was reactivated in 2014.

The nightmare visions of armor pouring through the Fulda Gap were basically always delusional. In 2018 they're downright laughable.

Kk , June 16, 2018 at 2:21 am

If the economic crisis of 2007 was the modern Depression then we are about due for a really big war.

The Rev Kev , June 16, 2018 at 3:48 am

I don't think that the US can stop at this point. As an example, the one time the people were asked if they wanted to bomb Syria the answer was a definite 'no' so the next time they never even bothered asking them. There is far too much money, power and prestige at stake too consider stopping.

The officer corps might be an opponent but I think that America has been badly served by them due to how officers are selected & trained and who makes it to the top. The only time they balk is when some idiot in Washington pushes them to fight the Russians or the Chinese. And most people don't really care in any case so long as the US wins. Out of sight, out of mind as they say.

America is more likely to get single-payer health than for the US armed forces to pull back as any suggestion of the later brings charges of being 'unpatriotic'. At least with single-payer health you only get charged with being a 'socialist'. Know a good place to start? The US Special Operations Command has about 70,000 people in it and they want more. The US would be better served by cutting this force in half and giving their jobs back to regular formations.

These are the people that want constant deployments in more and more countries hence cutting them back would be a good idea. I expect things to go along until one day the US armed forces will be sent into a war where they will take casualties not seen since the bad days on 'Nam. Then there will be the devil to pay and him out to lunch.

Pespi , June 16, 2018 at 4:18 am

It's harder and harder to sell these military actions to the public. What are we in Korea and Japan for? To contain China? If you ask most people, they'll probably tell you that China won, or at very least our bosses are in league with their bosses.

The Borg moves without regard to public sentiment, so we have to replace politicians with those who'll bring it to heel. That's a death sentence, but I feel like enough people have the guts to try and make it happen.

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm

*sigh* someone please trot out that Goering quote again: To the extent that public opinion matters, public opinion is easy to arrange.

PlutoniumKun , June 16, 2018 at 5:37 am

One issue I have right now with 'anti-War' is that to be 'anti' is one thing, but to make serious arguments you have to be able to present arguments about what you are actually 'for'. For example, if the US were to suddenly withdraw from the eastern Pacific, the effect could be highly destabilising and could actually increase the chance of war. These are questions that need to be answered.

Just to take one example of I think a positive idea – there is research here which argues that the 'optimum' nuclear deterrent is less than 100 warheads. This is of course a difficult argument to put into political play, but its important I think to put the militarists on the back foot in order to make arguments for withdrawal from empire and peace mainstream.

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 9:18 am

So who is calling for a sudden withdrawal?

Nice strawperson there.

The Rev Kev , June 16, 2018 at 9:35 am

It would be OK so long as it was not premature.

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 9:27 am

I would bet that most people think that being anti-war encompasses the following:

-being for peace
-being for stability
-being for more social spending instead of military spending
-being for fewer civilians being killed
-being for fewer military deaths

Is that enough to meet your ridiculous threshold for 'serious arguments?'

tegnost , June 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

you're being cavalier. PK makes a great point, and your vague and oyerly broad "fors" remind me of many arguments regarding the 2016 election. The democrat side (Brock and CTR et al) couldn't say what they were for outside of abstract bernaysian generalities. If you want to convince people (and I have this difficulty, as do I'm sure most of the readers here, trying to get dems off of the russia russia russia putins bitch train)

You really need to focus on slow walking through complicated and dangerous waters, and just shut up sometimes when certain people are just not going to listen, but if you can get that one cogent, not hysterical argument into the minds of the people you want to convince, then you have a chance to stem the tide. Read some of the fantastic commentary regarding brexit from our european commenters as an example of what works in discourse, and how to puts facts on the ground in a way people can relate to.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm

> You really need to focus on slow walking through complicated and dangerous waters . Read some of the fantastic commentary regarding brexit from our european commenters as an example of what works in discourse, and how to puts facts on the ground in a way people can relate to.

That's a cogent argument. I don't mean to imply in my comments that "getting out" will be easy. ("You must do it, Catullus, you must do it. You must do it whether it can be done or not.")

We might begin by renaming the "Department of Defense" to the "Department of War," just to be truthful, and then ask ourselves what kind of wars we want to fight. And I think most people would be very willing to cross anything that looked like Iraq off the list, followed (it is to be hoped) with a willingness to rethink self-licking ice cream cones as our industrial policy. In a way, the project would have the same feel as my hobbyhorse, gutting the administrative layers of the universities as not central to mission.

PlutoniumKun , June 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Thanks tegnost. I don't mean to suggest that there isn't a solid electoral reason to have nice vague policies, not least because a campaign against foreign wars would be an excellent way for the left to make common cause with some parts of the right, such as the paleoconservatives and isolationists.

The problem as I see it with policies 'against' something is that you end up a little like Five Star in Italy – having gotten into power on opposing everything bad about Italy, they are now facing a 'now what' moment, and are seemingly clueless about what to do. As usual, the right makes the running.

marku52 , June 16, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Yes, exactly, It is not enough to be against something. As HRC found out

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Well, there is this.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/grassroots-anti-war-movement-gaining-traction

Maybe some on this site need to jump in and tell those people to get those white papers out ASAP.

diptherio , June 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

The war-mongers will always find "serious arguments" for why we musn't end the American empire. Their arguments will be nuanced and filled with details that would take the average citizen months, if not years, to verify and analyze. When the best minds in the American empire can fail to forsee the fall of the Soviet Union or the response to their coup on Chavez, why should we put credence in their "serious" analyses?

Meanwhile, the case against war is a simple and easily verifiable. "My son is dead." "My friend came home a broken person." etc. Telling poor Americans that their family members need to keep dying because allowing them to come home would, maybe, make war more likely in a country they've only seen on a map is an argument not likely to find much traction. It is also, in my mind, ethically vapid -- an argument that presses for a guaranteed evil as a means of avoiding a possible evil.

Trying to forsee the outcome of major (or even minor) changes to a system as complex as the American empire is a sucker's game. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely a sucker themselves. In situations of such complexity, the only way forward is the ontological one. All teleology is sheer fantasy. We should act, therefore, not on the basis of what we think will happen as a result of our actions, but rather on the basis of what the just thing to do is. You can't base your actions on ends (as in "the ends justify the means") because the situation is so complex that there is no way to credibly predict the ends that any action might lead to.

IMHO, the ethical policy is to bring 'em home. All of 'em. Let them protect our country, as they've sworn to do. Let us put them to work rebuilding our infrastructure, assisting those who need it, and making the country better than it is, rather than filling it up with more walking wounded from our endless imperial adventuring.

Ape , June 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Did the Soviet withdrawal destabilize eastern Europe? I think this is pseudo-strategizing.

VietnamVet , June 16, 2018 at 8:28 pm

It did for Russia. There is now an ongoing civil war on its border in Ukraine. NATO went to war with Serbia in the later 1990's. The breakup of the Atlantic Alliance will splinter Europe. Humans being humans. The strong will try to steal from the weak.

The question is how to restore the West's middle class. Without a middle class; revolts, religious and ethnic wars will inevitable break out all over. The unrest right now is due to democracy not being compatible with globalization.

Edward , June 16, 2018 at 7:53 am

It was not just Bush who told lies to justify an invasion of Iraq. Members of Congress and the press did as well. Sen. Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee then, would only allow pro-war people to testify to his committee. At the time a lobbyist told me that the leadership of the Democratic party had decided to promote this war. They felt this would remove this issue from the next election, which would then focus on economic issues that would play to their strength.

Carolinian , June 16, 2018 at 9:40 am

Thanks for this. Another reason to break up the MIC is all the money that would be freed up for health care, infrastructure and the country's many other needs. Perhaps Sanders now realizes that the balance in USG priorities needs to be restored and he is making an economic, and not just humanitarian argument.

As for Trump, it's just possible he meant what he said about NATO and all the rest. If one believes his real priorities are his family and business it's hard to see what he gets out of perpetual war. That's more Obama and Hillary's bag.

Which doesn't make the above true. But we should at least entertain the possibility that it could be true.

Newton Finn , June 16, 2018 at 11:48 am

As one who could never bring himself to vote for Trump (or for Clinton, for that matter), let me make a counter-intuitive prediction. If Trump allows the MIC to goad him into starting a new war with Iran, he will lose if he decides to run again.

If, on the other hand, he starts no new war against Iran or any other country that does not threaten us militarily, then he will be re-elected should he decide to go for another term.

The old adage that our country rallies around a war president is no longer operative IMHO. In a nation tired of perpetual war, the commander-in-chief would get at best a short-term surge in public approval by opening up a new battle zone, before slipping precipitously in the polls. Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy?

tegnost , June 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

Why on earth have the Democrats eagerly embraced the role of the war party, while our country literally crumbles for lack of public investment? Could there be a more effective losing strategy?

They do it for the money, pretty much everyone in congress is a millionaire, including the ones who were not millionaires when they got elected hmmmmmm .

cocomaan , June 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Those are their constituents: beltway bandits, private contractors, public/private partnerships, insurance companies, arms companies, private equity firms, military contractors, and whatever other combinations you want to come up with.

I remember when Tim Kaine gleefully suggested that we needed an "intelligence surge" to protect the country. I almost gagged. It was a not so subtle message of "prepare for the handouts to the private military contractor industry".

https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/06/politics/clinton-intelligence-surge-nsa-data/index.html

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm

> Another reason to break up the MIC is all the money that would be freed up for health care, infrastructure and the country's many other needs

Since Federal taxes don't fund Federal spending, the connection between gutting the MIC and more money for health care is not direct.

However, if you think in terms of real resources , the effect is as you say. (The same reasoning applies to finance, where enormous salaries sucked in the best talent that might otherwise have been put to non-parasitical purposes.)

John k , June 16, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Mt is not yet sellable to the public, will take years. Best story is that foreign wars strip resources from local spending and jobs, which is also what most pols seem to think. Bills should be presented as less for mil and mor for infra. Starve mic

juliania , June 16, 2018 at 11:13 am

You don't have to go back to the last campaign to see anti-war rhetoric as a strategy. Trump is already, in his meeting with Kim, starting the ball rolling. (Moon of Alabama.com has a good recent post on the subject). Sorry Bernie, you are late to the party, too late. Reminds me a bit of 1968. Nixon got in promising to end that war (which he didn't.) But it is good to see anti-war stuff going mainstream at last. May it bear fruit this time around!

And yes, Gaius Publius, anti-war statements Trump made during his first campaign DID make a huge difference. They won him the presidency, in my opinion.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 11:49 am

How does positioning 2,000 – 4,000 US troops in Syria fit into your "Trump is a peace-maker" narrative? How about the comment Wednesday that the US will attack Syrian forces if they attack Sunni jihadis (er "moderate rebels") in SW Syria?

How about us aiding and abetting a famine in Yemen that could kills tens of thousands?

Is setting us on a potential course for war with Iran further evidence of your "dovish" Trump?

diptherio , June 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

I think you are attributing a sentiment to juliania that her comment does not actually contain. She doesn't say Trump is a peace-maker, she says he was far in front of Bernie in using "anti-war rhetoric as a strategy." The example of Nixon doing the same thing indicates that juliania is well aware that strategic rhetoric and actual decisions are not the same thing.

I know a fair number of Trump voters, and my read is similar to juliania's: Trump's anti-war rhetoric was a big draw for a lot of people, and helped many be able to hold their nose and vote for him. Understanding this and commenting on it does not make one a Trump supporter, obviously, or indicate that one puts any credence in his dovish rhetoric.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 1:14 pm

You might be correct and my apologies to juliania if I misread her post. I have heard so much of the "Trump is fighting [the deep state, Wall Street, the neocons]" on other blogs that I am a bit hypersensitive and go off on a rant when I see or perceive that argument. From my perspective, Trump is doing everything in his power to entrench Wall Street, the neocons, etc.

I was also receptive to the idea that Trump might be less hawkish than HRC (although I did not vote for him) but have now been thoroughly disabused of that notion.

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Provide a link to the recent statement.

I believe you, just always looking for more ammunition to demolish "we're fighting ISIS" arguments.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

SW Syria does not have Kurds active, so these are Sunni jihadi-lites. They are however not HTS, which we re-branded from Al-Nusra and had been classified as an Al Qaeda affiliate at one time. Of course we are framing it as a de-escalation zone; others call it a jihadi base.

https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/US-says-will-take-firm-measures-against-Syria-violations-near-Israel-border-560057

Susan the other , June 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm

The war in Yemen is to secure the Saudi monarchy and our interest in their vast reserves of oil and gas. The war in Syria is to secure our preferred pipeline feeding the EU. Our entrenched position surrounding Iran is no accident – we are an existential threat to Iran and intend to remain that way. If China discovered a giant oil field under its western desert we'd be there too. One rationale for all this control freakery is that we think we can maintain our "capitalist" economy, our silly pretenses about a free market, etc. But Karma is the real truth-teller here: Free markets do not work. So it follows logically that privatization also does not work. And to continue, at some point, forced capitalism fails. Markets fail. Profit seeking could be the thing that brings it all down. It's a strangely comforting thought because it leaves us with a clear vision of what not to do anymore. Unfortunately, people are not angels. If we attempt to invoke the ghost of John Foster Dulles and not engage in little wars but just sell arms to every tin pot dictator it will be worse chaos than it is now. And worse still, chaos in a time of environmental devastation. The only good option is the Mr. Scrooge option. Instead of arms and WMD and fascist control for the sake of preventing uprisings, we should skip the fascist control part and directly mainline the resources to make civilization thrive. Since that's definitely not capitalism, we'll have to think up a new ism.

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm

> sell arms to every tin pot dictator

Yes, let's devote enormous real resources to fabricating bespoke military aircraft that catch fire on the runway. Meanwhile, we don't have any machine shops anymore .

Summer , June 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Yes, there is more anti-war sentiment. And will they or won't they (Congress) continue to legislate away their ability to authorize war/use of force?

I say they continue to absolve themselves of the responsibility. Bounding their own hads behind their backs, smirking at the concept of peace.

And it puts people more in taxation without representation territory.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm

I have the feeling that Sanders here is reacting to all the ex-CIA (but not 100% ex) candidates taking over the D Party.

Will the road to the White House in 2020 be journeyed through another vehicle?

Lambert Strether , June 16, 2018 at 1:17 pm

> I have the feeling that Sanders here is reacting to all the ex-CIA (but not 100% ex) candidates taking over the D Party.

That is an excellent point. (I don't think it's just CIA, though; it's CIA and military personnel generally.* That's why I voted against ranked Jared Golden low, because Golden (like Seth Moulton in MA) fits that template, which is vile.

UPDATE * "Professional authoritarians," we might call them. That would fit all this neatly into Thomas Frank's framework.

flora , June 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

People ask if capitalism and democracy are compatible, and I think they are, at least I don't see any inherent reason why they would not be compatible.

Another question: Are militarism* and democracy compatible? I'm not so sure they are.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militarism

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Ancient Athens was on some level democratic, and the populist party typically favored war and expansion. E.g.Pericles and the peloponesian war come to mind. By contrast, the aristocratic parties were generally less in favor of military adventurism.

However, a constitutional republic is not compatible with empire.

Therein lies the problem.

Schmoe , June 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm

The link between populism and war featured prominently in "Electing to fight. Why emerging democracies go to war" This is a fairly obscure book (one review in Amazon), but – by a wide margin – the best book I have ever read about politics or political science. The last 100 pages are cliff notes versions of the politics underlying the start of many wars; the first 150 pages are a really dense read.

Sid_finster , June 16, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Thanks.

Alejandro , June 16, 2018 at 8:19 pm

A lot depends on how you define "democracy", "will of the people" etc.. What the role of "finance" in a context of "capitalism" and "democracy" should be, e.g., citizens united(note orwellian language) may be considered a " reason why they would not be compatible" and even antithetical. Noting that "militarism" depends on public funding, where should the power to influence this funding be? Neo-cons, dominated by militarists, and neo-liberals, dominated by de-regulated banksters, may not be the same but certainly seem like symbionts in the context of 326MM people.

Bernard , June 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm

America itself is the most destabilizing force on the planet. i would love to see what America leaving the world to its' own devices would look like. Like Weimar/Nazi Germany, nothing good comes from these kind of "American Values."

the Ugly American is what American Values signify, and mostly always have. America is the most destabilizing force i ever read of or heard of. Americans have just taken the Nazi theme of One People, One Land and One Leader on a Global scope. and it ain't good. Either do as America tells you, or we will bring American Democracy to your country.

Maybe there's hope, as Caitlyn Johnstone implies in her last essay, i sure doubt it, though, as long as America/the Empire continues to destabilize not just the Pacific but everywhere else in the world. Why does anything think the South/Central Americans come to America. The American Empire has screwed up the Western Hemisphere so badly, these "refugees hope to escape from the American made Plantations the Western Hemisphere has been carved into. These immigrants are just part of the blowback from the American Way.

also makes me wonder if the Europeans don't understand why there are refugees coming through Greece and via boats, primarily to Italy. dont they see it's America's Wars in MENA that are causing this "invasion." gosh, what a black and white cause and effect. Germany needs workers due to the low birth rate. so, open the doors to the chaos America has made in the Middle East, and voila, cheap labor and departure from an America made hell in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Algeria, the whole "New American Century" Project the Neocons have us in and paying for.

Doesn't the average European see how American and Apartheid Israeli support for forces like the Taliban, Al Queda, Wahabbism, and the ongoing media censored Yemeni/Palestinian Holocaust, wars of profit, i.e. created the refugess that are streaming into Europe. Maybe the Europeans are also stymied by the Rich who keep the wars going and the Media who profit off the death of the "deplorables" who no longer "matter."

i know in America most Americans are ignorant due to total control of the Media and the "narrative" that controls what can be said. Americans have no shame when it comes to getting what they want, politically. no enough blowback. no sense of connection between here and there or anywhere outside the Media Narrative.

as a bumper sticker from long ago said, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." The Empire will not give up until it can't go on.

Ape , June 16, 2018 at 4:12 pm

No most people with influence don't see how the system that gives them influence also is sending waves of refugees.

Bruce Walker , June 17, 2018 at 7:36 am

Every American should have to read your post twice a day, until maybe they get it. The best post I have read in ages, Thumbs Up Bernard.

grayslady , June 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for calling attention to this. I noticed the same thing immediately, and I gave the remainder of the article less credence because of it. A true leftie knows the difference between Improved Medicare for All and a Medicare buy-in program.

kiwi , June 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm

To me, making the argument that one must be 'for' something is simply a way to dismiss whatever the 'anti' side represents, whether or not PK meant to be dismissive.

And it reminds me of the efforts to impede and dismiss the anti-war or occupy-type movement outright – "what, you people don't have any policies (and nothing for us to analyze to death and criticize??) !!!! How dare you speak up about something!!! Go away until you go to Harvard and produce a few papers. Until then, your silly notions mean nothing to us!!" and the underlying elitism of the concept.

So, that is what I am reminded of, again, whether or not PK meant it that way.

tegnost , June 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm

you spoke up with a thought provoking comment, you want to make the next occupy movement succeed. Make a good argument is all.

Oregoncharles , June 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm

(Before reading the comments) "If Americans Could Vote Against the Forever War, Would They Do It?"

Sadly, I think the answer is no, mainly because Americans do not vote based on foreign policy unless it "comes home," eg in the form of body bags – a lot of them. The "wasted money" argument, which brings it home, might be the most effective; that's a pitfall of MMT. Of course, as a practical matter there's a POLITICAL choice between guns and butter, whether or not the economics is valid.

In those remarks, Sanders is filling in the gaping hole in his resume. It may be an indication that he plans to run in 2020.

Finally: I question whether the 2016 nomination was actually "stolen." Certainly there was a good deal of cheating by the party, but I'm not convinced it was decisive (there's no way to be sure). The actual votes ran about 47% for Sanders, and that's including Oregon and California. I think that reflects the actual nature of the Democratic Party.

The reason is that its membership has been falling, if not plummeting, at the same time that its policies have become more and more right-wing. Affiliation, which is a poll result, is down near 30%; I suspect registrations have fallen, too, but I haven't seen numbers. Given the variations in state law, registrations aren't very indicative. All that means that the remaining party members are a remnant that has been selected for conservatism. The primary vote reflects that. (This doesn't change the argument that the Dems knowingly chose their weaker candidate; it just means that the voters did, too.)

precariat , June 16, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Observations : Trump, scandals, security state

The military is A-ok with Trump and this is what seems to matter. The roar of hysteria from the media over Trump first 2-3 months in office died down considerably when he showed a willingness to engage in a show of force by striking Syria (remember when he was so concerned about the welfare of children?)

Only a *faction" of the security establishment is anti-Trump because he is skeptical of *neoliberal* globalism. However this faction is doing a great job of re-enacting the framework used to deny/disrupt/disable during the Clinton administration: scandals and selective corruption investigations. This serves a purpose: to martyr the Prez with the constituents who *should* be holding the Prez accountable on lack of follow through and betrayal of promises made on the camapign trail.

Trump voters can't make him hold himaccountable; they are too busy feeling he has been victimized -- and many Trump voters are victims, so the identification is real.

Meanwhile, the Prez who can't seem to enact *anything* to make lives better for the people who put him in office, is magically able to enact the agenda of the 1%. This repeat of the 1% 's manipulations is one I can do without.

precariat , June 16, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Sorry for the typos, jumping cursor! It occurs to me that what I have described is a recipe for info-ops or how to hijack a 'democracy.'

Jeremy Grimm , June 16, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Regarding the question posed by this post I think there is very little evidence of an anti-war "fever" and even if there were, and if it were projected into the streets and/or ballot box, I am pessimistic that it could have any effect on the U.S. government of today. I don't think the U.S. government cares what the American people think or feel about anything -- except of course as those cares and feelings affect the mechanisms of control through the propaganda pushed through our media, the levels of surveillance and suppression, and the increased viciousness of our "laws" and their enforcement.

I believe the U.S. government is run by several powerful and competing interests. So I think I'll ask a different question -- though in the same vein as that posed by the title of this post. Are those interests who compete with the interests of the MIC and Spook Industrial Complex (SIC) beginning to see the futility and stupidity of our endless wars? Are those interests growing anxious at enriching their share of the pie by shoving aside the budget gluttons feasting on war? Are any of those interests whose long-term, and often short-term interests are damaged by endless wars and their ongoing deconstruction of American Empire finally growing weary of how those wars undermine the American Empire? War may be a racket but the burning of bridges and collapse of Empire isn't a racket I would hope even the most clueless of our masters will continue to tolerate. Have the MIC and SIC assumed power?

WorkerPleb , June 16, 2018 at 9:09 pm

"Peaceniks are Kremlin stooges!" It's depressing when you can predict the media's response six months in advance.

Massinissa , June 17, 2018 at 3:18 am

The media already said that 40 years ago about the Hippies. Some things don't really change.

[Jun 17, 2018] The Necessity of a Trump-Putin Summit by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Decimation of anti-war forces and flourishing of Russophobia are two immanent features of the US neoliberalism. As long as the maintinace fo the US global neoliberal empire depends of weakening and, possibly, dismembering Russia it is naive to expect any change. Russian version of soft "national neoliberalism" is not that different, in principle form Trump version of hard "netional neoliberalism" so those leaders might have something to talk about. In other words as soon as the USA denounce neoliberal globalization that might be some openings.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Ten ways the new US-Russian Cold War is increasingly becoming more dangerous than the one we survived.

  1. The political epicenter of the new Cold War is not in far-away Berlin, as it was from the late 1940s on, but directly on Russia's borders, from the Baltic states and Ukraine to the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Each of these new Cold War fronts is, or has recently been, fraught with the possibly of hot war. US-Russian military relations are especially tense today in the Baltic region, where a large-scale NATO buildup is under way, and in Ukraine, where a US-Russian proxy war is intensifying. The "Soviet Bloc" that once served as a buffer between NATO and Russia no longer exists. And many imaginable incidents on the West's new Eastern Front, intentional or unintentional, could easily trigger actual war between the United States and Russia. What brought about this unprecedented situation on Russia's borders -- at least since the Nazi German invasion in 1941 -- was, of course, the exceedingly unwise decision, in the late 1990s, to expand NATO eastward. Done in the name of "security," it has made all the states involved only more insecure.

  2. Proxy wars were a feature of the old Cold War, but usually small ones in what was called the "Third World" -- in Africa, for example -- and they rarely involved many, if any, Soviet or American personnel, mostly only money and weapons. Today's US-Russian proxy wars are different, located in the center of geopolitics and accompanied by too many American and Russian trainers, minders, and possibly fighters. Two have already erupted: in Georgia in 2008, where Russian forces fought a Georgian army financed, trained, and minded by American funds and personnel; and in Syria, where in February scores of Russians were killed by US-backed anti-Assad forces . Moscow did not retaliate, but it has pledged to do so if there is "a next time," as there very well may be. If so, this would in effect be war directly between Russia and America. Meanwhile, the risk of such a direct conflict continues to grow in Ukraine, where the country's US-backed but politically failing President Petro Poroshenko seems increasingly tempted to launch another all-out military assault on rebel-controlled Donbass, backed by Moscow. If he does so, and the assault does not quickly fail as previous ones have, Russia will certainly intervene in eastern Ukraine with a truly tangible "invasion." Washington will then have to make a fateful war-or-peace decision. Having already reneged on its commitments to the Minsk Accords, which are the best hope for ending the four-year Ukrainian crisis peacefully, Kiev seems to have an unrelenting impulse to be a tail wagging the dog of war. Certainly, its capacity for provocations and disinformation are second to none, as evidenced again last week by the faked "assassination and resurrection" of the journalist Arkady Babchenko.

  3. The Western, but especially American, years-long demonization of the Kremlin leader, Putin, is also unprecedented. Too obvious to reiterate here, no Soviet leader, at least since Stalin, was ever subjected to such prolonged, baseless, crudely derogatory personal vilification. Whereas Soviet leaders were generally regarded as acceptable negotiating partners for American presidents, including at major summits, Putin has been made to seem to be an illegitimate national leader -- at best "a KGB thug," at worst a murderous "mafia boss."

  4. Still more, demonizing Putin has generated a widespread Russophobic vilification of Russia itself , or what The New York Times and other mainstream-media outlets have taken to calling " Vladimir Putin's Russia ." Yesterday's enemy was Soviet Communism. Today it is increasingly Russia, thereby also delegitimizing Russia as a great power with legitimate national interests. "The Parity Principle," as Cohen termed it during the preceding Cold War -- the principle that both sides had legitimate interests at home and abroad, which was the basis for diplomacy and negotiations, and symbolized by leadership summits -- no longer exists, at least on the American side. Nor does the acknowledgment that both sides were to blame, at least to some extent, for that Cold War. Among influential American observers who at least recognize the reality of the new Cold War , "Putin's Russia" alone is to blame. When there is no recognized parity and shared responsibility, there is little space for diplomacy -- only for increasingly militarized relations, as we are witnessing today.
  5. Meanwhile, most of the Cold War safeguards -- cooperative mechanisms and mutually observed rules of conduct that evolved over decades in order to prevent superpower hot war -- have been vaporized or badly frayed since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, as the UN General Secretary António Guterres, almost alone, has recognized : "The Cold War is back -- with a vengeance but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present." Trump's recent missile strike on Syria carefully avoided killing any Russians there, but here too Moscow has vowed to retaliate against US launchers or other forces involved if there is a "next time," as, again, there may be. Even the decades-long process of arms control may, we are told by an expert , be coming to an "end." If so, it will mean an unfettered new nuclear-arms race but also the termination of an ongoing diplomatic process that buffered US-Soviet relations during very bad political times. In short, if there are any new Cold War rules of conduct, they are yet to be formulated and mutually accepted. Nor does this semi-anarchy take into account the new warfare technology of cyber-attacks. What are its implications for the secure functioning of existential Russian and American nuclear command-and-control and early-warning systems that guard against an accidental launching of missiles still on high alert?

  6. Russiagate allegations that the American president has been compromised by -- or is even an agent of -- the Kremlin are also without precedent. These allegations have had profoundly dangerous consequences, among them the nonsensical but mantra-like warfare declaration that "Russia attacked America" during the 2016 presidential election; crippling assaults on President Trump every time he speaks with Putin in person or by phone; and making both Trump and Putin so toxic that even most politicians, journalists, and professors who understand the present-day dangers are reluctant to speak out against US contributions to the new Cold War.

  7. Mainstream-media outlets have, of course, played a woeful role in all of this. Unlike in the past, when pro-détente advocates had roughly equal access to mainstream media, today's new Cold War media enforce their orthodox narrative that Russia is solely to blame. They practice not diversity of opinion and reporting but "confirmation bias." Alternative voices (with, yes, alternative or opposing facts) rarely appear any longer in the most influential mainstream newspapers or on television or radio broadcasts. One alarming result is that "disinformation" generated by or pleasing to Washington and its allies has consequences before it can be corrected. The fake Babchenko assassination (allegedly ordered by Putin, of course) was quickly exposed, but not the alleged Skripal assassination attempt in the UK, which led to the largest US expulsion of Russian diplomats in history before London's official version of the story began to fall apart. This too is unprecedented: Cold War without debate, which in turn precludes the frequent rethinking and revising of US policy that characterized the preceding 40-year Cold War -- in effect, an enforced dogmatization of US policy that is both exceedingly dangerous and undemocratic.

  8. Equally unsurprising, and also very much unlike during the 40-year Cold War, there is virtually no significant opposition in the American mainstream to the US role in the new Cold War -- not in the media, not in Congress, not in the two major political parties, not in the universities, not at grassroots levels. This too is unprecedented, dangerous, and contrary to real democracy. Consider only the thunderous silence of scores of large US corporations that have been doing profitable business in post-Soviet Russia for years, from fast-food chains and automobile manufacturers to pharmaceutical and energy giants. And contrast their behavior to that of CEOs of PepsiCo, Control Data, IBM, and other major American corporations seeking entry to the Soviet market in the 1970s and 1980s, when they publicly supported and even funded pro-détente organizations and politicians. How to explain the silence of their counterparts today, who are usually so profit-motivated? Are they too fearful of being labeled "pro-Putin" or possibly "pro-Trump"? If so, will this Cold War continue to unfold with only very rare profiles of courage in any high places? 9. And then there is the widespread escalatory myth that today's Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, is too weak -- its economy too small and fragile, its leader too "isolated in international affairs" -- to wage a sustained Cold War, and that eventually Putin, who is "punching above his weight," as the cliché has it, will capitulate. This too is a dangerous delusion. As Cohen has shown previously , "Putin's Russia" is hardly isolated in world affairs, and is becoming even less so, even in Europe, where at least five governments are tilting away from Washington and Brussels and perhaps from their economic sanctions on Russia. Indeed, despite the sanctions, Russia's energy industry and agricultural exports are flourishing. Geopolitically, Moscow has many military and related advantages in regions where the new Cold War has unfolded. And no state with Russia's modern nuclear and other weapons is "punching above its weight." Above all, the great majority of Russian people have rallied behind Putin because t hey believe their country is under attack by the US-led West . Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Russia's history understands it is highly unlikely to capitulate under any circumstances.

  9. Finally (at least as of now), there is the growing war-like "hysteria" often commented on in both Washington and Moscow. It is driven by various factors, but television talk/"news" broadcasts, which are as common in Russia as in the United States, play a major role. Perhaps only an extensive quantitative study could discern which plays a more lamentable role in promoting this frenzy -- MSNBC and CNN or their Russian counterparts. For Cohen, the Russian dark witticism seems apt: "Both are worst" ( Oba khuzhe ). Again, some of this American broadcast extremism existed during the preceding Cold War, but almost always balanced, even offset, by truly informed, wiser opinions, which are now largely excluded.

Is this analysis of the dangers inherent in the new Cold War itself extremist or alarmist? Even SOME usually reticent specialists would seem to agree with Cohen's general assessment. Experts gathered by a centrist Washington think tank thought that on a scale of 1 to 10, there is a 5 to 7 chance of actual war with Russia. A former head of British M16 is reported as saying that "for the first time in living memory, there's a realistic chance of a superpower conflict." And a respected retired Russian general tells the same think tank that any military confrontation "will end up with the use of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia."

In today's dire circumstances, one Trump-Putin summit cannot eliminate the new Cold War dangers. But US-Soviet summits traditionally served three corollary purposes. They created a kind of security partnership -- not a conspiracy -- that involved each leader's limited political capital at home, which the other should recognize and not heedlessly jeopardize. They sent a clear message to the two leaders' respective national-security bureaucracies, which often did not favor détente-like cooperation, that the "boss" was determined and that they must end their foot-dragging, even sabotage. And summits, with their exalted rituals and intense coverage, usually improved the media-political environment needed to enhance cooperation amid Cold War conflicts. If a Trump-Putin summit achieves even some of those purposes, it might result in a turning away from the precipice that now looms

[Jun 17, 2018] Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt by Tom Luongo

Notable quotes:
"... The net result will be more of the aluminum market will flow through the Yuan rather than the dollar, neatly avoiding sanctions and any future threats. Because with the insanity caused by the overnight chaos in April, any aluminum supplier/consumer will be wary of another such edict from the naked Emperor in D.C. ..."
"... Rusal will be one of the main beneficiaries since Russian banks are already sanctioned. ..."
"... Abusing your customers is never a winning marketplace strategy and that's exactly what Trump's sanctions policy is doing, abusing customers of the dollar. Trust has been the dollar's strongest attribute for a long time now and it is the primary reason why it has dominated trade and reserves. ..."
"... But there is a limit to how much your customers will take. And Trump is pushing well beyond that limit. And when the benefits of using the dollar are eclipsed by the liabilities, people will naturally shift away from it. ..."
"... Putin has and will use future mini-crises like this to further clean up the rot left over from the Yeltsin years, like Deripaska, while building a Russia insulated from future attacks like this. ..."
"... The struggle for most Americans regarding this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Truth has always told us "Russia Bad!" while "US Good!". The Ole good guy vs bad guy paradigm. I grew up in the 80's and am very familiar with that paradigm. I am an American through and through but our government has become the most corrupt bunch of whoring thieves on the planet. ..."
"... True Americans have awakened to realize the power of our corrupt government lies in the dollar hegemony. True Americans hate it, and hate the power and control it wields in our own lives. We see it at work around the world. We see DC squeeze our lives to subsidize it's world empire. An empire is seeks to maintain for various reasons that are debated regularly. ..."
"... The USA is drunk on power with their dollar as they see it as invincible. It will be their own undoing. The world is eager and preparing to drop/run/destroy the dollar. One day they'll all lick their wounds take their losses and forget the dollar completely. ..."
"... The US will have to do one of the hardest things in the history of the nation. She'll have to stop LYING to herself! All those recommending weaponization of the petrodollar, are charlatans. The USA cannot get through restructuring via antagonism, that only tightens the economic noose. ..."
"... What is needed, is bankruptcy protection, via honest cooperation with the emergent economic powers in the East. This comes with a price, retrenchment of imperium. This in turn, requires sobriety that, the game while not completely lost, as in national decomposition, is nevertheless, unwinnable, as in rebuilding can only follow retrenchment. ..."
"... Exceptionalism Delenda Est!... ..."
Jun 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Looking at the unfolding trade war between Donald Trump and the world the phrase that should come to mind is "One good turn deserves another."

In the case of the insane sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and Russian Aluminum giant, Rusal, back in April, we finally got some clarity as to how Russia can and will respond to future events.

In yesterday's Treasury International Capital (TIC) report, we saw clearly that Russia activated its nearly $100 billion in U.S. Treasury debt to buy dollars in April.

More than $47 billion in U.S. debt was dumped into the market to cover the chaos engendered by Trump's overnight diktat for the world to stop doing business with Rusal.

Also of note, U.S. ally Japan continues to shed Treasuries at around 8-10 billion per month. Ireland dumped $17 billion and Luxembourg nearly $8 billion.

While China dropped $5 billion this is noise, ultimately as its holdings of U.S. debt have been stable for over a year now. What is interesting is Belgium, the home of Euroclear, seeing a $12 billion inflow. Likely that's where some of the Russian-held debt was traded to.

The Russians likely sold from their balance on reserve with the Federal Reserve. Here's the latest iteration of the chart I keep for just such an occasion.

Rusal's shares and bonds went bidless but the damage wasn't contained there as major Russian banks like VTB and Sberbank were hit hard as well. So, while Rusal didn't have much in the way of dollar-denominated debt. It did have major dollar-related obligations as accounts receivable on its balance sheet because of the sheer size of its trade conducted in dollars.

And that's why there was such an outflow from Russia's stock of Treasuries. But, here's the thing. It didn't matter one whit. Why? It didn't undermine Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves.

No Dip in Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves During Rusal Crisis

Russia just sold Treasuries into the market, raised dollars and swapped out Rusal's bonds, holding them as collateral for a Repo.

The Bank of Russia Intervened to keep Rusal and Other Banks Solvent by Dumping U.S. Treasuries

This went on for most of the month and into May. Zerohedge's reporting on this leads the way.

This mass dumping of U.S. debt caused the long end of the U.S. yield curve to blow out past significant resistance points, like the 10 year pushing above 3.05% in sympathy with the Fed's policy to dry up dollar liquidity. If this first-order analysis by Zerohedge is correct, then we can assume Russia has been holding a lot of long-dated Treasuries versus say China which we know has shortened up the average maturity of their massive bond portfolio.

In times past we may have not seen such a massive dump of U.S. debt by Russia. They may have simply sold dollars directly or swapped euros or yuan for them. But, these are different times. Trump has taken the use of sanctions to a level that hasn't been seen before.

Putin is the master of parallel aggression. You take an action against Russia, he will generally hit you back along some other vector.

In this case it was a direct confrontation to Trump's bringing the full weight of U.S. financial dominance down on its rivals and allies, who are all heavily exposed to Rusal's market position.

Russia is not out of the water with this situation which is why Oleg Deripaska, the majority owner of Rusal and the one targeted by the Trump administration, is looking still to find ways to satisfy the U.S.'s demands on this issue.

Putin's Pivot

But, don't think this isn't working to Putin's advantage as Deripaska is not one of his supposed favored oligarchs. This report from Bloomberg spelled out the situation well back in April.

As for Deripaska, he will get help from the Russian government again. {which he did, see above} Rusal has warned that the sanctions might mean a default on a portion of its debt. That's most likely to happen to its more than $1 billion in dollar-denominated debt. But, as ever, the company's biggest creditors are Russian state banks, and the Kremlin will keep Rusal solvent one way or another as it reorients toward Asian markets. It won't be a huge headache for Putin: He's seen worse, including with Rusal during the financial crisis.

And that's the most important part.

Once the current positions are wound down and the aluminum market adjusts to the new reality of U.S. hyper-aggression to restart an industry we really don't need (smelting aluminum? really?) just to satisfy Trump's outdated views on trade (which they are MAGA-pedes) Rusal's business will not be so U.S.-centric.

And therefore the world will become less exposed, over time, to the depredations of U.S. financial attack. I told you before that China has responded to this by issuing new yuan-denominated futures contracts for industrial metals.

Why do you think they did that?

Will it create pain in the short-term? Yes. Europe will experience even more of this as will Asia.

Will a lot of companies fear being sanctioned and fined by the U.S. for doing business with Rusal? Yes. It's happening now. Will this exacerbate underlying economic conditions in Europe? Of course.

But, if Deripaska submits, like it looks like he will, then the aluminum market will calm down and Trump's sanctions will look silly.

Sanctions Bite Both Ways

The net result will be more of the aluminum market will flow through the Yuan rather than the dollar, neatly avoiding sanctions and any future threats. Because with the insanity caused by the overnight chaos in April, any aluminum supplier/consumer will be wary of another such edict from the naked Emperor in D.C.

And, as such, they will diversify the currencies they buy and sell aluminum in. It won't be a sea change overnight. Those least exposed will jump ship first. Rusal will be one of the main beneficiaries since Russian banks are already sanctioned.

But it will be a trend, that once started will gain steam.

China can and will tie convertibility of its futures contracts to gold through the Shanghai exchange to allay worries about getting money out of the country.

Abusing your customers is never a winning marketplace strategy and that's exactly what Trump's sanctions policy is doing, abusing customers of the dollar. Trust has been the dollar's strongest attribute for a long time now and it is the primary reason why it has dominated trade and reserves.

But there is a limit to how much your customers will take. And Trump is pushing well beyond that limit. And when the benefits of using the dollar are eclipsed by the liabilities, people will naturally shift away from it.

Look at the TIC chart above and note the total. This is a $6.3 trillion synthetic short position against the dollar. He's inviting countries to dump treasuries to defend their currencies as the dollar strengthens while shifting their primary materials buying to the biggest rival's currency.

This is why Russia continues to run a very tight financial ship while it leads the charge away from the dollar. It's inviting customers into the ruble with both a strong national balance sheet and relatively higher interest rates. This has the U.S. fuming.

Putin has and will use future mini-crises like this to further clean up the rot left over from the Yeltsin years, like Deripaska, while building a Russia insulated from future attacks like this.

Remember, even the U.S. has limits. It cannot sanction people for refusing to trade in dollars. Even the U.S. doesn't have that power. It can try but it will fail. New systems, new banks, new institutions can always be created.


PrayingMantis -> cowdiddly Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

... " ... in the case of the insane sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and Russian Aluminum giant, Rusal, back in April, we finally got some clarity as to how Russia can and will respond to future events .. . " ...

... most recently, Trump had been focusing on protecting steel and "aluminum" on world trading ... could there be an underlying reason behind these sanctions? ... who is Trump really protecting here? ...

... let's follow the money ... these links might let us connect the (((dots))) ...

... >>> http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/specials/MetalWarehousing.pdf (REUTERS/REUTERS STaff

Should the London Metal Exchange allow Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Glencore to own aluminium warehouses even as they trade the metal?
GOLDMAN'S NEW MONEY MACHINE: WAREHOUSES ) ...

... >>> http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20141120/NEWS01/141129992/senate-report-metro-detroit-warehouses-gave-goldman-sachs-influence

... (Senate report: Metro Detroit warehouses gave Goldman Sachs influence over aluminum pricing ) ...

... >>> https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/07/goldmans-secret-cash-cow-detroit-warehouses-full-metal/337401/ ... (Goldman's Secret Cash Cow: Detroit Warehouses Full of Metal ) ...

... >>> http://www.demos.org/blog/11/21/14/following-money-how-goldman-sachs-manipulates-commodity-prices ... (Following the Money: How Goldman Sachs Manipulates Commodity Prices ) ...

... why aluminum? ... why not any other commodities?

... ever wonder what Trump is up to now to please his talmudic Rothschild banksters overlords?

... you be the judge ....

bshirley1968 -> PrayingMantis Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:21 Permalink

The struggle for most Americans regarding this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Truth has always told us "Russia Bad!" while "US Good!". The Ole good guy vs bad guy paradigm. I grew up in the 80's and am very familiar with that paradigm. I am an American through and through but our government has become the most corrupt bunch of whoring thieves on the planet.

True Americans have awakened to realize the power of our corrupt government lies in the dollar hegemony. True Americans hate it, and hate the power and control it wields in our own lives. We see it at work around the world. We see DC squeeze our lives to subsidize it's world empire. An empire is seeks to maintain for various reasons that are debated regularly.

The rub comes when we see that the only force capable of standing up to this corrupt empire is a country that we have been told all our lives is evil. Russia wasn't always the communist soviet union.....and is no longer that today. But in the minds of many Americans that is all that it will ever be. Russia has the resources, military, intelligence, and skill to control it's own destiny. It has everything it needs to tell the US empire, "No!" I respect that....admire that.....cheer that....and wish them success in their stand. For those of us looking for a way to bust the evil cabal now running our own country, Russia's rebellion of US dominance is a ray of hope. It's not that we don't love our own country or want to be Russians, but we don't care about supporting a world empire that requires wars, taxes, and a strategy that strip us of our individual sovereignty by contaminating our country with people that don't belong here and will never think like an American.

People need to put aside their "fan-boy" biases, drop the blind loyalty, and start dealing with reality. We are not rooting for Putin and Russia, rather we are rooting for the downfall of thus evil banking cartel that is slowly killing us all and taking more and more of our freedoms. To those of you that say that will cause pain and we STILL have the greatest country on earth, I say, somethings are worth the pain.....and we can be a lot better. We have got to change direction....and the sooner we get off this road of empire destruction, the better.

Raisin Hail -> PrayingMantis Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:40 Permalink

Maybe it is because The Aluminum Company of America (formerly ALCOA now Arconic an others) is going broke. Check out their stock price for the last 10 years or so. Are they still part of the DOW Index? Bonehead move to include them years ago.

are we there yet -> Raisin Hail Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

If the US dollar weakens, then the US exports and jobs go up, while US imports go down.

Demologos -> Escrava Isaura Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

Trump is worth what, a couple of billion? And those assets are encumbered by a lot of debt held by US banks. That does not an oligarch make. When it comes to US oligarchs, Trump is a piker compared to the massive family trusts that can move markets and voting results.

... ... ...

PrivetHedge -> Demologos Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

Trump is worth exactly the debt that the Israeli Sheldon Adelson holds over him IIRC. Far from being independent he is owned by America's biggest parasite and enemy: Israel.

peopledontwanttruth -> 07564111 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

The USA is drunk on power with their dollar as they see it as invincible. It will be their own undoing. The world is eager and preparing to drop/run/destroy the dollar. One day they'll all lick their wounds take their losses and forget the dollar completely.

The USA and Israel aka banksters will start WWIII to prove literally they will destroy the world if need be instead of lose their power over mankind

Scipio Africanuz -> Ambrose Bierce Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:16 Permalink

The US will have to do one of the hardest things in the history of the nation. She'll have to stop LYING to herself! All those recommending weaponization of the petrodollar, are charlatans. The USA cannot get through restructuring via antagonism, that only tightens the economic noose.

What is needed, is bankruptcy protection, via honest cooperation with the emergent economic powers in the East. This comes with a price, retrenchment of imperium. This in turn, requires sobriety that, the game while not completely lost, as in national decomposition, is nevertheless, unwinnable, as in rebuilding can only follow retrenchment.

Now, US policy wonks must be imbibing some real potent hallucinogens, to be unable to see what's right in front of their noses that, no matter the strategy, if it's not one of cooperation, the game is forfeit! The only strategy that helps the US retain great power status, is one whereby clear eyed, hard nosed assessment of assets and liabilities, are carried out.

The East is helping the USA buy time, the exceptionalists are once again, squandering the opportunity, just like they did in 91. They somehow believe the US military can change the trajectory of events. This is not possible any longer except humanity signs up for civilizational extinction.

To cut a long story short, it's time to declare mea culpa, and request a recalibration of goals, objectives, tactics, and critically, strategy. The strategy going forward? Honest cooperation to resolve issues that are creating global tensions, foremost amongst them, the one where the West gets to live like kings, at the expense of billions. This is the major issue, and it cannot be resolved without humility on the part of the West, and indemnity on the part of victims.

Humanity will only move forward through forgiveness, which cannot be activated without contrition.

Exceptionalism Delenda Est!...

You Only Live Twice Sun, 06/17/2018 - 08:19 Permalink

If Russia is selling Treasuries, it may be ahead of the market selling to prevent losses down the road. There is a shift happening not just with Russia as the long-standing bankers like the Rothschilds, etc. have been also selling their UST holdings and moving the money to Asia as per their reports for the last year.

The other thing to watch is the Vienna OPEC meeting later this month. The Saudis and Russia have now setup a long-term partnership to control the Oil market, including speculation on the markets as of today's press, so a discussion of abandoning the Petrodollar may not be off the table as there are portions of that deal that have been announced as secretive and this may be part of the plan.

[Jun 17, 2018] Nomi Prins: The Central Banking Heist That Put The World At Risk by Liam Halligan

Jun 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Liam Halligan via Unherd.com,

"The 2008 financial crisis was the consequence of a loosely regulated banking system in which power was concentrated in the hands of too limited a cast of speculators, " Nomi Prins tell me. "And after the crisis, the way the US government and the Federal Reserve dealt with this corrupt and criminal banking system was to give them a subsidy."

Such strong, withering analysis is, perhaps, unexpected from someone who has held senior roles at Wall Street finance houses such as Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs. But Prins is no ordinary former banker.

The US author and journalist left the financial services industry in 2001. She did so, in her own words, "partly because life was too short", and "partly out of disgust at how citizens everywhere had become collateral damage, and later hostages, to the banking system".

Since then, Prins has chronicled the closed and often confusing world of high finance through the 2008 crisis and beyond. Her writing combines deep insider knowledge with on-the-ground reporting with sharp, searing prose. Alongside countless articles for New York Times , Forbes and Fortune , she has produced six books – including Collusion: how central bankers rigged the world , which has just been published.

Her main target in the new work is "quantitative easing" – described by Prins as "a conjuring trick" in which "a central bank manufactures electronic money, then injects it into private banks and financial markets". Over the last decade, she tells me when we meet in London, "under the guise of QE, central bankers have massively overstepped their traditional mandates, directing the flow of epic sums of fabricated money, without any checks or balances, towards the private banking sector".

Since QE began, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, "the US Federal Reserve has produced a massive $4.5 trillion of conjured money, out of a worldwide QE total of around $21 trillion", says Prins. The combination of ultra-low interest rates and vast monetary expansion, she explains, has caused "speculation to rage... much as a global casino would be abuzz if everyone gambled using everyone else's money".

Much of this new spending power, though, has remained "inside the system", with banks shoring up their balance sheets. "So lending to ordinary firms and households has barely grown as a result of QE," says Prins, "nor have wages or prosperity for most of the world's population". Instead, "the banks have gone on an asset-buying spree", she explains, getting into her stride, "with the vast flow of QE cash from central banks to private banks ensuring endless opportunities for market manipulation and asset bubbles – driven by government support".

Prins describes "the power grab we've seen by the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks". Using QE, she argues, "these illusionists have altered the nature of the financial system and orchestrated a de facto heist that has enabled the most dominant banks and central bankers to run the world".

She says all this looking me straight in the eye, with the deadpan delivery, supreme confidence and unflinching focus of the senior investment banker she was. But the words are those of an angry and committed activist – someone who is absolutely determined to do what she can to reform global finance, starting in her native country.

Nomi Prins deals in bold statements and fearless analysis. While often accused of hyperbole, her deep research, financial expertise and former 'insider status' means only a fool would dismiss her. She is just at home within academia as she is on the political front line – a regular on the university lecture circuit, Prins was also a member of Senator Bernie Sanders' team of economic experts, advising on central bank reform. Yet, such is her reputation that she commands a place among those she chides – and is regularly consulted, formally and informally, by senior officials at the Fed, the ECB and other major central banks.

Surveying the history of the response to the 2008 financial crisis, Prins tells me that explicit bank bailouts were only a small part of the story. "First, there was the $700bn package agreed in Congress to save the US banks that caused the crisis," she says. "But the real bailout was the trillions of dollars of QE produced by the Fed – a massive subsidy to banks and financial markets, that has created an enormous bubble, a subsidy agreed by unelected officials and barely debated or remarked upon."

After initiating QE in late 2008, the Fed then "exported the idea – and that required the collusion of other major central banks", Prins argues. She points out that even though the Fed and the Bank of England have currently stopped doing QE, new money amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars a month is still being pumped out by central banks elsewhere, not least the ECB and the Bank of Japan.

"When the asset bubble pops, the fragile financial system and the broader economic environment could be thrown into deep depression and turmoil," she says.

"That's why the QE baton has been passed from the US to other nations, and why the central banks are so desperate to collude."

I put to Prins the conventional wisdom: there was no alternative to QE, and without it, the global banking system would have collapsed in 2008, causing untold economic and political damage. While she accepts there was a need for immediate post-crisis action, she argues the time for emergency measures has now long since passed. "If financial markets so much as wobble, the world's leading central banks, between them, do more QE," she says. "The insiders maintain the status quo of subsidies to the financial system – but there is no world war, aliens are not invading our planet, this is totally unjustified."

Prins says that QE has been "a massive deceit and a huge factor in driving inequality – a dedicated effort by institutions with the ability to create money, deciding that it doesn't go to ordinary people". While it was sold "as a massive trickle-down programme, helping the incomes of regular households, the benefits have been focused at the very top".

Stock markets have benefitted, she acknowledges, "but a mere 10% of Americans own 85% of the market". Prins also argues that low interest rates have harmed most Americans. "We need to normalise the rate environment, so ordinary people get some kind of return on their pensions and savings," she says.

QE and low rates, says Prins, have also caused "a debt explosion" – as not only have governments taken on more borrowing but financial institutions have too, keen to boost the scale of their investments in QE-driven markets that look like a one-way bet. US government debt has soared from $9 trillion to over $20 trillion since the financial crisis, Prins observes. "And public and private debt combined amount to a staggering 225% of global GDP – much of it accumulated since the financial crisis," she says.

"The next financial crisis will be sparked by a debt failure somewhere – then this QE bubble will pop very quickly," Prins predicts. "And when the new crisis comes, rates are already low and we have little in the way of fiscal ammunition, so mitigation will be very tough – and it will be ordinary people who suffer the most".

In response to the financial crisis, Prins maintains it would have been far cheaper and more effective for the state to intervene directly, providing explicit assistance to cash-strapped householders struggling to service the distressed mortgages at the heart of the crisis. "There was half a trillion dollars of sub-prime mortgages across the US in 2008," she recalls. "You could have bought up these properties, or just temporarily covered the loans," she says. "That would have cost much less than half a trillion, and would also have helped the banks by turning their junk assets into performing loans."

Prins says the "banks and central banks together" instead concocted QE. "We've allowed a grotesque $21 trillion global subsidy which has seen the bankers not only avoid punishment for the huge mess they created, but then entrench their financial advantage even more."

What we need, she says, is "better regulation" – in particular, a return to the "Glass-Steagall environment where investment banks can't leverage their balance sheets by so much and rely on government support". Since the Depression-era separation between risky investment banking and run-of-the-mill commercial banking was repealed by the Clinton administration in 1997, "a financial crisis was unavoidable", she says. "As long as the deposits of ordinary people and companies can be used by investment bankers as fodder for reckless speculation, in the knowledge those deposits are backed by the state, the world is at risk."

Prins is dismayed at how easily on-going QE, continuing years after the financial crisis, has been accepted by the political and media classes. "There is joint approval across the middle of the left-right spectrum," she says. "The economics profession and almost all commentators don't seem to care that this money is completely unaccountable and untracked – and has caused an enormous bubble." The reason, she observes, is that contemplating the end of QE is too difficult. "The unwind will cause pain and could result in a meltdown, as the markets and the debt mountain collapse."

In Collusion , Prins takes us on a whistle-stop tour of global finance, describing how the leaders of the Banco de México tried to navigate their country's complicated relationship with the Fed and how Brazil has led the charge in challenging the dollar's all-important "reserve currency status". The book goes to China , where we learn how Beijing is using "dark money" to upend dollar-hegemony, helping to drive the country's ascent as a global superpower.

We read how Europe's response to the financial crisis has heightened tension between the ECB and Germany – fuelling intra-EU resentments that have fuelled populism and help explain Brexit. Prins describes how Japan "leverages the rivalry between the US and China", while embarking on "the most ambitious money-conjuring scheme to date".

But it is in the US where the bulk of the narrative is set and it is there the arguments Prins makes will be most keenly read. The Federal Reserve has just lifted interest rates by a quarter point, and signalled that two more increases are likely in 2018. As the world's most important central bank continues the long, gradual march away from emergency measures, and with the ECB also committed soon to ending QE, the warnings in this important book about extent of today's asset price bubbles, and the role central banks have played in causing them, are about to be severely tested.

"What we've witnessed, since 2008, is the unbridled ability of the so-called people at the top to implement socialism for the banks," Prins tells me. "If anyone had said we are going to give $21 trillion to the global banking sector, it would never have happened – so we've had a backdoor process instead, under the pretense it would help ordinary people."

Leaning forward for the first time, Prins ups the ante. "Well, real people don't believe that – and they'll believe it even less as and when we have another crash, a crash off the back of ten years of emergency measures that were supposed to fix the system."

"The issue isn't whether this money-conjuring game can continue," she says as she prepares to leave. "The issue is that central banks have no plan B in the event of another crisis – and that's going to create an even more massively negative view among ordinary people towards those who see themselves as elites."

Listen to Liam Halligan's interview with Nomi Prins here:

Tags Business Finance Banks - NEC Outdoor Advertising Brokerage Services Investment Banking Investment Banking & Brokerage Services - NEC

Comments Vote up! 26 Vote down! 0

Oldguy05 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:24 Permalink

I love you Nomi ;)

house biscuit -> Oldguy05 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:29 Permalink

If she's getting regularly published in the standard MSM rags, then she is leading you down the wrong path; full stop

TBT or not TBT -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:32 Permalink

Hers is an absolutely novel thesis, particularly here on ZH, where we think all is going for the best in the best of all possible worlds .

Blue Steel 309 -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:39 Permalink

One of her obfuscations is the concentrating on "asset bubbles" rather than the fact that these Banksters are obtaining ownership of the worlds real assets without having to pay for them. As if they didn't have enough power.

Ownership of corporations (and control of them), is one of the subjects carefully avoided by the Rotschild media machine.

There is only one group of people who it is illegal to question in a good number of ethnic European countries.

PhilofOz -> Blue Steel 309 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:13 Permalink

Prins describes "the power grab we've seen by the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks".

Replace "....the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks" with "....the Rothschild Crime Family" would be a more appropriate comment.

The Rothschild Crime Family own and control every central bank on the planet except three, Iran, North Korea and Cuba, lending money at interest to governments everywhere. Do you have debt, a home loan, a car loan, student debt, credit card debt?! What about the debt your Federal, State and Local governments have on behalf of you, your children and grand-children? Just imagine that over 50% of all that debt is owed and the interest continually paid to the Rothschild clan and their tight knit group of international bankers. Do you feel good about yourself still, being nothing more than a serf to them? Money makes money, and in this case the biggest crime syndicate that will ever exist, one that has the military of various countries continuing their protection racket for them as well as IRS type institutions doing their debt collecting, will never be satisfied until they have everything!

Jack Oliver -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:33 Permalink

Alternative thinking would suggest that Prins is spot on ! The reason she gets MSM 'coverage' is because she has not revealed the true enormity of it ! The scenario's she suggests have definitely played out !

Although, she is withholding the TRUE scale of it - it's MASSIVE !

There is NO plan B and there is NO way out !

Apart from WAR !!

TheSilentMajority -> Oldguy05 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 04:21 Permalink

Buy high, sell low, works every time!

GotAFriendInBen Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:25 Permalink

Same things said here

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/secret-and-lies-of-the-bailo

Juggernaut x2 -> VolAnarchist Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and that is what the banks have- absolute power- "The banks run this place(Congress)"- Sen Dick Durbin(IL) 2008.

Not if_ But When Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:48 Permalink

I just received her new book "Collusion: how the central bankers rigged the world" through special order with my library. She is by far the best writer on central banks and the financial crisis. Her "It Takes a Pillage" is superb and easily followed. The problem is, hardly anyone outside of the few who care (or know) read it.

Balance-Sheet Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:30 Permalink

A 1950s outlook repeated for 6 books. We are not going anywhere near 20th Century anything and this is populist. Glass-Steagall is DEAD but promoting its return sells!

Now the money the Fed creates is "Outside Money" injected to the banking system which creates the "Inside Money" that usually finances the economy. The INTENTION of the "Outside Money" being injected into the banking system is to prevent the banking system from dying after which it would no longer be able to create the "Inside Money" you borrow.

The Fed is NOT going to send individual citizens their mortgage payments. This is also populist tripe.

If this were to be done Congress would have to legislate it and the Fed would assist in arranging the financing for such a deficit.

The Congress DOES send trillions to all the people through various transfer and entitlement programs and this coming year will be 2.8T from the federal level alone as well as arranging all the student and mortgage loans.

As long as it is taken to be entertainment any of this is fine. Oh yeah, NO GOLD Standard, Bimetal money, or any sort of commodity currency EVER again.

[Jun 17, 2018] Neoliberalism as socialism for the banks

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I encountered a wonderful concept the other day on the Keiser Report, where they said in passing that the great irony of the Hegemon's position was that it couldn't use its massive financial power because whenever it did, it simply forced alternatives to arise. ..."
"... This is why every financial move by Trump is producing the opposite result. Another ZH article says that the Russian sell-off of US Treasuries was a move to cover Rusal and the sanctions placed on its former CEO, Deripaska. Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt . ..."
"... Every time the US flaunts its Dollar supremacy, it pushes customers away from the Dollar. ..."
"... The US has power left in the financial sector, but can't use it. The US has no power left in the military area, and cannot show it. Syria, Korea, the theaters are growing where the US has had to step down. ..."
"... Even the fog of propaganda is wearing increasingly thin. The US State Department just issued a warning to its people about traveling to Russia. It's risky, they say. But ticket sales for the World Cup are up by 25% from the US, the largest foreign customer ..."
Jun 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian | Jun 17, 2018 12:47:46 PM | 2

I was impatient and put this up on last weeks Open Thread about an hour ago....

Nomi Prins: The Central Banking Heist That Put The World At Risk

The take away quote:
"
"What we've witnessed, since 2008, is the unbridled ability of the so-called people at the top to implement socialism for the banks," Prins tells me. "If anyone had said we are going to give $21 trillion to the global banking sector, it would never have happened – so we've had a backdoor process instead, under the pretense it would help ordinary people."

Grieved , Jun 17, 2018 3:26:39 PM | 8
@2 psychohistorian

Excellent article, thanks for the link. Nomi knows all this stuff, and she's right. And Liam Halligan, a financial journalist I greatly respect, wrote the article. Recommended.

~~

I encountered a wonderful concept the other day on the Keiser Report, where they said in passing that the great irony of the Hegemon's position was that it couldn't use its massive financial power because whenever it did, it simply forced alternatives to arise.

This is why every financial move by Trump is producing the opposite result. Another ZH article says that the Russian sell-off of US Treasuries was a move to cover Rusal and the sanctions placed on its former CEO, Deripaska. Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt .

The tariffs on aluminum compelled the Chinese to create a Yuan-denominated futures contract on industrial metals - convertible to gold at Shanghai, of course. The instability of the overnight tariffs created a more enduring stability than before, resting on gold, which satisfies concerns about transfers between nations.

Every time the US flaunts its Dollar supremacy, it pushes customers away from the Dollar.

~~

But it's not just Trump, nor just the financial markets. It's every theater and every plane of activity. Every use of bullying, drives former allies away. Every posture of aggression runs the supreme risk that the US military will be exposed as ineffective, and if that happens, the Pentagon is finished, and the generals know it.

The US has power left in the financial sector, but can't use it. The US has no power left in the military area, and cannot show it. Syria, Korea, the theaters are growing where the US has had to step down.

Even the fog of propaganda is wearing increasingly thin. The US State Department just issued a warning to its people about traveling to Russia. It's risky, they say. But ticket sales for the World Cup are up by 25% from the US, the largest foreign customer.

I'll have to stop, but fortunately, the examples go on and on.

michael d , Jun 17, 2018 4:02:46 PM | 9
Mate would have got the idea from Stephen Cohen, Russia expert, Nation contributor and husband of the Nation editor. But Cohen has certainly got it from Alt-media - here or similar...

[Jun 17, 2018] HARPER HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GLASS STEAGALL--WE MISS YOU, COME BACK

Jun 17, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

HARPER: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GLASS STEAGALL--WE MISS YOU, COME BACK Harp

Today, June 16, is the 85th anniversary of the signing of the Banking Act of 1933, otherwise known as the Glass Steagall Act. When President Franklin Roosevelt signed Glass Steagall into law, he set off a 66 year epoch of relatively sound banking, during which time there was no big financial crash, as occurred in 1929 and again, after Glass Steagall's repeal, in 2008. Under Glass Steagall, commercial depository banks were totally separated from investment banks. Later, insurance companies were also cut off from any ties to commercial banks. During the same wave of early New Deal legislation, the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was established, insuring commercial bank deposits and successfully deterring bank panics.

The repeal of Glass Steagall was a long-standing priority for Wall Street. In 1984, JP Morgan Bank launched an internal study on how to repeal Glass Steagall. That study, "Rethinking Glass Steagall," proposed a war of attrition against the principle of complete bank separation. The war was launched in 1987, with the appointment of Alan Greenspan as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Greenspan had been a partner at JP Morgan and had chaired the study group which devised the war plan against Glass Steagall. As Fed Chairman, Greenspan used his discretionary powers to increase the amount that commercial banks to lend to investment institutions. By the mid-1990s, enforcement of Glass Steagall had eroded. Citibank at that point moved to purchase both an investment bank and an insurance company, in violation of Glass Steagall restrictions. That set the clock going to a two-year deadline. Citi had to either divest of the purchases or Glass Steagall had to be repealed.

Wall Street poured $300 million into a lobbying campaign to kill Glass Steagall. In 1999, both Houses of Congress passed the Gramm Leach Bliley bill, killing Glass Steagall. For the first time in 66 years, commercial banks could merge with investment banks and insurance companies. It was only a matter of time before the investment banking divisions devoured the commercial bank deposits and directed them into a speculative binge beyond all previous financial bubbles. When Lehman Brothers went under in 2008, the system crashedEnemies of Glass Steagall argued that Lehman Brothers was not a commercial bank and so the repeal of Glass Steagall had no causal relationship with the financial crisis. Not so. It was the repeal of Glass Steagall that allowed commercial banks to pour money into the gambling casino--including into Lehman BrothersAn article today in The Guardian by US correspondent Ganesh Sitaraman noted that there is renewed interest in Glass Steagall today--across the political spectrum. He noted that progressive Democrats have been pushing reinstating of Glass Steagall for years. It was included in the Republican Party platform in 2016. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are bills to reinstate Glass Steagall in both Houses of Congress and they are bipartisan bills. Even candidate Donald Trump called for the reinstatement of Glass Steagall, before he was gagged by Wall Street cabinet officials like Steven Mnuchin and Gary CohenThe IMF, the Bank for International Settlements, the Federal Reserve and Bloomberg News are all warning that we are headed for another major financial "correction" sometime soon. They point to the consequences of a decade of post-2008 quantitative easing and zero interest rates, which led to a 63 percent jump in corporate bonds. The median bond rating today is BBB- just one rung above junk bond status, and S&P Global estimates that more than 25 percent of all corporations can be categorized as "zombies" because the amount they must spend servicing their corporate debt is greater than their cash flow.

There is a growing consensus that we are again headed for a big financial shock. Wouldn't it be wise to move to insulate the commercial banking sector from another fiasco before the next crisis? Are the White House and Congress ready to act or are we heading blindly to a replay of 2008?

[Jun 17, 2018] In the German parliament Merkel and her supporters battle to continue their anti German policy against the CSU even in the CDU (Merkel's party) there are courageous people who that remind Merkel by whom she is paid, and to who she has obligations.

Jun 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , June 17, 2018 at 11:16 am GMT

http://www.achgut.com/artikel/wir_truemmerfrauen_nach_dem_merkelsturz

Im Bundestag kämpfen Merkel und ihre Treuesten derweil darum, ihre Anti-Deutschland-Politik unter anderem gegen die CSU durchzusetzen -- sogar in der CDU gibt es erste Mutige, die sich daran erinnern, wer sie bezahlt und wem sie eigentlich verpflichtet sind.

Rough translation:

" In the German parliament Merkel and her supporters battle to continue their anti German policy against the CSU -- even in the CDU (Merkel's party) there are courageous people who that remind Merkel by whom she is paid, and to who she has obligations. "

There are German rumours that Merkel will fall this week.

Historians from time to time write how curious it is that apparently unrelated events in different parts of the world change history.

I wonder if the Trump election with the realisation, long overdue, in Germany, that the migrants are a burden in stead of a contribution to the economy, may combine to Merkel's fall,in her wake maybe the implosion of the EU, and the end of the euro.

It was Merkel who prevented Greece leaving the euro.

[Jun 17, 2018] We Had Whistleblowers Nunes Reveals Good FBI Agents Tipped Off Congress About Comey Team

Jun 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) revealed that in late September 2016, "Good FBI agents" stepped forward as whistleblowers to tell them about additional Hillary Clinton emails "sitting" on Anthony Weiner's laptop.

"I've never actually said this before," said Nunes. " We had whistleblowers that came to us in late September of 2016 who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it." In other words, the New York FBI "rebelled" - as Rudy Giuliani puts it - which former FBI Director James Comey tried to quash, twice .

The FBI sat on the revelation that previously unknown emails from Hillary Clinton's private server were recovered on the laptop of sex-crimes convict Anthony Weiner for just under a month, according to a review by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.

The stated rationale was to prioritize the Russia investigation, which was a decision made by Peter Strzok, a top FBI agent involved in both investigations and who texted his lover that he would "stop" Donald Trump from becoming president . - Daily Caller

Appearing Friday on Fox and Friends , Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that FBI agents in the New York office "rebelled" and "had a revolution" which Comey could not keep quiet - forcing him to reopen the Clinton email investigation.

" The agents in the NY office - we all know this, rebelled. They had a revolution. And Comey made two attempts to quiet them down and then realized "I can't do that, I'm gonna look terrible here. If she gets elected I'll look terrible, if she doesn't.." -Rudy Giuliani

https://www.youtube.com/embed/xsRThvUSsB0?start=235

Recall that the DOJ Inspector General found that Andrew McCabe lied about leaking a self-serving story to Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal that he was not stalling (or "slow walking") the Hillary Clinton email investigation at a time in which McCabe had come under fire for his wife taking a $467,500 campaign contribution from Clinton proxy pal, Terry McAuliffe.

Last month we reported that "rank and file" FBI agents want Congress to subpoena them so that they can step forward and reveal dirt on Comey and McCabe , reports the Daily Caller , citing three active field agents and former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova.

" There are agents all over this country who love the bureau and are sickened by [James] Comey's behavior and [Andrew] McCabe and [Eric] Holder and [Loretta] Lynch and the thugs like [John] Brennan –who despise the fact that the bureau was used as a tool of political intelligence by the Obama administration thugs," former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova told The Daily Caller Tuesday.

" They are just waiting for a chance to come forward and testify ." -Joe diGenova

DiGenova - a veteran D.C. attorney who President Trump initially wanted to hire to represent him in the Mueller probe - only to have to step aside due to conflicts , has maintained contact with "rank and file" FBI agents as well as a counterintelligence consultant who interviewed an active special agent in the FBI's Washington Field Office (WFO) - producing a transcript reviewed by The Caller .

These agents prefer to be subpoenaed to becoming an official government whistleblower , since they fear political and professional backlash, the former Trump administration official explained to TheDC.

More than just Hillary's emails...

The FBI's whistleblowers didn't stop Weiner's laptop... In March of 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Rep. Nunes revealed to him that a "whistleblower type person" had stepped forward with information about the surveillance of the Trump campaign .

"He had told me that a whistleblower type person had given him some information that was new, that spoke to the last administration and part of this investigation," Ryan said in late March.

"What Chairman Nunes said was he came into possession of new information he thought was valuable to this investigation and he was going to go and inform people about it."

me title=

The week before Ryan made these statements, Nunes revealed that an unidentified source showed him evidence that the U.S. intelligence community "incidentally surveilled" Trump's transition team before inauguration day.

Of course, we now know it goes much, much deeper. As Rudy Giuliani also said on Friday:

Let's look at it this way ... Peter Strzok was running the Hillary investigation. That's a total fix . That's a closed-book now, total fix. Comey should go to jail for that. And Strzok. But then what does Comey do? He takes Strzok - who wanted to get Trump in any way possible - he puts him in charge of the Russia investigation .

How come they're not finding any evidence of collusion? Because the President didn't do anything wrong and he's being investigated corruptly.

A higher loyalty indeed... Vote up! 4 Vote down! 0


Scipio Africanuz -> VWAndy Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

This is what you get under imperium, under a Republic, it's almost impossible! Patriots will stand up, and answer to their pedigree but under imperium, integrity is the first virtue to wither, after that the other virtues quickly atrophy.

Let us my friends, determine with every fiber of our being, fight to RESTORE THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC!!!...

MK13 -> I woke up Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:37 Permalink

US gov is trying to have a cake and it eat too - aka blow up certain parts of FIB/CIA without destroying credibility of US.gov.

It's a political comedy show, enjoy it.

oncemore1 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Drump is an idiot.

Why are those people still with DOJ and with FBI?

Stupid Trump.

MadHatt -> oncemore1 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:20 Permalink

Who?

James Comey? James Baker? Lisa Page? Mike Kortan? Josh Campbell? David Laufman? John Carlin? Sally Yates? Mary McCord? Rachel Brand? Andrew McCabe?

These cant be the people you are referring to, as they are no longer employed.

Assuming others are stupid and refusing to look up what you are talking about is ironically funny.

otschelnik Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Looking retrospectively I always thought that it was uncanny how the Trump campaign parted with Carter Page and then Paul Manafort,brought in Kellyanne Conway. They seemed to be dodging bullets.

Pollygotacracker -> roadhazard Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Nunes, Desantis, Jordan, and Gaetz are the only halfway decent guys in the Congress.

SergeA.Storms -> VWAndy Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:53 Permalink

99% are not cops, most wouldn't even make it as a cop. They are lawyers, accountants, statisticians, analysts and scientists with a basic gun qualification. They have a lot of cool forensic things at their disposal and in some instances can be helpful in a major investigation. Real cops (like the NYPD investigators that caught the Weiner laptop fiasco and preserved the evidence) don't need the FBI other than to access some of their whiz-bang shit. They'll talk for hours over a two minute task. The rest in higher echelons is politics, dirty politics.

That said. My biggest complaint is the lack of action taken by the 'concerned agents'. Horseshit, cops get arrested 'in house' for stupid shit they've done and the info doesn't get printed because in local areas it can ruin families. This by no means infers light treatment, for example DUI (misdemeanor level in CA) will get you all the aspects of a first DUI that any citizen gets, plus 30-60 days off with no pay, a 'work improvement contract' for a year or two, and a stint in a dry out center. You will possibly keep your job. Repeat offense, fired. Embezzlement, fires, lying in an investigation, fired with a Brady Jacket. Domestic Violence, fired. The Thin Blue Line is just that, 'thin'. If you think the old days of saying nothing still exists or a partner will cover you, your not living in modern times. No one will risk their pension for your sorry ass. You'll be advised by old dogs, don't be a dumbass, dumbass.

[Jun 16, 2018] Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin.

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Cloud9.5 -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:24 Permalink

The Democratic Party was founded in 1828. The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin. The primary reason Trump won the election was the simple. Even though he ran on the Republican ticket, he was not a Republican. He was the best choice open to the populist. Whether he is a populist or not does not matter. What matters is that people want an America first, Populist Party. We are tired of the wars. We are tired of the government. And, we are tired of the neocons...

edotabin -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

"Ha ha ha ha ha the party of losers and users is OVER"

Instead of worrying who will fill the void, they should focus on the void of their ways. As Nietzsche said, " And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. " It's no wonder they are consuming themselves.

The people are starting to see through the lower end of their BS. Oddly enough, it's figuring out the low end stuff that will create the most rage. Zombie awakening.

As for Obama, I think he realizes what's going on and probably wants no part of it.

null Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:33 Permalink

Debbie's DNC-cesspool member calling Clinton "toxic"?

The party is toxic ... literally corrosive to American People.

But not just toxic ... look how it infected the other party ... toxic and contagious ... LBJ would be sooooo proud.

momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

Biggest rallies in US presidential history were for Bernie Sanders who ran as a Democrat. Dems don't want him because they don't want to get off the corporate lobbyist gravytrain. They would rather lose the presidency.

The republicans are the same. Crooks. All this bullshit on Zero Hedge comments about one being better than the other is simpleton thinking.

hooligan2009 -> momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

its the lessor of two weevils.

the choice will always be between a douche and a turd sandwich.

the difference between trumps faults and clintons faults was a chasm.

if there ever was a leader for either party that halved the pentagon budget by making it "smart", eliminating waste, repatriating troops, closing overseas bases AND came up with a plan to make QUALITY portable and fungible across the country, AND found a way to educate rather than indoctrinate children AND found a way to repay the national debt whilst funding medicare/medicaid (both bankrupt) AND found a way to get the federal government completely out of the housing market (get rid of fraudie and funny and the FHA) and, etc etc.. the country would be back on track.

clinton wanted the opposite of all that, trump wants less of it and at least understands what a fucking pain in the ass federal involvement in anything actually is.

[Jun 16, 2018] There's Fking No One Else; DNC Strategist Laments Over Broken Party; Bill Clinton Toxic, Carter Too Old Zero Hedge

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Following a Monday report that President Obama is "secretly" meeting with top Democratic contenders for the 2020 election, The Hill notes that desperate Democrats beset with Clinton fatigue are freaking out over the fact that the much "blue wave" appears to be crashing on the rocks , and there's nobody around to salvage the party ahead of midterms and the 2020 election.

" There's f---ing no one else ," one frustrated Democratic strategist said. " Bill Clinton is toxic, [former President] Carter is too old, and there's no one else around for miles ." - The Hill

In the hopes of reinvigorating the DNC (of which up to 40 state chapters stand accused of funneling up to $84 million to the Clinton campaign), downtrodden dems are hoping that Obama will get off the sidelines and help rally support.

" He's been way too quiet ," said one longtime Obama bundler who rarely criticizes the former president, according to The Hill . " There are a lot of people who think he's played too little a role or almost no role in endorsing or fundraising and he's done jack shit in getting people to donate to the party. "

After the GOP made sweeping gains in the 2016 election, the DNC was left in disarray - and anyone who might be able to lead the party, be it Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, may run in 2020. Bernie Sanders is of course out because he may run and he's not a Democrat.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was among five possible contenders for the Democratic crown attending the "We the People" conference in Washington on Wednesday. He received the loudest applause and heard chants of "Bernie."

But he can't play the elder role for the party, both because he may run for president and because he's not a Democrat.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), two other possibilities, have mass followings but also may join the 2020 race. - The Hill

That leaves the spotlight squarely on Barrack Hussein Obama - whose lack of endorsements during the primary season and general absence has frustrated Democrats.

Bill Clinton, who is more radioactive than ever after making ill-advised comments over "what you can do to somebody against their will," has endorsed several candidates since leaving office, yet Obama has declined to do the same thus far.

"You have all these people running for office, some of them against other Democrats, and his strategy has been to not endorse anyone and that's what's been so f---ing ridiculous because not only are you not helping them, you're hurting them ," said the bundler.

Former aides and Democratic strategists said Obama has sought to maintain a lower profile not only for his party to find new life, but also to avoid playing a foil to President Trump and Republicans.

A source close to Obama said the former president is looking forward to hitting the campaign trail, fundraising and issuing more endorsements closer to the midterms. But the source added that injecting himself into day-to-day politics would do the Democratic Party a disservice by making it more difficult for other Democratic voices to rise to prominence. - The Hill

Others say that Obama has remained the unofficial leader of the Democratic Party since leaving office.

"He always wanted to help, without a doubt. He cares tremendously about our country and our party. But I think he always intended to be a little more on the sidelines than he's been," said one former Obama aide. "I think he realizes he is needed and needed badly."

Former Obama aides say that the ex-President is unsettled by policies flowing from the Trump administration, along with the "tone and tenor" of the White House (but not enough to aggressively help active Democrats fight, apparently).

According to Democratic strategist David Wade: " It's certainly not the post-presidency he might've preferred. "

Maybe Obama is just having a good time hanging out?

Tags Politics

Comments
Vote up! 26 Vote down! 1

JimmyJones -> BandGap Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:29 Permalink

The Neo-cons, excuse me Democrats better get moving. (its so hard to tell them apart these days) The clock is ticking, November is coming and more reports showing criminal behavior are on the way.

$60,000 dollars worth of "Succulent Hot dogs"

Theosebes Goodfellow -> TeamDepends Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

~"Many of you impatient homos are whining about no arrests or indictments have been made yet. When will it happen? I'll tell you: Early October."~

Bingo.

The dems have another problem and appear too stupid to focus on it. They apparently much rather worry about having a figurehead to lead them, but their real problem is much, much larger. Simply put, they have no message, save "Hate Trump!!!" What exactly do they promise voters these days? Trump impeachment as an economic program?

Also curious is the fact they want no part of Hillary. Do they admit she's as tainted as a leper?

crazzziecanuck -> TeamDepends Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

The problem with that will be people will see through it as cheap, partisan electioneering. The result will be an EASIER time to motivate Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.

There's as much chance of an implosion of Democrats in 2018 as there were back in 2006 when the GOP was nearly blasted out of existence then too. Remember how all the predictions about the imminent doom of the GOP were front and centre?

Journalists are so lazy, they're just using Liquid Paper to erase "Republican" to "Democrat" and change the date from stuff they wrote back in 2006.

Doesn't matter if Republicans or Democrats win. In the end, everyone else simply loses. How much you lose is proportional to the distance from the party elite you actually are.

07564111 -> JimmyJones Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:38 Permalink

Interesting shit. The world should now conclude that there are no qualified people left in the USA.

Is it that all are corrupt or none are corrupt enough. ??

[Jun 16, 2018] The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain

Rumors about the death of the US global neoliberal empire are probably slightly exaggerated. Trump did damaged it, but the neoliberal system proved to be really resilient in 2008 and might prove this again.
Notable quotes:
"... The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader. ..."
"... However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family. ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT

@Rurik

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Rurik , June 14, 2018 at 10:43 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

some perhaps, but the middle class is dying (literally in the case of middle aged white men), and the working class is languishing. It's true the 1% are gorging on a frenzy of corruption and graft, and a no doubt there are a few who prosper by serving that class, but the Main Streets of America are not, in any way, profiting off the exploitation of Africa or S. America or anywhere else. Indeed, it is them that are being exploited.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey

no argument there!

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India.

India and China (and Ethiopia and Somalia and Mexico and Brazil and so many other places) are not poor due to the oppression of Americans. Sure, Goldman Sachs and a thousand other vultures and thieves have done a lot of damage, but no more that the leadership of those respective lands. Has India ever heard of birth control, (for God's sake!) Or Indonesia or a hundred other places, like Haiti, that overbreed their finite resources and limited space until their countries are reduced to shitholes.

If a coal miner in West Virginia is doing a little better than an Untouchable in India, then trust me when I tell you I'm not going to blame the miner (or janitor or mechanic) in America for the poverty in the corrupt and stupid third world.

As far as the suffering that the ZUSA has actually caused, and is causing in places like Syria and Yemen, none of that is being done on behalf of the American people, but rather the typical American is taxed to support these wars and atrocities on behalf of Israel or Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

recently I was ranting on the terrible folly of this very thing.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

Yes, they're just as selfish and greedy, but they aren't as filled with genocidal hatred.

It's because of Zionist Jews that Americans were dragged into both world wars.

It's because of Zionist Jews (and assorted corrupt Gentiles) that Israel (with help from the CIA and ((media)), did 9/11, in order to plunge this century into horrors writ large like the last Zio-century.

That there are legions of corrupt and soulless Gentiles willing and eager to jump on that gravy train, is a shame and a sin, but it doesn't excuse the people who are the motivation behind the wars.

The Kochs (and Chamber of Commerce and other Gentile scum) want massive immigration out of pure, raw, insatiable greed.

Whereas the Jewish supremacist Zionists want it out of genocidal tribal hatreds.

The typical American middle and working class are ground into the dirt between these two pillars of Satanic iniquity.

I agree with much of what you're saying, and it's true about the elites in general. But the ZUSA is completely controlled by Zionist Jews, and I think that's pretty obvious.

This man knew that 9/11 was going to happen, if he wasn't part of the planning. And yet look at how they abase themselves

[Jun 16, 2018] I noticed the DNC created a tiny plaque above a crappy bike rack for him

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Vote up! 8 Vote down! 1


Ms No -> el buitre Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:40 Permalink

Found an interesting article about some developments with Seth Rich. Hard to make sense of. I noticed the DNC created a tiny plaque above a crappy bike rack for him. They don't want anybody to remember him. Probably Hillary's idea.

https://www.sott.net/article/388293-Aaron-Rich-refusing-to-authorize-Wi

forexskin -> Ms No Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

this article merits wider play - interesting angle that the family won't authorize wikileaks to release their info.

Thought Processor -> Ms No Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

Seth uploaded the files into a DropBox (per Sy Hersh) and also may have given others the password to it. He was trying to make sure that the information got out. He very likely also asked that he never be named as the leaker, for obvious reasons.

His family could possibly confirm that he was the leaker if they knew at the time, though I'm sure that they were heavily pressured to do otherwise as soon as Seth Rich was murdered. They would have simply been given a choice along with some thinly veiled threats.

Thought Processor -> Four chan Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:26 Permalink

Rumor is that Bernie is setting up his crew now for another run at it. Makes me wonder who the next Seth Rich will be.

pparalegal -> Thought Processor Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

Bernie sold his mooing cow followers out last time. The DNC will make him an offer he can't refuse. Biden is a tit grabbing corrupt cartoon. I say Crusty the clown has a good chance. Do it for the children!

[Jun 15, 2018] President Barack Obama gave Mueller original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover ."

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

francis scott Fri, 06/15/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

...Robert Mueller, who was Director of the FBI from September 4, 2001 to September 4, 2013. In those 12 years as Director, he served as Obama's FBI Director for 5 years, from Jan. 2009 until Sept. 2013. "President Barack Obama gave his original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover ."

He knows where every unconstitutional skeleton in both Baby Bush and Barack Obama's is buried...

[Jun 15, 2018] Tulsi Gabbard might be a viable candidate

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton turned the Democratic party into a Mafia organization ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

trillion_dolla Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

They do have someone and her name is Tulsi Gabbard. But, shes not a raving neoliberal. So, the base ignores her.

hooligan2009 -> trillion_dolla Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:59 Permalink

agreed - classy, smart lady.

if she ever goes "stateswoman like" by not bitching at opponents and just beingalways positive she would attract a lot of votes.

one of the few demoNrats i would enjoy having dinner or a drink with.

Chief Joesph Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:10 Permalink

Democrats can lament all they want, but they did have a very good candidate that they allowed to be thrown under the bus. That was Bernie Sanders. Despite his "socialist" leanings, (for you conservatives), he was really fresh blood to the Democratic party. And even though Jimmy Carter is old, he has a very good working mind, better than all that are currently in the Democratic party. Clinton turned the Democratic party into a Mafia organization, taking orders from her, paving the way for her, knocking off anyone that looked like potential trouble, like Seth Rich, John Ashe, Joe Montano, Victor Thorn, and Shawn Lucas. All five of these guys died within 6 weeks of each other. Strange? Not if you are operating an old style mafia organization. Democrats need to resign the party, and form something new, that has fresh ideas, and people who are not there for self-coronations. The most honest democrat you have left is Jimmy Carter. Democrats are not honest today.

kudocast -> Chief Joesph Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:31 Permalink

I would add Howard Dean and Elizabeth Warren to Jimmy Carter.

kudocast Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:29 Permalink

They need to purge the leadership of the DNC - Perez, Clinton and the gang, they are the ones that shoved Hillary Clinton down Democrats throats instead letting Bernie Sanders, the real nominee, win the nomination. The DNC fucked over themselves, no one else is to blame.

Howard Dean is the one that got Obama elected the first time. From 2005 to 2009, he headed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and successfully implemented the 50 State Strategy, which aimed for Democrats to be competitive in places considered Republican-dominated territory. As a result, during the midterms in 2006, Democrats won the House back and gained seats in the Senate. In 2008 Barack Obama also used the same strategy to win his presidential bid.

Just like the DNC and Democratic bourgeoise fucked over Bernie, they fucked over Howard Dean. Obama didn't select Howard Dean for his cabinet for Secretary of Health and Human Services - even though he was a successful governor, is a medical doctor, and was one of the main reasons Obama won in 2008.

Howard Dean should run as an Independent in 2020.

PrivetHedge Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Funny, I thought they had a red-hot candidate called - err - Bernie Sanders.

Shame they sabotaged him and his political future, oh well.

bwdiii Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:14 Permalink

Is that a $65,000 Chicago foot long the ex pres is busy with? Or just a hotdog?

3-fingered_chemist Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

Obama has always been about himself. I mean who publishes a memoir about yourself when you're just a nobody? Even Obama knows a loser when he sees one...the Democratic Party. He did more for the Republican Party than any Republican could ever do. One of the Greatest Presidents in my lifetime for the conservative movement.

NuYawkFrankie Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

DNC DOA

3-fingered_chemist Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

The Dems are caught between a rock and a hard place. The result of losing 1000s of seats nationwide since 2010 means you've got no farm system to develop politicians/leaders. It's no different than any sports franchise. The successful ones have a deep bench and prospects to knock off old, overpaid, underachieving veterans. If the Dems trot out Obama, he will be a death sentence for the Dems' chances in November. Guy is hated by almost everyone. Don't believe the approval ratings from CNN. He got more popular towards the end when people realized he was finally leaving.

ZazzOne Fri, 06/15/2018 - 20:26 Permalink

Obama and the Clinton's have DESTROYED the Democrat party!!! Leaders of the current Democratic party apparatchik, Schumer, Pelosi, Schiff, et al , are fucking idiots!!! I see a Red tsunami wave for the mid-term election!

[Jun 15, 2018] Ralph Peters as one of the nuttiest neocons around. But as far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson

Notable quotes:
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.) ..."
"... A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy". ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. ..."
"... However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money. ..."
"... Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job. ..."
"... The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.g2mil.com
AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Rurik

The US elites (neocons are just one type of servants they hired)

ah, so it was Dubya all along! What a clever little schemer he was! Pretending all that time to be dumb as a rock, and a tool of organized Zionism, while he was using the neocons to his own advantage! So while ((Wolfowitz and Feith and Pearl and Kristol)) were being schooled at the feet of ((Leo Strauss)), it was Dubya the college cheerleader all along who was the mastermind behind the Project for a New American Century and 9/11 !

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_KhlRzZj7HG8/SylVO1ygOeI/AAAAAAAAQ1s/2ms5qnctt4Y/s320/Dubya+phone.jpg

sure, Goldman Sachs and Hollywood get federal subsidies, but it's the (dying) American middle class that has been exploiting the world's poor!

The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain,
what's been going down the drain has been the blood and tears and future of working class Americans, forced to suit up their children to go slaughter innocent Arabs and others in a transparent and treasonous policy intended to bolster Israel - at the direct and catastrophic expense of America and the American people.

I wonder, as the American people are taxed to the tune of billions every year, to send to Israel as tribute, is that also a case of US elites using Israel to their own devices? As Americas roads and bridges crumble, and veterans are denied care?

Or, is it just possible, that the ((owners)) of the Federal Reserve Bank, have used that printing press as a weapon to consolidate absolute power over the institutions of the ZUSA?

Do you suppose that when France bombs Libya or menaces Syria, that they're doing it to benefit the French elite? And that Israel is their dupe, who give them a pretext for doing so? Or that the French (and British and Polish and Ukrainian, etc..) elite are getting their marching orders from Jewish supremacist Zionists who're hell bent on using Gentile Christians to slaughter Gentile Muslims while they laugh and count the shekels? Eh?

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Carlton Meyer says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

Ralph Peters is one of the nuttiest neocons around, and Fox was smart to dump him. I recall an article long ago where he suggested that the US Govt. should address the drug addition problem in the USA by assassinating drug dealers on the streets in the USA.

He lives off scraps from neocons by selling his soul for BS talking points and collects a monthly check from Uncle Sam after 20 years of sitting at a desk doing BS intel work, as I once did for a year. It seems he missed his chance at killing commies in Nam by touring Europe, as Fred Reed explained:

https://fredoneverything.org/dulce-et-decorum-est-if-someone-else-has-to-do-it/

Mikhail says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 6:18 am GMT
Nothing new in the above article. That such people are elevated to the stature of cushy mainstream propping and ridicule by some non-mainstream others is a tell all sign on what's wrong with the coverage.

Regarding this excerpt:

A prime example of this comes in a recent volume authored by prominent Neocon journalist and homosexual activist (yes, the two traits often seem to go together), James Kirchick: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, 2017). In his jumble of Neocon ideology and prejudice, Kirchick evaluates what for him seems to be happening ominously in Europe. He is deeply fearful of the efforts to "close borders" against Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. He blasts Marine Le Pen as a racist -- and most likely a subtle "holocaust denier!" -- and attacks the attempts in places like Hungary and Poland to reassert national traditions and Christian identity; for him these are nothing less than attempts to bring back "fascism."

Russia comes in for perhaps his harshest criticism, and the reason is unmistakable: Russia seems to be returning to its older national and pre-Communist heritage, to its age-old Orthodox Christian faith. Russians are returning by the millions to the church and the "old-time" religion. For Kirchick this can only mean one thing: the triumph of bigotry, anti-semitism, and "extreme right wing" ideology, and the failure of what he terms "liberal democracy and equality" (including, he would no doubt include, feminism, same sex marriage, across-the-board equality, and all those other "conservative values"!).

Kirchick's critique, shared by many of the leaders of the national Republican Party and dominating the pages of most establishment "conservative" publications and talk radio these days, joins him arm-in-arm with globalist George Soros in efforts to undermine the Russian state and its president all in the name of "democracy" and "equality." [See, "George Soros Aghast as Collapsing EU, while Russia Resurgent," January 19, 2018]

But, just what kind of "democracy" and what kind of "equality" do Kirchick and Soros defend?

JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.)

A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy".

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT • 100 Words
@Andrei Martyanov
As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.
As I always say -- as repulsive and debilitating Jewish influence on US body politic is, this influence, now transformed in almost complete "intellectual" dominance, it wouldn't have been possible without willing accomplices from radical Christian Zionists and a massive corruption in the highest echelons of power.

Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. The crisis is systemic and Jews are only one, however important, part of that. In the end, Bolton is a practicing Lutheran but look at him -- the guy is completely mad. And I mean this in purely psychiatric terms -- he has some real serious demons haunting him and I even have suspicion about what some of those are. Just an example.

Yes, sick ideology often attracts nutcases. I know a guy in Ukraine with a history of mental illness who is a staunch supporter of current "president" Poroshenko.

However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money.

Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job.

The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. The greatest sin of Russia and Putin is that they got in the way of thieves who wanted to loot the whole world but encountered resistance. Assad in Syria, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela committed the same sin: got between the thieves and their intended loot.

[Jun 15, 2018] The future is bright for Neoliberal Democrats.

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

FredGSanford. Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

The democrats have a large stable of brilliant and formidable possible candidates any of which could lead the party to greatness

Hillary Clinton, Slick Willie, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Mark Zuckerburg, Anthony Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, Robert DeNiro, Oprah, Michelle Hussein Obama, Elizabeth ( Pococahontas)Warren , Madonna, Cher, Bernie Sanders , all the CNN and MSNBC personalities, Chris Matthews, Bruce Jenner, Colin Kapernic, Gov Jerry moonbeam Brown, and that's just to name a few. There is an abundance of talent , not to mention character and honesty.

The future is bright for Liberal Democrats.

[Jun 15, 2018] I'm ready.

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support ...."

We have already SEEN these texts, when the fuck is something actually going to be DONE about it?

Or is the 2A the only answer to that question?

secretargentman -> vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

I'm ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7MoXPxA5LM

[Jun 15, 2018] And guess who did that redacting? Oh, that would be one Rod Rosenstein.

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

francis_the_wo -> JimmyJones Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:09 Permalink

"The redacted material was just removed"

And guess who did that redacting? Oh, that would be one Rod Rosenstein.

The same Rod Rosenstein who is very much implicated of wrongdoing regarding his (illegal and unnecessary) appointment of a Special Counsel.

In other words, Rod's got a conflict of interest in redacting a document that implicates him in conflicts of interest.

You can't make this stuff up.....

[Jun 14, 2018] Turley Comey Can No Longer Hide Destruction Caused At FBI

Notable quotes:
"... Excellent piece, dexterously explaining the similarity between the IG's dilemma and Mueller's shot at obstruction. If Mueller claims Trump obstructed, and must be prosecuted, Comey must be prosecuted. ..."
Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

James Comey once described his position in the Clinton investigation as being the victim of a "500-year flood." The point of the analogy was that he was unwittingly carried away by events rather than directly causing much of the damage to the FBI. His "500-year flood" just collided with the 500-page report of the Justice Department inspector general (IG) Michael Horowitz.

The IG sinks Comey's narrative with a finding that he "deviated" from Justice Department rules and acted in open insubordination.

Rather than portraying Comey as carried away by his biblical flood, the report finds that he was the destructive force behind the controversy. The import of the report can be summed up in Comeyesque terms as the distinction between flotsam and jetsam. Comey portrayed the broken rules as mere flotsam, or debris that floats away after a shipwreck. The IG report suggests that this was really a case of jetsam, or rules intentionally tossed over the side by Comey to lighten his load. Comey's jetsam included rules protecting the integrity and professionalism of his agency, as represented by his public comments on the Clinton investigation.

The IG report concludes, "While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey's part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice."

The report will leave many unsatisfied and undeterred. Comey went from a persona non grata to a patron saint for many Clinton supporters. Comey, who has made millions of dollars with a tell-all book portraying himself as the paragon of "ethical leadership," continues to maintain that he would take precisely the same actions again.

Ironically, Comey, fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe , former FBI agent Peter Strzok and others, by their actions, just made it more difficult for special counsel Robert Mueller to prosecute Trump for obstruction. There is now a comprehensive conclusion by career investigators that Comey violated core agency rules and undermined the integrity of the FBI. In other words, there was ample reason to fire James Comey.

Had Trump fired Comey immediately upon taking office, there would be little question about his conduct warranting such termination. Instead, Trump waited to fire him and proceeded to make damaging statements about how the Russian investigation was on his mind at the time, as well as telling Russian diplomats the day after that the firing took "pressure off" him. Nevertheless, Mueller will have to acknowledge that there were solid, if not overwhelming, grounds to fire Comey.

To use the Comey firing now in an obstruction case, Mueller will have to assume that the firing of an "insubordinate" official was done for the wrong reason. Horowitz faced precisely this same problem in his review and refused to make such assumptions about Comey and others. The IG report found additional emails showing a political bias against Trump and again featuring the relationship of Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. In one exchange, Page again sought reassurance from Strzok, who was a critical player in the investigations of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump , that Trump is "not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Strzok responded, "No. No he won't. We'll stop it."

The IG noted that some of these shocking emails occurred at that point in October 2016 when the FBI was dragging its feet on the Clinton email investigation and Strzok was a critical player in that investigation. The IG concluded that bias was reflected in that part of the investigation with regard to Strzok and his role. Notably, the IG was in the same position as Mueller: The IG admits that the Strzok-Page emails "potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations." This includes the decision by Strzok to prioritize the Russian investigation over the Clinton investigation. The IG states that "[w]e concluded that we did not have confidence that this decision by Strzok was free from bias."

However, rather than assume motivations, the IG concluded that it could not "find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions." Thus, there was bias reflected in the statements of key investigatory figures like Strzok but there were also objective alternative reasons for the actions taken by the FBI. That is precisely the argument of Trump on the Comey firing. While he may have harbored animus toward Comey or made disconcerting statements, the act of firing Comey can be justified on Comey's own misconduct as opposed to assumptions about his motives.

Many of us who have criticized Comey in the past, including former Republican and Democratic Justice Department officials, have not alleged a political bias. As noted by the IG report, Comey's actions did not benefit the FBI or Justice Department but, rather, caused untold harm to those institutions. The actions benefited Comey as he tried to lighten his load in heading into a new administration. It was the same motive that led Comey to improperly remove FBI memos and then leak information to the media after he was fired by Trump. It was jetsam thrown overboard intentionally by Comey to save himself, not his agency.

The Horowitz report is characteristically balanced. It finds evidence of political bias among key FBI officials against Trump and criticizes officials in giving the investigation of Trump priority over the investigation of Clinton. However, it could not find conclusive evidence that such political bias was the sole reason for the actions taken in the investigation. The question is whether those supporting the inspector general in reaching such conclusions would support the same approach by the special counsel when the subject is not Comey but Trump.


GeezerGeek -> pc_babe Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:20 Permalink

Comey is simply two-legged pond scum. He did what he thought would preserve his privileged position. No way a POS like him would go against the wishes of Barry, Loretta and Hillary. The question I have is this: were those three acting in concert to beat Trump or did Barry direct Jimmy to do in Hillary with that late-stage reopening of the inquiry? Barry would have hated to have Hillary replace him, because - if she actually lived through it - she would probably have reduced him to a minor historical footnote. His ego couldn't handle that. Heck, I wouldn't even exclude the possibility that Bubba's meeting with Loretta, perhaps including a phone call with Barry, was about keeping Hillary out of the White House. It might have cramped Bubba's style, being first dude and all and under close scrutiny.

Keyser -> GeezerGeek Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:22 Permalink

Although damning in many respects, the IG's report falls short in identifying prosecutable actions on the part of FbI / DoJ officials... There may be some firings, but that's about it...

Comey will get to skate with the $$$ from his book tour / Trump bashing tour, Stroczk and Page sail off into the sunset and likely go to work for some Dim think tank, the rank and file all go back to work thinking, phew, that one was close...

McCabe is going to be the poster child that gets the stick, while at the same time the underlying bias in these two agencies will continue unabated...

Stan522 -> Handful of Dust Thu, 06/14/2018 - 23:07 Permalink

This report whitewashed the worst crimes.... The OIG reports recommendations and what they chose to ignore is reminiscing of Comey's now infamous indictment and exoneration of Hillary Clinton from that 2016 press conference.

The deep state is still calling the shots.....

MK ULTRA Alpha -> y3maxx Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:09 Permalink

The FBI takes bribes from the media for secret insider information and used the media connections for disinformation to twist the narrative for Clinton. Hundreds of interactions with MSM, bribes being handed out. These jerks must feel their power to be the unnamed sources, looks like they've dug their own grave. Literally hundreds of contacts, recorded bribes and an extreme close relation with CNN and New York Times. This is the source of all the disinformation, lies, rumors and destruction to our nation. The FBI is the enemy with their unlawful alliance with communist and homosexuals in the media. I wonder how many FBI agents are communist and homosexuals?

The key in all this is the political slush fund of over a $100 billion which everyone ignores, the Clinton Foundation will make or break politicians for a corrupt elitist communist agenda for the next generation. It's being protected from investigation because of the previous crimes of Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, and who knows how many others. The Clinton Foundation was bribed by foreigners for access, favors and the plan to use the money to take over the US government.

Uranium One is just one covert operation which ensnares all of these opportunist. The Haitian relief money, remember Bush II sat right next to Clinton stating the reason or his purpose was to prevent the Haitian money from being stolen. That was on national full throated MSM. Are there murders connected to the Clinton Foundation? Considering Congresswoman Wasserman Shultz most likely ordered an FBI agent to look into Seth Rich, Pakistanis infiltrating the highest level of leadership, Iranian cocaine smuggling network the FBI was prepared to take down stopped by Obama because it would interfere with the Iran nuke deal. None of this is being added to the equation, incredible FBI and overall government corruption.

It's worse than a swamp, it's an army aligned against us with no honor, decency or even allegiance to this nation, only their gang, allegiance to an organization, a gang covering up to continue to do the same. Each agency of the federal government is of this culture, the break down in this country is apart of every aspect of the government.

How can anyone say we have a country anymore?

LaugherNYC -> pc_babe Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:24 Permalink

Excellent piece, dexterously explaining the similarity between the IG's dilemma and Mueller's shot at obstruction. If Mueller claims Trump obstructed, and must be prosecuted, Comey must be prosecuted.

Slow-walking an investigation resulting in no charges being filed despite clear evidence of multiple crimes -- I would call THAT clear obstruction. McCabe and Comey have conspired to try to dump this on Strzok. It would be funny if it weren't so despicable.

junction -> Captain Nemo d Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:19 Permalink

What can you expect from Comey, paid $7 million a year by HSBC, the bank that laundered some $12 billion in narco trafficker (read CIA proxy) narcotic money? Lock him up in SuperMax in a narrow cell next to jewboy Rosenstein.i

Tarzan -> Zorba's idea Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:19 Permalink

The thing is, Trump was his boss, and if he decided the Russia coup was a waste of FBI time, he has every right to fire the head of the FBI, for continuing to waist time and money, purposely trying to undermine the election.

Remember, this is before there was a special counsel, and if after a year of investigating there's no there there, there sure as shit wasn't anything back then to investigate!

There is nothing illegal about the President telling Comey to knock it off, or else.

He should tell the press what they want to here. Of course the phony Russia scam played a part in getting Comey fired, rightfully so. Then stand with his fist in the air shouting Fuck the Prestitutes!

For a year now, they've been in a search for something, anything, to investigate.

He should fire Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller, TODAY, and watch their heads explode!

Tarzan -> Captain Nemo d Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:36 Permalink

There is an evil intent in all this, beyond the obvious.

Many believe WWG1WGA means, "Where we go one we go all".

A Ponzi always collapses the minute it stops growing, it's a 100% certainty. From the start, ~100 years ago, the Oligarchs who gathered on Jekyll Island knew that their debt money would grow right up to the day it suddenly collapsed, and planned it with all it's allure, hooks, and traps, to consume everything, before that day, so that all would be in the same boat when it collapses. They planned it to fail from the start. It's a mutual suicide Trap, set up to consume the world, consolidate power, then collapse all the Nation's currencies in one fail swoop!

For in a single hour such fabulous wealth has been destroyed!

They'll have their grand New World Order, and a knew single currency waiting in the wings, to rescue the useful idiots from the disaster they've planned.

They'll attempt to number us all, track everything, and dictate how you buy and sell - through them of course. But not just what you buy with, but what you buy, who you buy from, how much you buy, and how much you will pay!

That is their plan. How far they'll get nobody knows. I suspect they'll fail miserably, but the truth is, they're already a long way down this road.

Implied Violins -> Captain Nemo d Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

FUCK this "Q" bullshit. Anyone still bowing to this crap needs to read these articles and get their head on straight:

https://steemkr.com/qanon/@elizbethleavos/steemit-only-article-opinion-why-independent-media-voices-are-questioning-the-q-persona
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/05/28/wikileaks-calls-qanon-a-likely-pied-piper-operation/

It's just fourth generation warfare, meant to keep our butts on the couch because "someone else is doing the work".

NOT.

swamp Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:17 Permalink

It did not just impact perception. It factually altered the FBI protocol. Comey was high on power of co-running the deep state and subverting justice and the Constitution. This is high treason, covering high crimes and attempting to unseat Trump at every juncture.

Winston Churchill -> Joebloinvestor Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:42 Permalink

The FBI isn't and you still think J.Edgar was an aberration ? The FBI is the swamps gamekeeper, nurturing the critters, weeding out the weak, until only the foulest and strongest they can be unleashed on us. Take two red pills and report back in the morning.

Cabreado Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:44 Permalink

When Comey, Lynch, Clinton et al do not find their way to prison... the DOJ is still broken, as is Congress charged with oversight... and so then,

the Rule of Law is still broken. And so then what traitors and criminals are next... when half the People do not give a damn.

AsEasyAsPi Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Fidelity: Strzock and Page

Bravery: Comey, "I was afwaid of Trump"

Integrity: Comey, Ohr, Strzock, McCabe, Page, Rosenstein, Mueller............

Yeeeeah right.

[Jun 14, 2018] A Closer Look At Extreme FBI Bias Revealed In OIG Report

Some reader are close: "It looks like Justice/FBI usurped the role of the vote by the electorate."
Notable quotes:
"... OK, so if Comey broke protocols and was insubordinate in the Clinton probe, then the "probe" and exoneration is bogus. She never really was investigated and cleared and It should be re-opened. Investigate and Prosecute Clinton for real. Make it a sting operation. Get wire tap and surveillance warrants for the entire DOJ, FBI, all courts and judges, heck the entire bureaucracy and all umpteen intelligence organizations, and all known Clinton associates. A dragnet for all the corruption and obstruction of justice by the deep state. Root out the corrupt Clinton crime organization once and for all. ..."
"... It looks like Justice/FBI usurped the role of the vote by the electorate. ..."
"... They live in a Matrix like false reality generated by the Fake media. ..."
"... The champagne is flowing -- they got off the hook. All of the FBI screwballs are probably well past the drunkard stage and well into the sleeping under the table and on park benches stage. ..."
"... This whole article is a one sided view of a complex situation. Nothing is mentioned about the OIG stating that Comey was insubordinate in disclosing that he is investigating Clinton, that too in a press conference. This is clearly against FBI policy and had the purpose of muddying up the race and giving Trump momentum. ..."
"... The government just got done investigating itself. It found after an exhaustive taxpayer funded audit that it made a few errors, but that it was generally well meaning. I mean, what did anyone really expect? ..."
"... These FBI weasels fell all over themselves to demonstrate fealty to te incoming Hillary Clinton administration and the Democratic National Committee's interests. If they hoped to get anywhere in the next 4-8 years they had to be clearly "friendly" to the people at the top. Then Trump won instead. Fuck!!! ..."
"... Carreer-minded weasels entrenched in the Washington Deep State will happily show support for whatever "winning side" comes along. Romney, McCain, Bush, Clinton, Obama, it doen't matter who wins to them so long as they consider you "friendly" to their ambitions. ..."
Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

As we digest and unpack the DOJ Inspector General's 500-page report on the FBI's conduct during the Hillary Clinton email investigation " matter ," damning quotes from the OIG's findings have begun to circulate, leaving many to wonder exactly how Inspector General Michael Horowitz was able to conclude:

" We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed"

We're sorry, that just doesn't comport with reality whatsoever. And it really feels like the OIG report may have had a different conclusion at some point. Just read IG Horowitz's own assessment that "These texts are " Indicative of a biased state of mind but even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the Presidential candidate's electoral prospects ."

Of course, today's crown jewel is a previously undisclosed exchange between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in which Page asks " (Trump's) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" to which Strzok replies " No. No he's not. We'll stop it. "

Nevermind the fact that the FBI Director, who used personal emails for work purposes, tasked Strzok, who used personal emails for work purposes, to investigate Hillary Clinton's use of personal emails for work purposes . Of course, we know it goes far deeper than that...

The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel also had plenty to say in a Twitter thread:

1) Don't believe anyone who claims Horowitz didn't find bias. He very carefully says that he found no "documentary" evidence that bias produced "specific investigatory decisions." That's different

2) It means he didn't catch anyone doing anything so dumb as writing down that they took a specific step to aid a candidate. You know, like: "Let's give out this Combetta immunity deal so nothing comes out that will derail Hillary for President."

3) But he in fact finds bias everywhere. The examples are shocking and concerning, and he devotes entire sections to them. And he very specifically says in the summary that they "cast a cloud" on the entire "investigation's credibility." That's pretty damning.

4) Meanwhile this same cast of characters who the IG has now found to have made a hash of the Clinton investigation and who demonstrate such bias, seamlessly moved to the Trump investigation. And we're supposed to think they got that one right?

5) Also don't believe anyone who says this is just about Comey and his instances of insubordination. (Though they are bad enough.) This is an indictment broadly of an FBI culture that believes itself above the rules it imposes on others.

6) People failing to adhere to their recusals (Kadzik/McCabe). Lynch hanging with Bill. Staff helping Comey conceal details of presser from DOJ bosses. Use of personal email and laptops. Leaks. Accepting gifts from media. Agent affairs/relationships.

7) It also contains stunning examples of incompetence. Comey explains that he wasn't aware the Weiner laptop was big deal because he didn't know Weiner was married to Abedin? Then they sit on it a month, either cuz it fell through cracks (wow) or were more obsessed w/Trump

8) And I can still hear the echo of the howls from when Trump fired Comey. Still waiting to hear the apologies now that this report has backstopped the Rosenstein memo and the obvious grounds for dismissal.

So, let's review more of the exchanges which had no bearing on the "unbiased" report:

(h/t Robby Starbuck , Paul Sperry and others)

" OIG discovered texts and instant messages between employees on the investigative team, on FBI devices, expressing hostility toward then candidate Donald Trump and statements of support for then candidate Hillary Clinton. "

Viva le resistance!

In one shocking exchange between two unnamed FBI employees which we assume to be Strzok and Page, "Attorney 1" asks "Attorney 2" "Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?" to which "Attorney 2" replied " Hell no ," adding " Viva le resistance ."

Some of Strzok and Page's greatest hits:

Strzok also refers to having "unfinished business" and a need to "fix it" - while also admitting that " there's no big there, there " presumably regarding the Trump-Russia investigation.

While there are many more damning revelations in the OIG report, one would think that given the above, there was more than enough evidence to, at minimum, launch a special counsel - especially when you consider the weak sauce used to justify Mueller's special counsel probe.

Oh, and Hillary's gloating now...


vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support ...."

We have already SEEN these texts, when the fuck is something actually going to be DONE about it?

Or is the 2A the only answer to that question?

secretargentman -> vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

I'm ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7MoXPxA5LM

ACP -> nope-1004 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:35 Permalink

Yup.

FBI management in offices around the world will be having their Friday poker and whiskey (this actually happens) and will lean back and their chairs and say, "Give it a couple months, it'll blow over," and back to business.

In fact, it's back to business right at this moment.

erkme73 -> ACP Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:35 Permalink

Let's just hope that in their brilliant incompetence, the DOJ missed some real nuggets in those 500 pages. I'm hopeful (but doubtful) that we we will find some more bombshells that will prompt more outrage and uprising/waking of the sheep.

King of Ruperts Land -> erkme73 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:42 Permalink

OK, so if Comey broke protocols and was insubordinate in the Clinton probe, then the "probe" and exoneration is bogus. She never really was investigated and cleared and It should be re-opened. Investigate and Prosecute Clinton for real. Make it a sting operation. Get wire tap and surveillance warrants for the entire DOJ, FBI, all courts and judges, heck the entire bureaucracy and all umpteen intelligence organizations, and all known Clinton associates. A dragnet for all the corruption and obstruction of justice by the deep state. Root out the corrupt Clinton crime organization once and for all.

King of Ruperts Land -> King of Ruperts Land Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 Permalink

It looks like Justice/FBI usurped the role of the vote by the electorate. I suggest the electorate go to DC and usurp the role of Justice/FBI and vote on who to hang.

nmewn -> Sanity Bear Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:16 Permalink

From the report...I'm going to pull a ravolla-type spam ;-)

"Combetta was interviewed subject to the terms of the immunity agreement on May 3, 2016, by the same two FBI case agents, this time in the presence of the SSA, the CART examiner, all four line prosecutors, and Combetta's attorneys. According to the FD-302 and contemporaneous notes of the two agents and the CART Examiner, Combetta provided the FBI additional detail regarding his removal of emails from the culling laptops, stating that Mills had requested that he "securely delete the .pst files" in November or December 2014 but had not specifically requested that he use "deletion software." He told the FBI that he was the one who recommended the use of "BleachBit" because he had used it for other clients. He also acknowledged removing the HRC Archive mailbox from the PRN server between March 25, 2015, and March 31, 2015 , and using BleachBit to "shred" any remaining copies of Clinton's email on the server (Edit: To include certain emails to Chelsea of all people...lol...and the Egyptian Prime Minister about yoga classes & wedding invitations that happened the day before Sept 12 2012, no doubt)...

...despite his awareness of Congress's preservation order and his understanding that the order meant that "he should not disturb Clinton's email data on the PRN server."

So clearly no "obstruction"!

Addendum:

The May 22, 2015, letter from Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. to Clinton attorney Kendall reads in part:

I am writing in reference to the following e-mail that is among the approximately 55,000 pages that were identified as potential federal records and produced on behalf of former Secretary Clinton to the Depatment of State on December 5, 2014: E-mail forwarded by Jacob Sullivan to Secretary Clinton on November 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm (Subject: Fw: FYI- Report of arrests -possible Benghazi connection).

Please be advised that today the above referenced e-mail, which previously was unclassified , has been classified as "Secret" pursuant to Section 1.7(d) of Executive Order 13526 in connection with a review and release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In order to safeguard and protect the classified information, I ask – consistent with my letter to you dated March 23 2015 – that you, Secretary Clinton and others assisting her in responding to congressional and related inquiries coordinate in taking the steps set forth below. A copy of the document as redacted under the FOIA is attached to assist you in your search.

****

Once you have made the electronic copy of the documents for the Department, please locate any electronic copies of the above-referenced classified document in your possession. If you locate any electronic copies, please delete them. Additionally, once you have done that, please empty your "Deleted Items" folder.

Because it just wouldn't do to have Hillary's emails stating the obvious while Rice is out saying something else so, we've classified it!

//////

Resuming...

"The agents asked Bentel about allegations by two S/ES-IRM staff members that they had raised concerns about Clinton's use of personal email to him during separate meetings. According to the State IG report, one of the staff members told the State IG that Bentel told the staff member that "the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary" and instructed the staff member to "never speak of the Secretary's personal email system again."94 . According to the FD-302 and agent notes, the agents showed Bentel documents that suggested that he was aware that Clinton had a private email server that she used for official business during their joint tenure. One of the agents explained that the purpose of asking Bentel about his knowledge of the server was to assess whether Clinton's use of the server was sanctioned by the State Department. However, Bentel maintained that he was unaware that Clinton used personal email to conduct official business until it was reported in the news and denied that anyone had raised concerns about it to him."

The staff are obviously lying Trumptards!

/////

"On April 9, 2016, Mills appeared with Wilkinson for a voluntary interview concerning Mills's tenure at State. According to a FBI memorandum ("Mills Interview Memorandum"), shortly before the interview Strzok advised the prosecutors and Laufman that the agent conducting the interview would be making a statement at the start of the interview "concerning the scope of [the] interview, the FBI's view of the importance of the email sorting process, and the expectation of a follow-up interview once legal issues had been resolved." Witnesses referred to this statement as "the preamble."

Comey told the OIG that he approved of the preamble but did not suggest it, and McCabe stated that he "authorized" the preamble. McCabe told us that he directed the FBI team not to discuss the preamble with the prosecutors before the day of the interview because he was "concerned that if we raised another issue with DOJ, we would spend another two weeks arguing over the drafting of the preamble to the interview, which I just was not prepared to do."

The prosecutors told us that they were surprised and upset because the preamble was inconsistent with their prior representations to Wilkinson and they believed it was strategically ill-advised. The Mills Interview Memorandum states that the prosecutors objected to the preamble but that they were told that "the FBI's position was not subject to further discussion." According to the Mills Interview Memorandum, the interviewing agents delivered the preamble at the outset of the interview as planned. Witnesses told us...

Footnote 100: Baker told us that he had known Wilkinson for many years, and documents show that she had previously reached out to him in Midyear as part of a broad effort to speak with senior Department and FBI officials, up to and including Attorney General Lynch. Lynch and other high level Department officials told us that they did not speak with Wilkinson during the course of the investigation.

...that Wilkinson was visibly angered by the preamble and that she and Mills stepped outside the interview room after the agent delivered it. The prosecutors stated that they convinced Wilkinson and Mills to return for the remainder of the scheduled interview concerning Mills's tenure. However, according to Prosecutor 1, Mills was "on edge the whole time."

Footnote 101: According to notes of the interview, the prosecutors told Wilkinson that they were "sandbagged" by the FBI and that they did not know in advance about the preamble. Additionally, according to the notes, Wilkinson informed the prosecutors of the call the previous day from a "senior FBI official."

Baker or McCabe? I would say Baker, no wonder she was blindsided & pissed, they'll screw anyone & everyone over. Even "close confidantes" at her (and the prosecutors) inferior levels, just to muck up..."the process"

/////

Ah yes, here it is...

"Prosecutors and FBI agents told us that the events surrounding the April 9 Mills interview, including both the preamble and Baker phone call that were planned without Department coordination, caused significant strife and mistrust between the line prosecutors and the FBI.

AAG Carlin told us that the prosecution team asked him to call McCabe and "deliver a message that this is just not an acceptable way to run an investigation." Carlin told us that he delivered this message to McCabe and also briefed Lynch and Yates on the issues.

Witnesses told us that the strife between the prosecutors and the FBI team culminated in a contentious meeting chaired by McCabe a few days later. On the Department side, this meeting was attended by the line prosecutors, Laufman, and Toscas. Prosecutor 2 told us that during this meeting the prosecutors explained that they were trying to be "careful" in their handling of complicated issues, and that McCabe responded that they should "be careful faster." Laufman stated that McCabe's comment "undervalued what we had been able to accomplish to date investigatively through negotiating consent agreements." According to Laufman's notes, McCabe agreed that Baker's unilateral contacts with Wilkinson should not have happened, and Baker agreed not to have further contact with Wilkinson. With respect to the preamble, however, the prosecutors told us that McCabe stated that he would "do it again."

"Be careful faster"...lol...I mean, what the hell is the matter with you people! There's an election on the line here and my wife Jill is on the ballot riding Hillary's skirt while pocketing $675k from Hillary cronies and...I would "do it again"...well, of course you would.

/////

"On May 4, 2016, a few weeks before Mills and Samuelson were voluntarily interviewed regarding the culling process and a little over a month before the FBI obtained the culling laptops, Strzok and Page exchanged the following text messages. The sender of each message is identified after the timestamp.

No political considerations whatsoever. None ;-)

Stan522 -> 1 Alabama Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:00 Permalink

What I got out of this report so far:

LaugherNYC -> Sanity Bear Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

I hate to even say this, but reading and seeing the self-righteous douchebags in DC who sanctimoniously talk about the rule of law and the interference in our system by Russian trolls on the internet, I can not help but be struck by what Comey, McCabe and Strzok have managed to do by themselves. If there is no punishment for these people, no punishment for Hillary Clinton's gross malfeasance, then what difference is there between Putin's regime and our "Republic?" How is it that the law does not apply to these people/

Hillary willfully mishandled classified information. Seaman Saucier did less, and spent a year in jail. Hillary has done so much, so wrong for so long, and gotten so wealthy through influence peddling and payoffs she might as well be an oligarch - in fact, she is a political oligarch. McCabe lied under oath, and it is clear he and Comey are covering for each other in their political plot to see their padron elected. Comey wanted to be AG, and McCabe Director. Hillary no doubt promised them their dreams. Strzok likely would move up into McCabe's job. So they obstructed justice, but didn't write each other explicit memos about it - and therefore there is no case???? This is a cabal protecting their own, just as they do in Russia and Syria and corrupt South American banana republics.

If the trolls start calling for protest rallies in the streets, they might get them. This kind of blatant abuse of the system with no consequences should get true Americans out in the streets to protest. This is not about Trump. This is about pure political corruption in law enforcement and the Obama Administration.

Hilary writes "but my emails" about Comey - as if. Hillary, STFU. You lost an election a goddamn platypus could have won. Your utter venality, your shrill self-righteousness, you repugnant enabling of your pig husband... you are personally responsible for Trump's election, and you should be in jail. It feels as if the Mueller investigation is another set up by your boys to ensure the Administration is too distracted to prosecute you.

What a shameful episode in our country's history.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 -> LaugherNYC Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:10 Permalink

Exactly. A two-tiered justice system? When the serfs are stripped of the means to support themselves to feed the IRS?

This U$ Tax Mule has a broken back. I'm on strike. Try and make me comply. I hereby withdraw my consent to be governed by immoral scumbags.

King of Ruperts Land -> overbet Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:16 Permalink

The Fake News Liberal Media has everyone in that delusion. They live in a Matrix like false reality generated by the Fake media. All the magazines and papers follow the same editorial stance. It is a giant echo chamber. They are all zombies doing the bidding of the Deep state and elite interests.

Trump did just tweet after Singapore that enemy #1 is Fake News. Hopefully he will have action coming.

fleur de lis -> IridiumRebel Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:09 Permalink

The champagne is flowing -- they got off the hook. All of the FBI screwballs are probably well past the drunkard stage and well into the sleeping under the table and on park benches stage.

Any one in trouble for abusing information in any way should keep all these proceedings handy for the court hearing.

After all, if the vaunted FBI can get off the hook for abusing national security information for sport, why should anyone else get into trouble for less?

Any health professional who treats confidential medical information for gossip or personal gain would get fired, raked over the coals, and possibly prosecuted.

But any smart defense lawyer can now refer to the DoJ as the standard and precedent for dismissing the charge of information abuse.

Any financial professional who treats confidential financial information for gossip, or monetary gain for him/her or his/her friends and associates would get fired, raked over the coals, and possibly prosecuted.

But any smart defense lawyer can now refer to the DoJ as the standard and precedent for dismissing the charge of information abuse.

Any legal professional who treats confidential legal information for gossip, jury and evidence tampering, payoffs, bribes, etc., would get fired, raked over the coals, and possibly prosecuted.

But any smart defense lawyer can now refer to the DoJ as the standard and precedent for dismissing the charge of information abuse.

Any professional or employee in any field has an obligation to treat confidential information with respect or at least according to protocol or face being fired, raked over the coals, or possibly prosecuted.

But thanks to the FBICIANSA psychos and psychotic Swamp Dwellers anyone can now abuse information of any kind and thank the DC Swamp for so generously providing a precedent to get away with it.

johngaltfla -> ACP Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:36 Permalink

Nothing will happen outside of McCabe and some low level losers. This is a nightmare because if validates the use of the FBI/CIA/DIA, etc. against the American people. I mean seriously, does anyone think that a government agency which supported incinerating women and children in Waco would actually go after their own vile souls?

Chupacabra-322 -> johngaltfla Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:54 Permalink

That's exactly what needs to occur for the futile system of Tyrannical Lawlessness & Political Police Surveillance State to be accepted / instituted by State onto the Serfs.

The State has to Gas Light the populace into thinking that even a sitting President is "Guilty until proven innocent." And, if a President is powerless against & can be removed by a Totalitarian, Authoritarian, Tyrannical Lawless, Political Police State, then anyone who poses a threat to said State can be threatened, persecuted & or Eliminated.

President has to be set, that if a sitting President can be taken down. Anyone can be taken, disappeared, droned, Murdered, Tortured, Rendered & never seen from again.

The Slaves won't stand a chance. Welcome to Serfdom.

svalleyboy -> nope-1004 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

This whole article is a one sided view of a complex situation. Nothing is mentioned about the OIG stating that Comey was insubordinate in disclosing that he is investigating Clinton, that too in a press conference. This is clearly against FBI policy and had the purpose of muddying up the race and giving Trump momentum.

These conspiracy theories are really the kind of stuff that goes on in pakistan, middle east, north korea where they want to blame everyone else but themselves for supporting the wrong people/clowns. Life is complicated, learn to think thru issues and follow a chain of logic thru multiple levels.

LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

The government just got done investigating itself. It found after an exhaustive taxpayer funded audit that it made a few errors, but that it was generally well meaning. I mean, what did anyone really expect?

itstippy -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:19 Permalink

On and on we go.

Trump pulled a major political upset, defying all the pre-election polls and predictions, and caught a lot of career-track Federal employees completely off guard. Political contacts and friends count a LOT when you work for a Federal cabinet-level organization and hope to climb the career ladder to a high level position. They count more than talent, devotion to Country, ethics, everything. That's how it works.

These FBI weasels fell all over themselves to demonstrate fealty to te incoming Hillary Clinton administration and the Democratic National Committee's interests. If they hoped to get anywhere in the next 4-8 years they had to be clearly "friendly" to the people at the top. Then Trump won instead. Fuck!!!

Carreer-minded weasels entrenched in the Washington Deep State will happily show support for whatever "winning side" comes along. Romney, McCain, Bush, Clinton, Obama, it doen't matter who wins to them so long as they consider you "friendly" to their ambitions. Hell, they'd ardently support Hitler or Stalin if it would advance their careers. No integrity whatsoever.

NoPension Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:36 Permalink

Whitewash. Swamp wins again. These cats haven't lost an hour of sleep worrying about consequences. I say, oh well....games have new rules now. Do whatever it takes to get ahead...and fuck em. Laws have no meaning anymore.

Do you stop for red lights at 2 in the morning?

artichoke -> NoPension Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:59 Permalink

Oh no, I do believe Page is scared and Strzok is terrified, as they predicted they would be. But like raccoons they just exist to fight and kill you. They have to be criminally charged, and for that all that matters is the evidence (in this version of the report and the more secure ones) provided by the IG, not his carefully wordsmithed conclusions.

my2centshere Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:40 Permalink

So now we know Comey was really a drama queen and used private emails for government business. (let that sink in) Now let's play along, the head of the IRS did the same thing, the head of the EPA did the same thing and move on down the line. Looks like more than a smidgen.

Winston Churchill -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:51 Permalink

The cultists(Mosley et al) are busy asking Q what it all means..Sad.

LetThemEatRand -> Winston Churchill Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:56 Permalink

It's so ridiculous on its face (Trump inner circle guy hangs around 4-chan and then 8-chan to plant clues), that I suppose I can't blame people for not wanting to admit how stupid they were for believing it. Then again, it is that very "I won't admit I was wrong and I believe anyone who supports my ideology" attitude that explains why politician after politician gets away with literal murder.

artichoke -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:05 Permalink

The clues Q provides are interesting. Real time photos, etc. Some of it involves the "Russia investigation", some about NK stuff, some about other stuff. It's an interesting source of news, like those photos.

tmosley -> Winston Churchill Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:58 Permalink

I don't even follow Q you idiot.

LetThemEatRand -> tmosley Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:01 Permalink

He probably meant nmewn. In fairness to you, tmosley, you have indicated a lack of interest in Q in prior posts.

gwar5 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:41 Permalink

For fucking starters, where is the criminal referrals for allowing Hillary to smash her hard drives, wipe her server, and for not confiscating her server and examining it?

Everyone knows Comey is not professional FBI nor an investigator. He is a political appointee and he took the astounding unprecedented step of taking the investigation away from professional investigators in the field office to directly manage it and be fluffed in the 7th Floor Hoover Bldg.

Where's the