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Two Party System as Polyarchy and anti-Democratic mechanisms of "first past the post" elections

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA is a single party state -- it is governed by the Neoliberal party with two factions "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals" (Republican Party). Existence of  "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola" parties in the USA is just a sophisticated variant of "divide and conquer" strategy and could be used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. 

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Demexit Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Donald Trump
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Bernie Sanders Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens  

 

Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible if three letter agencies like CIA exist?  Probably not as "deep state" sooner or later (usually sooner)  makes surface state just an instrument for providing legitimacy of deep state rule.

Does  the "the first after the post" rule along with enforcing two party system on the population also is instrumental with establishing slightly camouflaged one party state with two "Pepsi" vs. "Coca Cola"  parties which serve as a spoilers for those to the left or the right of the center, subverting and emasculating new social movements into their (currently neoliberal) stagnant and elite oriented framework. The effect is so profound that it created the impression that "first after the post" can't be used in any country pretending to be a democracy? 

There are also addition questions:

  1. Is existence  of military-industrial complex, and, especially, such part of MIC as huge and essentially uncontrolled intelligence agencies compatible with democracy? Ever since the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency America has been battling a force that exists with a written charter to undermine and undo ever single fundamental principle of representational democracy in America and elsewhere replacing it with an ugly cold-skinned changeling covertly overseen by its CIA creators and their sponsors.
  2. Does absence of limits of the term of senators subvert democracy ?  If so what should be the maximum term. Is "gerontocracy" in the US congress  represents positive, or highly negative. Is role of money in elections forces senators to serve effectively as representatives of corporations which reside in the states, not the states themselves  ? 
  3. Is official lobbing including lobbying by organization which are clearly supported by foright  state such as AIPAC ?
  4. Is "money as a free speech" principle compatible with democracy?  Or it means one dollar-one vote regime?

The fact that parties represent interests different from interests fo thier voters is not new.  As George Washinton put it:

 "However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." President George Washington Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

Later the same idea was later coined as the "iron law of oligarchy". So on federal level neither republic, not democracy exists. We level in empire with no participatory democracy (unless voting to the lesser  evil of two preselected by the elite candidate can be viewed as a democracy).  In latest Presidential election it was intelligence agencies who were kingmakers, derailing Sanders. But it still exists on local level below the level of state, although even there financial oligarchy managed to spoil the broth -- on municipal level it is bankers who control the politics as they are interested in loans for public projects. 

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80%)  living under the dictatorship (or even neo-slavery as  "debt slaves" or "wage slaves"), struggling to meet ends and thus excluded from the democratic process. Moreover,  most of the US population spend their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation, or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and adapted to the strict authoritarian rule at work ?  

Another large question: can  a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda and betraul of electorate as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )?  For example,  warmonger, staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts, and still almost half of the country voted for her.

Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance. In case of Trump and Obama this was a complete betrayal (in a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experience  who due to the lack of personal political history  can pretend to be the politician he clearly is not)

What is the level of interest  in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity) , if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda  which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA.  especially the issue of permanent war for permanent peace, that the USA wage (and profit) since 80th using private army (with a large role of contractors, effectively mercenaries) , so that death and carnage does not touch most Americans.  This "light footprint" approach to war has relied on thousands of Americans paid to fight — and die — in the shadows. Outside of any official statistics. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. In Iraq in mid 2017, 7,773 contractors support U.S. government operations — and 4,087 U.S. troops. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy).

My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR even more efficiently that so called "one party" system. Which, while providing the same results,  looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus  less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population.  

The "first after the post" system "by design" provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  Emerging parties are cooped iether under Democratic or Republic umbrella and then emasculated.  This mechanism is no less effective the Soviet one party rule, but more subtle, requires less violence and suppression of dissidents, and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of oligarchy was actually discovered by observing the evolution of the political party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current (neoliberal) ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation".  In 2008 the protest was squashed by electing "Trojan horse" Obama, who proved to be the king of "bait and switch" maneuver. Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what  a person who like Obama pretended  essentially to be an independent candidate slightly (at least formally) opposing the most negative effects of neoliberalism on population (anti-globalization stance, accent of creation jobs within the USA, etc) -- Donald Trump.  Who later proved to be Republican version of Obama. Not without help of "deep state" which launched unprotected and well coordinated company of leaks and 24 x 7 negative news to discredit his personality and administration. Going as far as in a very elegant really Machiavellian way  using fake accusations ("Russiagate) appointing a special prosecutor using Obama/Hillary supporters in the Judicial department (effectively coup d'état as special procedure is big burden which effectively paralyses any administration and Clinton presidency had shown). And when it did not work, they tried to accuse him of being racist (using  1 Charlottesville events) or even insane person. Looks like for Trump, even if he has some intention to implement anti-neoliberal measures -- the resistance proved to be way too strong and such intension did not last even half a year.  Bombing Syria army air field with Tomahawks was an early signal of surrender.  Removing Bannon, and adding troops to Afghan war make this turn around and betrayal of Trump voters in best Obama style virtual certainty.

It was clear that there is a widespread feeling among the majority of the US population now that the current neoliberal system of governance, installed by victorious neoliberals after 1980, is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wouldn't like to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a revolutionary situation, a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible arise. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings in 2008 and then in 2012, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society also has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, the ruling elite typically decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). But in this particular case the USA already is in engaged in several wars (or occupations), so the nostalgia for good time what the USSR existed proved to be irresistible. And the pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016-2017 in neoliberal MSM suggest that a large part of the US elite decided to "waive a dead chicken" (actually Hillary made Russophobia a part of her election campaign, effectively unleashing a new neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA).  As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” --  John Kenneth Galbraith

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Throwing  Sanders under the bus represented exactly this maneuver.  The were not stopped even by the fact that they are promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems ("We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality") The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the levels achieved by communist propagandists in during best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative" (or "bustard neoliberal" ;-) who during election campaign rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   But later quickly recognized that this heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state and can be harmful for his health ;-). The hissy fit in neoliberal media and the emergence of certain figures from the intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" as the leaders of "color revolution" against Trump (so called "Purple revolution") were to be expected but  caught Trump absolutely unprepared.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democracy for whom" -- it is clear that this is the democracy for the top 1% or, at best, top 20% of population. a more interesting observation is that  as Trump election has shown, neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past are ready to go to extreme methods including coup d'état to preserve their power, the democracy be damned.  

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience, which  were practiced from 1980th.  They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem with indoctrination as Soviet society did not correspond to Marx expectations  -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a small "legitimate" emasculated subset that was in like with Bolshevism.  Neoclassical economy in the USA plays exactly the same role and is even worse. At least with some effort Soviet  student can get all the  works of Marx and Lenin. Here, in the USA, chances to read Keynes and other "deviant" economists for university students are virtually zero. They are completely distracted from fundamental issues by high doze of mathematics (misused and abused -- called mathiness). Which  is used as smoke  screen which hide the poverty of ideas of neo-classical economy.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation does make neoliberal propaganda less effective.  Like people of the USSR were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming, thinking people in the  USA are resort of alternative sources of news or even, God forbid, visit "naked capitalism", RT, or other "disapproved" by  neoliberal propagandists sites. Even thoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion (displacing Christianity, so much about fake myth the USA is Christian nation; it is not) , started to have doubts.  Alternative sources of information in 2016-2017 started to play such and outside role that the company about "fake news" was launched to suppress them. They did not stop people from reading, say, Guardian, RT, unz.com, American conservative, Asia Times, to name a few.

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is probably as low if not lower that it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marx and Lenin soviet voters with university education usually have strong doubt about soviet system ). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs. neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

That means the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis)  is open to review (see Myth about intelligent voter).  Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful in the USA, despite being a primitive variation of classic "divide and conquer" strategy. In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed?  But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed?  And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.

The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.

The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in the efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period.  Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation with the Communist Party and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of  personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word)  was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful "presstitutes" instead of political analysts.   But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%. 

Neoliberalism divides the society in  two classes like in old, good Marxism

Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: "entrepreneurs" (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from political self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges.  In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They  helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite. 

The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

Corporation as the role model for government under neoliberalism excludes the possibility of democracy

Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder  (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.

The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population.  In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”

As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy.  Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement)  shows that all too well.

Like in case of communist regimes before, under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of  labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population.  Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political  and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar workers that were affected. Times changed. 

The difference between democrats and republicans as (at least partially) the difference in the level of authoritarianism of two factions of the same "Grand neoliberal Party of the USA"

Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance. 

Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR.  But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.

If we assume that this is true, the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.

Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party.  In other words  the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part,  voting behavior of the USA "white block" electorate.

Can the republic survive under Trump ?

Mu impression is that it too late to worry about the survival of the republic under Trump. Republic was lost long ago. According to Sheldon Wolin we live in a neoliberal empire at least since Bush II administration and even since  Reagan.  Essentially the collapse of the USSR was the death  sentence to the republic and at this point transformation of it into empire was quick and irreversible as there were no longer countervailing forces to slow down  this process.  Which is not a completely bad thing for citizens in the USA, unless it collapses like all empires. Which might happen when gas reaches $11 per gallon (in way this is petro-empire) or some other calamity. Sheldon Wolin (which book I strongly recommend to re-read) called this imperial social system that  emerged "inverted totalitarism". So Trump was elected way too late to participate in the destruction of the American republic. At best Trump put the final nail in the coffin of the American republic. Kind of parody on Julius Caesar:
During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that had made its members rich...
But the deep state was in ascendance since Truman (who can be viewed as the father of national security state). So dismounting of the republic was a long continues process with temporary reversal after Church commission, when the power of intelligence agencies were temporary curtailed and they were put under more close control of Senate and House. But later a new "neoliberal" deep state  emerged under Reagan and those gains were reversed.  I personally view Trump as a Bush III.  But resilience of US political system might prevent  the worst outcome -- a war with Russia or China. 

I would prefer if Sanders were elected. But FBI pushed him under the bus by exonerating Hillary. I think the USA now badly need a "New New Deal", biot some crazr "chrstria capitalism that Bannon professed (see Bannonism).  But the question is: "What social forces will support it ?" I see no strong social forces able to take on entrenched "corporatism" -- a merger of  Wall Street and MIC interests and corresponding economic power.  Add to this Silicon valley and unprecedented capability of surveillance.  In the absence of alternatives, the crisis of neoliberalism became  a chronic one.

Russiagate as a sign of the crisis of neoliberal empire

In this sense the "Russiagate" campaign might be interpreted as an attempt of the neoliberal elite to rally people around the flag and hide Hillary political fiasco due to the crisis of neoliberalism. The later led to the surprise victory of Trump, because the voters rejected establishment candidate.  Also as for the level of warmongering Hillary probably is close or surpass Trump.   So in a way  the US voters were put by FBI between Scylla and Charybdis.   Of course,  Russians are not saints and they are an obstacle on the path to global US led neoliberal empire, but still I think that the whole thing is overdone.

A  good (IMHO) overview of our current political can be found in London review of books. See What We Don t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking by Jackson Lears

American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus.
Of course,  for correct framework we need to refer to classic Sheldon Wolin book. As he pointed out merge of corporate power with the ascendance of the "deep state" and technological progress proved to be an unstoppable factor that doomed the New Deal. Also defeated financial sector borrowed Bolsheviks methods and created "professional counter-revolutionaries" via think tanks, subservient press, etc. Milton Friedman Chicago school and Monte Perelin society were probably the most famous promoters of neoliberalism.  See also The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic
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Dec 12, 2017 | www.youtube.com

SOS DD , 4 weeks ago

"We could look at it this way"...Muller gathered together, "A Special Council of Disgusting Back Stabbing Clinton Thug's". So now President Trump and all America have a clearer picture of who was tapping us in the back of the head, a few month back, no one really knew, we were all just guessing.

J.P. Man , 4 weeks ago

I'm all for removing mueller and his corrupt team but why replace them with another one? The whole reason for the current investigation was to prove collusion between trump and russia...it's been debunked and is an obvious hoax. What would there be for another team to investigate? If they want to create a new special investigation team, put one together to go after Hillary Clinton and all the other treasonous people she has surrounded herself with.

Walter Knight , 1 week ago

They need to close that witch hunt investigation concerning Russia due to the lack of any evidence. Let's face it if Trump did anything wrong whatsoever someone would have uncovered some smidgin of evidence of wrongdoing. If there was evidence against Trump it would be all over CNN.

[Jan 24, 2018] Bombshell! Trump Was Unmasked! Trump Wire Tapped! Crickets From You! Democrats Freaking Out!

Mar 22, 2017 | www.youtube.com

I think it's very clear that US Intel is freaking out that Judge Napolitano exposed the truth about how Obama bypassed the FISA process so that no fingerprints would be disclosed. It's more than important to notice that Judge Napolitano has been kept off the air as a Fox NewsLegal Consultant since he made the comment about the British Intel spying on the Trump campaign. Some people say he was fired, but I haven't officially seen that from Fox News as of today! If I had to bet, and I am a betting man, I would say that Judge Napolitano exposed something so dirty on the British Intel and Obama that Fox had to discredit it! What that means to me after researching this stuff for many years, is that the smoke is from the intel or people that deny it the most!

The only way for the US Intel to safe face now is to throw someone else under the bus! Expect US Intel to create a situation where they can pin this on anyone other than the British.

Trump clearly knew all about what was going on and when he already has the facts he doesn't back down. Neither Trump or Spicer ever backed down about Trumps original claims! People are going to go to jail about this! If you watch this entire video the only conclusion you can come to is that the US Intel Is completely corrupt and operating beyond their directive! It is sick!

[Jan 23, 2018] FBI Says It has lost five months of text messages between Peter Strzok And Lisa Page - Jay Sekulow - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... If the FBI keeps losing stuff they need to hire a security guard to keep it safe. Come on! Start charging these people with treason and this will stop!! ..."
"... I wonder what their plan is when they really have to arrest someone? lol It ain't gonna happen. Theatric, scripted politics. It's like a bad reality show. Compare criminal politics to the sitcom Gilligan's Island. They never get rescued, and criminal politicians never see jail time.  ..."
Jan 23, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Michelle The Security Guard , 17 minutes ago (edited)

If the FBI keeps losing stuff they need to hire a security guard to keep it safe. Come on! Start charging these people with treason and this will stop!!

THERE ARE NO TEXTS MISSING!

DETECTIVES GET SEARCH WARRANTS FOR TEXT MESSAGES ALL THE TIME! WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE ANY DIFFERENT!

mrmavaw70 , 1 hour ago

I wonder what their plan is when they really have to arrest someone? lol It ain't gonna happen. Theatric, scripted politics. It's like a bad reality show. Compare criminal politics to the sitcom Gilligan's Island. They never get rescued, and criminal politicians never see jail time. 

[Jan 23, 2018] Melian dialog that US foreign policy

He mentions of the Melian Dialogue lygdamus.com . that an interesting read. The Athenians offer the Melians an ultimatum: surrender and pay tribute to Athens, or be destroyed. The Athenians do not wish to waste time arguing over the morality of the situation, because in practice might makes right -- or, in their own words, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must".[25] The Melians argue that they are a neutral city and not an enemy, so Athens has no need to conquer them. The Athenians counter that if they accept Melos' neutrality and independence, they would look weak: Their subjects would think that they left Melos alone because they were not strong enough to conquer it.
Insulting never works as a method of persuasion
Notable quotes:
"... This speech should be obligatory study for each prospective teacher, politician and in fact every person around. ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.youtube.com
The Athenians offer the Melians an ultimatum: surrender and pay tribute to Athens, or be destroyed. The Athenians do not wish to waste time arguing over the morality of the situation, because in practice might makes right -- or, in their own words, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must". [25]

The Melians argue that they are a neutral city and not an enemy, so Athens has no need to conquer them. The Athenians counter that if they accept Melos' neutrality and independence, they would look weak: Their subjects would think that they left Melos alone because they were not strong enough to conquer it.

The Melians argue that an invasion will alarm the other neutral Greek states, who will become hostile to Athens for fear of being invaded themselves. The Athenians counter that the Greek states on the mainland are unlikely to act this way. It is the independent island states and the disgruntled subjects that Athens has already conquered that are more likely to take up arms against Athens.

The Melians argue that it would be shameful and cowardly of them to submit without a fight. The Athenians counter that it is only shameful to submit to an opponent whom one has a reasonable chance of defeating. There is no shame in submitting to an overwhelmingly superior opponent like Athens.

The Melians argue that though the Athenians are far stronger, there is at least a slim chance that the Melians could win, and they will regret not trying their luck. The Athenians counter that this argument is emotional and short-sighted. If the Melians lose, which is highly likely, they will come to bitterly regret their foolish optimism.

The Melians believe that they will have the assistance of the gods because their position is morally just. The Athenians counter that the gods will not intervene because it is the natural order of things for the strong to dominate the weak.

The Melians argue that their Spartan kin will come to their defense. The Athenians counter that the Spartans are a practical people who never put themselves at risk when their interests are not at stake, and rescuing Melos would be especially risky since Athens has the stronger navy.

The Athenians express their shock at the Melians' lack of realism. They say that there is no shame in submitting to a stronger enemy, especially one who is offering reasonable terms. They also argue that it is sensible to submit to one's superiors, stand firm against one's equals, and be moderate to one's inferiors. The Melians do not change their minds and politely dismiss the envoys. Warships of the era ( triremes ) could carry little in the way of supplies, and thus needed friendly and neutral ports where the crew could purchase food and other necessities on a daily basis. [26] Whether or not Melos was truly neutral, Peloponnesian ships could freely resupply there, which made it strategically important to the enemy. [27] Capturing Melos reduced the reach of the enemy's navy.

The mercilessness which the Athenian invaders showed to the Melians was exceptional even for the time and shocked many Greeks, even in Athens. [28] These may have included the Athenian playwright Euripides , whose play The Trojan Women is widely regarded as a commentary on the razing of Melos. The historian Xenophon wrote that in 405 BC, with the Spartan army closing in on Athens, the citizens of Athens worried that the Spartans would treat them with the same cruelty that the Athenian army had shown the Melians. [29] The Athenian rhetorician Isocrates was a proud patriot but accepted that the razing of Melos was a stain on Athens' history. [30] [31]

It is uncertain whether the fate of Melos was decided by the government of Athens or the Athenian generals on Melos. A historical speech falsely attributed to the Athenian orator Andocides claims that the statesman Alcibiades advocated the enslavement of the Melian survivors before the government of Athens. [32] This account gives no date for the decree, so it could have been passed to justify the atrocities after-the-fact. [33] Thucydides made no mention of any such decree in his own account.

The phrase "Melian hunger" became a byword for extreme starvation. Starvation is a normal goal of sieges and the ancient Greeks had much experience with them, so this suggests that the Melian experience was extreme. The earliest known reference to the starvation of the Melians is in Aristophanes ' play, The Birds , which was first performed in 414 BC. [34] Its usage lasted well into the Byzantine era, as it is mentioned in the Suda , a 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia. [35]


Dennis Rawley , 2 days ago

When is this guy going to run for president? He has my vote.

Jane Vanden Heuvel , 2 days ago

I really appreciate your thoughts, and concerns for the future of our country! It's so nice to know that we still have some politicians who truly care about WE the people! GOD BLESS YOU Trey!

T 63 , 2 days ago

Awesome speech Trey!!

Ben Safronovitz , 2 days ago

This speech should be obligatory study for each prospective teacher, politician and in fact every person around.

Therese Lambela , 1 day ago

Thank you gowdy!!!! I love the way you think!

Sean Bergeron , 2 days ago

That was strong. It made me think about some of my own weaknesses that I'll have to address.

whispers_hope , 2 days ago

What do you believe in enough to lose? ( Truth or Freedom? Unity or diversity?) Excellent food for serious thoughts!!

Wise Woman , 2 days ago

Love the speech. Respect to Trey Gowdy.

[Jan 22, 2018] Joe diGenova Brazen Plot to Frame Trump

Highly recommended!
Brilliant summary of the situation. You should listen this interview. False Russiagate was from the beginning a plot to derail and then depose Trump. They created false facts.
Brazen port to exonerate Hillary Clinton and then derail Trump
Notable quotes:
"... It is rare to see a man of integrity and a lawyer who speaks in plain English and speaks about facts and conclusions of law. The problem we face today is far too many lawyers with no integrity in positions of government that protect blatant criminals holding public office who are also lawyers. Lawyers always protect other lawyers, except this wonderful man! ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Rick W , 1 day ago

It is rare to see a man of integrity and a lawyer who speaks in plain English and speaks about facts and conclusions of law. The problem we face today is far too many lawyers with no integrity in positions of government that protect blatant criminals holding public office who are also lawyers. Lawyers always protect other lawyers, except this wonderful man!

Charles H , 1 day ago

Breathtaking information. Thanks so much for airing.

Walter 1408 , 1 day ago

All those Clinton Foundation millions bought a lot of FBI agents. They need a major house cleaning.

Caleb Engineering, LLC , 1 day ago

The punishments should be harsh to deter future attempts to do the same to future presidents.

Patricia Herman , 1 day ago

Love Joe to bad he can't become the new AG and why isn't this interview on the news at least Fox, Hannity, Tucker, Laura. And we know CNN, MSNBC, and the rest are all in the bag for Obummer and Killary. 😎

Teddy Dunford , 1 day ago

Remember HRC said if he (( Trump )) wins we are all going to HANG and I hope this is one time the Satan worshiping witch told the truth .

The last iconoclast , 1 day ago

Three heroes will go down in history: Journalist Julian Asange Adm. Mike Rogers Rep. Devin Nunes

Elisabeth Vancamp , 1 day ago

I am speechless. Best cohesive explanation! Man reaps what he sows.

James Stamulis , 1 day ago

All because Trump is MAGA and that was not the cabals game plan.

eh10000 , 1 day ago

RELEASE THE MEMO

Peter Sprague , 1 day ago

NY Times Buzzfeed Washington Post CNN ABC CBS NBC are all complicit in perpetrating these lies Just watch Colbert Jimmy Farrel or Jimmy Kimmel These bad actors pretending to be entertainers need to hang

Wide Awake , 1 day ago

Never forget what Hilary said: If Trump wins, we'll all hang. And so they should.

Pat Defeo , 15 hours ago

Joe D should have been our AG he is tough and has the ability to explain WTH is going on in plain english

Robin Ricks , 1 day ago

Mueller carried the sample of Uranium to the Russians. Mueller was paid off, as was Comey. So glad President Trump can confiscate all their money. Now to catch Daddy Bush and Jr for having all those people in New York killed on 9/11! Go Trump!!

David Gray , 1 day ago

# Release The Memo.

FindLiberty , 1 day ago

OUTSTANDING RESCUE OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC - (...proceed to lock 'em all up)

Thomas Rocco , 1 day ago

Fantastic interview. Saw it's entirety

Jeffrey Robert-Dicken , 1 day ago

treason

Samuel Anderson , 1 day ago

There needs to be an arrest of ALL the top MSM owners and chairpeople of all the affiliates including those who stand in front of the camera pushing false information. Their license needs to be rescinded and taken away. Bankrupt the news affiliates and sell off their assets.

Jerk Joker , 1 day ago

This is a truly excellent and clear explanation of how our government was corrupted by Team Hillary. I reckon she needs to pay the Ultimate price: a thorough investigation into her crimes: A fair trial... and maybe execution, followed by her being reviled down the centuries as one of the most evil women in History. Every little girl should be told: Do not be like this woman!

John Brooks , 1 day ago

A hell storm is coming !!! People need to be tried and possibly executed to send a massage that ALL these swamp creatures will understand.

Jeffrey Robert-Dicken , 1 day ago

you have a jezabel clinton the most dangerous couple ever ...what happened to JFK junior ?

Giant Sequoia , 1 day ago

Excellent, excellent, excellent report Bill!!!

Rachael SOJ , 1 day ago

Thank you, Mr. Still, for reporting on this, it was a very informative video!💛

james goodwin , 1 day ago

Thank god she didn't win

FilthyMcDumpin'Clips , 1 day ago

Bill, don't forget to mention that those same entities also include those working for CNN and MSNBC who were funded by Clinton donations to push the false media on the country. Can you say lawsuits?

DrewTronics , 1 day ago

Holy wow, thanks for posting Bill!

Noel B , 1 day ago (edited)

What about Clapper and Brennan they started this before they were replaced. They also are to blame.

Granville Higgins , 1 day ago

Trump let them dig their own graves.

Suzie Smith , 1 day ago

Amazing piece! Pulls so many things together! Thank you!

snowbunny20328 , 1 day ago

What a very important review of what this country has endured!!! Thank you Joe!

Jeffrey Robert-Dicken , 1 day ago

can someone wake sessions up?

James Pope , 1 day ago

This is the guy who should be the Director of tbe FBI, or AG

Susan Bennett , 1 day ago

Hillary will NEVER be exonerated, or ANY of those treasonous swamp rat sycophants!!!

JUNITO84 , 1 day ago

Thank you very much admiral Rodgers! the american people love you and appreciate you stress/gutsy actions to do the right thing 🙂

Tom Smith , 1 day ago

The last thing Seth Rich saw before he was murdered was an FBI special agents badge.

AVALON DEJAVU , 1 day ago

THANKS for explaining this so clearly!!! #LockThemUp No JUSTICE No PEACE!

ak6781fan , 1 day ago

Mr. Still you are very astute and observant. Your statement that this is the darkest hour for our great country since the Civil War is spot-on.

Rich P , 1 day ago

Do you have any doubt these people are capable of genociding all who disagree with there Marxist agenda?

[Jan 22, 2018] US Intelligence Could Well Have Wiretapped Trump by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... Unable to come to terms with losing the 2016 election, Democrats are still pushing the 'Russiagate' probe and blocking the release of a memo describing surveillance abuses by the FBI, former Congressman Ron Paul told RT. ..."
"... I don't think anybody is seeking justice or seeking truth as much as they're seeking to get political advantage ..."
"... "I would be surprised if they haven't spied on him. They spy on everybody else. And they have spied on other members of the executive branch and other presidents." ..."
"... "The other day when they voted to get FISA even more power to spy on American people, the president couldn't be influenced by the fact that they used it against him. And I believe they did, and he believes that." ..."
"... "I've always maintained that government ought to be open and the people ought to have their privacy. But right now the people have no privacy and all our government does is work on secrecy and then it becomes competitive between the two parties, who get stuck with the worst deal by arguing, who's guilty of some crime," the politician explained. ..."
"... Paul also blasted the infamous 'Russian Dossier' compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and which the Democrats used in their attack on Trump, saying it ..."
"... "has no legitimacy being revealing [in terms of] of Trump being associated with Russia. From the people I know The story has been all made up, essentially." ..."
"... "I'm no fan of Trump. I'm not a supporter of his, but I think that has been carried way overboard. I think the Democrats can't stand the fact that they've lost the election, and they can't stand the fact that Trump is a little bit more independent minded than they like," he said. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Unable to come to terms with losing the 2016 election, Democrats are still pushing the 'Russiagate' probe and blocking the release of a memo describing surveillance abuses by the FBI, former Congressman Ron Paul told RT.

A top-secret intelligence memo, believed to reveal political bias at the highest levels of the FBI and the DOJ towards President Trump, may well be as significant as the Republicans say, Ron Paul told RT. But, he added, "there's still to many unknowns, especially, from my view point."

"Trump connection to the Russians, I think, has been way overblown, and I'd like to just get to the bottom of this the new information that's coming out, maybe this will reveal things and help us out," he said.

"Right now it's just a political fight," the former US Congressman said. "I think they're dealing with things a lot less important than the issue they ought to be talking about Right now, I don't think anybody is seeking justice or seeking truth as much as they're seeking to get political advantage."

Trump's claims that he was wiretapped by US intelligence agencies on the orders of the Obama administration may well turn out to be true, Paul said.

"I would be surprised if they haven't spied on him. They spy on everybody else. And they have spied on other members of the executive branch and other presidents."

However, he criticized Trump for doing nothing to prevent the Senate from voting in the expansion of warrantless surveillance of US citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) earlier this week.

"The other day when they voted to get FISA even more power to spy on American people, the president couldn't be influenced by the fact that they used it against him. And I believe they did, and he believes that."

"I've always maintained that government ought to be open and the people ought to have their privacy. But right now the people have no privacy and all our government does is work on secrecy and then it becomes competitive between the two parties, who get stuck with the worst deal by arguing, who's guilty of some crime," the politician explained.

The fact that Democrats on the relevant committees have all voted against releasing the memo "might mean that Trump is probably right; there's probably a lot of stuff there that would exonerate him from any accusation they've been making," he said.

Paul also blasted the infamous 'Russian Dossier' compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and which the Democrats used in their attack on Trump, saying it

"has no legitimacy being revealing [in terms of] of Trump being associated with Russia. From the people I know The story has been all made up, essentially."

"I'm no fan of Trump. I'm not a supporter of his, but I think that has been carried way overboard. I think the Democrats can't stand the fact that they've lost the election, and they can't stand the fact that Trump is a little bit more independent minded than they like," he said.

This article was originally published by RT -

[Jan 22, 2018] Trump Jr. on FISA memo Media, Democrats working together to deceive Americans

Jan 22, 2018 | www.washingtonexaminer.com

Donald Trump Jr. called for the release of a memo that allegedly contains information about Obama administration surveillance abuses and suggested that Democrats are complicit with the media in misleading the public.

"It's the double standard that the people are fed by the Democrats in complicity with the media, that's why neither have any trust from the American people anymore," Trump said on Fox News Friday.

[Jan 22, 2018] If Trump is an authoritarian, why don t Democrats treat him like one? by Corey Robin

Highly recommended!
The is a single party of neoliberal oligarchy with two wings. Both are afraid of citizens and would like to sly on them.
Notable quotes:
"... Despite being in the minority, Democrats last week had enough Republican votes on their side to curb the president's ability, enhanced since 9/11, to spy on citizens and non-citizens alike. ..."
"... In the House, a majority of Democrats were willing to join a small minority of Republicans to do just that. But 55 Democrats – including the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi; the minority whip, Steny Hoyer; and other Democratic leaders of the opposition to Trump – refused. ..."
"... After the House voted for an extension of the president's power to spy, a group of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans attempted to filibuster the bill. The critical 60th vote to shut down the filibuster was a Democrat. ..."
"... This is despite the fact that the surveillance bill gives precisely the sorts of powers viewers of an Academy Award-winning film about the Stasi from not long so ago ..."
"... Pelosi: 'We Must Fight Even Harder Against Trump's Authoritarian Impulses Now That We've Voted to Enable Them' ..."
"... But in the same way that discourse of authoritarianism misses the democratic forest for the anti-democratic tweets, so does it focus more on the rhetoric of an abusive man than the infrastructure of an oppressive state, more on the erosion of norms than the material instruments of repression. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

You'd think that Democrats in Congress would jump at the opportunity to impose a constraint on Donald Trump's presidency – one that liberals and Democrats alike have characterized as authoritarian. Apparently, that's not the case.

Despite being in the minority, Democrats last week had enough Republican votes on their side to curb the president's ability, enhanced since 9/11, to spy on citizens and non-citizens alike.

In the House, a majority of Democrats were willing to join a small minority of Republicans to do just that. But 55 Democrats – including the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi; the minority whip, Steny Hoyer; and other Democratic leaders of the opposition to Trump – refused.

After the House voted for an extension of the president's power to spy, a group of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans attempted to filibuster the bill. The critical 60th vote to shut down the filibuster was a Democrat.

With the exception of Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept, a press that normally expresses great alarm over Trump's amassing and abuse of power has had relatively little to say about this vote (or this vote or this vote).

This is despite the fact that the surveillance bill gives precisely the sorts of powers viewers of an Academy Award-winning film about the Stasi from not long so ago would instantly recognize to a president whose view of the media a leading Republican recently compared to Stalin.

It was left to the Onion to offer the best (and near only) comment:

Pelosi: 'We Must Fight Even Harder Against Trump's Authoritarian Impulses Now That We've Voted to Enable Them'

Last week, I wrote in these pages how the discourse of Trump's authoritarianism ignores or minimizes the ways in which democratic citizens and institutions – the media, the courts, the opposition party, social movements – are opposing Trump, with seemingly little fear of intimidation.

But in the same way that discourse of authoritarianism misses the democratic forest for the anti-democratic tweets, so does it focus more on the rhetoric of an abusive man than the infrastructure of an oppressive state, more on the erosion of norms than the material instruments of repression.

[Jan 22, 2018] Who's Lying FBI Says 5 Months Of Texts Lost, Yet IG Horowitz Says His Office Received Them In August

Notable quotes:
"... And if this is covered closely, then we may get some traction about how it was done and who pulled the strings. This maybe why former NSC Clapper is running scared, he set up his own personal intelligence network (there were reports early on, Clapper had his own intelligence network besides the 17 official intel agencies) to spy for the Obama WH, both he and former CIA Brennan were running intel ops for the Obama WH. Brennan ran political intel for the Obama election campaign. Indicating the Deep State intelligence apparatus is deeply involved in presidential elections. Brennan political campaign intel network using Deep State assets, next Obama;s NSC, next Obama's CIA director and was said to be the most political CIA director in history by CIA employees. ..."
"... The UK Govt appears to be complicit in the overthrow of the newly elected US Govt..........Team Globalist ..."
"... as I noted my beliefs before. Trump can be goofy at times. can be a walking ego at times. but he does not have an inherently evil heart. So he never fully comprehends the evil hearted person or collection of persons. ..."
"... He is a great marketer, but he is not a brilliant war strategist, because he doesn't fully understand the heart of his enemy. Example: He thought laying off of Hillary after the election was actually the gentlemanly thing to do....because, he thought she'd accept defeat and leave the playing field. (we on ZH knew better, but Trump actually didn't know) ..."
"... So now we know the real purpose of the FBI Trump investigation, to give Mueller and his band of merry Clinton-Lawyers the opportunity clean up the evidence. ..."
"... First, the backups are at the NSA and the Telco systems. 2nd, I'd ask WHO ELSE in the FBI was affected by lack of backups for such long period, AND how does that other impact ongoing investigations... If the answer is just those 2, well, follow the money. If the answer is more than these 2, than the credibility of the entire FBI is at stake. Which may not be much, but that is the only thing left at the moment. ..."
"... By the way, for non-techie out there, the FBI's excuse is that they couldn't get the software upgrade done right. If you work in a big company, you know how much testing and disturbance goes on before new software is rolled out. There is no such thing as a serious bug left running for months. Big companies just roll back in such extreme cases. Now imagine the amount of testing that goes on for secure phone on FBI systems. LOL. I suggest my american friends to look at this great invention called the guillotine? ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

A major contradiction has been discovered between yesterday's revelation that the FBI "lost" five months of text messages, and a claim by the DOJ's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz - who claimed his office received the texts in question between FBI employees Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page last August.

... ... ...

Knowledge of the missing texts was revealed in a Saturday letter from Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) - after the Committee received an additional 384 pages of text messages between Strzok and Page, several of which contained anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias. The new DOJ submission included a cover letter from the Assistant AG for Legislative Affairs, Stephen Boyd, claiming that the FBI was unable to preserve text messages between the two agents for a five month period between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 - due to "misconfiguration issues" with FBI-issued Samsung 5 devices used by Strzok and Page (despite over 10,000 texts which were recovered from their devices without incident).

However - as the Gateway Pundit 's Josh Caplan points out , the lost text messages are in direct contradiction to a December 13, 2017 letter from the DOJ's internal watchdog - Inspector General Michael Horowitz, to Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley and HSGAC Chairman Ron Johnson, in which he claims he received the texts in question on August 10, 2017 .

In gathering evidence for the OIG's ongoing 2016 election review, we requested, consistent with standard practice, that the FBI produce text messages from the FBI-issued phones of certain FBI employees involved in the Clinton email investigation based on search terms we provided. After finding a number of politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok, the OIG sought from the FBI all text messages between Strzok and Page from their FBI-issued phones through November 30, 2016 , which covered the entire period of the Clinton e-mail server investigation. The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017. Following our review of those text messages, the OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include all text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017.

The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017.

This glaring contradiction suggests someone is lying or perhaps simply incompetent. Did Horowitz's office *think* they had received the texts in question without actually verifying? Did the DOJ screw up and fail to read Horowitz's letter before "losing" the text messages so that "leaky" Congressional investigators wouldn't see them? Either way, this question needs answering.

While you can draw your own conclusions, keep in mind that Inspector Horowitz has been described as your archetypical Boy Scout bureaucrat - who as we reported two weeks ago - fought the Obama administation to restore powers taken away from the OIG by then-Attorney General, Eric Holder.

After a multi-year battle, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) successfully introduced H.R.6450 - the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 - signed by a defeated lame duck President Obama into law on December 16th, 2016 , cementing an alliance between Horrowitz and both houses of Congress .

And Congress has been very engaged with Horowitz's investigation; spoon-feeding the OIG all the questions they need in order to nail the DOJ, FBI and the Obama Administration for what many believe to be egregious abuses of power. As such, the OIG report is expected to be a bombshell , while also satisfying a legal requirement for the Department of Justice to impartially appoint a Special Counsel to launch an official criminal investigation into the matter.

As illustrated below, the report will go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

At this point, Horowitz's office needs to clarify whether or not they indeed took delivery of the "lost" text messages. If the OIG does indeed have them, it will be interesting to get to the bottom of exactly what the DOJ claims happened, and particularly juicy if they're caught in a lie.


CuttingEdge -> Four Star Jan 22, 2018 9:39 AM Permalink

If not found at the NSA, surely the texts will still be at Verizon or whichever SP the phones operate under. Only talking 18 months here. What really cracks me up is "Peter Strzok - Head of Counter Intelligence." Really? Has a dumber cunt ever graced the 7th floor of the Hoover Building?

Speaking of which, by the time this shit has gone down in it's entirety, they won't need a 7th floor. Chris Wray will be bloody lonely up there on his own. Probably coinciding with the search for Andrew McCabe's missing pension beginning in earnest...

BennyBoy -> CuttingEdge Jan 22, 2018 9:41 AM Permalink

Who's Lying: FBI Says 5 Months Of Texts "Lost," Yet IG Horowitz Says His Office Received Them In August

FBI: OOPS!

SethPoor -> BennyBoy Jan 22, 2018 9:47 AM Permalink
Jim in MN -> SethPoor Jan 22, 2018 9:52 AM Permalink

Bottom Line: The party in power used the apparatus of the police state to spy on and damage an opposition candidate. There really isn't a higher crime in our supposed system. THEN there's the cover-up.....as in deleting files and pretending you never had them even though the IG already does.

mtl4 -> Jim in MN Jan 22, 2018 10:53 AM Permalink

This used to be the reason why each new gov't as soon as it took power would toss out any folks showing any alignment to a party at all.........guess they knew a thing or two back then, didn't they. Time for Trump to warm up those Apprentice vocal chords and start uttering his famous words. At the current rate Nixon will be exonerated by the end of 2018.

teolawki -> Jim in MN Jan 22, 2018 11:38 AM Permalink

Could the treason be any more obvious? And not just treason, but treason in collaboration with foreign governments and multinational corporate elitists!

teolawki -> Jim in MN Jan 22, 2018 11:42 AM Permalink

"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." President George Washington Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

MK ULTRA Alpha -> SethPoor Jan 22, 2018 10:22 AM Permalink

I read about this, it was quickly brushed under the rug. Didn't know it was as extensive because media coverage on this angle hasn't been clear. Good report.

And if this is covered closely, then we may get some traction about how it was done and who pulled the strings. This maybe why former NSC Clapper is running scared, he set up his own personal intelligence network (there were reports early on, Clapper had his own intelligence network besides the 17 official intel agencies) to spy for the Obama WH, both he and former CIA Brennan were running intel ops for the Obama WH. Brennan ran political intel for the Obama election campaign. Indicating the Deep State intelligence apparatus is deeply involved in presidential elections. Brennan political campaign intel network using Deep State assets, next Obama;s NSC, next Obama's CIA director and was said to be the most political CIA director in history by CIA employees.

Clapper may have been the one behind using British intelligence to spy on Trump. It would explain Clappers irrational statements about Trump, sabotage and incitement of government employees not to follow Trump's orders. We got that from Clapper, Brennan and former CIA director Hayden. All three have joined forces in LA, using celebrities to continue the coup against Trump. They formed, essentially a convert political action group using celebrities, to make their case in the media. It's illogical for Clapper to continue with the coup, there is no reward in it unless, he is guilty of treason and must continue the coup to protect himself. In other words, this isn't for Hillary Clinton.

Occams_Razor_Trader -> MK ULTRA Alpha Jan 22, 2018 11:12 AM Permalink

And we wonder why these "intelligence agencies" endorse Hillary for President? These fuckers need to hang. They not only conspired to excuse the email scandal, torpedoed Sanders in the primary -- and were conspiring against her political opponent. President Trump the time is NOW!

William Dorritt -> SethPoor Jan 22, 2018 11:46 AM Permalink

************ HAIL HYDRA **************

Nice write up, keep improving, updating and posting it. The UK Govt appears to be complicit in the overthrow of the newly elected US Govt..........Team Globalist

CatInTheHat -> NoDebt Jan 22, 2018 10:44 AM Permalink

They ARE ALL in on it. ALL of them are guilty of TREASON, SEDITION. Republicans didn't want Trump in power at first...until they realized Trump, as Mitch McConnell said, "He'll sign anything we put in front of him." If you want to know what is being done on Trump Administration end. Just watch SESSIONS. Right now, Sessions has bigger fish to fry with weed smokers.

ZIOCONS have an invested interest in Russia gate: to win public support for a war on Russia. Russiagate is WMD all over again. It's why Trump does ZERO about Russia gate, while arming neonazis in the Ukraine and surrounding Russia and China's borders with US and NATO troops.

N. Korea isn't about N. Korea but about regime change to put nukes on China's doorstep. Look at what they are or are not doing. Not what they SAY..

WillyGroper -> FoggyWorld Jan 22, 2018 11:26 AM Permalink

i disagree. they're digging their hole deeper. it's ALL already been captured. everything going on is to keep us off balance & emotional. don't feed the beast.

Antifaschistische -> NoDebt Jan 22, 2018 12:16 PM Permalink

as I noted my beliefs before. Trump can be goofy at times. can be a walking ego at times. but he does not have an inherently evil heart. So he never fully comprehends the evil hearted person or collection of persons.

He is a great marketer, but he is not a brilliant war strategist, because he doesn't fully understand the heart of his enemy. Example: He thought laying off of Hillary after the election was actually the gentlemanly thing to do....because, he thought she'd accept defeat and leave the playing field. (we on ZH knew better, but Trump actually didn't know)

Bannon understood but wires got crossed there somehow. Kellyanne Conway understood. Sessions is a fine gentleman that appears to have no clue the battle that is really waging.

Most of the Washington VIPs that DO understand, are more interested in preserving their membership in the country club than saving America. This is why I like Trump...because he already has a country club and doesn't need to get invited to another party and doesn't really care about those scumbags. He just needs to understand a little bit more.

Bush Baby -> eclectic syncretist Jan 22, 2018 9:28 AM Permalink

So now we know the real purpose of the FBI Trump investigation, to give Mueller and his band of merry Clinton-Lawyers the opportunity clean up the evidence.

virgule -> Bush Baby Jan 22, 2018 9:48 AM Permalink

First, the backups are at the NSA and the Telco systems. 2nd, I'd ask WHO ELSE in the FBI was affected by lack of backups for such long period, AND how does that other impact ongoing investigations... If the answer is just those 2, well, follow the money. If the answer is more than these 2, than the credibility of the entire FBI is at stake. Which may not be much, but that is the only thing left at the moment.

By the way, for non-techie out there, the FBI's excuse is that they couldn't get the software upgrade done right. If you work in a big company, you know how much testing and disturbance goes on before new software is rolled out. There is no such thing as a serious bug left running for months. Big companies just roll back in such extreme cases. Now imagine the amount of testing that goes on for secure phone on FBI systems. LOL. I suggest my american friends to look at this great invention called the guillotine?

bloofer -> GunnerySgtHartman Jan 22, 2018 10:43 AM Permalink

I thought all deleted materials could be recovered from any hard drive, unless something like BleachBit is used, or the hard drive is physically destroyed. If the FBI lacks the expertise to recover the materials, may a team of IT specialists should be sent in to help them.

ultramaroon -> bloofer Jan 22, 2018 12:17 PM Permalink

There are magnetic traces left behind even after several passes of a "zero-fill" utility or pseudo-random over-writes. There are commercial companies whose business it is to recover such data. I recovered data for the Sheriff's department from a computer involved in a murder case. A company I worked for lost a Dell 96-drive array when just the right 3 drives died at the same time. A data recovery company got everything back and sold us our own data (and that's on a RAID 10 striped and mirrored array with 3 crashed drives).

They can get any data back if they want to badly enough.

[Jan 21, 2018] The FISA Memo Is All The Ammo Trump Needs To Take On The CIA by Tom Luongo

Notable quotes:
"... FISA is an abomination. Let's get that out of the way. And since I don't believe there are any coincidences in U.S. or geo-politics, the releasing of the explosive four-page FISA memo after Congress reauthorized FISA is suspicious ..."
"... Former NSA analyst (traitor? hero?) turned security state gadfly Edward Snowden came out in favor of President Trump vetoing the FISA reauthorization now that the full extent of what the statute is used for is known to members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are rightly aghast. ..."
"... Someone leaked this memo to the House Intelligence Committee with the sole intention of giving President Trump the opportunity to do exactly what Snowden is arguing for. And well Trump should. ..."
"... This is the essence of draining the swamp. It is the essence of his war with the Shadow Government. If one makes the distinction between the Deep State and the Shadow Government, like former CIA officer Kevin Shipp does , then this falls right in line with Trump's goals in cleaning up the rot and corruption in the U.S. government. In a recent interview with Greg Hunter at USAWatchdog.com, ..."
"... Shipp explains, "I differentiate between the 'Deep State' and the shadow government. The shadow government are the secret intelligence agencies that have such power and secrecy that they act even without the knowledge of Congress. There are many things that they do with impunity. Then there is the 'Deep State,' which is the military industrial complex, all of the industrial corporations and their lobbyists, and they have all the money, power and greed that give all the money to the Senators and Congressmen. So, they are connected, but they are really two different entities. It is the shadow government . . . specifically, the CIA, that is going after Donald Trump. It is terrified that some of its dealings are going to be exposed. If they are, it could jeopardize the entire organization." [emphasis mine] ..."
"... Trump's continued needling of the establishment; playing the long game and demonizing the media which is the tip of the Shadow Government's spear while strengthening the support of both the military (through his backing them at every turn) and his base by assisting them destroy the false narratives of globalism has been nothing short of amazing. ..."
"... So, Trump cozying up to the military, cutting a deal with the military-industrial complex (MIC) has the Deep State now incentivized to fight the Shadow Government for him. The tax cut bill, while a brilliant example of political knife-fighting, is fundamentally about shoring up the finances of the corporations that make up the MIC through the repatriation of foreign-earned income, lowering the corporate tax rate and stealing even more of the middle class back from the Democrats. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
FISA is an abomination. Let's get that out of the way. And since I don't believe there are any coincidences in U.S. or geo-politics, the releasing of the explosive four-page FISA memo after Congress reauthorized FISA is suspicious.

Former NSA analyst (traitor? hero?) turned security state gadfly Edward Snowden came out in favor of President Trump vetoing the FISA reauthorization now that the full extent of what the statute is used for is known to members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are rightly aghast.

Officials confirm there's a secret report showing abuses of spy law Congress voted to reauthorize this week. If this memo had been known prior to the vote, FISA reauth would have failed. These abuses must be made public, and @realDonaldTrump should send the bill back with a veto. https://t.co/BEwJ9EyIq0

-- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 19, 2018

But, like I said, timing in these things is everything. And the timing on this leak is important.

Someone leaked this memo to the House Intelligence Committee with the sole intention of giving President Trump the opportunity to do exactly what Snowden is arguing for. And well Trump should.

This is the essence of draining the swamp. It is the essence of his war with the Shadow Government. If one makes the distinction between the Deep State and the Shadow Government, like former CIA officer Kevin Shipp does , then this falls right in line with Trump's goals in cleaning up the rot and corruption in the U.S. government. In a recent interview with Greg Hunter at USAWatchdog.com,

Shipp explains, "I differentiate between the 'Deep State' and the shadow government. The shadow government are the secret intelligence agencies that have such power and secrecy that they act even without the knowledge of Congress. There are many things that they do with impunity. Then there is the 'Deep State,' which is the military industrial complex, all of the industrial corporations and their lobbyists, and they have all the money, power and greed that give all the money to the Senators and Congressmen. So, they are connected, but they are really two different entities. It is the shadow government . . . specifically, the CIA, that is going after Donald Trump. It is terrified that some of its dealings are going to be exposed. If they are, it could jeopardize the entire organization." [emphasis mine]

Court the Military Against the Spooks

And as I've talked about at length, I've felt from the moment Trump was elected he was going to have to ally himself with the U.S. military to have any chance of surviving, let alone achieve his political goals.

Trump's final campaign ad was a clarion call to action. It was a declaration of war against both the Shadow Government and the Deep State. And it ensured that if he won, which he did, they would immediately go to war with him.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vST61W4bGm8

And you don't declare war like this if you aren't prepared for the biggest knock-down, drag-out street brawl of all time. If you aren't prepared for it, don't say it. And for the past year we've been left wondering whether Trump was 1) prepared for it 2) capable of pulling it off.

Trump's continued needling of the establishment; playing the long game and demonizing the media which is the tip of the Shadow Government's spear while strengthening the support of both the military (through his backing them at every turn) and his base by assisting them destroy the false narratives of globalism has been nothing short of amazing.

As a hard-core, jaded politico, I can tell you I never thought for a second he had the ability to what he's already done. But, as the past few months have pointed out, the real power in the world doesn't rest with the few thousand who manipulate the levers of power but the billions who for years stood by and let them.

And those days of standing by are gone.

So, Trump cozying up to the military, cutting a deal with the military-industrial complex (MIC) has the Deep State now incentivized to fight the Shadow Government for him. The tax cut bill, while a brilliant example of political knife-fighting, is fundamentally about shoring up the finances of the corporations that make up the MIC through the repatriation of foreign-earned income, lowering the corporate tax rate and stealing even more of the middle class back from the Democrats.

Trump had the right strategy from the beginning. Civil Wars turn on what the police and the military do. They are instigated by and fanned by the spooks, but it is the soldiers and the cops who decide the outcome.

And so here we are.

FISA, It's Everywhere You Don't Want it to Be

Trump has called the Democrats' and RINOs' bluff on DACA and chain-immigration as a vote-buying scheme with zero political fallout. He's properly reframed the looming government shutdown on their inability to stick to their original agreements.

His much-maligned Justice Department is now rolling up traitors associated with Uranium One, pedophiles and human traffickers all over the country and preparing for a showdown with blue state governors and attorney generals over "Sanctuary" grandstanding.

By leading the charge, he gave strength to the patriots within both the Shadow Government and the Deep State organizations to leak the material needed to keep his campaign afloat.

And as each new thing drops at the most inopportune time for the political establishment mentioned ad nauseum in that final campaign ad linked above, you have to wonder just how big the revolt inside these organizations is.

Because, right here, right now, Trump can demand the release of this FISA memo and use it to torpedo the very thing that allowed the entire "Russia Hacked Muh Election" nonsense and send it back to the sh$&hole it was spawned from in the first place, the CIA and the DNC.

And if that means for a few months the FISA courts are inoperable while a new bill and a new set of rules is drafted so be it.

* * *

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[Jan 20, 2018] What Is The Democratic Party ? by Lambert Strether

Highly recommended!
"Institutionally, the Democratic Party Is Not Democratic"
Very apt characterization "the Democratic Party is nothing more than a layer of indirection between the donor class and the Democratic consultants and the campaigns they run;" ... " after all, the Democratic Party -- in its current incarnation -- has important roles to play in not expanding its "own" electorate through voter registration, in the care and feeding of the intelligence community, in warmongering, in the continual buffing and polishing of neoliberal ideology, and in general keeping the Overton Window firmly nailed in place against policies that would convey universal concrete material benefits, especially to the working class"
Notable quotes:
"... That said, the revivification of the DNC lawsuit serves as a story hook for me to try to advance the story on the nature of political parties as such, the Democratic Party as an institution, and the function that the Democratic Party serves. I will meander through those three topics, then, and conclude. ..."
"... What sort of legal entity is ..."
"... Political parties were purely private organizations from the 1790s until the Civil War. Thus, "it was no more illegal to commit fraud in the party caucus or primary than it would be to do so in the election of officers of a drinking club." However, due to the efforts of Robert La Follette and the Progressives, states began to treat political parties as "public agencies" during the early 1890s and 1900s; by the 1920s "most states had adopted a succession of mandatory statutes regulating every major aspect of the parties' structures and operations. ..."
"... While 1787 delegates disagreed on when corruption might occur, they brought a general shared understanding of what political corruption meant. To the delegates, political corruption referred to self-serving use of public power for private ends, including, without limitation, bribery, public decisions to serve private wealth made because of dependent relationships, public decisions to serve executive power made because of dependent relationships, and use by public officials of their positions of power to become wealthy. ..."
"... Two features of the definitional framework of corruption at the time deserve special attention, because they are not frequently articulated by all modern academics or judges. The first feature is that corruption was defined in terms of an attitude toward public service, not in relation to a set of criminal laws. The second feature is that citizenship was understood to be a public office. The delegates believed that non-elected citizens wielding or attempting to influence public power can be corrupt and that elite corruption is a serious threat to a polity. ..."
"... You can see how a political party -- a strange, amphibious creature, public one moment, private the next -- is virtually optimized to create a phishing equilibrium for corruption. However, I didn't really answer my question, did I? I still don't know what sort of legal entity the Democratic Party is. However, I can say what the Democratic Party is not ..."
"... So the purpose of superdelegates is to veto a popular choice, if they decide the popular choice "can't govern." But this is circular. Do you think for a moment that the Clintonites would have tried to make sure President Sanders couldn't have governed? You bet they would have, and from Day One. ..."
"... More importantly, you can bet that the number of superdelegates retained is enough for the superdelegates, as a class, to maintain their death grip on the party. ..."
"... could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we're gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. ..."
"... That's exactly ..."
"... Functionally, the Democratic Party Is a Money Trough for Self-Dealing Consultants. Here once again is Nomiki Konst's amazing video, before the DNC: https://www.youtube.com/embed/EAvblBnXV-w Those millions! That's real money! ..."
"... Today, it is openly acknowledged by many members that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were running an operation together. In fact, it doesn't take much research beyond FEC filings to see that six of the top major consulting firms had simultaneous contracts with the DNC and HRC  --  collectively earning over $335 million since 2015 [this figure balloons in Konst's video because she got a look at the actual budget]. (This does not include SuperPACs.) ..."
"... One firm, GMMB earned $236.3 million from HFA and $5.3 from the DNC in 2016. Joel Benenson, a pollster and strategist who frequents cable news, collected $4.1m from HFA while simultaneously earning $3.3 million from the DNC. Perkins Coie law firm collected $3.8 million from the DNC, $481,979 from the Convention fund and $1.8 million from HFA in 2016. ..."
"... It gets worse. Not only do the DNC's favored consultants pick sides in the primaries, they serve on the DNC boards so they can give themselves donor money. ..."
"... These campaign consultants make a lot more money off of TV and mail than they do off of field efforts. Field efforts are long-term, labor-intensive, high overhead expenditures that do not have big margins from which the consultants can draw their payouts. They also don't allow the consultants to make money off of multiple campaigns all in the same cycle, while media and mail campaigns can be done from their DC office for dozens of clients all at the same time. They get paid whether campaigns win or lose, so effectiveness is irrelevant to them. ..."
"... the Democratic Party is nothing more than a layer of indirection between the donor class and the Democratic consultants and the campaigns they run; ..."
"... the Democratic Party -- in its current incarnation -- has important roles to play in not expanding its "own" electorate through voter registration, in the care and feeding of the intelligence community, in warmongering, in the continual buffing and polishing of neoliberal ideology, and in general keeping the Overton Window firmly nailed in place against policies that would convey universal concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. ..."
"... the bottom line is that if Democratic Party controls ballot access for the forseeable future, they have to be gone through ..."
"... In retrospect, despite Sanders evident appeal and the power of his list, I think it would have been best if their faction's pushback had been much stronger ..."
Jan 15, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

An alert reader who is a representative of the class that's suing the DNC Services Corporation for fraud in the 2016 Democratic primary -- WILDING et al. v. DNC SERVICES CORPORATION et al., a.k.a. the "DNC lawsuit" -- threw some interesting mail over the transom; it's from Elizabeth Beck of Beck & Lee, the firm that brought the case on behalf of the (putatively) defrauded class (and hence their lawyer). Beck's letter reads in relevant part:

... ... ...

[Jan 19, 2018] #ReleaseTheMemo Extensive FISA abuse memo could destroy the entire Mueller Russia investigation by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
Looks like Rosenstein might lose his position.
Jan 19, 2018 | theduran.com

Classified documents obtained by members of Congress reportedly show extensive FISA abuses.

André De Koning , January 19, 2018 5:16 AM

What a bombshell! Finally some truth about the "Justice system" in the US.

Following on from this should be the whole subsequent story of the DNC-Fusion-Steele dossier in detail, exposing the MSM too for what it has been worth.
Perhaps then Trump dares to go against the deep state swamp and stop wars instead of following the dictates of CIA, Israel and Military Industrialists. That would be a real POTUS PLUS result.

foxenburg , January 19, 2018 5:13 AM

I thought Trump explained all this last March when he said his campaign was wiretapped, and he called for a Congressional investigation?

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

12:35 PM - Mar 4, 2017

Rick Manigault foxenburg , January 19, 2018 6:01 AM

Trump gave in to the lie about Russian interference and the republicans who hated him went along with this hoax until recently.

louis robert , January 19, 2018 3:07 PM

""It's troubling. It is shocking," North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. "Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don't want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.""

***

Come on, child! Enough with that spectacle. Get real. Have the basic courage to know and to admit what everybody has known about your country for ages!... The entire world already knows.

Franz Kafka , January 19, 2018 11:28 AM

More proof, if any were needed, that the only threat to the people of the USA comes from their own government. The 'external threat' is a fiction calculated to enslave the US population and enrich the Oligarchy.

Gano1 , January 19, 2018 8:11 AM

The DOJ, FBI and Democrats have colluded 100%.

Franz Kafka Gano1 , January 19, 2018 11:29 AM

Why omit the US Masked [sic] Media?

Franz Kafka , January 19, 2018 11:31 AM

If the 'swamp' gets drained all at once, can the bottom fall out of the pond?

WeAreYourGods , January 19, 2018 8:14 AM

Somebody's going to leak this in short order. Let's take a real look at what both Dems and Repubs just expanded, let's look at the monster they are feeding in broad daylight.

Rick Manigault , January 19, 2018 6:00 AM

This should be the focus until there are actual convictions of high level perpetrators.

Franz Kafka , January 19, 2018 2:05 PM

Why is Hannity afraid of using the 'C' word? CONSPIRACY!

Sueja , January 19, 2018 4:57 PM

Has the House Intelligence committee's Twitter account really been shut down. How corrupt is Twitter?

[Jan 14, 2018] How The Social Order Crumbles

Social order crumbles then the elite became detached from common people and distrusted by them, as the US neoliberal elite now is. Trump elections were mostly semi-conscious protest against the neoliberal elite which was symbolized by Hillary candidacy.
The problem with the article is that the author mixed liberalism and neoliberalism: Liberalism and neoliberalism are opposite. Neoliberalism has nothing to do with Christianity. It is, in essence, a Satan-worshiping cult ("greed is good"). The fact that it is dominant in the USA and Western Europe suggests that we can talk about persecution of Christians under neoliberalism.
That's why neoliberal elite resorted to Russophobia -- to rally the nation against the flag and to hash the distrust with anti-Russian hysteria.
Notable quotes:
"... It has been observed many times that liberalism is mostly a secularized version of Christianity; there's a lot of truth to that. ..."
"... Why Liberalism Failed ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

I disagree. The problems in liberalism didn't show up until now because most people in liberal democratic countries took the Judeo-Christian moral framework for granted. If the human rights (for example) that liberalism enshrines are something real, then they have to be grounded in something transcendent. It has been observed many times that liberalism is mostly a secularized version of Christianity; there's a lot of truth to that.

As I read Why Liberalism Failed , I take Deneen as saying that liberalism had to fail because at its core it stands for liberating the individual from an unchosen obligation. Ultimately, it forms consumers, not citizens.

I don't see Deneen airbrushing the good parts of liberalism from history, but rather honing his critique on what he believes are its structural flaws that make it unsustainable. His critique is strong, certainly, and I think dead-on, in that he sees that liberalism cannot generate within itself the virtues it needs to survive.

Deneen's critique is also matter-of-fact. Free markets are a core part of the liberal democratic model, but given the globalized nature of the economy, and rapid technological changes, we have to face the possibility that liberalism as we have understood it is inadequate to provide for the good of workers left behind by these changes.

If we have neglected the moral order embedded within liberalism itself, on what basis can we regain it? I keep going back to Adams's line about our Constitution is only good for a "moral and religious people," because self-government by the people can only work for people who possess the virtues to govern their own passions. This says to me that to perceive and to achieve the virtues embedded within liberalism, one has to be oriented towards a sense that there really are moral and religious truths beyond ourselves that bind our conduct.

Liberalism has degenerated into Justice Anthony Kennedy's famous line:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

I think most Americans today would not get what the problem is with that definition. You can't support a governing order based on something that weak. That, I believe, is Patrick Deneen's overall point.

E.J. Worthing January 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm

"If prudence and temperance are synonyms for modesty and self-restraint – the rising generation of Americans has utterly abandoned these values."

They are not synonyms. Prudence is appropriate concern for the future. It has nothing to so with modesty. Temperance has to do with appropriate self-restraint. It is not temperate to constrain oneself in a way that causes oneself senseless suffering. That is what some conservatives are asking people who don't fit into traditional gender categories to do.

Feel better, Rod!

Dale McNamee , says: January 12, 2018 at 9:05 pm
John Adams' quote says it all !

We are no longer a moral and religious people

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis comment in his "Abolition of Man" essay : "We ridicule morality and religion and we are surprised what takes its place "

Abelard Lindsey , says: January 12, 2018 at 11:33 am
I believe Brooks is more correct than Deneen. Robert Heinlein always made the point that liberty was not compatible with ignorance and ineptitude. Rather, liberty and self-ownership requires a certain level of competence. Competent people are capable of self-rule. Incompetent people are not. The problem with Deneen's ideas is that they force the competent people to surrender a certain measure of liberty and self-ownership in order to "accommodate" and "fit in" with the less competent, and that is a trade off that people like myself will never accept in a million years. In other words, Deneen does not speak for competent individuals such as myself. Hence, his ideas could never work for the likes of myself.

I believe the only solution, and a partial one at that (there is no such thing as a perfect solution as perfection does not exist in nature) is radical decentralization on a global scale. I call this the "thousand state sovereignty" model or the "21st century Westphalis". Some might even call it the "Snow Crash" scenario. This is where conventional nation-states and institutions fade away and new ones based more on networks of individual with common interests, objectives, and character traits form. The more competent members of the human race, who have no need to give up classical liberalism and individual self-ownership are able to form their own societies politically and culturally autonomous from the rest of the human species. Other factions of humanity can do the same thing. Call it "GTOW" on a global scale. Hence, the nation-state will decline in relative importance and the city-state will come back into vogue.

I believe this is the ONLY pathway forward to a better world for everyone. It does have the advantage of being a "positive-sum" solution, as most everyone gets what they want. Positive-sum solutions are always superior to zero-sum solutions, which are really negative-sum solutions.

Erik , says: January 12, 2018 at 11:40 am
Even John Locke, who is basically the father of liberalism, said that the state "need not tolerate" atheism because a state cannot rely on enforcement mechanisms alone to ensure proper civic behavior. A citizen must have a healthy fear of some form of divine retribution as guarantor of his behavior. It's possible, of course, to develop some form of morality based in natural reason that can ensure proper behavior, but I think Locke was onto something in his exhortation that the law alone is not enough.
E.J. Worthing , says: January 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Based on Brooks's summary, Deenen appears to believe that people in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and medieval times were more virtuous than people are in contemporary America.

That is not a reasonable thing to think. Maybe people in contemporary America have different vices than people did in past societies. But vice is part of the human condition, and people in America have not stopped caring for virtue. We value the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance as much as ever (though our understanding of what these virtues require has changed in some ways).

We also continue to value kindness, though Catholic teaching regards kindness as a theological virtue. True, as religious adherence has declined, some have joined the cult of Ayn Rand. But a culture of charity flourishes among secular people. Witness the growth of the effective altruism movement.

The only traditional Christian virtues that are now widely rejected are those specifically concerning religious belief and those that concerned sexual morality. Even if you think that sexual purity is a virtue (I don't), regarding it as among the most important virtues has never been reasonable.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: January 12, 2018 at 12:06 pm
As another writer somewhere wrote on the topic of Deneen's book (or perhaps it was a quote from the book itself, I don't remember), liberalism has until now been surviving by spending down the store of accumulated moral norms and civic mindedness that it inherited from its pre-modern progenitors. But since it cannot replenish those stores, it is essentially starving itself of that which it needs to survive. Eventually we (the people) will forget those things, and as norms break down and social trust diminishes toward the point of anarchy, we will beg for the state to step in and protect us from our fellow citizens. And that is when liberalism will give way to authoritarianism in what I'm sure will be an irony appreciated by almost no one when it actually happens.
Siarlys Jenkins , says: January 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm
I'm afraid our gracious host has affirmed David Brooks in the substance of Rod's stated disagreement. The Judeo-Christian moral order is as good as any moral order, and better than most in significant aspects. Its probably not the only one that would work, but if liberalism is a secular version of Christianity, then Brooks is right.

As a critic of liberalism from the left, but a sadder and wiser adherent of constitutional liberty after flirting in theory with Bolshevism, I think the word "liberal" is overplayed here. Liberalism is a political expression of laissez-faire capitalism. The concept of individual liberty, and the concept of ordered liberty, are not the exclusive province of liberalism.

Colonel Bogey provides a modest case in point. He is an advocate of the divine right of kings and monarchical superiority to any parliament the king may deign to authorize although he comfortably enjoys the privileges of living in a federal republic that prohibits any hereditary nobility. Colonel Bogey is no liberal, yet he is an enemy of the most viable alternatives to liberalism.

Embedded within liberalism the the emancipation of the self from constraint. How do you maintain tradition in such a culture?

The murderer is unregulated capitalism a la Ronald Reagan, just as Reagan was the murderer of the Savings and Loans, a true Mr. Potter. If the only virtue is getting rich at the expense of the general community, and only a few make it, what do faith, family, and tradition have to do with it? Now if the union hall was a center of social life, not only for you but for your entire family, and solidarity was woven into the fabric of your life, things might be different.

Only certain selves are liberated from restraint by liberalism. It also, historically speaking, involves the subordination of the employee to the employer, and the consumer to the purveyor of shoddy goods at exorbitant prices. Which has a morally degrading effect on both the dominant and the oppressed classes. The faux-left dismissal of the "working class," or to indulge a politically correct euphemism, the "white working class," is just another variant on the traditional class distinctions in liberalism.

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Nothing wrong with that statement, per se. The problem is overlooking that "one's own concept" is not binding on anyone else, nor does a law of general application have to bend and twist to accommodate each and every "own concept" every individual may have. Which is why Lawrence was valid, Windsor plausible and Obergefell a terribly sloppy application of generally valid constitutional principles.

Brendan , says: January 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm
The problem with Brooks is that he fails to realize that the things he treasures -- personal virtue, community, self-restraint, temperance and so on -- are not actually creations of liberalism, nor are they necessary products of it. To a large degree these came from the pre-existing culture(s) that came to the US before the founding from non-liberal societies. Included among these was, of course, Christianity as a prominent influence on values, virtues, community and so on. Liberalism was draped over this, but it doesn't create this, and none of this is inherent in liberalism. The liberal system in America has "free ridden" on these inherited aspects, which stem from non-liberal sources, for pretty much the entire history of the country. But they didn't come from liberalism.

The very things that Brooks values the most do not themselves come from liberalism, and it is far from clear, particularly as Western liberalism reaches its particularly illiberal/hegemonic phase culturally, actively seeking to strictly limit the permitted influence of these things which glued the society together for most of our history but did not stem from liberalism itself, that liberalism is the best system in which to preserve or even practice these things moving forward. I think a part of Brooks's brain senses this, but he is so committed to liberalism -- or at least so fearful of potential alternatives -- that although he sees the problem (much of his column writing bemoans the loss of these things, really), he can't really bring himself to see that liberalism is fundamentally indifferent as to whether the things that David Brooks so cherishes fade into the mists of history completely, so long as the absolute prioritization of individual freedom of action remains paramount.

It's unfortunate, really, because it makes a lot of what he writes rather painful to read, sadly.

[Jan 14, 2018] The U.S. is "owned" whole and complete. At the risk of repeating thy self; They've got a giant segment of the population duped into believing they live in a democracy, and some of them are just dumb enough to waste their time voting

Notable quotes:
"... Come on dude. I mean, I really like your stuff, but get with the times -- the U.S. is "owned" whole and complete. At the risk of repeating thy self; They've got a giant segment of the population duped into believing they live in a democracy, and some of them are just dumb enough to waste their time voting. ..."
"... America is like a religion -- you are required to "believe", because the reality is absent of any kind of deity. ..."
"... If only, Americans could get the kind of understanding of how the owners think of them -- contemptuous at best -- needed for certain tasks, but expendable if required -- basically, not well liked. Akin to a dirty, smelly employee that keeps showing up as not to get fired. ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Biff , January 14, 2018 at 6:06 am GMT

to finally restore the sovereignty of the US to the people of the US

Come on dude. I mean, I really like your stuff, but get with the times -- the U.S. is "owned" whole and complete. At the risk of repeating thy self; They've got a giant segment of the population duped into believing they live in a democracy, and some of them are just dumb enough to waste their time voting.

The owners throw the elected(owned prostitutes) officials a bone now and then, but that's all they get. If there ever was a corporate house negro, Obama, and the rest of them are it, and Trump has had his dumb ass neoconed from day one.

America is like a religion -- you are required to "believe", because the reality is absent of any kind of deity.

If only, Americans could get the kind of understanding of how the owners think of them -- contemptuous at best -- needed for certain tasks, but expendable if required -- basically, not well liked. Akin to a dirty, smelly employee that keeps showing up as not to get fired.

[Jan 14, 2018] Democracy in crisis? What democracy? There has not been a democracy for quite some time. by Cloudchopper

Jan 13, 2018 | therealnews.com

Cloudchopperan hour ago

Democracy in crisis? What democracy? There has not been a democracy for quite some time. Matter of fact it turned into a corporate oligarchy ruled by them, Wall Street and the Pentagon and not to forget Israel.

If Trump is messing with this so called democracy so be it. He is the bull walking through the delicate china closet the shadow rulers have set up for a long time. He smashes most of all those delicate dishes who really did not help the regular people at all. They were just there on display as teasers. Well Trump is smashing things left and right. "Racism" is being so overdone that it is becoming ridiculous and that real racism is still being hidden. Don't know about Bannon, never cared or paid much attention to him nor Breitbart news.

But believe me democracy is not in crisis because of Trump. There had to be a real democracy to begin with in order to be in crisis. What's in crisis is the two party system, the oligarchy, the false prophets, the media and the exceptionalism of the USA. All good things to have a crisis over and change things towards a new awakening.

John Ellis5 hours ago .

SHIT-HOLE DEMOCRACY --- ROOT CAUSE

● Republicans are top 25% of society who own 75% of wealth.
● Democrats are educated middle-class who own 25% of wealth.
● Working-poor are uneducated bottom 50% who refuse to vote until they stop getting shit upon. see more

PrMaine 9 hours ago

they all overestimated the American people.

That is true if the election really reflected the will of the American people. But do our elections do that?

Although we have all been indoctrinated into believing that we have the best democracy in the world, do our elections really reflect what the people want? Even if we believe the counting of votes to be accurate , we know that many citizens are denied their right to vote by manipulation of the voting rolls, voter intimidation, or the engineering of long lines.

But even if these issues are ignored, there is the two-party system that makes it so easy for big money and in particular big media to ensure that we do not get to choose from candidates that we would really want. A good step in moving toward a multi-party system would be to adopt some voting system that would encourage a multi-party system.

Democracy in America? We should work to give it a try.

NoDifference PrMaine7 hours ago

It's a good point. You figure that, at best, maybe 60 or 70 per cent of voters actually participate in an election. Then, out of that, it takes only 50%+1 to win. That means that a seat can be won with as little as perhaps 35% of all voters casting ballots.

However, first-past-the-post vote calculations are not an absolute impediment to winning elections. In Seattle, there is a socialist on the city council. In Minneapolis, another socialist came extremely close to a win there also. And the example of Canada's CCF/NDP cannot be ignored. All of these examples are in the context of first-past-the-post.

Now, I am firmly in favor of RCV. But we will probably only get RCV once the American Left gets itself to a position of power where it can make that kind of reform reality. The duopoly powers will not concede this to us gleefully, unless they see an opportunity to benefit from it somehow, such as gaming the system somehow (maybe setting off competition on the Left to ensure a win for the Right during a prolonged period of Rightwing solidarity as sometimes happens... like right now). I urge people to learn about the rise of the NDP even if they do not believe it to be a legitimate Left party (and there is plenty to support the impression that it has drifted to the center, sadly). I urge people to closely and carefully the Sawant win in Seattle. We can learn from these historical lessons.

We could be winning far more often and deeply if we just had something like RCV, like Proportional Representation (PR). But we don't. And the fact we don't have them should be that much more fuel for ignition. We must start winning. I always suggest starting at the bottom, not the top, where the Left could make inroads far more easily than attempting heroic battles with the duopoly at the highest levels of government. Over time, our presence would strengthen and our local efforts would weave a strong fabric of regional and maybe federal parties.

Getting depressed by the unfairness of the electoral college should move us in efforts to abolish it (and that is happening, btw). But at the same time, it should not be discouraging us from doing sensible things, like organizing local campaigns, taking over city halls, disrupting city planning departments and planning committees, and beginning to build what will one day become a national presence.

Yes, we should definitely give democracy a try. And we could be trying, mostly, at the local level with an eye toward eventual coalescence into more regional bodies of power. It has been done, and we would be wise to examine thoroughly how it was done and how we could improve that process.

NoDifference9 hours ago

Bannon's "far right Leninism" does not read well the first time, or the second time, or as many times as I read and re-read that phrase. I wish writers for the Left press would take the time to carefully proofread their own work before posting.

Yeah, I think I get what the author meant , but maybe it would have read more easily if it had been written something like "the Bannon version of authoritarianism" (or whatever it is the author precisely meant). It would have been clearer and not have appeared to conflate a rather Leftish ideology with some form of RW extremism.

[Jan 13, 2018] And by voting against its own interests, the white working class isn t just making itself poorer, it s literally killing itself

Notable quotes:
"... The central fact of US political economy, the source of our exceptionalism, is that lower-income whites vote for politicians who redistribute income upward and weaken the safety net because they think the welfare state is for nonwhites. ..."
"... And by voting against its own interests, the white working class isn't just making itself poorer, it's literally killing itself. ..."
"... With some slight variations, Krugman was essentially re-stating the thesis of my 2004 book, What's the Matter With Kansas?, in which I declared on the very first page that working people "getting their fundamental interests wrong" by voting for conservatives was "the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests". ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

On New Year's Day, the economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman issued a series of tweets in which he proclaimed as follows:

The central fact of US political economy, the source of our exceptionalism, is that lower-income whites vote for politicians who redistribute income upward and weaken the safety net because they think the welfare state is for nonwhites.

and then, a few minutes later:

And by voting against its own interests, the white working class isn't just making itself poorer, it's literally killing itself.

Was I psyched to see this! With some slight variations, Krugman was essentially re-stating the thesis of my 2004 book, What's the Matter With Kansas?, in which I declared on the very first page that working people "getting their fundamental interests wrong" by voting for conservatives was "the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests".

... ... ...

Let me be more explicit. We have just come through an election in which underestimating working-class conservatism in northern states proved catastrophic for Democrats. Did the pundits' repeated insistence that white working-class voters in the north were reliable Democrats play any part in this underestimation? Did the message Krugman and his colleagues hammered home for years help to distract their followers from the basic strategy of Trump_vs_deep_state?

I ask because getting that point wrong was kind of a big deal in 2016. It was a blunder from which it will take the Democratic party years to recover. And we need to get to the bottom of it.

Thomas Frank is a Guardian columnist

[Jan 12, 2018] The DOJ and FBI Worked With Fusion GPS on Operation Trump

Highly recommended!
CIA trace in color revolution against Trump
Notable quotes:
"... Sally Yates essentially said 'all DOJ is subject to oversight, except the National Security Division'. ..."
"... In short, FISA "queries" from any national security department within government are allowed without seeking court approval. ..."
"... We know NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers became aware of an issue with unauthorized FISA-702(17) " About Queries " early in 2016. As a result of a FISA court ruling declassified in May of 2017 we were able to piece a specific timeline together. ..."
"... At the same time Christopher Steele was assembling his dossier information (May-October 2016), the NSA compliance officer was conducting an internal FISA-702 review as initiated by NSA Director Mike Rogers. The NSA compliance officer briefed Admiral Mike Rogers on October 20th 2016. On October 26th 2016, Admiral Rogers informed the FISA Court of numerous unauthorized FISA-702(17) "About Query" violations. Subsequent to that FISC notification Mike Rogers stopped all FISA-702(17) "About Queries" permanently . They are no longer permitted. ..."
"... Mike Rogers discovery becomes the impetus for him to request the 2016 full NSA compliance audit of FISA-702 use. It appears Fusion-GPS was the FBI contracted user identified in the final FISA court opinion/ruling on page 83. ..."
"... What plan came from that April 19th,2016 White House meeting? What plan did Mary Jacoby and Glenn Simpson present to use the information they had assembled? How and who would they feed their information to; and how do they best use that 'valuable' information? This appears to be where Fusion-GPS contracting with Christopher Steele comes in. ..."
"... Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. ..."
"... The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr's duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016. ( link ) ..."
"... DOJ Deputy Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr had a prior working relationship with Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Together they worked on a collaborative CIA Open Source group project surrounding International Organized Crime. ( pdf here ) Page #30 Screen Shot Below . ..."
"... Nellie Ohr is a subject matter expert on Russia, speaks Russian, and also is well versed on CIA operations. Nellie Ohr's skills would include how to build or create counterintelligence frameworks to give the appearance of events that may be entirely fabricated. ..."
"... Knowing the NSA was reviewing FISA "Queries"; and intellectually accepting the resulting information from those queries was likely part of the framework put together by Glenn Simpson and Mary Jacoby; we discover that GPS employee Nellie Ohr applied for a HAM radio license [ May 23rd 2016 ] (screen grab below). ..."
"... Accepting the FBI was utilizing Fusion-GPS as a contractor, there is now an inherent clarity in the relationship between: FBI agent Peter Strzok, Fusion-GPS Glenn Simpson, and 'Russian Dossier' author Christopher Steele. They are all on the same team. ..."
"... The information that Fusion-GPS Glenn Simpson put together from his advanced work on the 'Trump Project', was, in essence, built upon the foundation of the close relationship he already had with the FBI. ..."
"... Simpson, Jacoby and Ohr then passed on their information to Christopher Steele who adds his own ingredients to the mix, turns around, and gives the end product back to the FBI. That end product is laundered intelligence now called "The Trump/Russia Dossier". ..."
"... The FBI turn around and use the "dossier" as the underlying documents and investigative evidence for continued operations against the target of the entire enterprise, candidate Donald Trump. As Peter Strzok would say in August 2016: this is their "insurance policy" per se'. ..."
"... In October 2016, immediately after the DOJ lawyers formatted the FBI information (Steele Dossier etc.) for a valid FISA application, the head of the NSD, Asst. Attorney General John P Carlin, left his job . His exit came as the NSD and Admiral Rogers informed the FISC that frequent unauthorized FISA-702 searches had been conducted. Read Here . ..."
"... Yes, the FBI was working with Christopher Steele through their contractor Fusion-GPS. Yes, the FBI and Clinton Team were, in essence, both paying Christopher Steele for his efforts. The FBI paid Steele via their sub-contractor Fusion-GPS. ..."
"... Lastly, when the DOJ/FBI used the Steele Dossier to make their 2016 surveillance activity legal (the October FISA application), they are essentially using the outcome of a process they created themselves in collaboration with both Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign. ..."
"... All research indicates the intelligence information the DOJ and FBI collected via their FISA-702 queries, combined with the intelligence Fusion GPS created in their earlier use of contractor access to FISA-702(17) "about queries", was the intelligence data delivered to Christopher Steele for use in creating "The Russian Dossier". ..."
"... Christopher Steele was just laundering intelligence. The Steele "dossier" was then used by the DOJ to gain FISA-702 approvals – which provided retroactive legal cover for the prior campaign surveillance, and also used post-election to create the "Russian Narrative". ..."
"... The ENTIRE SYSTEM of FISA-702 surveillance and data collection was weaponized against a political campaign. The DOJ and FBI used the FISA Court to gain access to Trump data, and simultaneously justify earlier FISA "queries" by their contractor, Fusion GPS. FISA-702 queries were used to gather information on the Trump campaign which later became FBI counterintelligence surveillance on the officials therein. ..."
Jan 12, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com
Following the released transcript of Fusion-GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Senator Dianne Feinstein , several media outlets have begun questioning the relationship between the FBI investigators, Glenn Simpson and dossier author Christopher Steele.

What we have discovered highlights the answer to those relationship questions; and also answers a host of other questions, including: Did the FBI pay Christopher Steele? Yes, but now how media has stated. Was the FBI connected to the creation of the Steele Dossier? Yes, but again, not the way the media is currently outlining.

... ... ...

[Jan 08, 2018] MoA - Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-01

Jan 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jan 1 - NYT Writes Epic Cover For Comey's FBI - Its Sole Source: "Officials Said"

The full Clinton conspiracy against Trump, which was supported by the intelligence services, has not yet been exposed. But bit by bit more details are coming out. The main stream media are heavily invested in the anti-Trump/anti-Russia narrative and therefore continue to throw smoke bombs.

... ... ...

nhs , Jan 7, 2018 11:21:05 AM | 1

Trump's cheap, dirty tricks with Iran - why now?
james , Jan 7, 2018 11:38:39 AM | 2
truly great article i highly recommend.. - PLA Strategist: The U.S. Uses Its Dollar to Dominate the World
Sid2 , Jan 7, 2018 12:22:17 PM | 4
This interesting piece from NEO argues against yesterday's thread celebrating Trump.

Theme: Trump is dividing allies and working to replace US world leadership with new (different) leadership.

(its conclusion)

If Trump causes conflicts and makes others pay to sort them out he really does disentangle the US from costly foreign wars. He also makes the US relatively stronger financially, and can run back to his business empire at any time if his own people want him gone. China will gradually take over the US leadership role, but why should Trump care? He will have paid for that in office, and his supporters want the jobs the Chinese can provide, and the infrastructure the Chinese love building, rather than this airy-fairy liberal nonsense of elite diplomacy and pussyfooting around with foreigners and spineless "doublespeak" in terms of human rights and the rule of law.

Trump may destroy America, and a lot of its allies with it, but he will escape more or less intact. As his business record shows, he will think the suffering of others is worth it. People wondered when he was elected what difference it would make to have a businessman with no political experience in the most powerful job on earth. 2018 will be the year when we all come to terms with what that difference is, if we live long enough to do so.

https://journal-neo.org/2018/01/06/trump-threatens-everyone-to-destroy-the-us-before-himself/

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 1:02:32 PM | 5
James

As you know, there has been much discussion regarding dollar as global reserve currency and implications. I take issue with a number of points made in the article that you link to such as the reasons underlying the Asian financial crisis and second Iraq War. If the article has value it is that it provides insight into how some Chinese are thinking about the adversarial relationship that has developed between US and China.

james , Jan 7, 2018 1:13:33 PM | 6
@5 jackrabbit.. thanks for taking the time to look at it.. i have never read an article so insightful on the relationship with wars that usa has been responsible for and the connection to the us$ money supply... the observations on the importance of de-linking the us$ from gold and all that it has implied to my mind is very accurate and relevant to where we are now.

on the comments where you take issue, i am curious if you can explain why.. i share the authors view on the asian crisis and iraq war as well.. and yes - it does give insight into how some in the world, in particular some chinese - are seeing where we are now and how it dovetails with chinese ambitions on the world stage..

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 1:33:54 PM | 9
James

These are cases where the author is over-reaching to make a case for US using its currency in a war-like manner.

The Asian financial crisis wasn't "harvesting", it was contagion arising from incompetence of various actors

Likewise, Saddam's was expected to fall after the first Iraq War but managed to remain in power. His antagonism toward the US included changing how he was paid for his oil but the second Gulf was was not based on that payments change alone. The fact is Saddam became a thorn in the side of US and US allies and they would use any convenient excuse to remove that thorn.

james , Jan 7, 2018 2:04:45 PM | 11
@9 jr... thanks.. we are going to have to agree to disagree then. i think the article is much more specific in how these different events connect to the money supply.. regarding the asian crisis, i agree with this overview given in the article.. i am going to quote it so the broader context can be read by others who are interested.. i think it is much the same with regard to iraq and saddam.. bottom line on iraq - the war was an unnecessary one and a destructive one for iraq.. they are still working at recovering from it.

"During the second ten-year weak U.S. dollar cycle, U.S. dollars went mainly to Asia. What was the hottest investment concept in 1980s? It was the "Asian Tigers." Many people thought it was due to Asians' hard work and how smart they were. Actually the big reason was the ample investment of U.S. dollars.

When the Asian economy started to prosper, the Americans felt it was time to harvest. Thus, in 1997, after ten years of a weak dollar, the Americans reduced the money supply to Asia and created a strong dollar. Many Asian companies and industries faced an insufficient money supply. The area showed signs of being on the verge of a recession and a financial crisis.

A last straw was needed to break the camel's back. What was that straw? It was a regional crisis. Should there be a war like the Argentines had? Not necessarily. War is not the only way to create a regional crisis.

Thus we saw that a financial investor called "Soros" took his Quantum Fund, as well as over one hundred other hedge funds in the world, and started a wolf attack on Asia's weakest economy, Thailand. They attacked Thailand's currency Thai Baht for a week. This created the Baht crisis. Then it spread south to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Then it moved north to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and even Russia. Thus the East Asia financial crisis fully exploded.

The camel fell to the ground. The world's investors concluded that the Asian investment environment had gone south and withdrew their money. The U.S. Federal Reserve promptly blew the horn and increased the dollar's interest rate. The capital coming out of Asia flew to the U.S.'s three big markets, creating the second big bull market in the U.S.

When the Americans made ample money, they followed the same approach they did in Latin America: they took the money that they made from the Asian financial crisis back to Asia to buy Asia's good assets which, by then, were at their bottom price. The Asian economy had no capacity to fight back."

Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 2:05:51 PM | 12
James 2

Had read a section of the speech a few days ago somewhere else but you're link contained more. Very interesting.
One of Trump's main themes is to bring manufacturing back to the US. I think it was a commenter at SST listed the manufacturing that had moved back to the US since Trump took office and it was quite impressive. So, to date, no empty promise there.

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 2:28:10 PM | 13
There are a few that claim that Trump is playing multi-dimensional chess. I don't think so. What he's doing is plain and straightforward. He's slowly getting the US out of the international hegemonic game. He's doing it the way he knows, with a lot of bluster and contradictions. What many people fail to recognize is that he is not a professional politician that is glib and talks out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. He is a deal maker turned Reality TV star who has used celebrity and its publicity to achieve his goals.

The amazing thing is that he won the presidency as a non-politician on his first attempt, defeating the anointed Queen backed by over $1.5 billion as well as the entire media and the establishment of both parties. He gets no credit for that accomplishment. Ever since his election he has been fighting a battle with the establishment who have used all the powers of law enforcement and intelligence as well as the media to try and take him down. Now they get a tabloid writer to pen a book slamming him, not very different than MI6 Christopher Steele's dossier with all those scurrilous charges.

When he won the election he had no background in government. He had no knowledge of how DC works. He had to get people from the establishment to man his administration. He is doing what he can do within the circumstances and as he slowly gets to grips with what he can and cannot do as President he will do more. There is no doubt he is unconventional and his non-PC style drives many in the media and establishment crazy. The more he can make them crazy, the more they'll focus on taking him out, and the more he can do that achieves his goal of taking the US out of the hegemony business. Precisely because that would be considered crazy by the establishment.

He has already achieved so much. He did not go after the Russian alliance in Syria and has allowed them to roll-up the jihadis and consolidate Assad's power. He shown with his Jerusalem decision that the 2-state fiction is over and the majority of Arab states don't really care about the Palestinians. With his tax package he is screwing the liberals on both coasts who would never vote for him and most importantly making US businesses more competitive, particularly smaller businesses who don't have the armies of tax attorneys. The use of law enforcement and intelligence to take him down is slowly backfiring as it is now showing how partisan these agencies were under the Obama administration, actually meddling in the election and attempting to delegitimize him after the election - all seditious acts. And of course how they let Hillary Clinton off the hook for mishandling classified information.

If he continues on this path, driving the establishment crazy and getting the US out of the hegemony business in his own crazy way, America will be better off and he will win a second term that will make the establishment even more crazy. What do you expect when a Reality TV star becomes POTUS - More entertainment! But in a good way for both America and the rest of the world.

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 2:36:50 PM | 14
James

Your assessment that the Iraq War was "unnecessary" is both a truism and irrelevant. The article asserts that it occurred because USA wanted to defend pricing of oil in dollars.

I'm not saying that didn't play some part. I'm just pointing out that the rift between Saddam and US was much greater than that one aspect. The second Iraq War wasn't due solely to Saddam decision to accept alternative payment methods. Pretending that it was is over-reaching - fitting facts to a narrative.

I'll address the Asian financial crisis in another comment.

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 2:46:32 PM | 15
james @11. What you quote and what is written in the article you linked to are classic conspiracy theories spun for those financially illiterate.

The USD no longer being a reserve a currency would be the best thing for middle America.

james , Jan 7, 2018 2:51:22 PM | 16
@12 peter.. thanks.. it would be good if it was true about bringing manufacturing jobs and etc. back to the usa.. teh idea of so much of usa gdp being generated from financials seems accurate to me.. i can't see how that is sustainable..

@14 jr.. i realize it is complicated and i do believe the justification as given for war in iraq and the real reasons are different.

@15 ab initio.. i don't agree with your first sentence, but i agree fully with your last!

LongShot , Jan 7, 2018 3:02:54 PM | 17
Some people have been paying attention.
JeanPaul , Jan 7, 2018 3:13:51 PM | 18
B why dont you move your blog to steemit so we can upvote you for real money ?

Look how much this guy make per post https://steemit.com/@haejin

ben , Jan 7, 2018 3:18:29 PM | 19
james @ 2: Thanks for the article. Good read. An excerpt:

"People all say that the strength of the U.S. is based on three pillars: currency, technology, and military force. Actually today we can see that the real backbone of the U.S. is its currency and military force. The backing of its currency is its military force."

"Every country in the world spends a large amount of money when it has a war. The U.S., however, is unique. It can also make money while spending money on a war. No other country can do that."

IMO, dollar hegemony is a problem. Maybe this article from RT has relevance..

https://www.rt.com/business/414061-china-russia-oil-dollar-yuan/

The dollar paradigm must change to increase the emergence of a multi-polar world..

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 3:20:26 PM | 20
To leave the Orange Dotard for a while....and for you to see that the word is changing... but there we go....
The image of the day, tortured by Krassnoff, he faces the criminal and rebukes him in the courts of Concepción

https://twitter.com/rsumen/status/949303647921418242


Miguel Krassnoff, Pinochet's torturer, is the grandson of Piotr Krasnov, a white general in the Civil War and a Nazi collaborator in World War II.

https://twitter.com/Drazmihailovitx/status/949393202733289472


Krasnov, Piotr

Cossack Czarist Russian General. After making a career in the Tsarist Army, he led several battalions of Cossack riders in the First World War with the title of General. He took part in Kornilov's Coup d'Etat at the time of the Provisional Government and at the outbreak of the October Revolution Kerensky appointed him supreme commander of the army to crush the nascent Revolution and restore power to Kerensky ("Kerensky-Krasnov revolt") . Although the Bolsheviks seized him, they released him after Krasnov gave his word not to fight against the Revolution. In spite of everything, he broke his word. In 1918 he was named head of the Cossack Horde of the Don Region and started an anti-Soviet Cossack revolt in the Don Region. In 1919 he put his Cossack army under the hierarchy of the White Army led by General Denikin in the Ukraine and Southern Russia; however, he would have deep political disagreements with the White Army (apparently Krasnov defended the "Cossack nationalism" and that was not well seen by the Russian imperialists of the White Army) and in that same year he would exile to Germany. There he got involved in various anti-Soviet propaganda activities until the Second World War. In that war he betrayed his country and put him at the service of the German fascists who attacked the Soviet People; created divisions formed by anti-communist Cossacks for the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS. After the USSR defeated Germany in World War II, the Soviets tried, condemned to death and executed Krasnov for his betrayal.

Anecdote: Krasnov wrote in exile the novel Two-headed eagle to the red flag, which earned him nomination as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 3:22:58 PM | 21
ab initio 15

The reason China's economy is growing larger than the hegemons, is that China understands how the hegemon operates, and counters with asymmetrical moves. The section of the speech by the PLA strategist Major-General Qiao Liang, is far more than classic conspiracy theory.

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 3:27:21 PM | 22
james

The aticle's analysis wrt Asian financial crisis is simplistic and an exercise in blame-shifting.

Thailand could not defend the bhat fix. It was a mistake for them to attempt to do so. They should've coordinated with other countries much sooner and other countries should'be seen what was developing sooner. But the origins of the crisis occurred BEFORE the speculative attacks on the currency as described well here: UNCTAD: Causes and Sources of the Asian Financial Crisis

Market panics happen sometimes. They usually stem from policy incompetence of some form or another. The 1987 US stock market crash is a good example. "Portfolio insurance" meant forced sales of great magnitude as the stock market declined. Thus, a downturn would "feed on itself."

The 2008 Global Financial Crisis is another one. Banks stopped doing proper credit risk analysis because loans were no longer being held by the Bank but sold to the market (via bundles known as CDOs).

The result of the AFC was that western money was precipitously pulled out of Asia. Some asians view that darkly. But I see no grand game plan to disadvantage Asian countries. Just a big F-up caused by incompetence and nervous investors who all went to the exists at the same time.

ben , Jan 7, 2018 3:29:28 PM | 23
For those who wonder why so many suspect U$A involvement in the latest Iranian developments.

https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 3:39:54 PM | 24
Demonstrators in Iran waving with the Syrian Revolution flag and burn a picture of Bashar Al Asad

https://twitter.com/EasternMediafax/status/948483739713265664

The Free Syrian Army (ELS) has published on its social networks a statement expressing its support for the protesters in Iran.

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/948594509432213506

Today's demonstration next to the embassy of #Iran in Paris of supporters of the #MEK (Organization of the Mujahideen of the People of #Iran) in solidarity with the Syrian rebels under the slogan #StandWithAleppo.

https://twitter.com/beatriz_er/status/948622712892731392

Islamic State supports the protests in Iran. We're all already here.

https://twitter.com/errordesconocid/status/949396803451019264

#IS shows support for #IranProtests telling Iranians to continue calls against wilayat al-Faqih; says development v important, according to editorial in IS weekly paper #alNaba

https://twitter.com/Minalami/status/949170527486316544

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 3:48:03 PM | 25
Estimated number of US troops in ME countries (Via @ Forbes) 🇯🇴 Jordan - 1,500 🇮🇶 Iraq - 5,165 🇰🇼 Kuwait - 15,000 🇧🇭 Bahrain - 7,000 🇶🇦 Qatar - 10,000 🇦🇪 UAE - 5,000 🇴🇲 Oman - 200

https://twitter.com/elOrdenMundial/status/948617475909914626

Well, to this we must add those currently illegally in Syria, and those in Afghanistán...not to mention the mercenary armies of Prince and the likes in the far-East, Africa, South Asia, and so on...and...thus...is this not too much for to be offloading foreign policy?

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 3:50:24 PM | 26
Detailed Israeli map of Daraa. The logical thing is to think that someone provides them with intelligence from the ground.

https://twitter.com/Drazmihailovitx/status/948181255778160640

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 4:12:51 PM | 27
A casual call for a 'military intervention by a coalition of regional forces' in #Venezuela http://prosyn.org/ZzTaKOs
The plan: impeach Maduro and invite a foreign military force. Sounds very feasible. What can go wrong?

https://twitter.com/nsanzo/status/948314487031025665


Thus, almost all the countries supporting China in its launching of the petro-yuan targetted by regime-change intends...except Russia....for now....
I insist, too much for offloading foreign policy, doesn´t it?

VK , Jan 7, 2018 4:14:52 PM | 28
I think people from the last post didn't get it, so I'll repeat my argument.

This thesis (that Trump is some sort of political genious) is pure first-world dellusion. I know it's hard to accept, when you're on top, that your hegemon is ending, that the dream is over -- but it is necessary, for the wellbeing of humanity.

The USA is using the big stick for the simple reason it doesn't have the carrot anymore, as it did in 1946. Nowadays, the USA is strictly a financial/military power, China being the industrial power.

Finance is closely connected to military power nowadays because we live in the era of fiat currency: fiat currency is imaginary, it can be printed at will; its only manifestation in the real world is the control of the main commercial routes (today, it is the seas). The USA is the modern Poseidon, the contemporary King of Seas, the World Pirate: thanks to its inequalled Navy -- by far the most powerful branch of its Armed Forces -- it can enforce the Dollar to rest of the world must, both by keeping its capacity of maintaining the passive flow of merchandise and by active enforcing it (e.g. forcing the oil extraction and export by invading and regime changing Iraq). Military strength has another essential aspect in a fiat currency world: the USA can indebt infinitely because everybody knows that, ultimately, nobody can knock on the American door (i.e. has the imperium) and ask its debt to be paid.

In other words, in modern capitalism, in order to be the financial power, you automatically have to be the military power. That's why China's recent projection of financial power is accompanied by its growing projection of power in the seas, both by expanding and modernizing its Navy (e.g. it is about to complete its third aircraft carrier). But China has an advantage in relation to the USA: it is in Eurasia, the World Island, the cradle and center of human civilization: it can also project its imperial power by land (new Silk Road). The USA can't do that: instead it must spend trillions of dollars by maintaining lots of bases overseas.

You, first-worlders, must decide if Trump is a political genious or if b's theory about a military junta de facto governing is correct. Both cannot be true at the same time.

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 4:14:55 PM | 29
#Trump is a liar. #Pentagon is a liar. #NikkiHaley is a liar. #USA is not fighting the terrorists in #Syria. Look at the terrorists inside the #American #Tanf military base in Syria #FromSyria

https://twitter.com/ahmadalissa/status/947223658426257408

Les , Jan 7, 2018 4:17:28 PM | 30
There are rumors that the real reason the US pulled military aid from Pakistan was their refusal to allow the basing of CIA-controlled jihadist groups for staging attacks inside Iran. The money was just going to go to fund the operation and Pakistan's role. They're not going to allow any terrorist groups that ISI doesn't control (cue Raymond Davis).
elsi , Jan 7, 2018 4:19:01 PM | 31
On how there is a continuum in US foreign policy, independently of who seats its butts on the WH, and how nobody is draining any swamp, but making it more thick... if possible:
14 de abril de 2017, Maryam Radjavi, líder del #MEK grupo terrorista e instrumento de la #CIA en #Irán para agitar las protestas y desestabilizar el país, con John McCain.

https://twitter.com/beatriz_er/status/948615009059434496

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 4:41:00 PM | 32
It´s me, or Mike Pompeo looks like he could not believe a word coming from The Donald´s mouth...He looks really worried....and even nauseated....

'From successful businessman to US President': Trump slams 'Fire & Fury' book as 'art of fiction'

somebody , Jan 7, 2018 4:53:30 PM | 33
30 likely. Balochistan is part of Pakistan and Iran.

Anyway, it has come to the logical conclusion now - Iranian nationalism .

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 5:17:31 PM | 34
@ninel | Jan 7, 2018 2:00:34 PM | 10

Of course, these people´s grievances are legitimate, but you also notice how they all agree in that turning protests into politics and those claims like "death to Suprem Leader" or for the "Shah to return" are from people trying to hijack the protests, and see also how they condemn those using volence.... They declare themselves the makers and heirs of the revolution....
Thus, yes, there was CIA/Mossad/MEK/Saudi agents infiltrated all the way in the protests

james , Jan 7, 2018 5:52:21 PM | 35
@19 ben.. thanks.. yes - that article on the topic of china and russia exchanging oil in yuan is very relevant to this conversation of us hegemony..

@21 peter.. thanks for saying that.. most people don't read articles, myself included! however i thought that one was the best summary i have read on the importance of the us$ being un-pegged from gold and all the implications that have been set in motion since..

@22 jackrabbit.. i am unable to get to the page you would like me to look at @ unctad.com - it just takes me to the home page and nothing else.. market panics do happen, but in a situation where their is more opportunity to park your money in a currency that is offering interest rates that are better then keeping it in a currency that seems unstable - most go with the former.. and, in this case - soros and friends had a specific game plan in mind which seems to have coincidentally lining up with the agenda of the federal reserve to again raise interest rates for the us$.. this precipitates a move to the us$ for a few different reasons.. i don't dispute markets get overheated and need to sell off, but i do believe the us$ has played a pivotal role in shaping a number of situations to favour the us$, including helping to create and take advantage of weaknesses that they might be partly or fully responsible for.. that's all..

bottom line, i acknowledge what you are saying and not wanting to get caught up in dark theories.. however,after reading the article in full, i was surprised at the number of coincidences in a number of world events and the timing and numbers connected to the us$ supply... i thought it was fascinating to only analyze it from this angle as most folks who are looking into the cause for war and etc, are not considering this in the same depth that this author does... and, i do believe the issue of us$ coming unglued from gold aug 15, 1971 is a central pivotal point to where we are now with regard to the us$..

@23 ben.. good quick overview! thanks..

@24 elsi.. regarding more fsa bullshit, you might want to read pat langs latest.

also, a few of us replied to your comments on the previous post.. you might want to check that out.

@28 vk.. well, as i said before - trump is no genius and he is only looking out for himself with his various r/e deals and etc. etc. but their may be some bigger benefit from someone who isn't willing to serve the interests the military junta automatically.. so, aside from agreeing with your comments on the financial/military connection and relevance, i would say there are more then just 2 options in your last line about - either trump is a genius, or the usa is run by a military junta.. the 3rd option is trump is not saying what he is doing and he is messing up things for that same military junta that want another war in iran or where-ever they can get one.. whether trump is successful in his not saying what his actual intent is, or whether it is just an accident based on his personality - either way - he is messing things up to the status quo big time here.. the verdict is still out on his agenda, other then him being totally self serving..

@30 les... i had read that too, so perhaps it is a combo of both.. either way, pakistan is operating differently to the usa here...

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 5:54:47 PM | 36
Peter AU1 @21

GDP is a poor metric for vitality of an economy. But that is the metric du jour for all economic analysis. China has grown it's GDP on the back of fixed asset investment. Initially it was FDI with capital and technology flowing into it as the West offshored its industrial base. Next it used the growth in banking assets to continue, in particular after the GFC when it increased the size of its banking system four fold. This is leverage. Look at the fixed asset investment/GDP ratio of China vs Germany and the US and even Japan. China has huge idle capacity in real estate and many industries that don't provide a return on the debt deployed. OBOR is partially to utilize this excess capacity. The reality is no one knows the extent of financial leverage in China. The size of their banking system relative to GDP is larger than Japan's at their peak before their financial system deflated.

On the flipside the US has the opposite problem. Not enough fixed asset investment, too much consumption and far too much financialization of their economy.

For a rebalancing to occur both sides need to emphasize the opposite of what they've been doing. The US needs to spend more on infrastructure and industrial capacity and less on consumption whereas China needs more domestic consumer demand and less investment in capacity. Neither can easily change their current trajectory without some dislocation. Trump it seems gets the big picture but can he execute considering the constraints he is under remains to be seen.

Chipnik , Jan 7, 2018 6:03:43 PM | 37
The "Trump Offloads" trope, like his "7D Chess" joke, or his "Populist President" meme, is all patently absurd, right on the face of it. He's a serial bunko artist and lifelong fraudster, a money launderer and human trafficker through his ex-Soviet Mafiya funded hotel:casino empire. He has no political expertise or finesse. He's just a side-show.

Even a cursory examination of 2016 confirms this was the 'Deep State' playbook:

RNC ran an 'American Idol' charade. After all, their operatives had captured the alt Right, the Right and the Cracker Middle, under Obama. The election was theirs to LOSE! DNC ran a Clinton and Sanders campaign. Sanders was the bagman to capture the Left. He sewed them all up. This left Clinton free to drift Right, hence her militarist braggado against Russia, (even at the same time, when BOTH parties were using Russia to obtain 'classified and highly sensitive data' on each other.) She had to pander to the Right!

So what the People got was: NeoLiberal ZioWarPigA v. ZioWarPigB 2016. Bernie dropped out at the appointed time, delivering the Left to Clinton. The Republican candidates dropped out one by one, delivering the alt Right and Right to Trump, WHO IS A CRYPTO-LIBERAL.
TPTB (aka 'Deep State') didn't care one way or the other who 'won'. Just like Karzai 2009, the Executive, whomever the People 'chose', was there to sign the final bust out:

1999 Gramm-Leich-Bliley Bankster Coup (aka 'Survival of Banking')
2001 Pentagon-DHS-CIA-NSA Deep State Coup (aka 'Survival of Government')
2008 TBTF TARP Bailout Coup (aka 'Survival of Wall Street')
2012 Citizens United Coup (aka 'Survival of Oligarchists')
2016 Trump-Rodham Bust Out Coup (aka 'Tax Abeyance for the Ricos')

Trump has 'opted out' of his duties as Commander in Chief. He lets Pentagon and CIA run that half of his Administration. Trump has 'opted out' of his duties as Leader of the Free World. He lets CIA-State run that half of his Administration, just like Obama did, or for that matter, just like Bush Lite and Clinton before him, and Reagan 2. And he's totally 'toadied' up to Wall Street, bringing the greatest Tax Cuts to Corporate since Reagan 1, (and at that point at which Reagan realized he was committing capital crimes.)

Democracy in USA ended with Carter and Reagan 1. Brezinzski, Rumsfeld, Cheney, you can trace the lines down through the End of History to the Surrender of the American Dream.
Now we're left with Team Spirit, and $21,500,000,000,000 black hole in SS and MC Trust, and All Future Generations will be debt slaves to the Rentiers and Mil.Gov Deep State.

It's over. Smell it! This is the point in the movie where the Titanic breaks in half. There is only one quintile left on Earth with unencumbered wealth, the USA Boomers. The inheritance they might have passed down to the next generation will be stripped out by ZIRP, by >30% per year R/E asset inflation, runaway stock market inflation, Crypto, all the usual suspects. Then the Boomers will be schlepped off into MIC elder concentration camps, their 401ks and reverse-mortgages locked into auto-deduction, and whatever hope the Next Generation held to inherit their Boomer wealth will have been stripped away by Corporate, while the Next Generation are made Debt Paupers in the interim.

Can't you feel the heat on your skin? It's a CROWN FIRE! Nothing but ashes will be left.
A mouthful of ashes, and dust. An American Pompeii. Use whatever meme gives you comfort.

elsi , Jan 7, 2018 6:06:20 PM | 38
Just "The Magicians" brought to me "The Porompompero"....in Arabic...Because I have been a good girl....and have fought a lot....

Here you have....Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beTROsSczL4

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 6:12:34 PM | 39
James @16, jackrabbit @22

I had a ringside seat to the AFC as I worked at a major financial institution in Singapore at that time, who had large exposure across the region. I agree with Jackrabbit "The aticle's analysis wrt Asian financial crisis is simplistic and an exercise in blame-shifting."

Jackrabbit's point that, "Market panics happen sometimes" is axiomatic. From the South Sea bubble to Tulipmania and beyond, manias occur and they correct in panics.

A lot of capital flowed into Asia. There was an economic boom. Financial leverage grew and many uneconomic projects were funded along with financial speculation. At some point speculative gains became losses. The smart money started exiting and then when it became obvious everyone hit the exit gates at the same time. There was nothing nefarious. Just another credit boom that busted.

Don Bacon , Jan 7, 2018 6:28:24 PM | 40
Pakistan's central bank on January 2 reported that it has taken "comprehensive policy related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in CNY (Chinese Yuan)."
"Considering the recent local and global economic developments, particularly with the growing size of trade and investment with China under CPEC, SBP (central bank) foresees that CNY denominated trade with China will increase significantly, going forward; and will yield long term benefits for both the countries."
The $60 billion collection of land and sea projects known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a centerpiece of China's Belt and Road Iniative BRI). Beijing has announced that i intends to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
M K Bhadrakumar --
Why businessman Trump is upset with Pakistan
The big question is how far this joint Pakistani-Chinese move to dump dollar – alongside their announcement on December 26 in Beijing to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan and Central Asia – explains Trump's New Year Day outburst on tweeter and the incipient signs of an aggressive policy by the Trump administration toward Pakistan (as is borne out by an exclusive interview by NSA HR McMaster to the Voice of America on January 3).
To my mind, it explains a great deal, as much if not more than the so-called counterterrorist operations in Afghanistan. It is useful to remember that Trump is quintessentially a businessman. He understands perfectly well the gathering storms on the horizon that threaten the dollar's status as the world currency. What seemed "a cloud, a small one, about the size of a man's hand coming up out of the sea" – as Elijah said in the Old Testament – cannot be taken lightly any longer.
And the threat is spearheaded by countries such as China, Russia and Iran principally – "revisionist powers". Put differently, the preservation of the dollar's global reserve currency status is vital to the US economy as otherwise there will be and explosion of further debt and this is turning into an existential struggle for the superpower. . . here
Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 6:33:09 PM | 41
james

Sorry, it's a .org.

Here is the link: UNCTAD: Causes and Sources of the Asian Financial Crisis

Your reservations are coming from what was stated in the article. You do realize that the article is based on a speech by a Chinese military officer, right?

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 6:38:53 PM | 42
UNCTAD: Causes and Sources of the Asian Financial Crisis
james , Jan 7, 2018 6:40:13 PM | 43
@39 ab initio.. i am curious if you read the article i posted @2... i doesn't dispute much of what you say, although i take your comment on blame shifting.. as with anything, the complexities get simplified to project a one size fits all.. i think you would find the article fascinating, but that is just my view on it..

@41 jr.. thanks.. yes, i am aware of that.. i think the importance of the role of the us$ becoming unhinged from gold and all the dynamics that have happened with regard to wars on the planet from around that time and since are very well laid out in that article.. of course, others may choose to skip or read only parts of it, or even read it all and disagree with it!

james , Jan 7, 2018 6:40:32 PM | 44
i - it... ignore the typos..
nottheonly1 , Jan 7, 2018 6:40:46 PM | 45
B's pointing to a military junta being in control
is not only plausible, but only logical when one
considers where the junta receives it funding from.
It's tax payers' money funneled into the military
machine.
Who is controlling where tax payers' monies end up?
Trump? Congress? Senate? Try "none of the above".

The graphic at "Tom Dispatch: Seeing the cost of war'
for the first time" should pop the bubble about an
imminent end of U.S./allies hegemony immediately.
This occupation of 39% of Earth's countries will
not go away. It took over 18 years to get there.

At this point I like to emphasize that the present
affairs are not any one's individual result. What
we are witnessing is the playing out of long term
plans and strategies for global dominance.

If those who pursue this goal will fail in achieving
it, they will lay this planet to waste.

Here a collection of articles in regards to the
annexation of Iran by all means necessary. Mind
you though that the site has not been updated since
early 2017:
http://www.hermes-press.com/stop_iran_war.htm

One must ponder about the fact that daily, weekly,
monthly or even year long events will not reveal
the deeper plans in place for decades. It will also
render moot the assumptions that individual 'failures'
could mean the failure of the grand plan.

We've ain't seen the big rollout, yet

james , Jan 7, 2018 6:57:40 PM | 46
@42 jr.. from the article "Our analysis seeks to explain the Asian financial crisis in the context of the increase in systemic
global financial instability that has become visible after the collapse of the Bretton Woods arrangements and the increased liberalization and mobility of international capital flows." and what does the collapse of the bretton woods arrangements mean exactly? to me the big collapse is the us$ no longer hinged to gold in 1971..


"Paradoxically, the most important factor in triggering the crisis seems to have been the sudden reversal of the dollar relative to the yen in early May 1997: the dollar fell from around 127 yen at the beginning of May to 114 yen at the end of June – an over 10 per cent depreciation. This was accompanied by widespread expectations of a rise in Japanese interest rates, and caused the short-term arbitrage funds from East Asia to flow back to Japan, thereby generating strong selling pressure on the baht."

having a currency pegged to the us$ is problematic as i see it.. the article discusses the peg and the role of capital inflow/outflow, but does not focus on the changes in us$ money supply in any of it... what i maintain is the us$ has harvested profit around the globe thanks this unique change from august 1971.. and, importantly i am not blaming the us, so much as those financial forces that work in alignment with the us financial system to bring us the various sanctions agendas and etc. that we continue to witness today as expressed towards iran, russia, north korea and etc. etc. the system is rigged, and while it doesn't explain everything - i think this article acknowledges this at the very beginning!

ninel , Jan 7, 2018 6:58:14 PM | 47
Aljazeera special

'Iran: Economic reasons contributing to the unrest | Counting the Cost'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKw8OOd5CLc

Pft , Jan 7, 2018 7:00:59 PM | 48
China bringing Erik Prince in for anti-terrorism work on the BRI is all the proof you need them and Russia are part of the NWO. Perhaps not fully on board in public to appease their populations and perhaps the powers that be also see some merit in their being adversaries with the West for a gullible public to keep funding for the military strong. Kind of like 1984 when War is Peace. Terrorism is losing its luster w/o another 9/11 event so need to recreate a more credible enemy.

Cant help but note that both China and Russia voted for increased sanctions on NK and the Soviet Union did not veto the first UN resolution on Korea over 60 years ago that gave the UN its first war. Yup, we are being played. Hollywood probably scripting this stuff since we know the Deep State works closely with them for propaganda

Who need TV shows and movies when we have reality

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 7:10:54 PM | 49
Don Bacon @40

It makes perfect sense for the Chinese and Pakistanis to conduct their bilateral trade in CNY. Pakistan receives CNY for their lease of their ports and other facilities as well as Chinese FDI and those CNY flow back for consumer and industrial goods. It eliminates the unnecessary step of forex exchange. Less friction.

This idea that this somehow impacts the US makes no sense from a financial perspective as there is no US activity that is being displaced. The petrodollar and USD not going to be a reserve currency will somehow collapse the US economy is not grounded in any legitimate economic and financial analysis. If the Chinese want the CNY to become the reserve currency then they must be willing to run a negative trade account and be able to have deep bond markets for the returning CNY. I say great. Let them do that. The US can then become mercantilistic.

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 7:12:03 PM | 50
james

I think you should read the full paper.

I also think you should do research about what the actual advantages are of having the global reserve currency. Here's a start: Forbes: Reserve Currency Status - A Mixed Blessing

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 7:26:22 PM | 51
james

The Forbes article makes it clear that if the dollar is replaced as global currency, US will be burdened by a very high debt overhang that will be a drag on its economy. This accumulated debt will be a far greater 'hit' to US than any immediate gain by China. In fact McTeer refers to it as a "sword of Damocles.

Perhaps this is why a PLA officer is exaggerating US financial abuse?

ninel , Jan 7, 2018 7:46:01 PM | 52
The Agenda with Steve Paikin

'Iran: Budget Leaks, Unemployment and Unrest'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8CFFs-PIhA

Saeed Rahnema is an Iranian left-wing professor (now retired), very well informed about Iran and the working class movement there

https://www.opencanada.org/contributors/saeed-rahnema/

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 7:52:28 PM | 53
jackrabbit @51

Total credit market debt/GDP in the US is less than China and of course much less than Japan. Of course no one has the foggiest idea the extent of shadow banking assets in China which could imply Total Debt/GDP could be significantly larger there. Their banking system is sitting on some large NPAs.

When I worked at a major financial institution we did an analysis on the impacts to the US financial system and economy if USD were no longer the reserve currency. Over a 10 year period it was hugely beneficial. Of course the models developed could have been inadequate. But conceptually it makes sense. These conspiracy theories floating on the innertubes of a collapse in the US economy if there are no longer any petrodollars or USD loses reserve status is just that.

james , Jan 7, 2018 7:55:06 PM | 54
@jr 50.. is that in reference to the 14 or 15 page pdf you posted? i did! i am curious if you read the full article @2?

what the article @50 fails to take into account are all sorts of details connected with the bretton woods agreement that are still in place, such as the imf and world bank where certain countries have more voting rights, or are classified as developed, verses developing countries and all the restrictions and etc that go with that.. the forbes article is very superficial as i read it..

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 8:17:41 PM | 55
james @46

"the big collapse is the us$ no longer hinged to gold in 1971."

Actually the dollar getting off the gold standard happened in the 1930s under FDR. Nixon's move was the final step.

I don't see any collapse in Bretton Woods since 1971 as we still have the major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY) freely exchangeable into each other at market prices at scale. We can however see debt growth worldwide accelerate since then. ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-05/global-debt-hits-record-233-trillion-but-debt-to-gdp-is-falling). We are now in a world where every currency is fiat. Meaning they can all be printed at will and cannot be exchanged into some tangible asset. History however shows that fiat currencies inevitably reach their intrinsic value which is zero. We now have the longest period with fiat in history and maybe the prior historical endpoint of fiat will be changed.

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 8:29:33 PM | 56
james @54

"...such as the imf and world bank..."

These supra-national financial institutions are becoming more irrelevant each day. Global capital flows are so much larger and central banks act and intervene so much more directly and in such scale than in the past. The idea that the Swiss National Bank would just conjure up SFR and convert into USD and buy $80 billion of shares in US companies including Apple & Google would have been considered ludicrous some decades ago. The fact that the BoJ is the Top 10 holder of all the 100 companies in the Nikkei Index would have been unthinkable some moons ago.

But...this is the Brave New Financial World we are in! And all this precisely because we have fiat. There is no limit to creation of currency except investor psychology.

james , Jan 7, 2018 8:35:00 PM | 57
@ 55 ab initio.. that quote of mine from @46 was in reference from the article of jrs @42.. i quote from the article again from @42
"Our analysis seeks to explain the Asian financial crisis in the context of the increase in systemic
global financial instability that has become visible after the collapse of the Bretton Woods arrangements and the increased liberalization and mobility of international capital flows."

so for you - what is the word collapse in reference to in the above quote? thanks..

i think what you are overlooking or not mentioning is how the us$ has been used as a reserve currency by a number of countries after the us$ went off the gold standard...

what do you think people in turkey do with their currency that continues to go down? maybe many ordinary people don't care, but i would venture to guess that many of the business people have put their money in us$! you see, the us$ has always benefited from the instability that is created thru war and the prospect of war.. it isn't as simple as saying 'every currency is fiat' which is true btw, although a funny thing is happening in some countries where some are amassing a good amount of gold - russia, china, india and not sure where else... the day is coming the us$ will not be the safe haven it has been treated as in this fiat currency world we presently live in..

james , Jan 7, 2018 8:38:30 PM | 58
@56 ab initio.. well, i do hope the imf and world bank do become more irrelevant by the day too! the imf/world bank have been piggy banks for usa financial institutions and for the us$ which typically all the imf loans have been set in.. the day can't happen soon enough, so that this financial pyramid scheme is replaced with something hopefully better...

those are interesting comments you make! i agree the financial world looks insane at this point and indeed believing in fiat currency is just a part of it.

Don Bacon , Jan 7, 2018 8:54:37 PM | 59
@ab initio 49

I'm certainly no economist, but I think the point is that the yuan will become "a" reserve currency, not "the" reserve currency, thus weakening the dollar and the dollar's position not necessarily re: Pakistan only but if it slides over to Russia, Saudi, Iran, Venezuela, etc.-- the "petrodollar" thing.
There was no claim that this "will somehow collapse the US economy." There was a claim that there would be an affect on debt, presumably from higher interest rates, which I am no authority on (and probably Bhadrakumar isn't either). Perhaps you are?
And let's not forget, the point here is that this issue is motivating Trump in his anti-Pakistan strategy ("Why businessman Trump is upset with Pakistan"). Bhadrakumar's point is that this strategy has nothing to do with anti-terrorism and everything to do with the threat to the dollar.

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 9:07:33 PM | 60
@Don Bacon: Yes, it's a drag not a collapse. But that drag could be significant.

@james: "collapse" refers to the end of Bretton Woods in 1971.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 9:14:54 PM | 61
Regarding reserve currency, perhaps the most important thing is to take away the US dollars power to sanction. China, Russia, Iran are doing this now.
psychohistorian , Jan 7, 2018 9:22:56 PM | 62
ZH is doing a multi-part posting on the history of Western intervention in Iran

From Shahs To The CIA: The History Of Western Intervention In Iran - Part 1

The quote of the ending
"
Part II will chronicle the CIA's covert intervention and Iran's path to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 9:27:06 PM | 63
james

Your ignoring the part of the paper that describes the policy failures prior to the AFC. You seem to desperately want to confirm the PLA's assertions. I'm not saying the US hasn't taken liberties from time to time but the PLA officer is exaggerating in several respects.

ab initio has confirmed what I've said about the AFC. The Saddam assertions are false just by application of logic. Do you think the US is the only one that colors the truth?

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 9:30:28 PM | 64
Peter AU1

I think it was the threat to cut SWIFT access (about 2 years ago) that really got the ball moving.

x , Jan 7, 2018 9:31:42 PM | 65
How to shoot yourself in the foot (x2)... DC Whitehouse risks copyright claim from 'Dumb and Dumber' scriptwriters.
Had it not been for the American President's zero-tolerance towards immigration from what his administration labels as "terrorist"-prone countries, which crucially includes Afghanistan for substantial and not political reasons (as the latter relates to Iran's inclusion and Saudi Arabia's exclusion), then Pakistan would have risked drawing heavy pressure from the State Department on exaggerated claims that it's "violating the human rights" of the refugees.

Trump, however, said that Pakistan was "giving safe haven to terrorists", and since the US formally regards Afghan refugees as being too much of a potential security hazard to allow into its own country, it's forced to accept Pakistan's expulsion of 1,5 million of them on the implicit basis that they also constitute a serious terrorist threat to the state such as the one that the President just tweeted about.

pakistans-asymmetrical-response

Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 9:40:47 PM | 66
The US dollar, after moving away from gold, is backed only by faith/confidence. if a country tries to move away from the dollar, faith and confidence are bombed back into them by the US military. The US cannot bomb faith and confidence into Russia and China.
US sanctions, and the fines imposed on banks that US decides have committed offenses - German banks have been hit hard over the last few years, paying many billions in fines.
The yuan/RMB will look attractive to many. I would guess the move to replace some US$ with RMB, to trade in both currencies, will grow. China is the largest trade partner for many countries. Where will the US$'s that are off-loaded to replace with RMB go to? Means less trade in US$, less US$'s in circulation or same amount in circulation, but their value dropped accordingly.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 9:54:15 PM | 67
On another topic, the last Mercouris article is interesting.
"Republican Senators – Senator Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham, have written to the US Justice Department requesting that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the Trump Dossier, be investigated because of "significant inconsistencies" in the statements he has made to the authorities."

Looks like the tide has turned in the Trump/Russia collusion bullshit. Be interesting to see who gets exposed/washed away as the tide goes out.

james , Jan 7, 2018 10:08:03 PM | 68
@60 jr quote "@james: "collapse" refers to the end of Bretton Woods in 1971." take this up with ab intio @55.. i was responding to him and saying the same this as you in my post @46! also, of note although the us$ was unhinged from gold in 71, there were a number of other features of bretton woods that continued, like the way the imf, world bank and bank of international settlements are set up.. they continued on in the same structure in spite of us$ going off gold.. and still no answer from you on my question to you @54! but now you are asking me more questions.. fair is fair.. answer a few of mine, if you want more answers to yours!

@63 jr.. i don't want to desperately hang on to every word in the article @2, but i think it is a healthy alternative to the way world finances are typically presented.. recall how the topic of syria is presented from the msm, verses the more nuanced viewpoint here at moa? it is the same sort of thing... i am not all into a particular viewpoint, but i think anyone who reads that article in full will come away with a more informed idea of how things may get played out on in the financial world.. after listening to many apparent authorities on the monetary system and reasons for the various bubbles, wars and etc, i find it a refreshing approach that made a lot of sense to me. and no, the usa is not the only one to colour the truth.. - i answered yet another of your questions! and for the record - it is not about being right or wrong, so much as it is about learning something new, or getting a different perspective.. so ab antio agrees with you in some context.. many agreed with the white helmets too.. it means nothing to me! please tell me you actually read the article @2.. you haven't said and i did ask!

@66 peter.. that is indeed how i see it.. no amount of war making will alter the present course we are on where the us$ will continue indefinitely to hold this special world currency status that it has had for however many years.. we are moving into a multipolar world on the financial level as well, in spite of the special perks that the usa has benefited from the set up after the bretton woods agreement and in particular after they removed the gold peg.. getting other currencies pegged to the us$, as opposed to gold - worked for a time, but that world is falling apart and continues to fall apart..

james , Jan 7, 2018 10:10:22 PM | 69
pakistan is only the latest example of a country moving away from settling everything in us$.. shit continues to fall apart for the usa on this level..
Piotr Berman , Jan 7, 2018 10:21:02 PM | 70
Mis-heard news: not only Trump himself is a genius, but his Administration has an entire stable of geniuses.
Stryker , Jan 7, 2018 10:39:36 PM | 71
Egypt raises concern over Ethiopia's move to start filling dam
By Arab News
Nov 13, 2017
Ethiopia's Communication and Information Technology Minister Debretsion Gebremichael announced that the construction of the dam had reached 62 percent and generating power would start this Ethiopian year and before construction is complete. The new Ethiopian year started on Sept. 11 and ends in October 2018.

"The remaining 38 percent of the construction will be done while the dam is generating hydroelectric power," Gebremichael had told the Ethiopian News Agency.

Considering the slow pace at which the French consulting firms BRL and Artelia are preparing technical studies, it is speculated that before Ethiopia begins storing the Nile's water in the dam, studies necessary for reaching a final agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the rules of filling and operating the dam will be completed.

If no agreement takes place between the three countries, Ethiopia's next step would be considered a clear violation of the tripartite Declaration of Principles on Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam signed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Khartoum on March 23, 2015.

ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 10:40:30 PM | 72
Don Bacon @59

Although I did graduate with degrees in economics, finance/accounting and math, I don't consider myself an economist, who in my opinion live in ivory towers and have limited to no experience of the real world. I worked on the front lines of finance and in its plumbing and lived its reality. My opinions are based on what I actually saw happening day-to-day in forex markets, credit & trade finance and banking operations.

CNY becoming "a" reserve currency and used more in bilateral trade with China will naturally reduce the need for USD. Which means the US will emit less USD by reducing its trade deficit. That is axiomatic in trade/current accounting. But for CNY to become "a" reserve currency, China will have to export more CNY by importing more goods & services. And this CNY has to return to China which means they have to have deep bond markets. But first China will have to make CNY fully convertible to any other major currency, meaning their capital account must be free and there can be no capital controls like they have now. Currently they have capital controls because every time they relax these controls there is capital flight out of China.

Domestic interest rates in the US is a function of supply/demand for credit and of course Fed policy. We have seen how central banks can pin short term rates to the floor. Negative rates in Europe & Japan. The Italian and Spanish government can borrow at lower rates than the US Treasury today because the ECB is willing to buy it at that low price.

As far as the issue with Pakistan, I have no insight. But if I had to speculate, the deals between China & Pakistan have been in the works for some time. Gwadar and related OBOR infrastructure projects have been going on for a long time. Trump is putting a spoke in the wheel everywhere he can. I interpret all his actions as causing the situation for the US to get out. This may be how he gets out of Afghanistan.

Don Bacon , Jan 7, 2018 10:44:06 PM | 73
If the US loses Pakistan as an ally, which seems to be happening, with China-Pakistan ties becoming stronger, as they are, and then Pakistan refuses to provide land and air access for US forces for the war on land-locked Afghanistan, then the Afghan War is finally over after sixteen years. Might this be Trump's strategy? Let's hope so. It mostly depends upon what China wants. Beijing may be reluctant to end the US misfortunes in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires.
ab initio , Jan 7, 2018 10:45:57 PM | 74
Peter AU1 @66

All major currencies including CNY are backed only by faith & confidence. That is a feature not a bug of fiat. If there is less need for USD, there will be less USD emitted, which would be good for middle America. Not so much for Wall St.

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 10:47:20 PM | 75
james

I've never seen you use so many exclaimation marks. : )

I did read the article @2. I thought that was clear.

I don't want to spend a great deal of time analyzing it. I've described some of the flaws I see. I think you have to be more cautious about what sources you trust.

I think the PLA wants to hasten a transition so they are willing to exaggerate. Maybe they think a quick transition would reduce the risk of a shooting war.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 10:59:59 PM | 76
Don Bacon 73

I wondered about that myself. I feel that Iran is where we will finally be sure of which way Trump is going, for good or bad. It is the place where he can throw the Saudi's under the bus - prior to the election and release of the 29 pages he pretty much said KSA was responsible for 9/11 - and then send the bus load of neo-cons over the cliff. If that is what he has in mind.. but then it could, and may well do, go the other way. Iran and China are his focus.

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 11:02:27 PM | 77
james

Responding tour comment @54

Yes I was referring to the 15 page paper.

Yes I read the whole article @2 (rather long)

The paper describing AFC was not meant to be a survey of how the financial system works. So IMF and WB are not covered.

I pointed you to the paper to support my view that the PLA article was exaggerating US abuse and shifting blame. But I think you were looking for reinforcements of the PLA assertions. The paper describes the speculative bubble that proceeded the crisis and the failure to address the dangers that bubble presented.

x , Jan 7, 2018 11:07:02 PM | 78
@70 -- "...is a genius, but his Administration has an entire stable of geniuses."

In these times words like "democracy" and "genius" should only be used safely with a suitable qualifying prefix -- e.g. "American ...".

"Exceptionalism" is another such word, but I see that it is now beginning to apply with some degree of accuracy -- albeit, not in accord with the general direction normally applied by the self-defining US punditry, but rather more towards the 'idiot' end of the spectrum.

While the 'Trump vs Clinton' Reality Show continues its mission of mass distraction there appears to be a new emerging meaning to the traditional autism TLA "ASD" -- aka, "American Spectrum Disorder" (apologies to the autism cohort).

[* btw, ...AU 1, it unfortunately could also be confused with "Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)" ]

Jackrabbit , Jan 7, 2018 11:07:14 PM | 79
Peter AU1 @66

Not "faith and confidence" but the productive capacity of the nation.

Taxes must be paid in dollars. And taxes are levied on the productive (profit-generating) entitles in the country.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 11:14:16 PM | 80
Jackrabbit 79

Perhaps why Trump is trying to bring back the off-shored manufacturing? To pay taxes, workers must have income.

Don Bacon , Jan 7, 2018 11:26:56 PM | 81
Trump prbably canceled TPP because it would result in more offshoring.
Stryker , Jan 7, 2018 11:34:43 PM | 82
In Reply To Don Bacon | Jan 7, 2018 10:44:06 PM | 73

Well said. Straight to the point, we shit or get off the pot. Enough of the infinite wars. I think it is Trump's strategy, you know they say the US cannot be trusted, but there is an exception where money can be made. There's no money from these 'US investments', or there is but not for Trump and his cohorts.

Let others take the lead while the US gets to make money by taking the back seat. This whole 'leadership prize' is overrated, I mean everyone loves the US until the money runs out.

Don Bacon , Jan 7, 2018 11:47:53 PM | 83
The conservatives have said: The truth is you don't have to go way back to find that Trump always has been, and remains to this day, a typical New York City liberal. Ted Cruz questioned rival Donald Trump's conservative credentials and compared him with Democrat, Hillary Clinton.
Barack Obama had a policy of supporting and allying with Pakistan, when he was aware of the fact that Pakistan was supporting anti-American forces in Afghanistan, people that were killing US troops. That's treasonous. And Trump has moved to end it. Good for him.
Stryker , Jan 7, 2018 11:55:49 PM | 84
I think what Obama neglected is peace can be bought. Trump knows better, and the question now is at what price. And that includes paying off the MIC.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 7, 2018 11:56:11 PM | 85
X 78 "AU 1, it unfortunately could also be confused with "Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)"

Not sure what to make of this. A work colleague of milomilo perhaps? Not sure I have said anything damaging to the Au government or Downer in this thread.

Just in case... go fuck yourself.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 8, 2018 12:15:48 AM | 86
Don Bacon | Jan 7, 2018 11:26:56 PM | 81
Good chance you are correct.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 8, 2018 12:54:24 AM | 87
@ X
AU 1 can be confused with ASD? AS the saying goes - pay peanuts, get monkeys.
Before you pricks broke into my home, my wife thought I was nuts, as she went with MSM. After that, you had a convert. Not much perhaps, but you cunts are going down.
james , Jan 8, 2018 1:00:33 AM | 88
@ 75 jackrabbit.. yes - i agree with you in all of that and i am an exclamation type of mood today!

@ 77 jr.. fair enough.. i agree with you in all that too! i would like to see the present system that focuses on financial productivity disconnected from actual productivity - severed.. too much of our world is being driven by an obsession with money.. most people - healthy living people - have enough to get by and are not thinking of ripping off others.. i get the opposite impression with a lot of people that are fixated on money.. anyway - i thought that article @2 was especially interesting how it presented the idea of the many wars and etc that the usa has been involved in from a financial angle.. obviously the article could be considered skewed towards a more chinese viewpoint, but i thought it was very interesting either way.. no one says those kinds of things anywhere that i have read.. i feel that implies i have been given more westernized views on the financial world then i might recognize... i certainly feel that way with regard to the way wars are presented in the west.. nice talking with you!

x , Jan 8, 2018 1:04:45 AM | 89
@87 -- chill out dude. It was a simple joke based on previous posts of yours. I work for no man and also live down under ... no harm or stress intended.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 8, 2018 1:07:21 AM | 90
@ X
No worries. Cheers.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 8, 2018 1:19:50 AM | 91
x
"Chill out dude". Where does that cone from? You sure you're Australian?.
Stryker , Jan 8, 2018 1:29:14 AM | 92
propaganda speaks (spews):

Iran's Revolutionary Guard: People, Security Forces 'Have Broken the Chain' of Unrest

Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) said in a statement Sunday that the Iranian people and the country's security forces played a role in ending the recent wave of unrest that the IRGC says was fomented by foreign enemies.

The group said in a statement, "The new epic of the proud, conscious, pious, and revolutionary Iranian people, along with the distinguished presence of tens of thousands of loyal Basij volunteer forces in calming the riots and the sincere endeavors of the brethren of the Law Enforcement Force and the Intelligence Ministry have broken the chain woven by America, Britain, the Zionist regime [Israel], the Saudi royal family, the Hypocrites [the banned Mojahedin-e-Karl Organization] and monarchists and eliminated the witchery of a new sedition."

Iran's parliament holds a special session Sunday to discuss the anti-government protests that began December 28 and continued into the following week.

x , Jan 8, 2018 1:34:40 AM | 93
Yes, I'm sure (multiple generations on both sides) ... and the phrasing derives from the "The Big Lebowski" (1998).

Btw, the "I work for no man..." comes from "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen 2000) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pukq_XJmM-k

Peter AU 1 , Jan 8, 2018 1:39:30 AM | 94
X :)
smellyoilandgas.com , Jan 8, 2018 3:03:06 AM | 95
@ 4 It is possible Trump intends to destroy the USA in order to save America?
@11 back and forth money wars do not involve the common man.. asa they do, the millions more common men will pounce on the bankers, stockbrokers, oil men and politicians.
What just happened in Iran passed over the heads of many, as the entire angry crowd of Irainain governed, laid aside their personal problem IOTsupport the greater needs of the gov.
Similar to Venezuela http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/01/07/548164/Venezuela-US-economy-war
Brics may well be the last between nation bankers agreement, as cyber coins are coming on strong.
The man in the street, at the bottom of the heap, has not yet spoken. China's method of installing organizing facilitating infrastructure that is more or less indifferent to the local political situation is likely to be very well received globally.
@13 There are several people who would probably like to hire you as their PR person.
@14 Saddam's failure to retain oil trades in dollars made him historiiiiieeeie. And I want to point out that the rift between Saddam and Iran was very strong.
@15 I agree 100% . no more USD reserve currency; instead nation state independent Cyber coin
@17 https://imgur.com/a/DTeK7 has the idea. But there are many more revealing histories as well.
@ 20 can you make this excellent piece more readable? And maybe add a few references? I think this guy worked throughout eastern Europe to promote the London interest?
@29 Elsi thank you; for distinguishing America from USA.
@28:@35:@37 capitalism fails mankind b\c it uses rule of law and gov. force to make mice into giants
@48 the strength of the NWO arises from the intangible property laws: monopoly powers found in copyright, patent and license. The entire productive output of each nation is centralized in the legal and police powers of the state, and each thing of value is transferred from discovery to inventor to monopoly marketeer that is the new world order.
@49 not if the cyber currency problems get resolved.
@52, the govt of Iran has not been invited into the NWO.
@53, I agree the USA domestic in the ground oil reserves are enough to support the American Economy even in USA hands. Before 1974, Americans produced oil in America at $11/bbl;there was plenty of it. The monopoly powers moved production to the ME to stop American competition from holding prices to down.
@54, right on, but once again Cyber currency is developed, and it is going to be the future of currency IMO, banks, nations, milti-nationals are not going to be in control.. the smallest person will trade as a large giant.
@68 its not the world that is falling apart, its the bank controlled, wall street, nation state system.. a bottom up move is happening.. like a Tsunami, at first nothing then you can get away from it.
@74 what good for America over what is demanded by wall street excellent point
Shakesvshav , Jan 8, 2018 4:12:19 AM | 96
The bizarre and insidious organisation that the MEK is today: https://www.sott.net/article/373185-MEK-Terrorist-Death-Cult-Meet-Washingtons-Iranian-Opposition
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" Trump Offloads Foreign Policy Problems - Lets EU Grow A Spine | Main
Shakesvshav @ 96: Massoud Rajavi also apparently forced female members of MEK into having sex with him. Maryam Rajavi coerced women to participate in bizarre polygynous "marriage" rituals with her husband.

Read this extract from PMOI Leadership Council's Women SALVATION DANCE at Negatngo.org:

'... Then Massoud [Rajavi] read the wedding sermon for all women one by one.[ ] then they took the table and spread a large white meters on the floor. I [Batoul Soltani] was shocked to see some high-ranking women of leadership Council took off their clothes and went to Massoud. Massoud was saying "yes take off your clothes of heresy and ignorance and dive in the pool to unite yourself with me in order to be resistant enough in every moment of your struggle." [ ] Maryam [Rajavi] also said, "Get close to Massoud and unite with him."...'

The article is dated 2010. A much earlier article, ,A HREF="https://www.culteducation.com/group/1061-people-s-mujahedeen/14609-the-cult-of-rajavi-.html/">The Cult of Rajavi written in 2003 for New York Times Magazine, states that the Rajavis forced MEK members (apart from themselves) to be celibate. It's possible the Rajavis changed their ideology over the years to maintain their leadership and to keep their followers brainwashed.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8, 2018 5:50:14 AM | 97 Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment

[Jan 06, 2018] The USA is not a democracy, but a moneycracy.

Jan 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , January 2, 2018 at 8:35 am GMT

The USA is not a democracy, but a moneycracy. Jewish sociologist Stephen Steinlight fears immigration from the south. 'They see USA jews just as rich people, they know nothing about the holocaust'.

As long as someone as Soros can abolish Hungarian laws just by visiting Juncker and Tusk, how do you think the USA can rid itself of the Israeli tether ?

And what is USA's problem with Russia ? Of course, also the European media are busy with portraying Russia as a threat, while in reality it is the other way round. As Van Rompuy said, the man is rather naïve 'our dependence on Russian gas must be diminished'. He did not explain why. In order no longer to be dependent on Russian gas the building costs of a house in Europe goes up € 40.000, for insulation.

N Korea, is not the country just a Chinese pawn in the power struggle between the USA and China ?

The country that ruled the world, the greater part of the world, since 1945, must look in the mirror to see who caused most of today's problems.

USA generals now seem to be talking about a 'limited nuclear war in Europe'. Generals, except a few like Napoleon, Ludendorff and Rommel, seem always to have been complete fools. There is no such thing a a 'limited nuclear war'.

jacques sheete , January 2, 2018 at 3:16 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

The USA is not a democracy, but a moneycracy.

True. The moneyocracy, in fact is what imposed the constitution on the rest of us, and the anti-federalists were correct about what a monstrosity it would be.

The common people of the United States, like the same class of people in every other country, mean well, but they are ill-informed. Floundering about in their ignorance, they are tricked and robbed by those who have the inside information and who therefore know how to take advantage of every turn in the wheel of fortune.

The people voted for Roosevelt because he talked of "trust-busting" at the same time
that he was sanctioning the purchase of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company by the Steel Trust.

They supported Wilson "because he kept us out of war" at the same time that Wilson was making preparations to enter the war. The rulers can negotiate "secret treaties" at home and abroad. The people, knowing nothing of either the theory or the practice of secret diplomacy, commit all sorts of follies for which they themselves must later foot the bill.

- R. F. PETTIGREW, TRIUMPHANT PLUTOCRACY , The Story ofAmerican Public Life from 1870 to 1920.

https://archive.org/stream/triumphantpluto00pettrich/triumphantpluto00pettrich_djvu.txt

Pettigrew, was elected as a Republican and represented the Dakota Territory in the U.S. Congress . He was also the first U.S. Senator from South Dakota.

[Jan 02, 2018] Meet Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Secret Source In Trump Probe – The Forward

Notable quotes:
"... Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman ..."
Mar 30, 2017 | forward.com

Who is Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the 30-year-old White House aide who could be a key player in the blockbuster investigation into Russian ties to President Trump and his campaign?

Cohen-Watnick, 30, who The New York Times reports provided key information in the probe, is a once fast-rising protege of ousted Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn with deep roots in suburban Washington's Jewish community.

The paper identified him as one of two staffers who explosively gave information on intelligence gathering in the Russia probe to Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a move that potentially compromised the lawmaker's role in the bombshell probe.

Cohen-Watnick grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside the nation's capital, and attended the nearby Conservative synagogue Ohr Kodesh. Last November he celebrated his engagement to Rebecca Miller at the synagogue.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2008. Cohen-Watnick began working as an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency after college. At the DIA, Cohen-Watnick met Flynn, the then-director who was later removed from his position during the Obama administration.

After Trump won the November election, Flynn brought Cohen-Watnick from the DIA to the Trump transition team, where the young staffer, according to The Washington Post, was among the few Trump advisers to hold a top security clearance. He participated in high-level intelligence briefings and briefed Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their team on national security issues.

When Flynn was appointed to lead the National Security Council, he hired Cohen-Watnick to work with him there. But Flynn served as national security adviser for less than a month before being asked to leave following revelations that he had maintained ties with Russia during the campaign.

Flynn's successor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, sought to remove Cohen-Watnick from the team, following input from the CIA director who pointed to problems intelligence officers had when dealing with Cohen-Watnick. Questions were raised about his ability to carry out the position of senior NSC director for intelligence programs, who oversees ties with intelligence agencies and vets information that should reach the president's desk.

But Cohen-Watnick was spared when Trump personally intervened, reportedly after top White House aides Sphen Bannon and Jared Kushner stepped in. Cohen-Watnick still serves as senior director at the NSC.

Cohen-Watnick is known for holding hawkish views on national security issues and of being a proponent of an American tough line toward Iran.

The Times said that Cohen-Watnick became swept up in the Russia probe this month, shortly after Trump wrote on Twitter about unsubstantiated claims of being wiretapped on the orders of the former president Barack Obama.

Cohen-Watnick apparently was reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials that consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about how they were trying to curry favor with Trump's family and inner circle in advance of his inauguration. He and another aide, identified as Michael Ellis, came across information that Trump aides may have been inadvertently caught on some of the surveillance.

Nunes says he went to the White House to meet with the aides, whom he has refused to identify. Nunes would not share the information with his colleagues on the committee but did brief Trump, raising major questions about his independence.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman

[Jan 02, 2018] The Deep State's War on Ezra Cohen-Watnick by Daniel Greenfield

Notable quotes:
"... In totalitarian systems where the media does nothing but churn out propaganda, people learn to read between the lines. You understand what is really going on by inferring what they don't want you to know from what they do what you to know. ..."
"... Why would you not believe "unnamed officials"? But what we are seeing very obviously is some of the shape and texture of the war based on who is being targeted and why. While those doing the targeting are "unnamed", their targets are named. And that tells us also about those doing the targeting. ..."
Mar 31, 2017 | www.frontpagemag.com
In totalitarian systems where the media does nothing but churn out propaganda, people learn to read between the lines. You understand what is really going on by inferring what they don't want you to know from what they do what you to know.

The interesting thing about the current political conflict is which key anti-terrorist Trump figures are being targeted. Flynn was a major target. Then Gorka. The case of Gorka made the targeting obvious. You can tell the targeting when if the first attack fails, they come back with a second one.

Now there's Ezra Watnick-Cohen. He showed up in the news recently when McMaster attempted to replace him with an establishment infiltrator.

President Donald Trump has overruled a decision by his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to sideline a key intelligence operative who fell out of favor with some at the Central Intelligence Agency, two sources told POLITICO.

On Friday, McMaster told the National Security Council's senior director for intelligence programs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, that he would be moved to another position in the organization.

The conversation followed weeks of pressure from career officials at the CIA who had expressed reservations about the 30-year-old intelligence operative and pushed for his ouster.

But Cohen-Watnick appealed McMaster's decision to two influential allies with whom he had forged a relationship while working on Trump's transition team -- White House advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They brought the matter to Trump on Sunday, and the president agreed that Cohen-Watnick should remain as the NSC's intelligence director, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.

Cohen-Watnick was brought onto Trump's transition team and then the NSC by a leading critic of the CIA: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was Cohen-Watnick's boss at the Defense Intelligence Agency and preceded McMaster as national security adviser.

Cohen-Watnick and Flynn "saw eye to eye about the failings of the CIA human intelligence operations," said a Washington consultant who travels in intelligence circles. "The CIA saw him as a threat, so they tried to unseat him and replace him with an agency loyalist," the operative said.

Specifically they tried to replace Cohen-Watnick with a woman at the center of the Benghazi mess.

Two sources within the White House tell me that last week McMaster had interviewed a potential replacement for Cohen-Watnick: longtime CIA official Linda Weissgold. Weissgold apparently had a good interview with McMaster, as she was overheard saying as she left the White House she would next have to "talk to Pompeo" -- as in Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA. But Weissgold was never offered the job; days later, Trump himself overruled the effort to move Cohen-Watnick out of his senior director role.

During the Obama administration Weissgold served as director of the CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis. She was among those who briefed Congress following the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, a team of intelligence and military experts who reportedly earned the nickname "the dream team" within the administration.

In her position at OTA, she was also involved directly in drafting the now infamous Benghazi talking points, which government officials revised heavily to include factually incorrect assessments that stated the attackers were prompted by protests. According to the House Select Committee on Benghazi's report, Weissgold testified she had changed one such talking point to say that extremists in Benghazi with ties to al Qaeda had been involved in "protests" in the Libyan city, despite the fact that no such protests had occurred there on the day of the attack.

McMaster's interview of Weissgold last week raised eyebrows beyond the White House, with members of the congressional oversight committees expressing concerns about Weissgold to top officials in the White House and the intelligence community.

If at first you don't succeed, try again. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen is at the center of the latest manufactured scandal.

A Jewish security official has been named as the confidential source of House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) following claims that US President Donald Trump and his aides were swept up in surveillance by US intelligence agencies, The New York Times revealed Thursday.

Citing unnamed US officials, the Times identified the White House official as "Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council."

Why would you not believe "unnamed officials"? But what we are seeing very obviously is some of the shape and texture of the war based on who is being targeted and why. While those doing the targeting are "unnamed", their targets are named. And that tells us also about those doing the targeting. Any enemy action reveals something about the enemy, his motives, his nature and his goals. That is how wars of this kind must be understood.

[Dec 31, 2017] Brainwashing as a key component of the US social system by Paul Craig Roberts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. ..."
"... The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth? ..."
"... The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character." ..."
"... The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush. ..."
"... The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world? ..."
"... Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it. ..."
"... For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term. ..."
"... Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. ..."
"... When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative. ..."
"... ... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ... ..."
"... No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them. ..."
"... "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." -- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda ..."
"... "Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." ..."
"... "When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility." ..."
"... Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere. If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off. The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes....& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amongst themselves? ..."
"... "The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." ..."
"... I agree with Paul Craig Roberts. He asks "Why" and "How." Well, Paul, here is my answer. Decades of Public Education and over 50 years of mass media monopoly. In an age where FOX is the top rated News station and CNN is considered liberal? Where kids in Public school are offered Chocolate milk and frozen pizza for school breakfast before going to class rooms with 30-40 kids. When Texas political appointees chose school text book content for the nation? A nation where service has ended, replaced with volunteer soldiers signing up for pay and benefits, instead of just serving as service, like we did in the 70's? ..."
"... There is a difference between IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY. As Ron White said, "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID". In todays information age, ignorance is a choice. ..."
"... The problem is that we have no "Constitution." That is a fable. The constitution of the separation of powers has been undermined from almost day one. Witness the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. ..."
"... Yes sir. Globalization has failed us. The infinite growth paradigm has failed us, as we knew it would. Castro's Cuba, based in a localized agrarian economy, is looking pretty good about now. Localization is the only way back to sustainability. ..."
"... Books? Who said books? You mean reading books? Let me throw a couple out there: I read 'The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America' last year, it was published 50+ years ago by a very recommended writer and accomplished historian. Boorstin's observations are truer today and even more concerning thanks to our modern, ubiquitous "connectivity". http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/159979.The_Image ..."
"... Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." ..."
"... He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them. ..."
"... Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda. ..."
"... "... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..." ..."
"... Governments were created by the history of warfare, which was always organized crime developing on larger and larger scales. In the context, the greater problem is that people like Paul Craig Roberts are reactionary revolutionaries, who provide relatively good analysis, followed by bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals. ..."
"... The "American People" are the victims of the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy. As Cognitive Dissonance has previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." ..."
"... The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ... ..."
Jul 25, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Original title: The Eroding Character Of The American People

Paul Craig Roberts

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.-Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"

Attorney John W. Whitehead opens a recent posting on his Rutherford Institute website with these words from a song by Bob Dylan. Why don't all of us feel ashamed? Why only Bob Dylan?

I wonder how many of Bob Dylan's fans understand what he is telling them. American justice has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It only has to do with the prosecutor's conviction rate, which builds his political career. Considering the gullibility of the American people, American jurors are the last people to whom an innocent defendant should trust his fate. The jury will betray the innocent almost every time.

As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book (2000, 2008) there is no justice in America. We titled our book, "How the Law Was Lost." It is a description of how the protective features in law that made law a shield of the innocent was transformed over time into a weapon in the hands of the government, a weapon used against the people. The loss of law as a shield occurred prior to 9/11, which "our representative government" used to construct a police state.

The marketing department of our publisher did not appreciate our title and instead came up with "The Tyranny of Good Intentions." We asked what this title meant. The marketing department answered that we showed that the war on crime, which gave us the abuses of RICO, the war on child abusers, which gave us show trials of total innocents that bested Joseph Stalin's show trials of the heroes of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the war on drugs, which gave "Freedom and Democracy America" broken families and by far the highest incarceration rate in the world all resulted from good intentions to combat crime, to combat drugs, and to combat child abuse. The publisher's title apparently succeeded, because 15 years later the book is still in print. It has sold enough copies over these years that, had the sales occurred upon publication would have made the book a "best seller." The book, had it been a best seller, would have gained more attention, and perhaps law schools and bar associations could have used it to hold the police state at bay.

Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. Jurors even convicted the few survivors of the Clinton regime's assault on the Branch Davidians of Waco, the few who were not gassed, shot, or burned to death by US federal forces. This religious sect was demonized by Washington and the presstitute media as child abusers who were manufacturing automatic weapons while they raped children. The charges proved to be false, like Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," and so forth, but only after all of the innocents were dead or in prison.

The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth?

The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character."

Was the American character present in the torture prisons of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and hidden CIA torture dungeons where US military and CIA personnel provided photographic evidence of their delight in torturing and abusing prisoners? Official reports have concluded that along with torture went rape, sodomy, and murder. All of this was presided over by American psychologists with Ph.D. degrees.

We see the same inhumanity in the American police who respond to women children, the elderly, the physically and mentally handicapped, with gratuitous violence. For no reason whatsoever, police murder, taser, beat, and abuse US citizens. Every day there are more reports, and despite the reports the violence goes on and on and on. Clearly, the police enjoy inflicting pain and death on citizens whom the police are supposed to serve and protect. There have always been bullies in the police force, but the wanton police violence of our time indicates a complete collapse of the American character.

The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush.

The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world?

Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it.

For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term.

Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. As John Whitehead makes clear, the American people cannot even prevent "their police," paid by their tax payments, from murdering 3 Americans each day, and this is only the officially reported murders. The actual account is likely higher.

What Whitehead describes and what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples. Americans accept no sense of responsibility for the millions of peoples that Washington has exterminated over the past two decades dating back to the second term of Clinton. Every one of the millions of deaths is based on a Washington lie.

When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative.

Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise.

benb

The American people have been scientifically mis-educated, propagandized, and beaten down. A disproportionate number of the under 30's are societal DOAs thanks to ... weaponized TV. But I am being too optimistic...

PrayingMantis

... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ...

BarnacleBill

No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them.

Also, I have to say that I believe the US empire is a long, long, way from collapse. It is still expanding, for goodness sake. Empires collapse only when the shrinking process is well under way. (The recent Soviet Empire was exceptional, in this regard.) It will take several more generations before the darkness lifts, I'm afraid.

macholatte

The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed.

It's now official, PCR is a complete dipshit.

Hey Paul, how about you get your head out of the clouds and stop looking down your nose at everyone long enough to read a couple of books about brainwashing and then get back to us. Maybe you start with this: http://edward-bernays.soup.io/post/19658768/Edward-Bernays-Propaganda-19...

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
-- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

OldPhart

"Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."

I think that happened August 13, 1971, but didn't get fully organized (as in Mafia) until 2000.

PT

The majority have their nose to the grind stone and as such can not see past the grind stone. They rely on "official sources" to put the rest of the world in order for them, but have no time to audit the "official sources". Would public education suffer if mothers and fathers were monitoring what the children were learning? But who has got time for that when both parents are working? How many non-work organizations were your parents and grand-parents involved in (both the wage-earner and the housekeeper)? How many organizations are you involved in?

Do you constantly hassle your local politicians or do you just say, "I'll vote 'em out in four years time"? (Yes, I know, you just don't vote. Fair enough, this question is for the voters.)

Yes, some of us are guilty of not fighting back. We had "Shut up and do as you're told" and "Well, if you're not happy with what you've got then work harder" beaten into us. Some of us are a little awake because, despite all our efforts, the grind stone was removed from us and then we got to see the larger picture of what lies behind the grind stone. Others are still busy, nose to the wheel, and all they see is the wheel.

And that is before we even consider HypnoToad on the Idiot Box. Some "need" the idiot box to help them wind down. Some can no longer enjoy the silence. (Remember Brave New World? It's true. Many people can no longer stand to be around silence, with nothing but their own thoughts.) I tell everyone that TV is crap. Radio is crap. Newspapers are crap. Turn that shit off for six months to a year, then go back to it and see what you really think of it. But they can't handle the thought of being away from "the background noise".

Ever spoken to grandparents who remember wars and depressions? And even amongst the rations and the hardships they still find positive memories? Time to talk to them again. Or not. I guess we'll get first-hand experience soon enough.

AlaricBalth

Allow me for a moment to share a brief anecdote about the new "American Character".

Last Sunday I was at the local supermarket. I was at the bakery counter, when suddenly a nicely dressed, Sunday best, non-Caucasian woman barrels into my cart riding a fat scooter. She rudely demands from the counter person a single cinnamon bun and then wheels off towards the front. Curious, I follow her up the aisle as she scarfs down the pastry in three bites. She then proceeds to stuff the empty bag between some soda bottles and scooters through the checkout without paying for her item. In the parking lot she then disembarks from her scooter, easily lifts it into the trunk of her Cadillac and walks to the drivers side, gets in and speeds off with her kids, who were in the back seat.

Amazed at what I had just witnessed, I went back into the store, retrieved the empty bag, included it in my few items at checkout and then went to the manager to share this story with him. He laughed and said there was nothing he could do.

The new "American Character" is that of a sense of entitlement and apathy.
I weep for the future.

Headbanger

Having character is not politically correct. Plus there's no need to develop character anymore because there's no jobs requiring any!

Consumption is the ONLY value of the inDUHvidual today.

And the less character they have, the more shit they'll consume to feel fulfilled cause they can't get that from themselves.

clymer Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:34

Macholatte, i don't think PCR is writing from a point of view that is haughty and contemptful of the American people, per se, but rather from a perspective that is hopeless and thoroughly depressed after contemplating what the American people of many generations ago has taken for themselves as natural rights from a tyrranical government, only to see the nation slowly morph into something even worse than what was rejected by the founders.

"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within...
He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist."

ThroxxOfVron

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "

"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "

The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe.

It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.

The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.

...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.

Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere.

If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off.

The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes.

...& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amonsgst themselves?

See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

That would be: Hell NO.

Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West.

The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters.

It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...

El Vaquero

The US will collapse within the next decade if some serious new technology is not developed and the infrastructure to use it is put in. There is too much debt and not enough material resources to continue growing the ponzi scheme that is our monetary system at an exponential rate without something breaking. The question is, will it be at the end of this boom-bust cycle, or the next? And if you look at what is being done on the financial front, which is the backbone of our neo-empire, that is shrinking.

The USD is slowly falling out of favor. There will come a point where that rapidly accelerates. We've been in a state of collapse for 15 years.


Abitdodgie

ignorance is choice these days and Americans love it.

AetosAeros

Not only a choice, but the ONLY choice they are prepared to accept. Cognitive Dissonance at it's finest. And to make matters worse, in only the best American fashion, we've asked if if it can be Supersized to go along with the Freedom Lies we feed ourselves.

I've seen the enemy, and....

But only if I'm willing to look in the mirror. Today's American doesn't look for what's right there in front of him/her, we look for all the new 'Social Norms' that we aren't living up to. This article is completely on target, and I hope Roberts hasn't decided to do any remodeling, cause too many idle nails guns make for a great Evening News sidebar mention.

Damnit all to hell.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts's picture

Rubicon727

We educators began seeing this shift towards "me-ism" around 1995-6. Students from low to middle income families became either apathetic towards "education" or followed their parent's sense of "entitlement." Simultaneously, the tech age captured both population's attention. Respecting "an education" dwindled.

Fast forward to the present: following the 2007-8 crash, we noted clear divisions between low income vs middle/upper class students based on their school behavior. Low to slightly middle income students brought to school family tensions and the turmoil of parents losing their jobs. A rise in non-functioning students increase for teachers while the few well performing students decline significantly.

Significant societal, financial shifts in America can always be observed in the student population.

reader2010

Mission Accomplished.

"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility."

- Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 1985

Lea

"The American people have been scientifically mis-educated".

You've got the answer there. The education system is the root cause of the problem. I'm from Europe, but if I've understood correctly, the US education policy is to teach as little as possible to children, and expect them to fill in the gaps in the Universities, past a certain age.

Only, it can't work. Children WILL learn, as childhood is the time when most informations are stored. If the schools don't provide the knowledge, they will get it from the television, movies or games, with the consequences we can see: ignorance, obsession with TV and movies stars, inability to differentiate life from movies, and over-simplistic reasoning (if any).

In Europe, we knew full well children learn fast and a lot, and that was why the schools focused on teaching them as much general knowldge as possible before 18 years old, which is when - it is scientifically proved - the human brain learns best.

Recently, the EU leading countries have understood that having educated masses doesn't pay if you want to lead them like sheep, so they are perfidiously trying to lower the standards... to the dismay of parents.

My advice, if I may presume to give any, would be to you USA people: teach your children what they won't learn at school, history, geography, literature (US, European and even Asian, why not), a foreign language if you can, arts, music, etc; and keep them away from the TV, movies and games.

And please adapt what you teach them to their age.

Refuse-Resist

Bang on! One anecdotal example: insisting that all 3rd graders use calculators "to learn" their multiplication tables. If I didn't do flashcards at home with my kids they wouldn't know them. As somebody who majored in engineering and took many many advanced math courses, I always felt that knowing your 'times tables' was essential to being successful in math.

What better way to dumb down otherwise intelligent children by creating a situation where the kid can't divide 32 by 4 without a calculator. Trigonometry? Calculus? Linear Algebra? Fuggedaboudit.

doctor10

The CB's and MIC have Americans right where they want them. the consequences of 3-4 generations of force feeding Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny

ThroxxOfVron

Some of US were never fucking asleep. Some of us were born with our eyes and minds open. We were, and are: hated, and reviled, and marginalized, and disowned for it. The intellectual repression was, and is, fucking insane and brutal. Words such as ethics and logic exist for what purpose? What are these expressions of? A bygone time? Abstractions?

Those that have tried to preserve their self awareness, empathy, and rationality have been ruthlessly systematically demeaned and condemed for confronting our families, our culture and institutions. We all have a right to be angry and disgusted and distrustful of the people and institutions around us. I am very fucking angry, and disgusted, and distrustful of the people and institutions around me.

But I still have hope. Nothing lasts forever.. This self-righteous nation called The United States, this twisted fraud of a culture called America, is most dangerously overdue for receipt of chastisment and retribution. It would be best if the citizenry of the United States taught themselves a lesson in stead of inviting Other nations and cultures to educate them.

A serious self education may be tedious and imperfect; but, it would be far far cheaper than forcing someone to come all the way over those oceans to educate Americans at the price they will be demanding for those lessons...

I do not require representation. I will speak my own mind and act of my own accord.

Every time other so-called Americans take a shit on me for thinking and speaking and acting differently it is a badge of honor and a confirmation of my spiritual and intellectual liberty. They don't know it but they are all gonna run out of shit before I run out of being free.

ThroxxOfVron

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "

"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "

The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe. It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.

The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.

...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.

Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere. If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off. The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes....& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amongst themselves?

See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

That would be: Hell NO. Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West. The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters. It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...

Mini-Me

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."

I agree with the first part. As for the latter, "government," by definition, is a criminal enterprise. It doesn't start out pure as the driven snow and then change into something nefarious over time. Its very essence requires the initiation of violence or its threat. Government without the gun in the ribs is a contradiction.

The fact that those in power got more votes than the losing criminals does not magically morph these people into paragons of virtue. They are almost without exception thoroughly deranged human beings. Lying is second nature to them. Looting is part of the job description. Killing is an end to their means: the acquisition and aggrandizement of power over others, no matter how much death and destruction results.

These people are sick bastards. To expect something virtuous from them after an endless string of wanton slaughter, theft and abuse, is simply wishful thinking.

Jack Burton

I agree with Paul Craig Roberts. He asks "Why" and "How." Well, Paul, here is my answer. Decades of Public Education and over 50 years of mass media monopoly. In an age where FOX is the top rated News station and CNN is considered liberal? Where kids in Public school are offered Chocolate milk and frozen pizza for school breakfast before going to class rooms with 30-40 kids. When Texas political appointees chose school text book content for the nation? A nation where service has ended, replaced with volunteer soldiers signing up for pay and benefits, instead of just serving as service, like we did in the 70's?

Paul Craig Roberts points out the police war against the people. That comes right from the very top, orders filter down to street cops. Street Cops are recruited from groups of young men our fathers generation would have labeled mental! But now they are hired across the board, shaved heads, tatoos, and a code of silence and Cops Above Justice.

The people have allowed the elites to rule in their place, never bothering to question the two fake candidates we are allowed to vote for.

Jtrillian

There is a difference between IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY. As Ron White said, "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID". In todays information age, ignorance is a choice.

Part of the problem that no one is talking about or addressing is the population explosion. And it's not linear. Those who are the least educated, fully dependent others for their survival (welfare), the most complacent, and often with violent criminal records are breeding the fastest.

Evolution is not guaranteed. It can be argued that the apathy we experience today is a sign of the human race de-evolving. It takes a certain amount of cognitive ability to observe and question what is going on.

Further, the society we have created where "60 is the new 40" creates very little time to pay attention to what is going on in the world. Many people rely on mainstream media which is not really news any more. When six corporations control more than 90% of the news, it's the message of the corporate elite that we are fed. This becomes painfully obvious when you start turning to other sources for information like social media and independent news. Mainstream media today is full of opinion bias - injecting opinion as though it were fact. They also appeal to the lowest commmon denominator by focusing on emotionally charged topics and words rather than boring facts. Finally, the mainstream media is extremely guilty of propaganda by omission, ignoring important events altogether or only presenting one side of the story as is being done with regard to ISIS, Syria, and Ukraine today. People who watch the mainstream media have no idea that the US played a significant role in arming ISIS and aided in their rise to power. They have no idea that it was likely ISIS that used chemical weapons in Syria. They have no idea that the US has propped up real life neo nazis in high government positions in Ukraine. And they have ignored the continuing Fukushima disaster that is STILL dumping millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean every single day.

To sum up, democracies only work when people pay attention and participate. People are either too stupid, too overworked, are are looking to the wrong sources for information.

Until we break up mainstream media, remove incentives for those who cannot even care for themselves to stop breeding, and make fundamental changes to our society that affords people the time to focus on what is happening in the world, it will only get worse.

Much worse.

serotonindumptruck

A dying empire is like a wounded, cornered animal.

It will lash out uncontrollably and without remorse in a futile effort to save itself from certain death.

Enough Already

The problem is that we have no "Constitution." That is a fable. The constitution of the separation of powers has been undermined from almost day one. Witness the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

In the centuries since then, there has been no "separation of powers." Marbury v Madison (1803) gave the Supreme Court the right to "decide" what the "law" was. Although, only in the 20th century did the "Supreme" court really start "legislating" from the bench.

We're just peons to the Overall Federal Power; the three "separate" parts of the federal government have been in collusion from the first. But like all empires, this one is in the final stage of collapse; it has just gotten too big.

gswifty

Yes sir. Globalization has failed us. The infinite growth paradigm has failed us, as we knew it would. Castro's Cuba, based in a localized agrarian economy, is looking pretty good about now. Localization is the only way back to sustainability.

napples

Books? Who said books? You mean reading books? Let me throw a couple out there: I read 'The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America' last year, it was published 50+ years ago by a very recommended writer and accomplished historian. Boorstin's observations are truer today and even more concerning thanks to our modern, ubiquitous "connectivity". http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/159979.The_Image

Another by Boorstin, The Discoverers was my fav, like Bryson's 'Short History' on steroids:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_J._Boorstin

I'm currently trying to fathom all of the historical implications of the claims Menzies is making in his book '1434', where apparently everything I learned about history is a lie. While he's making a lot of claims(hoping some sticks?) I'm not truly convinced. It is a very good, believable thought experiment. It almost makes perfect sense given the anglo/euro history of deceit & dishonesty, but I digress:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Menzies

This one took a long time to grok, Dr Mandelbrot tried to warn us:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/665134.The_Mis_Behavior_of_Markets#

Benoit's friend & protege tried to warn us too:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Swan_%282007_book%29

Put them together and you get the financial meltdown's 'Don't say we didn't warn you' manifesto from 2006(not a book, but a compelling read):
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5372968a-ba82-11da-980d-0000779e2340.html

OK, I'm tired. Time to unplug.

reader2010

Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." It takes 75 years for someone such as PCR to reiterate. He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them.

George Orwell once remarked that the average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we believe in the authority of what Adorno called Culture Industry and MSM, no matter what. Today we are indeed in another Dark Age

PoasterToaster

"Americans" are not one person. Individuals are not fungible. Reasoning from the "average American" leads to false conclusions.

reader2010

Jacques Derrida says, "The individualism of technological civilization relies precisely on a misunderstanding of the unique self. It is the individualism of a role and not of a person. In other words it might be called the individualism of a masque or persona, a character [personnage] and not a person." There are many Americans but they all play the same role in the Pursuit of Happiness, aka wage slaves, career slaves, debt slaves, information junkies, and passive consumers.

Moccasin

Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda.

When do the people or the society take responsibility for its greater good or own the crimes of those they put into power?

Blaming the aristocracy or the oligarchs seems like a scapegoat when the people have never stood up to the corruption in a cohesive or concerted way. imho, After a few generations of abuse and corruption the people need to take responsibility for their future. I expect that most will just buy into the charade and live the lie, on that basis as a society we are doomed to live in a corporatocracy fascist state.

Aldous Huxley called it a scientific dictatorship, Edward Bernays referred to us as a herd.

Moccasin

In the USA being white, monied and having the capacity to afford a good education is privileged. To his credit he speaks to the greater population, the 'average citizen' and not the plutocratic class.

MSorciere

What we have is the result of conditioning and commoditizing a population. The country is filled with consumers, not citizens. Teach the acquisition of money and goods as the main goal and individualism as the only acceptable social unit. We end up with a nation of insatiable sociopaths, ruled by power-hungry psychopaths.

Divisive politics, jackbooted authority from the DC scumpond down to the cop on the beat, the constant preaching of the cult of the individual as a sustitute for true liberty... all of these have served to destroy a sense of community and decentness between Americans.

The ONLY thing that could threaten the ruling class is a banding together of the people - in large numbers. 'They' have purposefully and effectively quashed that.

TrulyStupid

Shifting responsibility to the usual suspects is simply a manifestation of the American moral collapse. Man up and do some self evaluation.

T-NUTZ

"what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples"

Unfortunately, Paul, the American people have lost any sense of mercy and justice for their own people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXRDq9nKJ0U

Phillyguy

Painful as it may be, we need to rationally look at US history/society. The nascent US was formed by stealing land from the native population and using human capital (read African Slaves) to generate wealth (it took a civil war with circa 500K casualties to stop this- one could argue the US "civil war" never ended). More recently, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940, we dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Currently, the US/NATO war theater extends from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, Persian Gulf, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa (Saudi/US war on Yemen), the Maghreb and E Europe and Russian Border.

Radical Marijuana

"... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..."

Governments were created by the history of warfare, which was always organized crime developing on larger and larger scales. In the context, the greater problem is that people like Paul Craig Roberts are reactionary revolutionaries, who provide relatively good analysis, followed by bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals.

The "American People" are the victims of the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy. As Cognitive Dissonance has previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled."

It is practically impossible to exaggerate the degree to which that is so, on such profound levels, because of the ways that most people want to continue to believe that false fundamental dichotomies and impossible ideals are valid, and should be applied to their problems, despite that those mistaken ideas cause the opposite to happen in the real world, because those who promote those kinds of false fundamental dichotomies and their related impossible ideals, ARE "controlled opposition."

Rather, the place to begin would be by recognizing that all human beings and civilizations must necessarily operate as entropic pumps of energy flows, which necessarily are systems of organized lies operating robberies. Everyone has some power to rob, and power to kill to back that up. Governments assembled and channeled those powers. There was never a time when governments were not organized crime. There could never be any time when governments were not organized crime. The only things that exist are the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those dynamic equilibria have become extremely unbalanced due the degree that the best organized gangs of criminals were able to control their opposition.

Paul Craig Roberts, as well as pretty well all of the rest of the content published on Zero Hedge, are presentations of various kinds of controlled opposition groups, most of which do not recognize that they are being controlled by the language that they use, and the philosophy of science that they take for granted. THAT is the greatest failure of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people everywhere else. They believe in false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals, and therefore, their bogus "solutions" always necessarily backfire badly, and cause the opposite to happen in the real world.

After all, the overwhelming vast majority of the American People operate as the controlled opposition to the best organized gangs of criminals that most control the government of the USA. Therefore, the FAILURES of the American People are far more profound and problematic than what is superficially presented by guys like Paul Craig Roberts, and also, of course, his suggested bogus "solutions" are similarly superficial.

The ONLY things which can actually exist are the dynamic equilibrium between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. The degree to which the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people in the world, FAIL to understand that is the degree to which they enable the best organized gangs of criminals to control them, due to the vast majority of people being members of various controlled opposition groups. Controlled opposition always presents relatively superficial analysis of the political problems, which are superficially correct. However, they then follow that up with similarly superficial "solutions." Therefore, magical words are bandied about, that express their dualities, through false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals.

Governments must exist because organized crime must exist. Better governments could be achieved through better organized crime. However, mostly what get presented in the public places are the utter bullshit of the biggest bullies, who dominate the society because they were the best organized gangs of criminals, who were also able to dominate their apparent opposition. Therefore, instead of more realistic, better balancing of the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies, we get runaway developments of the best organized gangs of criminals being able to control governments, whose only apparent opposition is controlled to stay within the same bullshit frame of reference regarding everything that was actually happening.

The mainline of the FAILURES of the American People have been the ways that the international bankers were able to recapture control over the American public "money" supply. After that, everything else was leveraged up, through the funding of the political processes, schools, and mass media, etc., being more and more dominated by that fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system. Of course, that FAILURE has now become more than 99% ... Therefore, no political possible ways appear to exist to pull out of that flaming spiral nose dive, since we have already gone beyond the event horizon into that social black hole.

Most of the content on Zero Hedge which is based upon recognizing that set of problems still acts as controlled opposition in that regard too. Therefore, the bogus "solutions" here continue to deliberately ignore that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder. Instead of accepting that, the controlled opposition groups like to promote various kinds of "monetary reforms." However, meanwhile, we are actually already headed towards the established debt slavery systems having generated debt insanities, which are going to provoke death insanities.

In that context, the only realistic resolutions to the real problems would necessarily have to be monetary revolutions, that may emerge out of the future situations, after the runaway debt insanities have provoked death insanities. Indeed, the only genuine solutions to the problems are to develop different death control systems, to back up different debt control systems, which must necessarily be done within the context that governments are the biggest forms of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals.

The various controlled opposition groups do not want to face those social facts. Rather, they continue to want to believe in the dualities expressed as false fundamental dichotomies and the related impossible ideals, which is their greatest overall FAILURE. In my view, the article above by Roberts contained a lot of nostalgic nonsense. There was never a time when there were any governments which were not based on the applications of the principles and methods of organized crime, and there could never be any time in the future when that could be stopped from being the case.

The greatest FAILURE of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the world's people, has been to become so brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, that there is no significant opposition that is not controlled by thinking inside of the box of that bullshit. The government did NOT transform into a criminal enterprise. The government was necessarily ALWAYS a criminal enterprise. That criminal enterprise has become more and more severely UNBALANCED due to the FAILURE of the people to understand that they were actually members of an organized crime gang, called their country. Instead, they were more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about everything, including their country.

The ONLY connection between human laws and the laws of nature is the ability to back up lies with violence. The development of the government of the USA has been the developed of integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. Those systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS have been able to become more extremely unbalanced because there is almost nothing which is publicly significant surrounding that core of organized crime but various controlled opposition groups.

Of course, it seems politically impossible for my recommendations to actually happen within the foreseeable future, as the current systems of debt slavery drive through debt insanities to become death insanities, but nevertheless, the only theoretically valid ideas to raise to respond to the real problems would have to based upon a series of intellectual scientific revolutions. However, since we have apparently run out of time to go through those sorts of paradigm shifts sufficiently, we are stuck in the deepening ruts of political problems which guys like Roberts correctly present to be the case

... HOWEVER, ROBERTS, LIKE ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE, CONTINUE TO PRESUME UPON DUALITIES, AND THEREFORE, HAVE THEIR MECHANISMS REGARDING "SOLUTIONS" ABSURDLY BACKWARDS.

Rather, we should start with the concept of SUBTRACTION, which then leads to robbery. We should start with the recognition that governments are necessarily, by definition, the biggest forms of organized crime. Governments did NOT transform into being that. Governments were always that. The political problems we have now are due to the best organized gangs of criminals, which currently are primarily the biggest gangsters, which can rightly be referred to as the banksters, having dominated all aspects of the funding of politics, enough to capture control over all sociopolitical institutions, so that the American People would more and more be subjected to the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, which was built on top of thousands of years of previous history of Neolithic Civilizations being based on backing up lies with violence.

The runaway systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS, or the integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, that more and more dominate the lives of the American People are due to the applications of the methods of organized crime, and could not be effectively counter-balanced in any other ways. However, the standing social situation is that there is no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled to stay within the same frame of reference of the biggest bullies, which is now primarily the frame of reference of the banksters. Indeed, to the degree to which people's lives are controlled by the monetary system, they are debt slaves. Moreover, the degree to which they do not understand, and do not want to understand, that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder, then they think like controlled opposition groups, who have their mechanisms absurdly backwards, when they turn from their superficial analysis of what the political problems, to then promote their superficial solutions of those problems.

I AGREE that "Americans need to face the facts." However, those facts are that citizens are members of an organized crime gang, called their country. "Their" country is currently controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. However, there are no genuine resolutions for those problems other than to develop better organized crime. Since the controlled opposition groups that are publicly significant do not admit any of the deeper levels of the scientific facts regarding human beings and civilizations operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, but rather, continue to perceive all of that in the most absurdly backward ways possible, the current dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies continue to become more and more extremely UNBALANCED.

In the case of the article above, Roberts does NOT "face the facts" that governments were always forms of organized crime, and must necessarily be so, because human beings must live as entropic pumps of energy flows. Rather, Roberts tends to illustrate how the controlled opposition takes for granted certain magical words and phrases, such as "Liberty" or "Constitution," that have no adequate operational definitions to connect them to the material world.

We are living inside of an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, which has applied the progress in science primarily to become better at backing up lies with violence, while refusing to allow scientific methods to admit and address how and why that has been what has actually happened. Therefore, almost all of the language that we use to communicate, as well as almost all of the philosophy of science that we take for granted, was based on the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is now primarily manifested as the banksters' bullshit, as that bullshit developed in America to become ENFORCED FRAUDS.

ALL of the various churches, corporations, and countries are necessarily various systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those which are the biggest now were historically the ones that were the best at doing that. The INTENSE PARADOXES are due to human systems necessarily being organized lies operating robberies, wherein the greatest social successfulness has been achieved by those who were the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites. That flows throughout ALL of the established systems, which are a core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups.

The degree to which the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, have been more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about governments in particular, and human beings and civilizations in general, is the degree to which the established systems based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS are headed towards some series of psychotic breakdowns. For all practical purposes, it is politically impossible to get enough people to stop acting like incompetent political idiots, and instead start acting more like competent citizens, because they do not understand, and moreover have been conditioned to not want to understand that governments are necessarily organized crime.

Roberts ironically illustrated the deeper nature of the political problems that he also shares, when he perceives that governments have somehow transformed into being criminal enterprise, when governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises. Similarly, with those who recognize that, but then promote the impossible solutions based upon somehow stopping that from being the case, which is as absurdly backwards as stopping human beings from operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, which then also presumes that it would be possible to stop human civilizations from being entropic pumps of energy flows.

Rather, the deeper sorts of intellectual scientific revolutions that we should go through require becoming much more critical of the language that we use to communicate with, and more critical about the philosophy of science that we presumed was correct. Actually, we were collectively brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is as absurdly backwards as it could possibly be. However, due to the collective FAILURES of people to understand that, as reflected by the ways that the core of organized crime is surrounded by nothing which is publicly significant than layers of controlled opposition, there are no reasonable ways to doubt that the established debt slavery systems will continue to drive even worse debt insanities, which will provoke much worse death insanities. Therefore, to be more realistic about the foreseeable future, the development of new death control systems will emerge out of the context of crazy collapses into chaos, wherein the runaway death insanities provide the possible opportunities for new death controls to emerge out of that situation.

Of course, the about 99% FAILURE of the American People to want to understand anything that I have outlined above indicates that the foreseeable future for subsequent generations shall not too likely be catalyzed transformations towards enough people better understanding their political problems, in order to better resolve those problems. Rather, what I mostly expect is for the psychotic breakdowns of the previous systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS to give opportunities to some possible groups of controlled opposition to take advantage of that, to perhaps emerge as the new version of professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who will be able to operate some new version of organized lies, operating robberies, who may mostly still get away with being some modified versions of still oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, due to social success still being based upon the best available professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who were able to survive through those transformations, so that the new systems arise from some of the seeds of the old systems.

At the present time, it is extremely difficult to imagine how the human species could possibly reconcile progress in physical science by surpassing that with progress in political science. Rather, what mostly exists now is the core of organized crime, which gets away with spouting the bullshit about itself, such as how the banksters dominate the mass media, and the lives of everyone else who depend upon the established monetary system (which is dominated by the current ways that governments ENFORCE FRAUDS by privately controlled banks), while that core of organized crime has no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled by the ways that they think, which ways stay within the basic bullshit world view, as promoted by the biggest bullies for thousands of years, and as more and more scientifically promoted to brainwash the vast majority of people to believe in that kind of bullshit so completely that it mostly does not occur to them that they are doing that, and certainly almost never occurs to them that they are doing that in the most profoundly absurd and backward ways possible.

That is how and why it is possible for an author like Roberts to correctly point out the ways in which the government of the USA is transforming into being more blatantly based on organized crime ... HOWEVER, Roberts is not willing and able to go through deeper levels of intellectual scientific revolutions, in order to recognize how and why governments were always necessarily manifestations of organized crime. Therefore, as is typically the case, Roberts does not recognize how ironically he recommends that Americans should "face the facts," while he himself does not fully do so.

The whole history of Neolithic Civilizations was social pyramid systems based on being able to back up lies with violence, becoming more sophisticated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which currently manifest as the globalized electronic frauds of the banksters, were are backed up by the governments (that those banksters effectively control) having atomic bombs. Those are the astronomically amplified magnitudes of the currently existing combined money/murder systems. Therefore, it appears to be politically impossible at the present time to develop better governments, due to the degree that almost everyone is either a member of the core groups of organized crime, or members of the surrounding layers of groups of controlled opposition, both of which want to stay within the same overall bullshit frame of reference, because, so far, their lives have been socially successful by being professional liars and immaculate hypocrites.

Ironically, I doubt that someone like Roberts, or pretty well everyone else whose material is published on Zero Hedge is able and willing to recognize the degree to which they are actually controlled opposition. Indeed, even more ironically, as I have repeated before, even Cognitive Dissonance, when he previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." DOES NOT "GET IT" regarding the degree to which he too is controlled opposition, even while superficially attempting to recognize and struggle with that situation. (Indeed, of course, that includes me too, since I am still communicating using the English language, which was the natural language that most developed to express the biggest bullies' bullshit world view.)

Overall, I REPEAT, the deeper problems are due to progress in physical science, NOT being surpassed by progress in political science. Instead, while there EXIST globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the ways of thinking that made that science and those technologies possible has found any significant expression through political science, because political science would have to go through even more profound paradigm shifts within itself in order to do that.

The INTENSE PARADOXES continue to be the manifestation of the oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that deliberately refuses to become any more genuinely scientific about itself. Therefore, the banksters have been able to pay for the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, for generation after generation, in order to more and more brainwash most of the American People to believe in the banksters' bullshit world view. While there exist electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the physical science paradigm shifts that made that possible have even the slightest degree of public appreciation within the realms of politics today, which are almost totally dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, despite that being as absurdly backwards as possible, while the controlled opposition groups, mostly in the form of old-fashioned religions and ideologies, continue to stay within that same bullshit world view, and adamantly refuse to change their perceptual paradigms regarding political problems.

However, I REPEAT, the issues we face are NOT that governments have transformed to become criminal enterprises, but that governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises, which had the power to legalized their own lies, and then back those lies up with legalized violence. Thereby, the best organized criminals, the international bankers, as the biggest gangsters, or the banksters, were able to apply the methods of organized crime through the political processes. Meanwhile, the only "opposition" that was allowed to be publicly significant was controlled, to basically stay within the same bullshit world view, which is what Roberts has done in his series of articles, as well as what is almost always presented in the content published on Zero Hedge.

The NEXT LEVEL of "the need to face the facts" is to recognize that the political economy is based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS, or systems of debt slavery backed by wars based on deceits. However, the NEXT LEVEL "the need to face the facts" is the that the only possible changes are to change the dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, i.e., change those ENFORCED FRAUDS, in ways which CAN NOT STOP THOSE FROM STILL BEING ENFORCED FRAUDS, because of the degree to which money is necessarily measurement backed by murder.

For the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, to stop being such dismal FAILURES would require them to become more competent citizens. However, at the present time they appear to be totally unable to do that, because they are unwilling to go through the profound paradigm shifts that it would take them to become more competent citizens inside of world where there exist globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs. The vast majority of the American People would not like to go through the severe cognitive dissonance that would be required, to not only recognize that "their" government was a criminal enterprise, but that it also must be, and that they too must necessarily be members of that organized crime gang. However, without that degree of perceptual paradigm shifts of the political problems, then enough of the American People could not become more competent citizens.

Somehow, most people continue to count on themselves never having to think about how and why progress was achieved in physical science, by going through series of profound paradigm shifts in the ways that we perceived the world. Most people continue to presume that it is not necessary for their perception of politics to go through profound paradigm shifts, that surpass those which have already been achieved in physical science. We continue to live in an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that employs science and technology to become better at being dishonest and violent, but does not apply science and technology to "face the facts" about that scientific dictatorship as a whole.

At the present time, technologies which have become trillions of times more capable and powerful are primarily used as special effects within the context of repeating the same old-fashioned, stupid social stories, such as promoted by the biggest bullies, and their surrounding controlled opposition groups. Ironically, especially when it comes to politics, that tends to manifest the most atavistic throwbacks to old-fashioned religions and ideologies being relied upon to propose bogus "solutions," despite that those kinds of social stories adamantly refuse to change their paradigms in light of the profound paradigms shifts which have been achieved in physical science.

The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ...

Given that overall situation, that there there almost nothing which is publicly significant than the core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups, I see no reasonable hopes for the foreseeable material future of a civilization controlled by ENFORCED FRAUDS, since there is no publicly possible ways to develop better dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, since the biggest forms of doing that were most able to get away with pretending that they are not doing that, which was facilitated by their controlled opposition promoting the opinions that nobody should do that, while actually everyone must be doing that.

Roberts' article above, to me, was another typical example of superficially correct analysis, which implies some bogus "solutions" because those are based upon the same superficiality. It is NOT good enough to recognize "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise," unless one goes through deeper levels of analysis regarding how and why that is what actually exists, and then, one should continue to be consistent with that deeper analysis when one turns to proposing genuine solutions to those problems, namely, I REPEAT THAT the only realistic resolutions to the real political problems requires the transformation of government into a better organized criminal enterprise, which ideally should be based upon enough citizens who are competent enough to understand that they are members of an organized crime gang, which should assert themselves to make sure that their country becomes better organized crime.

[Dec 31, 2017] Maybe Trump was the deep state candidate of choice? Maybe that s why they ran Clinton against him rather than the more electable Sanders? Maybe that s why Obama started ramping up tensions with Russia in the early fall of 2016 – to swing the election to Trump (by giving the disgruntled anti-war Sanders voters a false choice between Trump or war with Russia?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Stop right there. Rather than the generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning? ..."
"... Not "paranoid" but "PNAC" as in PNAC manifesto for world domination and control ..."
"... "It is plainly obvious that the Neocons are now back in total control of the White House, Congress and the US corporate media. Okay, maybe things are still not quite as bad as if Hillary had been elected, but they are bad enough to ask whether a major war is now inevitable next year." ..."
"... "Rather than generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning?" ..."
"... A point that cannot be made often enough, IMO. Trump is the Republican Bill Clinton. ..."
"... Maybe it's time for Americans to admit that their quadrennial Mr. America contest amounts to little more than a "suck Satan's c *** " audition for the deep state, and that the contestants have no qualms about getting on their knees. It is far more comforting to believe that "your" guy was subverted after the (s)election, but that's not how it actually works. ..."
"... I'm imagining a bumper sticker with Trump's laughing face and a sad-looking deplorable in a baseball cap, with the caption "Bait and Switch- the American Way." Someone also once suggested "There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers." ..."
Dec 31, 2017 | www.unz.com

Harold Smith , December 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm GMT

"Not only has the swamp easily, quickly and totally drowned Trump "

Stop right there. Rather than the generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning?

"Furthermore, the Trump Administration now has released a National Security Strategy which clearly show that the Empire is in 'full paranoid' mode."

Not "paranoid" but "PNAC" as in PNAC manifesto for world domination and control.

"It is plainly obvious that the Neocons are now back in total control of the White House, Congress and the US corporate media. Okay, maybe things are still not quite as bad as if Hillary had been elected, but they are bad enough to ask whether a major war is now inevitable next year."

Maybe Trump was the "deep state" candidate of choice? Maybe that's why they ran Clinton against him rather than the more electable Sanders? Maybe that's why Obama started ramping up tensions with Russia in the early fall of 2016 – so as to swing the election to Trump (by giving the disgruntled anti-war Sanders voters a false choice between Trump or war with Russia?

Lana Kane , December 30, 2017 at 2:27 am GMT
@Harold Smith

"Rather than generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning?"

A point that cannot be made often enough, IMO. Trump is the Republican Bill Clinton.

Maybe it's time for Americans to admit that their quadrennial Mr. America contest amounts to little more than a "suck Satan's c *** " audition for the deep state, and that the contestants have no qualms about getting on their knees. It is far more comforting to believe that "your" guy was subverted after the (s)election, but that's not how it actually works.

I'm imagining a bumper sticker with Trump's laughing face and a sad-looking deplorable in a baseball cap, with the caption "Bait and Switch- the American Way." Someone also once suggested "There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers."

[Dec 31, 2017] Where's the Collusion

Highly recommended!
Brilliant interview !
Harding is little more than an intelligence asset himself and his idea of speaking to "Russians" is London circle of Russian emigrants which are not objective source by any means.
He's peddling a his Russophobic line with no substantiation. In fact, the interview constitutes an overdue exposure of this pressitute.
Notable quotes:
"... Very well put! Everything that is labeled as "conspiracy theory" when aimed towards the West, is "respectable journalism" when aimed at Russia. ..."
"... Aaron Mate is a brilliant interviewer. He keeps a calm demeanor, but does not let his guest get away with any untruths or non sequiturs. This one of the many reasons I love The Real News. I encourage anyone who appreciates solid journalism to donate to The Real News. ..."
"... GREAT follow up questions Aaron... Harding did not expect to get a real reporter... he obfuscates and diverts to other issues because he can not EVER provide any evidence... Going to Moscow will not tell you anything about whether or not the DNC server was hacked. ..."
"... Luke Harding is a complete and total idiot. He kept qualifying his arguments with "I've been to Moscow... I don't know if you know this, but I've been to Moscow..." and even at one point, "Some of my friends have been murdered." LOL, sure, whatever you say, Luke! Like you're so big time and such an all star journalist who isn't just trying to capitalize on the wild goose chase that is psychologically trapping leftists into delusions and wishful thinking. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Our Hidden History , 4 days ago (edited)

That Harding tells Mate to meet Alexi Navalny, who is a far right nationalist and most certainly a tool of US intelligence (something like Russia's Richard Spencer) was all I needed to hear to understand where Luke is coming from.

He's little more than an intelligence asset himself if his idea of speaking to "Russians" is to go and speak to a bunch of people who most certainly have their own ties back to the western intelligence agencies. That's not how you're going to get the truth about Russia. He's all appeals to authority - Steele's most of all, even name dropping Kerry. To finally land on "oh well if you would read my whole book" is just getting to the silly season.

Also "well this is the kind of person Putin is" is a terrible argument. This isn't about either Putin or Trump really, its about the long history of US-Russia relations and all that has occurred. Also, the ubiquitous throwing around of accusations of the murder of journalists in Russia is a straw man argument, especially when it is just thrown in as some sort of moral shielding for a shabby argument.

Few in the US know about these cases or what occurred, or of the many forces inside of Russia that might be involved in murdering journalists just as in Mexico or Turkey. But these cases are not explained - blame is merely assigned to Putin himself. Of course if someone here discusses he death of Michael Hastings, they're a "conspiracy theorist", but if the crime involves a Russian were to assign the blame to Vladimir Putin and, no further explanation is required.

Elizabeth Ferrari , 4 days ago

This interview is a wonderful illustration of everything that is horribly wrong with corporate media. I hope it goes viral.

Esen B. , 3 days ago

He is far right, he is calling "cockroaches" Central Asian/ex-USSR workers coming to Moscow and in general his tone is quite ultra-nationalistic.

Lemmy Motorhead , 3 days ago

Very well put! Everything that is labeled as "conspiracy theory" when aimed towards the West, is "respectable journalism" when aimed at Russia.

Esen B. , 3 days ago

That is the video about fire arm legalization "cockroaches ", even if you are not Russian speaking it's pretty graphic to understand the idea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8ILxqIEEMg

Esen B. , 3 days ago (edited)

And FYI - Central Asian workers do the low-wage jobs in Moscow, pretty like Mexicans or Puerto Ricans in US. Yet, that "future president" is trying to gain some popularity by labeling and demonizing them. Sounds familiar a bit?

trdi , 3 days ago (edited)

"definitelly ddissagree with that assertation about alexei he's had nationalist views but hes definitely not far right and calling him a tool of us intelligience is pretty bs this is the exact same assertation that the russian state media says about him." I disagree that there is any evidence of Navalny being tool of US intelligence, but you are wrong for not recognizing that Navalny is ultranationalist. His public statements are indefensible. He is a Russian ultra nationalist, far right and a racist. Statements about cockroaches, worse than rats, bullets being too good etc - there is no way to misunderstand that.

Sendan , 3 days ago

Navalny is a corrupt ex-politician just like his mentor that was caught red-handed taking a bribe from a German businessman "all on camera" at a restaurant. Most of corrupt politicians and businessmen that get caught by the Russian government always cry that they are politically repressed and the government is evil.

Navalnys brother was the owner of a small transport company that Navalny helped secure contracts with government enterprises '' anywhere in the world that would be a conflict of interest" but that's not why he is in jail! His brother is in jail for swindling the postal service company for transportation costs.

MrChibiluffy , 3 days ago

I know he said that i agree he has those views but that was in 2010.

Yarrski , 3 days ago

@trdi I am a Russian. And I remember the early Navalny who made me sick to my stomach with absolutely disgusting, RACIST, anti-immigration commentaries. The guy is basically a NEO-NAZI who has toned down his nationalist diatribes in the past 10 or so years. Has he really reformed? I doubt it.

Mohamed Elmaazi , 2 days ago

This is a solid comment mate. Well thought out, with solid reasoning. How refreshing.

Nikita Gusarov , 2 days ago

MrChibiluffy, Navalny became relatively popular in Russia precisely at that time, especially during the White Ribbon protests in 2011/2012. I remember it very well myself. I am Russian and I lived in Moscow at that time and he was the darling of the Russian opposition. He publicly defined his views and established himself back then and hasn't altered his position to this day. What's more important is that around 2015 or so he made an alliance with the far-right and specifically Diomushkin who is a neo-nazi activist. I understand that people change their views, it's just that he hasn't.

MrChibiluffy , 2 days ago

Nikita Gusarov it still feels like the best chance for some form of populist opposition atm. Even though they just rejected him he has a movement. Would you rather vote for Sobchak?

annalivia1308 , 1 day ago

Yes. The US are looking to repeat Ukraine's regime change.

Ind Aus , 1 day ago

Lets not forget that one reason many voted for Trump was his rhetoric about improving the peace-threatening antagonism towards Russia, especially in order to help resolve the situation in Syria. It's not like it was secret he was trying to hide. He only moderated his views somewhat when the Democrat-engineered anti-Russian smear campaign took off and there was a concerted effort to tie him to Russia.

Is it crime surround yourself with people that will help you fullfill your pledges?

artemis12061966 , 1 day ago

Or the death of Gary Webb, prosecution of whistleblowers.....like Private Manning...

Fred Lewis , 19 hours ago

Well put.

RipTheJackR , 9 hours ago

Our Hidden History... beautiful. Very well put mate :)

Gabriel Olsen , 3 hours ago

Yep, when he talked about murdering journalists, I paused the video and told my girlfriend about the murder of Michael Hastings. Oh an PS the USA puts journalists in Guantanamo. We play real baseball.

Luca Clemente , 4 days ago (edited)

Aaron Mate is a brilliant interviewer. He keeps a calm demeanor, but does not let his guest get away with any untruths or non sequiturs. This one of the many reasons I love The Real News. I encourage anyone who appreciates solid journalism to donate to The Real News.

TheJagjr4450 , 3 days ago

GREAT follow up questions Aaron... Harding did not expect to get a real reporter... he obfuscates and diverts to other issues because he can not EVER provide any evidence... Going to Moscow will not tell you anything about whether or not the DNC server was hacked.

dzedo53 , 4 days ago

Putin is a bad guy. Therefore he colluded with Trump back in 1987 to help Trump win the election in 2016. Why is that so hard to see?? LOL.

Noah , 14 hours ago

Luke Harding is a complete and total idiot. He kept qualifying his arguments with "I've been to Moscow... I don't know if you know this, but I've been to Moscow..." and even at one point, "Some of my friends have been murdered." LOL, sure, whatever you say, Luke! Like you're so big time and such an all star journalist who isn't just trying to capitalize on the wild goose chase that is psychologically trapping leftists into delusions and wishful thinking.

jodi houts , 4 days ago

Thank you Aaron Matè for calling out the bullshit. The dem party is dead until they take care of their own espionage and corruption.

KAREN Nichols , 4 days ago

Thank you for "holding his feet to the fire"...I wish more media was more skeptical as well. Good work!

david ackerman , 4 days ago

NSA monitors every communication over the internet. if the Russians hacked the DNC, there would be proof, and it would not take years to uncover. Look at the numbers: Clinton spent 2 billion, Russian "agents" spent 200k to "influence" the election. Great job Aaron for holding this opportunist's feet to the fire. Oh he's a story teller all right. You know a synonym of storyteller? LIAR!!!!

shadex08 , 4 days ago

Great job Aaron, your work here makes me feel even better about my contribution to the real news.

95percent air , 4 days ago

Wow Aaron Matte NICE JOB. I'm only half through, I hope you don't make him cry. Do u make him cry? Did I hear this guy say he's ultimately a storyteller? Lol.

Mal c.H , 4 days ago

It may seem like Trump has an alarming amount of associations with Russia, because he does.. that's how rich oligarchs work. But it's all just SPECULATION still. Why publish a book on this without a smoking gun to prove anything? Collusion isn't even a legal term, it's vague enough for people to make it mean whatever they want it to mean. People investigating and reporting on this are operating under confirmation bias. Aaron, you're always appropriately critical and you're always asking the right questions. You seem to be one of the few sane people left in media. Trump is a disgrace but there still is no smoking gun.

jodi houts , 4 days ago

As he gets deeper in the weeds of speculation he starts attacking Aaron's credibility.

Fixel Heimer , 4 days ago

Omg a bunch of unproven conspiracy crap.. Hes making so many factual wrong statements I don't know where to start here.. How would anyone in the years before his candidacy have thought Trump would gain any political relevance. I mean even the pro Hillary media thought until the end, their massive trump coverage would only help to get him NOT elected, but the opposite was the case. This guy is a complete joke as are his theses. Actually reminding me of the guardian's so called report about Russian Hacking in the Brexit referendum. Look here if you want to have a laugh http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/12/how-097-changed-the-fate-of-britain-not.html

jairogon81 , 4 days ago

Great interview Aaron.

Hugh Mungus , 4 days ago

His logic seems to be: Putin does things we don't like -> Trump getting elected is something we don't like -> Putin got Trump elected.

Antman4656 , 4 days ago

This is why we need The Real News.

Katie B , 4 days ago

Collusion Rejectionist! Ha Ha. Funniest interview ever. Well done Aaron. The Real News taking a stand for truth. So what's in the book if there's no evidence? Guardian journalism? Stop questioning the official narrative, oh and have you heard of Estonia. :)) ps that smiley face was not an admission of my working for the Kremlin.

Antman4656 , 4 days ago

Best interview ever. Aaron held him to his theories and asked what evidence or proof he had and he didn't come up with one spec of evidence only hearsay and disputed theories. What a sad indictment this is on America. 1 year on a sensationalized story and still nothing concrete. What a joke and proof of gullibility to anyone who believes this corporate media Narritive. I guess at least they don't have to cover policies like the tax theft or net neutrality. This is why we need The Real news.

maskedavenger777 , 4 days ago (edited)

I'd rather have American business making business deals with Russia for things like hotels, rather than business deals with the Pentagon to aim more weapons at the Russians. When haven't we been doing business with Russians? We might as well investigate Cargill, Pepsi, McDonald's, John Deere, Ford, and most of our wheat farmers.

Tamara Roark , 4 days ago

A real journalist is so refreshing. Thank you Aaron.

[Dec 31, 2017] Anti-Populism Ideology of the Ruling Class by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers. ..."
"... The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers. ..."
"... Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns. ..."
"... The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite. ..."
"... The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists. ..."
"... In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Throughout the US and European corporate and state media, right and left, we are told that ' populism' has become the overarching threat to democracy, freedom and . . . free markets. The media's ' anti-populism' campaign has been used and abused by ruling elites and their academic and intellectual camp followers as the principal weapon to distract, discredit and destroy the rising tide of mass discontent with ruling class-imposed austerity programs, the accelerating concentration of wealth and the deepening inequalities.

We will begin by examining the conceptual manipulation of ' populism' and its multiple usages. Then we will turn to the historic economic origins of populism and anti-populism. Finally, we will critically analyze the contemporary movements and parties dubbed ' populist' by the ideologues of ' anti-populism' .

Conceptual Manipulation

In order to understand the current ideological manipulation accompanying ' anti-populism ' it is necessary to examine the historical roots of populism as a popular movement.

Populism emerged during the 19 th and 20 th century as an ideology, movement and government in opposition to autocracy, feudalism, capitalism, imperialism and socialism. In the United States, populist leaders led agrarian struggles backed by millions of small farmers in opposition to bankers, railroad magnates and land speculators. Opposing monopolistic practices of the 'robber barons', the populist movement supported broad-based commercial agriculture, access to low interest farm credit and reduced transport costs.

In all cases, the populist governments in Latin America were based on a coalition of nationalist capitalists, urban workers and the rural poor. In some notable cases, nationalist military officers brought populist governments to power. What they had in common was their opposition to foreign capital and its local supporters and exporters ('compradores'), bankers and their elite military collaborators. Populists promoted 'third way' politics by opposing imperialism on the right, and socialism and communism on the left. The populists supported the redistribution of wealth but not the expropriation of property. They sought to reconcile national capitalists and urban workers. They opposed class struggle but supported state intervention in the economy and import-substitution as a development strategy.

Imperialist powers were the leading anti-populists of that period. They defended property privileges and condemned nationalism as 'authoritarian' and undemocratic. They demonized the mass support for populism as 'a threat to Western Christian civilization'. Not infrequently, the anti-populists ideologues would label the national-populists as 'fascists' . . . even as they won numerous elections at different times and in a variety of countries.

The historical experience of populism, in theory and practice, has nothing to do with what today's ' anti-populists' in the media are calling ' populism' . In reality, current anti-populism is still a continuation of anti-communism , a political weapon to disarm working class and popular movements. It advances the class interest of the ruling class. Both 'anti's' have been orchestrated by ruling class ideologues seeking to blur the real nature of their 'pro-capitalist' privileged agenda and practice. Presenting your program as 'pro-capitalist', pro-inequalities, pro-tax evasion and pro-state subsidies for the elite is more difficult to defend at the ballot box than to claim to be ' anti-populist' .

' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers.

The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers.

Historic 'anti-populism' has its roots in the inability of capitalism to secure popular consent via elections. It reflects their anger and frustration at their failure to grow the economy, to conquer and exploit independent countries and to finance growing fiscal deficits.

The Amalgamation of Historical Populism with the Contemporary Fabricated Populism

What the current anti-populists ideologues label ' populism' has little to do with the historical movements.

Unlike all of the past populist governments, which sought to nationalize strategic industries, none of the current movements and parties, denounced as 'populist' by the media, are anti-imperialists. In fact, the current ' populists' attack the lowest classes and defend the imperialist-allied capitalist elites. The so-called current ' populists' support imperialist wars and bank swindlers, unlike the historical populists who were anti-war and anti-bankers.

Ruling class ideologues simplistically conflate a motley collection of rightwing capitalist parties and organizations with the pro-welfare state, pro-worker and pro-farmer parties of the past in order to discredit and undermine the burgeoning popular multi-class movements and regimes.

Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns.

One has only to compare the currently demonized ' populist' Donald Trump with the truly populist US President Franklin Roosevelt, who promoted social welfare, unionization, labor rights, increased taxes on the rich, income redistribution, and genuine health and workplace safety legislation within a multi-class coalition to see how absurd the current media campaign has become.

The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite.

The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists.

In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters.

The anti-populism of the ruling class serves to confuse the 'right' with the 'left'; to sidelight the latter and promote the former; to amalgamate rightwing 'rallies' with working class strikes; and to conflate rightwing demagogues with popular mass leaders.

Unfortunately, too many leftist academics and pundits are loudly chanting in the 'anti-populist' chorus. They have failed to see themselves among the shock troops of the right. The left ideologues join the ruling class in condemning the corporate populists in the name of 'anti-fascism'. Leftwing writers, claiming to 'combat the far-right enemies of the people' , overlook the fact that they are 'fellow-travelling' with an anti-populist ruling class, which has imposed savage cuts in living standards, spread imperial wars of aggression resulting in millions of desperate refugees- not immigrants –and concentrated immense wealth.

The bankruptcy of today's ' anti-populist' left will leave them sitting in their coffee shops, scratching at fleas, as the mass popular movements take to the streets!

[Dec 29, 2017] washingtonpost.com - watergate scandal and deep throat update, e. howard hunt

Dec 29, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com
E. Howard Hunt
E. Howard Hunt
Hunt was a member of the White House "plumbers," the secret team assembled to stop government leaks after defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press. A former CIA operative, Hunt organized the bugging of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate -- as well as a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Hunt's phone number in address books belonging to the Watergate burglars helped investigators -- and reporters -- connect the break-in to the president and his reelection campaign. Convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping, Hunt served 33 months in prison.

By the time of the Watergate burglary, Hunt was already moonlighting as a spy novelist. He has since penned dozens of books, including a memoir and "Dragon Teeth," a thriller published this May.

In 1981, Hunt won $650,000 in a libel suit against the Liberty Lobby for a 1978 article that appeared in the right-wing group's conspiracy-minded newspaper, The Spotlight. The article linked Hunt to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, suggesting the CIA man was in Dallas on the day of the 1963 shooting. Mark Lane, author of the best-selling "Rush to Judgment," successfully defended Liberty Lobby in a second trial in 1985, overturning the original libel award. Lane outlined his theory about Hunt's and the CIA's role in Kennedy's murder in a 1991 book, "Plausible Denial."

Hunt filed for bankruptcy protection from his creditors in June 1995. He died at a Miami hospital after a lengthy bout with pneumonia Jan. 23, 2007.

[Dec 29, 2017] Watergate Scandal Timeline

Dec 29, 2017 | www.historyonthenet.com

The Watergate Break-In
June 16, 1972: In room 214 of the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., seven men gathered to finalize their plans to break in to the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) headquarters, located on the sixth floor of one of the Watergate complex's six buildings. One of these men, G. Gordon Liddy , was a former FBI agent. Another, E. Howard Hunt , had retired from the CIA. James McCord would handle the bugging, Bernard Barker would photograph documents, and Virgilio Gonzalez would pick the locks. The remaining two, Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis, would serve as lookouts. Several of these men were Cuban exiles who had met Hunt through their participation in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion back in 1961.

[Dec 29, 2017] Richard Helms The Intelligence Professional Personified -- Central Intelligence Agency

Notable quotes:
"... . . . it is sometimes difficult for us to understand the intensity of our public critics. Criticism of our efficiency is one thing, criticism of our responsibility quite another. I believe that we are . . . a legitimate object of public concern . . . I find it painful, however, when public debate lessens our usefulness to the nation by casting doubt on our integrity and objectivity. If we are not believed, we have no purpose. . . 30 ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.cia.gov

The Unraveling

During his later years at the CIA, Helms witnessed the Agency and the whole enterprise of intelligence fall into disrepute as Congress and the public subjected US foreign policy to unprecedented criticism. Helms took the occasion of his only public speech as DCI to affirm that "the nation must to a degree take it on faith that we too are honorable men devoted to her service." 28 By the end of his directorship, however, years of political protest, social upheaval, and revelations of government incompetence and wrongdoing had depleted much of that faith. Helms became a (not entirely blameless) casualty of that rapid and sweeping change in the American people's sense of what their government should and should not do. He had once said that Americans "want an effective, strong intelligence operation. They just don't want to hear too much about it." 29 But now prominent voices demanded of the CIA far more accountability than Helms was used to or thought appropriate. As he wrote in this journal in 1967:

. . . it is sometimes difficult for us to understand the intensity of our public critics. Criticism of our efficiency is one thing, criticism of our responsibility quite another. I believe that we are . . . a legitimate object of public concern . . . I find it painful, however, when public debate lessens our usefulness to the nation by casting doubt on our integrity and objectivity. If we are not believed, we have no purpose. . . 30

Photo: Helms testifying before a congressional committee in the 1970s. (U)

Helms testifying before a congressional
committee in the 1970s

Helms declined a presidential request to submit his resignation after the 1972 elections, not wanting to set a precedent that he thought would politicize the position of DCI. After he was forced out in 1973 -- he believed that Nixon was mad at him for refusing to use the CIA in the Watergate cover up -- Helms spent several years coping with controversies ensuing in part from some of his acts of omission and commission while at the Agency. He became a lightning rod for criticism of the CIA during its "time of troubles" in the mid-1970s. He was called back many times from his ambassadorial post in Tehran to testify before investigatory bodies about assassination plots, domestic operations, drug testing, the destruction of records, and other activities of dubious legality and ethicality known collectively as the "Family Jewels." He responded to inquiries about them cautiously, sometimes testily, as he tried to walk the increasingly fuzzy line between discretion and disclosure.

Helms ran into legal troubles resulting from his judgment about when and when not to reveal secrets. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just after leaving the Agency, he denied that the CIA had tried to influence the outcome of the Chilean presidential election in 1970. Helms described his quandary this way: "If I was to live up to my oath and fulfill my statutory responsibility to protect intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure, I could not reveal covert operations to people unauthorized to learn about them." 31 He eventually pleaded no contest to charges of not testifying "fully, completely and accurately" to the committee. His statement to the federal judge who was about to sentence him, although addressed to the immediate situation, could also summarize nearly his whole experience as DCI: "I was simply trying to find my way through a difficult situation in which I found myself

[Dec 29, 2017] Watergate Was A Setup - Business Insider

Notable quotes:
"... Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years ..."
"... Who Will Rid Me of This Troublesome Priest? ..."
"... ascribed to Henry II ..."
"... It sounded preposterous. Cubans in surgical gloves bugging the ..."
"... DNC! I dismissed it as some sort of prank . . . The whole thing ..."
"... made so little sense. Why, I wondered. Why then? Why in such a ..."
"... blundering way . . . Anyone who knew anything about politics ..."
"... would know that a national committee headquarters was a useless ..."
"... place to go for inside information on a presidential campaign. The ..."
"... whole thing was so senseless and bungled that it almost looked ..."
"... like some kind of a setup. ..."
"... HALDEMAN: . . . The FBI agents who are working the case, at this ..."
"... point, feel that's what it is. This is CIA . ..."
"... NIXON: Of course, this is a, this is a [E. Howard] Hunt [operation, ..."
"... and exposure of it] will uncover a lot of things. You open that ..."
"... scab there's a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it ..."
"... would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further. ..."
"... This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that ..."
"... we have nothing to do with ourselves This will open the ..."
"... whole Bay of Pigs thing ..."
"... Also got cranking on the political problem. [President's] obviously ..."
"... concerned about reports (especially Buchanan's) that conservatives ..."
"... and the South are unhappy. Also he's annoyed by constant right- ..."
"... wing bitching, with never a positive alternative. Ordered me to assemble ..."
"... a political group and really hit them to start defending us, ..."
"... including Buchanan . . . [and political specialist Harry] Dent. ..."
"... HALDEMAN: The way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA ..."
"... deputy director Vernon] Walters call [FBI interim director] Pat ..."
"... Gray and just say, "Stay the hell out of this this is ah, business ..."
"... here we don't want you to go any further on it." ..."
"... Then I played Nixon's trump card. "The President asked me to tell ..."
"... you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it ..."
"... opens up, the Bay of Pigs might be blown . . ." ..."
"... Turmoil in the room, Helms gripping the arms of his chair, ..."
"... leaning forward and shouting, "The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do ..."
"... with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs." . . . I was ..."
"... absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered, ..."
"... what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story? ..."
"... In view of our discussion yesterday morning with regard ..."
"... to Cuba, I thought you might like to see a copy of the speech ..."
"... I made before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in ..."
"... which I directed remarks toward this problem. ..."
"... When I return from Europe I am looking forward to having ..."
"... a chance to get a further fill-in with regard to your experiences ..."
"... on the Bay of Pigs incident. ..."
"... 0900 Cols[on] -- re idea of getting pol. Commitments -- ..."
"... Sugar people are richest & most ruthless ..."
"... before we commit -- shld put screws on ..."
"... & get quid pro quo ..."
"... ie Fl[anigan] -- always go to Sugar lobby or oil etc. ..."
"... before we give them anything ..."
"... One of Mr. Kendall's great passions is international trade, and his ..."
"... interest in foreign affairs won him a footnote in a 1975 interim report ..."
"... of a Senate Select Committee. The report was called "Alleged ..."
"... Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders," and discussed in ..."
"... part the assassination of Salvador Allende Gossens, the Marxist ..."
"... Chilean president who was killed in 1973. ..."
"... The report stated that Mr. Kendall had requested in 1970 that ..."
"... Augustin Edwards, who was publisher of the Chilean newspaper ..."
"... El Mercurio, as well as a Pepsi bottler in Chile, meet with high ..."
"... Nixon Administration officials to report on the political situation ..."
"... in Chile. (Pepsi bottling operations were later expropriated by the ..."
"... regime.) That meeting, which included Mr. Kendall, Mr. Edwards, ..."
"... Henry Kissinger and John N. Mitchell, was indeed held, and later ..."
"... the same day, Mr. Nixon met with Dr. Kissinger and Richard ..."
"... Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Helms ..."
"... later testified that President Nixon had ordered at the follow-up ..."
"... meeting that Chile was to be saved from Allende "and he didn't ..."
"... care much how." Mr. Kendall says he sees nothing sinister, or for ..."
"... that matter even controversial, in his action. ..."
"... Of all the silly things I've ever been asked to do in this life, traveling ..."
"... around with six thousand dollars to give the guy and say, "This ..."
"... is from Dick and Pat," was colossally bad . . . Now you crank me ..."
"... up, leave a paper trail a mile long and a mile wide of flight tickets, ..."
"... hotel reservations, rental cars, everything, and have me traipsing ..."
"... all over the country giving these guys six thousand dollars in cash, ..."
"... [and besides], the six thousand doesn't matter, doesn't get you anywhere. ..."
"... If we give you a quarter of a million, what's another six ..."
"... thousand? . . . The six thousand dollars itself was a disconnect, because ..."
"... everything else was largely done to keep the whole thing under wraps. ..."
"... A little-known lawyer in Newport Beach, Calif., has raised millions ..."
"... of dollars in campaign contributions as an unpublicized fund- ..."
"... raiser . . . [and] as Nixon's personal agent . . . to collect campaign ..."
"... checks from Republican donors Kalmbach helped to raise ..."
"... nearly $3 million in covert campaign money . . . The checks were ..."
"... sent through a townhouse basement used by former Nixon political ..."
"... aide Jack A. Gleason. But the operation was run from inside the ..."
"... White House by presidential assistant H.R. (Bob) Haldeman . . . ..."
"... Only a portion of this money has shown up on public records. The ..."
"... rest of the campaign checks have been funneled through dummy ..."
"... Baker told me of his interview with Martinez who said that there ..."
"... were no patient records in Dr. Fielding's office, that he, Martinez, ..."
"... was very disappointed when they found nothing there, but Hunt ..."
"... on the other hand seemed very pleased and as a matter of fact ..."
"... broke out a bottle of champagne when the three men returned ..."
"... from the job. Martinez says that he has participated in three hundred ..."
"... or four hundred similar CIA operations, that this was clearly ..."
"... a 'cover' operation with no intention of ever finding anything. ..."
"... Mitchell knew he had been set up. In later years, his mind reeled at ..."
"... the singular confluence of amazing characters that produced ..."
"... Watergate -- Dean, Magruder, Liddy, Helms, Hunt, McCord, ..."
"... Martinez -- and reckoned himself and the president, neither of ..."
"... whom enjoyed foreknowledge of the Watergate break-in, victims ..."
"... in the affair. "The more I got into this," Mitchell said in June 1987, ..."
"... "the more I see how these sons of bitches have not only done ..."
"... Nixon in but they've done me in." ..."
"... The [Watergate] tapes unmasked Nixon not as the take-charge boss ..."
"... of a criminal conspiracy but rather as an aging and confused politician ..."
"... lost in a welter of detail, unable to distinguish his Magruders ..."
"... from his Strachans, uncertain who knew what and when, what ..."
"... each player had told the grand jury, whose testimony was direct, ..."
"... Bob had come to us on very high recommendations from someone ..."
"... in the White House. He had been an intelligence officer in the ..."
"... Navy and had served in the Pentagon. He had not been exposed to ..."
"... any newspaper. We gave him a tryout because he was so highly ..."
"... recommended. We customarily didn't do that. We wanted to see ..."
"... some clips, and he had none of that. We tried him out, and after a ..."
"... week or two I asked my deputy, "What's with this guy?" And he ..."
"... said well, he's a very bright guy but he doesn't know how to put the ..."
"... paper in the typewriter. But he was bright, there was that intensity ..."
"... about him and his willingness, and he acted maturely. So we decided ..."
"... because he had come so highly recommended and he had ..."
"... shown certain strengths that we would help get him a job at the ..."
"... Montgomery County Sentinel. ..."
"... The CIA has been unable to determine whether Bob Woodward ..."
"... was employed by the agency. The agency claims to be having difficulty ..."
"... checking personnel files. Thompson says that he believes the ..."
"... delay merely means that they don't want to admit that Woodward ..."
"... was in the agency. Thompson wrote a lengthy memo to Baker last ..."
"... week complaining about the CIA's non-cooperation, the fact that ..."
"... they were supplying material piecemeal and had been very uncooperative. ..."
"... The memo went into the CIA relationship with the press, specifically ..."
"... Woodward. Senator Baker sent the memo directly to [CIA Director] Colby ..."
"... with a cover note and within a matter of a few hours, Woodward ..."
"... called Baker and was incensed over the memo. It had been immediately ..."
"... When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company, ..."
"... publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that ..."
"... the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according ..."
"... to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was ..."
"... somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director ..."
"... of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director ..."
"... of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, ..."
"... was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including ..."
"... many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to ..."
"... boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument ..."
"... he built, and played, with help from the press. Phil Graham ..."
"... was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graham, who committed ..."
"... suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover ..."
"... arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said. ..."
"... In 1965-66, an accredited Newsweek stringer in the Far East was ..."
"... in fact a CIA contract employee earning an annual salary of ..."
"... $10,000 from the Agency, according to Robert T. Wood, then a CIA ..."
"... officer in the Hong Kong station. Some Newsweek correspondents ..."
"... and stringers continued to maintain covert ties with the Agency ..."
"... into the 1970s, CIA sources said. ..."
"... Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post ..."
"... newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some ..."
"... Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say ..."
"... they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of ..."
"... the arrangements. ..."
"... BUSH: We're getting hit a little bit, Mr. President . . . It's building, ..."
"... and the mail's getting heavier . . . ..."
"... NIXON: What do you think you can do about it? . . . We've got hearings ..."
"... coming up. The hearings will make it worse. ..."
"... BUSH: . . . I was speaking with the executives at the Bull Elephants ..."
"... The guy said to me, why doesn't the President ..."
"... send Dean? . . . The disclosure is what they're calling for. ..."
"... NIXON: We are cooperating They don't want any cooperation. ..."
"... They aren't interested in getting the facts. They're only interested ..."
"... in [politicalgains?] I wish there were an answer to Watergate, ..."
"... but I just don't know any . . . I don't know a damn thing ..."
"... to do. [emphasis added] ..."
"... DEAN: I think that one thing that we have to continue to do, and ..."
"... particularly right now, is to examine the broadest, broadest implications ..."
"... of this whole thing, and, you know, maybe about thirty minutes ..."
"... of just my recitations to you of facts so that you operate from ..."
"... the same facts that everybody else has. ..."
"... DEAN: I don't think -- we have never really done that. It has been sort ..."
"... of bits and pieces. Just paint the whole picture for you, the soft ..."
"... spots, the potential problem areas [emphasis added] ..."
"... NIXON: And so you are coming up, then with the idea of just a ..."
"... stonewall then? Is that -- ..."
"... DEAN: That's right. ..."
"... NIXON: Is that what you come down with? ..."
"... DEAN: Stonewall, with lots of noises that we are always willing to ..."
"... cooperate, but no one is asking us for anything. ..."
"... NIXON: I just want a general -- ..."
"... DEAN: An all-around statement. ..."
"... NIXON: That's right. Try just something general. Like "I have ..."
"... checked into this matter; I can categorically, based on my investigation, ..."
"... the following: Haldeman is not involved in this, that ..."
"... and the other thing. Mr. Colson did not do this; Mr. So- and- so ..."
"... did not do this. Mr. Blank did not do this." Right down the line, ..."
"... taking the most glaring things. If there are any further questions, ..."
"... please let me know. See? ..."
"... DEAN: Uh huh, I think we can do that. ..."
"... [The president] feels strongly that we've got to say something to get ..."
"... ourselves away from looking like we're completely on the defensive ..."
"... and on a cover-up basis. If we . . . are going to volunteer ..."
"... to send written statements . . . we might as well do the statements ..."
"... now and get them publicized and get our answers out. The problem ..."
"... is that Dean feels this runs too many leads out. [emphasis added] ..."
"... DEAN: Well, Chapin didn't know anything about the Watergate, and -- ..."
"... NIXON: You don't think so? ..."
"... DEAN: No. Absolutely not. ..."
"... NIXON: Did Strachan? ..."
"... NIXON: He knew? ..."
"... NIXON: About the Watergate? ..."
"... NIXON: Well, then, Bob knew. He probably told Bob, then. He may ..."
"... not have. He may not have. ..."
"... DEAN: He was, he was judicious in what he, in what he relayed, ..."
"... and, uh, but Strachan is as tough as nails. I -- ..."
"... NIXON: What'll he say? Just go in and say he didn't know? ..."
"... DEAN: He'll go in and stonewall it and say, "I don't know anything ..."
"... about what you are talking about." He has already done it twice, ..."
"... as you know, in interviews. ..."
"... NIXON: Now, you were saying too, ah, what really, ah, where the, ..."
"... this thing leads, I mean in terms of the vulnerabilities and so ..."
"... forth. It's your view the vulnerables are basically Mitchell, Colson, ..."
"... Haldeman, indirectly, possibly directly, and of course, the ..."
"... second level is, as far as the White House is concerned, Chapin. ..."
"... DEAN: And I'd say Dean, to a degree. ..."
"... NIXON: You? Why? ..."
"... DEAN: Well, because I've been all over this thing like a blanket. ..."
"... NIXON: I know, I know, but you know all about it, but you didn't, ..."
"... you were in it after the deed was done. ..."
"... DEAN: That's correct, that I have no foreknowledge . . . ..."
"... NIXON: Here's the whole point, here's the whole point. My point is ..."
"... that your problem is you, you have no problem. All the others ..."
"... that have participated in the God-damned thing, and therefore ..."
"... are potentially subject to criminal liability. You're not. That's the ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.businessinsider.com

This is the second installment of a three-part series, featuring chapters related to Nixon and Watergate from WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker's book, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years .

Notes: (1) Although these excerpts do not contain footnotes, the book itself is heavily footnoted and exhaustively sourced. (2) To distinguish between George Bush, father and son, George H.W. Bush is sometimes referred to by his nickname Poppy, and George W. Bush by his, W. (3) Additional context can be found in the preceding chapters.

Before you read this second installment, please go here to read the first installment.

***********

Family of Secrets

Chapter 10: Downing Nixon: The Setup

Who Will Rid Me of This Troublesome Priest?
ascribed to Henry II

On June 17, 1972, a group of burglars, carrying electronic surveillance
equipment, was arrested inside the Democratic National
Committee offices at 2650 Virginia Avenue, NW, in Washington,
D.C., the Watergate building complex. The men were quickly identified as
having ties to the Nixon reelection campaign and to the White House.

Though at the time the incident got little attention, it would snowball into
one of the biggest crises in American political history, define Richard Nixon
forever, and drive him out of the White House.

Most historical accounts judge Nixon responsible in some way for the
Watergate burglary -- or at least for an effort to cover it up. And many people
believe Nixon got what he deserved.

But like other epic events, Watergate turns out to be an entirely different
story than the one we thought we knew.

Hanky-Panky, Cuban-Style

Almost no one has better expressed reasons to doubt Nixon's involvement
than Nixon himself. In his memoirs, Nixon described how he learned about
the burglary while vacationing in Florida, from the morning newspaper. He
recalled his reaction at the time:

It sounded preposterous. Cubans in surgical gloves bugging the
DNC! I dismissed it as some sort of prank . . . The whole thing
made so little sense. Why, I wondered. Why then? Why in such a
blundering way . . . Anyone who knew anything about politics
would know that a national committee headquarters was a useless
place to go for inside information on a presidential campaign. The
whole thing was so senseless and bungled that it almost looked
like some kind of a setup.

Nixon was actually suggesting not just a setup, but one intended to harm
him.

Perhaps because anything he might say would seem transparently self-
serving, this claim received little attention and has been largely forgotten.

Notwithstanding Nixon's initial reaction to the news of the break-in,
less than a week later he suddenly learned more -- and this gave him much
to ponder.

On June 23, Nixon's chief of staff, H. R. "Bob" Haldeman, came into the
Oval Office to give the president an update on a variety of topics, including
the investigation of the break-in. Haldeman had just been briefed by John
Dean, who had gotten his information from FBI investigators.

HALDEMAN: . . . The FBI agents who are working the case, at this
point, feel that's what it is. This is CIA .

Nixon's response would show that he had already realized this:

NIXON: Of course, this is a, this is a [E. Howard] Hunt [operation,
and exposure of it] will uncover a lot of things. You open that
scab there's a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it
would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further.
This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that
we have nothing to do with ourselves This will open the
whole Bay of Pigs thing

Of course, it is important to remember that Nixon knew every word he
uttered was being recorded. Like his predecessors Kennedy and Johnson,
he had decided to install a taping system so that he could maintain a record
of his administration. He was, in a way, dictating a file memo for future historians.

But that doesn't make everything he said untrue. While Nixon undoubtedly
spun some things, he still had to communicate with his subordinates,
and the tape was rolling while he was trying to run the country. Those were
actual meetings and real conversations, tape or no tape. And though the
result was 3,700 hours of White House tape recordings, Nixon evinced
merely sporadic consciousness of the fact that the tape was rolling. Only after
his counsel John Dean defected to the prosecutors did Nixon appear to
be tailoring his words.

Nixon's memoirs, combined with the tape of June 23, make clear that
Nixon recognized certain things about the implementation of the burglary.
The caper was carried out by pros, yet paradoxically was amateurish, easily
detected -- an instigation of the crime more easily pinned on someone else.
A break-in at Democratic Party headquarters: On whom would that be
blamed? Well, who was running against a Democrat for reelection that
fall? Why, Richard Nixon of course. Nixon, who frequently exhibited a grim
and self-pitying awareness of how he generally was portrayed, might have
grasped how this would play out publicly. Dick Nixon: ruthless, paranoid,
vengeful -- Tricky Dick. Wouldn't this burglary be just the kind of thing that
that Dick Nixon -- the "liberal media's" version of him -- would do? Nixon's
opponent, George McGovern, made this charge repeatedly during the 1972
campaign.

Though Nixon would sweep the election, it would become increasingly
apparent to him that, where Watergate was concerned, the jury was stacked.
The path was set. Someone had him in a corner.

But who?

Many people, including those within Nixon's own base of support, were
not happy with him -- even from early in his administration. As Haldeman
noted in his diary, one month after the inauguration in 1969:

Also got cranking on the political problem. [President's] obviously
concerned about reports (especially Buchanan's) that conservatives
and the South are unhappy. Also he's annoyed by constant right-
wing bitching, with never a positive alternative. Ordered me to assemble
a political group and really hit them to start defending us,
including Buchanan . . . [and political specialist Harry] Dent.

There would be growing anger in the Pentagon about Nixon and Kissinger's
secret attempts to secure agreements with China and the Soviet Union without
consulting the military. And there were the oilmen, who found Nixon
wasn't solid enough on their most basic concerns, such as the oil depletion
allowance and oil import quotas.

As for the burglary crew, Nixon recognized them instantly, because he
knew what they represented. While serving as vice president, Nixon had
overseen some covert operations and served as the "action officer" for the
planning of the Bay of Pigs, of which these men were hard-boiled veterans.
They had been out to overthrow Fidel Castro, and if possible, to kill him.

Nixon had another problem. These pros were connected to the CIA, and
as we shall see, Nixon was not getting along well with the agency.

One of the main reasons we fundamentally misunderstand Watergate is
that the guardians of the historical record focused only on selected parts of
Nixon's taped conversations, out of context. Consider a widely cited portion
of a June 23 meeting tape, which would become known forever as the
"smoking gun" conversation:

HALDEMAN: The way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA
deputy director Vernon] Walters call [FBI interim director] Pat
Gray and just say, "Stay the hell out of this this is ah, business
here we don't want you to go any further on it."
NIXON: Um hum.

Short excerpts like this seem especially damning. This one sounds right
off the bat like a cover-up - Nixon using the CIA to suppress an FBI investigation
into the break-in.

But these utterances take on a different meaning when considered with
other, less publicized parts of the same conversation. A prime example:
Haldeman went on to tell Nixon that Pat Gray, the acting FBI director, had
called CIA director Richard Helms and said, "I think we've run right into
the middle of a CIA covert operation."

Although the first excerpt above sounds like a discussion of a cover-up,
when we consider the information about the CIA involvement, it begins to
seem as if Nixon is not colluding. He may well have been refusing to take the
rap for something he had not authorized -- and certainly not for something
that smelled so blatantly like a trap. Nixon would have understood that if the
FBI were to conduct a full investigation and conclude that the break-in was indeed
an illegal operation of the CIA, it would all be blamed squarely on the
man who supposedly had ultimate authority over both agencies -- him. And
doubly so, since the burglars and their supervisors were tied not just
to the CIA but also directly back to Nixon's reelection committee and the
White House itself.

Yet, however concerned Nixon certainly must have been at this moment,
he played it cool. He concurred with the advice that his chief of staff was
passing along from the counsel John Dean, which was to press the CIA to
clean up its own mess.

If the CIA was involved, then the agency would have to ask the FBI to
back off. The CIA itself would have to invoke its perennial escape clause --
say that national security was at stake.

This must have sounded to Nixon like the best way to deal with a vexing
and shadowy situation. He had no way of knowing that, two years later, his
conversation with Haldeman would be publicly revealed and construed as
that of a man in control of a plot, rather than the target of one.

Sniffing Around the Bay of Pigs

How could Nixon have so quickly gotten a fix on the Watergate crew? He
might have recognized that the involvement of this particular group of
Cubans, together with E. Howard Hunt -- and the evidence tying them back
to the White House -- was in part a message to him. One of the group leaders,
G. Gordon Liddy, would even refer to the team as a bunch of "professional
killers." Indeed , several of this Bay of Pigs circle had gone to Vietnam
to participate in the assassination-oriented Phoenix Program; as noted in
chapter 7, Poppy Bush and his colleague, CIA operative Thomas Devine,
had been in Vietnam at the peak of Phoenix, and Bush had ties to at least
some from this émigré group.

So Nixon recognized this tough gang, but this time, they weren't focused on
Fidel Castro; they were focused on Dick Nixon.

Hunt was a familiar figure from the CIA old guard. A near contemporary of
Poppy Bush's at Yale , Hunt had, as noted in earlier chapters, gone on to star in
numerous agency foreign coup operations, including in Guatemala. He had
worked closely with Cuban émigrés and had been in sensitive positions at the
time John F. Kennedy was murdered and Lee Harvey Oswald named the lone
assassin. Moreover, Hunt had been a staunch loyalist of Allen Dulles, whom
Kennedy had ousted over the failed Bay of Pigs invasion; he allegedly even
collaborated on Dulles's 1963 book, The Craft of Intelligence. Hunt was one
connected fellow, and his presence in an operation of this sort, particularly with
veterans of the Cuba invasion, was not something to pass over lightly.

Nixon had further basis for viewing the events of Watergate with special
trepidation. From the moment he entered office until the day, five and a half
years later, when he was forced to resign, Nixon and the CIA had been at
war. Over what? Over records dating back to the Kennedy administration
and even earlier.

Nixon had many reasons to be interested in the events of the early 1960s.
As noted, he had been the "action officer" for the planning of the Bay of Pigs
and the attempt to overthrow Castro. But even more interestingly, Nixon had,
by coincidence, been in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and had left the city
just hours before the man he barely lost to in 1960 had been gunned down.

Five years after the Kennedy assassination, as Richard Nixon himself assumed
the presidency, one of his first and keenest instincts was to try to learn more
about these monumental events of the past decade.

Both of Nixon's chief aides, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, noted
in their memoirs that the president seemed obsessed with what he called
the "Bay of Pigs thing." Both were convinced that when Nixon used the
phrase, it was shorthand for something bigger and more disturbing. Nixon
did not tell even those closest to him what he meant.

When Nixon referred to the Bay of Pigs, he could certainly have been using
it as a euphemism, because any way one thought about it, it spelled
trouble. The Bay of Pigs invasion itself had been a kind of setup of another
president. JFK had made clear that he would not allow U.S. military forces
to be used against Castro. When the invasion by U.S.-backed Cuban exiles
failed, the CIA and the U.S. military hoped this would force Kennedy to
launch an all-out invasion. Instead, he balked, and blamed Dulles and his
associates for the botched enterprise, and, to their astonishment, forced
them out of the agency. As noted in chapter 4, these were the roots of the hatred
felt by Hunt, Dulles, and the Bush family toward Kennedy.

Nixon was keenly aware that Kennedy's battle with powerful internal elements
had preceded JFK's demise. After all, governments everywhere have
historically faced the reality that the apparatus of state security might have
the chief of state in its gun sights -- and that it certainly possesses the ability
to act.

Moreover, Richard Nixon was a curious fellow. Within days of taking
office in 1969, Nixon had begun conducting an investigation of his own regarding
the turbulent and little-understood days leading up to the end of the
Kennedy administration. He had ordered Ehrlichman, the White House
counsel, to instruct CIA director Helms to hand over the relevant files, which
surely amounted to thousands and thousands of documents. Six months
later, Ehrlichman confided to Haldeman that the agency had failed to produce
any of the files.

"Those bastards in Langley are holding back something," a frustrated
Ehrlichman told Haldeman. "They just dig their heels in and say the President
can't have it. Period. Imagine that. The Commander-in-Chief wants to
see a document and the spooks say he can't have it . . . From the way they're
protecting it, it must be pure dynamite."

Nixon himself then summoned Helms, who also refused to help. Helms
would later recall that Nixon "asked me for some information about the Bay
of Pigs and I think about the Diem episode in Vietnam and maybe something
about Trujillo in the Dominican Republic" -- all events involving the
violent removal of foreign heads of state.

Fidel Castro had managed to survive not only the Bay of Pigs but also multiple
later assassination attempts. Diem and Trujillo were not so fortunate.
And President Kennedy, who made a lot of Cuban enemies after the botched
Bay of Pigs operations, had also succumbed to an assassin's bullet. This was a
legacy that might well seize the attention of one of Kennedy's successors.

The explosiveness of the mysterious "Bay of Pigs thing" became abundantly
apparent on June 23, 1972, the day Nixon instructed Haldeman to tell
CIA director Helms to rein in the FBI's Watergate investigation. Recalled
Haldeman:

Then I played Nixon's trump card. "The President asked me to tell
you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it
opens up, the Bay of Pigs might be blown . . ."

Turmoil in the room, Helms gripping the arms of his chair,
leaning forward and shouting, "The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do
with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs." . . . I was
absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered,
what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story?

Nixon made clear to his top aides that he was not only obsessed with the
CIA's murky past, but also its present. He seemed downright paranoid about
the agency, periodically suggesting to his aides that covert operatives lurked
everywhere. And indeed, as we shall see, they did.

In all likelihood, the practice of filling the White House with intelligence
operatives was not limited to the Nixon administration, but an ongoing effort.
To the intelligence community, the White House was no different than
other civil institutions it actively penetrated. Presidents were viewed less as
elected leaders to be served than as temporary occupants to be closely monitored,
subtly guided, and where necessary, given a shove.

If the CIA was in fact trying to implicate Nixon in Watergate (and, as we
shall see, in other illegal and troubling covert operations), the goal might
have been to create the impression that the agency was joined at the hip
with Nixon in all things. Then, if Nixon were to pursue the CIA's possible
role in the assassination of Kennedy, the agency could simply claim that
Nixon himself knew about these illegal acts, or was somehow complicit in
them.

A Little Exposure Never Hurts

Something had been gnawing at Nixon since November 22, 1963. Why had
he ended up in Dallas the very day the man who he believed had stolen the
presidency from him was shot? Nixon had been asked to go there just a few
weeks before, for the rather banal purpose of an appearance at a Pepsi-Cola
corporate meeting -- coinciding with a national soda pop bottlers' convention.
The potential implications could not have been lost on this most shrewd and
suspicious man.

Nixon was no shrinking violet in Dallas. He called a press conference in
his hotel suite on November 21, the day before Kennedy's murder, criticizing
Kennedy's policies on civil rights and foreign relations but also urging
Texans to show courtesy to the president during his visit.

More significantly, he declared his belief that Kennedy was going to replace
Vice President Johnson with a new running mate in 1964. This was
an especially incendiary thing to say, since the whole reason for Kennedy's
visit was to cement his links to Texas Democrats, help bridge a gap between
the populist and conservative wings of the state party, and highlight his partnership
with Johnson. Nixon's comment was hot enough that it gained a place in the
early edition of the November 22 Dallas Morning News, under the headline
"Nixon Predicts JFK May Drop Johnson."

This was likely to get the attention of Johnson, who would be in the motorcade
that day -- and of conservatives generally, the bottlers included, whom Johnson
had addressed as keynote speaker at their convention earlier in the week.

Nixon had finished his business and left the city by 9:05 on the morning
of the twenty-second, several hours before Kennedy was shot. He learned
of the event on his arrival back in New York City. Like most people, he no
doubt was shocked and perhaps a bit alarmed. Many people, Nixon included,
believed that Kennedy had stolen the presidential election in 1960 by fixing
vote counts in Texas and Illinois.

At the very least, the appearance of Nixon's November 21 press conference
remarks in the newspaper just hours before Kennedy's death was a
stark reminder of the large and diverse group of enemies, in and out of politics,
that JFK had accumulated.

Certainly, Nixon himself was sensitive to the notion that his appearance
in Dallas had somehow contributed to Kennedy's bloody fate. According to
one account, Nixon learned of the assassination while in a taxi cab en route
from the airport. He claimed at the time and in his memoirs that he was
calm, but his adviser Stephen Hess remembered it differently. Hess was the
first person in Nixon's circle to see him that day in New York, and he recalled
that "his reaction appeared to me to be, 'There but for the Grace of
God go I.' He was very shaken."

As Hess later told political reporter Jules Witcover: "He had the morning
paper, which he made a great effort to show me, reporting he had held a
press conference in Dallas and made a statement that you can disagree with
a person without being discourteous to him or interfering with him. He
tried to make the point that he had tried to prevent it . . . It was his way of
saying, 'Look, I didn't fuel this thing.' "

Nixon's presence in Dallas on November 22, 1963, along with LBJ's --
and Poppy Bush's quieter presence on the periphery -- created a rather remarkable
situation. Three future presidents of the United States were all present in a
single American city on the day when their predecessor was assassinated
there. Within days, a fourth -- Gerald Ford -- would be asked by LBJ to join
the Warren Commission investigating the event.

Bottled Up

Nixon's unfortunate timing resulted from a series of events that seem, in retrospect,
almost to have benefited from a guiding hand. In mid-1963, friends
had persuaded him that his long-term prospects required a move from California,
where he had lost the 1962 race for the governorship. Now that he
was a two-time loser, Nixon's best hope, they counseled, was to find a position
in New York that would pay him handsomely, and let him politick and
keep himself in the public eye. His friend Donald Kendall, the longtime head
of Pepsi's international operations, offered to make him chairman of the
international division. But the consensus was that a law firm job would suit
him better, so he joined the firm of Mudge, Stern, Baldwin, and Todd.
Kendall sweetened the deal by throwing the law firm Pepsi's lucrative legal
business. In September, Kendall himself was promoted to head the entire
Pepsi company.

On November 1, President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, a corrupt
anti-Communist, was overthrown and assassinated. On November 7, Nixon
wrote to GOP strategist Robert Humphreys, expressing outrage over Diem's
death and blaming the Kennedy administration. "Our heavy-handed complicity
in his murder can only have the effect of striking terror in the hearts
of leaders of other nations who presumably are our friends."

Historians disagree on what exactly Kennedy knew about Diem's death,
though Kennedy registered shock at the news -- just as he had when Patrice
Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader, was assassinated in 1961.
Kennedy realized that he could be blamed. Later on, it would be established
by the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA had been attempting to
kill Lumumba.

Also of interest is a little-noticed comment made by President Lyndon
Johnson in 1966, caught by his own recording equipment, in which he
declared about Diem: "We killed him. We all got together and got a god-
damn bunch of thugs and assassinated him." It is not clear whom he
meant by "we."

Kendall asked Nixon to accompany him to Dallas for the Pepsi corporate
gathering coinciding with the bottlers' convention in late November. The
convention was an important annual event for Pepsi, and so would have
been on Kendall's schedule for a while, though the necessity of Nixon's
presence is less apparent. And with LBJ as keynote speaker, and appearances
by Miss USA, Yogi Berra, and Joan Crawford, Nixon, the two-time loser, did
not even appear at the convention.

For his part, Nixon seems to have agreed to go because it was an opportunity
to share the limelight surrounding Kennedy's visit. And since Nixon was
traveling as a representative of Pepsi, and flying on its corporate plane --
something noted in the news coverage -- Kendall was getting double duty out
of Nixon's play for media attention. That was something Kendall understood
well.

Donald Kendall was, like Nixon and Poppy Bush, a World War II Navy
vet who had served in the Pacific. But instead of politics, he had gone into
the business world, joining the Pepsi- Cola company and rising quickly
through the ranks. Like Nixon and Bush, he was enormously ambitious.
And in his oversight of Pepsi operations abroad, he also shared something
else with them: a deep concern about Communist encroachment -- which
was just about everywhere. Plus Kendall had a passion for covert operations.

Kendall's particular reason for being interested in Cuba was sugar, for
many years a key ingredient of Pepsi-Cola. Cuba was the world's leading
supplier; and Castro's expropriations, and the resulting U.S. embargo, had
caused chaos in the soft drink industry. (It also had affected the fortunes of
Wall Street firms such as Brown Brothers Harriman, which, as noted in
chapter 3, had extensive sugar holdings on the island.)

Indeed, articles from the Dallas papers anticipating the bottlers' convention
talked openly about all these problems with Cuba. One of the articles, titled
"Little Relief Seen for Sugar Problem," explains the pressure felt by soft drink
bottlers in light of a crisis concerning high sugar prices. The president of a major
New York-based sugar company is quoted explaining why the crisis had
not yet been averted: "The government probably thought the Castro regime
might be eliminated."

It is in this context that we consider a June 1963 letter from Nixon to
Kendall, then still running Pepsi's foreign operations. A researcher working
for me found it in Nixon's presidential library archives; it appears to be previously
unpublished.

Dear Don:
In view of our discussion yesterday morning with regard
to Cuba, I thought you might like to see a copy of the speech
I made before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in
which I directed remarks toward this problem.
When I return from Europe I am looking forward to having
a chance to get a further fill-in with regard to your experiences
on the Bay of Pigs incident.

Dick

The letter rings a little odd. Nixon and Kendall were close, and more than
two years had passed since the Bay of Pigs; it was unlikely that this would be
the first chance Nixon got to discuss the subject with his friend. Furthermore,
Kendall is not known to have had any "experiences" in relation to the invasion.
In a 2008 interview, Kendall, by then eighty-seven years old but still maintaining
an office at Pepsi and seeming vigorous, said that he could not recall the letter
nor provide an explanation for it.

Given this, the use of the phrase in the letter appears to be some form of
euphemism between friends, a sort of discreet wink. Nixon, the former
coordinator of covert operations under Ike, clearly knew that Kendall was
more than a soda pop man. Nixon's experiences representing Pepsi instilled
in him a lasting -- and not altogether favorable -- impression of what he
acidly termed "the sugar lobby." Haldeman got the message that treading
carefully was wise. Some of his notes are intriguing in this respect. He
urges special counsel Charles Colson:

0900 Cols[on] -- re idea of getting pol. Commitments --
Sugar people are richest & most ruthless
before we commit -- shld put screws on
& get quid pro quo
ie Fl[anigan] -- always go to Sugar lobby or oil etc.
before we give them anything

The CIA also knew the soft drink industry well. The agency used bottling
plants, including those run by Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and other companies, for
both cover and intelligence. Moreover, the local bottling franchises tended
to be given to crucial figures in each country, with ties to the military and
the ruling elites. It was not just bottlers that played such a role; there were
marketing monopolies for all kinds of products, from cars to sewing machines,
given out on recommendations of the CIA.

Kendall was a close friend of the Bush family and a fellow resident of
Greenwich, Connecticut. In 1988, he would serve in the crucial position of
finance chairman for Poppy Bush's successful run for the presidency. His
support for the Bushes included donating to George W. Bush's 1978 Midland
congressional campaign.

And as noted by the New York Times , Kendall was identified with the successful
effort to overthrow the elected democratic socialist president of Chile, Salvador
Allende.

As the Times would report in July 1976:

One of Mr. Kendall's great passions is international trade, and his
interest in foreign affairs won him a footnote in a 1975 interim report
of a Senate Select Committee. The report was called "Alleged
Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders," and discussed in
part the assassination of Salvador Allende Gossens, the Marxist
Chilean president who was killed in 1973.
The report stated that Mr. Kendall had requested in 1970 that
Augustin Edwards, who was publisher of the Chilean newspaper
El Mercurio, as well as a Pepsi bottler in Chile, meet with high
Nixon Administration officials to report on the political situation
in Chile. (Pepsi bottling operations were later expropriated by the
regime.) That meeting, which included Mr. Kendall, Mr. Edwards,
Henry Kissinger and John N. Mitchell, was indeed held, and later
the same day, Mr. Nixon met with Dr. Kissinger and Richard
Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Helms
later testified that President Nixon had ordered at the follow-up
meeting that Chile was to be saved from Allende "and he didn't
care much how." Mr. Kendall says he sees nothing sinister, or for
that matter even controversial, in his action.

Like many on the right, quite a few bottlers regarded the Kennedy administration's
policy toward Castro's Cuba as dangerously soft. Declassified FBI
files show that, after Kennedy's death, one man contacted the FBI regarding
threatening remarks that his brother, a bottler, had made in reference to the
president. Another convention attendee was identified in FBI reports as
having had a drink with Jack Ruby, the assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald, on
the night of November 21.

Though unhappy with Kennedy, these independent businessmen clearly
wanted to hear what Johnson had to say, which is why the Texas-born vice
president was the convention's keynote speaker.

By some estimates, the convention included close to eight thousand
bottlers -- so many, in fact, that it had taken over Dallas's largest venue, the
new Market Hall. This meant that when Kennedy's trip planners determined
where he would speak on November 22, one of the very few sufficiently large
and central venues had long since been taken. The Dallas Trade Mart thereby
became the most likely location for Kennedy's speech, with the route through
downtown to the Trade Mart, past the Texas School Book Depository, as the
most likely for the presidential motorcade.

In fact, the Trade Mart was secured by that most unlikely group of "friends"
of JFK, the Dallas Citizens Council, whose members' views were described by
the New York Times as "very conservative and range rightward." The council
had cosponsored the luncheon as a putative peace offering to JFK. Indeed, it
seems that JFK's itinerary in Dallas was circumscribed by the bottlers and the
Citizens Council.

The mere fact that eight thousand strangers had poured into Dallas in
the days before JFK's arrival should presumably have been of interest, yet
the Warren Commission ignored the event altogether.

Another interesting thing about the bottlers' convention is that the Army
Reserves volunteered to help facilitate an unusual extracurricular activity.
As noted in chapters 6 and 7, Poppy Bush's friend Jack Crichton was head of
a local Army Intelligence unit. Associates of Crichton's who were involved
with the Army Reserves had managed to get into the pilot car of Kennedy's
procession, with one as the driver. Crichton would also provide the interpreter
for Marina Oswald after her husband's arrest as the prime suspect in
Kennedy's murder.

According to a short item in the Dallas Morning News the day before
Kennedy was shot, members of the Dallas unit of the 90th Artillery Division
of the Army Reserve would be providing trucks and drivers to transport two
hundred orphans to a livestock arena for a rodeo sponsored by the bottlers'
group. This was to take place at nine P.M. on the night before Kennedy's arrival.
The arena was at Fair Park, near the site under which Crichton's Dallas
Civil Defense maintained its underground emergency bunker and communications
facility. Putting aside the Dickensian aspect of moving orphans in
Army trucks within an affluent American city, this raises some questions
about the reason for this odd maneuver. Whatever the true purpose of a small
platoon of Army vehicles being permitted to move about Dallas on purportedly
unrelated civilian business as the president's arrival was imminent, it appears
investigators never considered this incident worthy of a closer look.

Cumulatively, the bottlers' convention was responsible for a number of
curious circumstances that may be said to have some relevance to the
events surrounding Kennedy's death:

• The convention brought Nixon to Dallas.
• It brought eight thousand strangers to Dallas.
• It sent army vehicles into action on city streets the night before the
assassination.
• Its early reservation of one large venue helped determine Kennedy's
ultimate destination and thus the motorcade route.

In any event, as Nixon's adviser Stephen Hess has recounted, the former
vice president emerged deeply shaken about the timing of his Dallas visit. It
served to remind him that if he ever occupied the Oval Office, he too could
be vulnerable and targeted -- by the very same players. And his presence in
this incriminating spot was suggestive of wheels within wheels, to which he
of all people would have been alert. Were these intrigues what fueled President
Nixon's obsession with the CIA and its cloak-and-dagger activities in
the Kennedy era? This little-noted tug-of-war, a struggle over both current
policy and past history, would become an ongoing theme throughout Nixon's
term in office.

The Loyalist in Chief

At one time, Poppy Bush had worked hard to position himself as Richard
Nixon's most loyal servant. An example appeared in a 1971 profile of Poppy
in his role as Nixon's United Nations ambassador. Under the banner headline
"Bush Working Overtime," the Dallas Morning News of September 19,
1971, portrayed the ambassador as poised at the center of world affairs.
Leaning forward at his desk, a large globe next to him, his lean face bearing
a look of calm intensity, George H. W. Bush looked almost presidential.

The reporter for the Texas paper picked up on that. But he was equally
struck by Poppy's devotion to the sitting president. Ambassador Bush, he
noted, "is loyal -- some say to a fault -- to President Nixon, and frequently
quotes him in conversation."

It was the image Poppy wanted to convey. Even when the reporter asked
for his own views, he quickly deferred. "I like to think of myself as a pragmatist,
but I have learned to defy being labeled," Bush said. "What I can say
is that I am a strong supporter of the President."

Of course, when someone defies being labeled, it gives him extraordinary
flexibility to move in different circles, to collect information, to spin on
a dime -- in short, to behave a lot like a covert intelligence officer.

The image of Poppy as the ultimate loyalist was one he would project for
three more years -- right up to the final days of the Nixon presidency. Not
even Nixon, who was famously distrustful, seemed to doubt it. After winning
the 1972 election in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Nixon decided
to hedge his bets and clean house.

Planning to fire all but his most trusted aides, Nixon instructed Ehrlichman
to "eliminate everyone except George Bush. Bush will do anything for
our cause." This trust endured to the end of Nixon's presidency.

If indeed Bush was ever a Nixon loyalist, he certainly flipped the moment
the tide turned. This new stance emerged with the 1974 public release of
the transcript of Nixon's smoking gun conversation with Haldeman. As
Bush would record in his diary after Nixon's final cabinet meeting, the taped
conversation was irrefutable proof that "Nixon lied about his knowledge of
the cover-up of the Watergate scandal . . . I felt betrayed by his lie . . . I want
to make damn clear the lie is something we can't support."

Added Poppy: "This era of tawdry, shabby lack of morality has got to end."

This purported diary entry was most likely part of Poppy's perennial alibi
trail. It could have been Bush family tradecraft, something like Barbara's
Tyler, Texas, hair salon letter from November 22, 1963 -- always intended
for public view. Perhaps the most revealing part is the point at which Bush
summarizes the content of the smoking gun conversation. Poppy selectively
paraphrases a tiny part of that session, making it look as if Nixon had
ordered Haldeman (as Bush put it) to "block the FBI's investigation of the
Watergate break-in." This, Poppy asserted, "was proof [that] the President
had been involved, at least in the cover-up."

What Poppy omitted were two key things: that it was actually John Dean's
suggestion, not Nixon's, to block the investigation -- and that the CIA was at
the center of the intrigue to begin with.

Watergate's Unknown Prelude

The series of scandals that undid Richard Nixon's presidency are principally
identified with the 1972 burglary at the Democratic party offices in the Watergate
complex. But one could argue that Watergate -- and Nixon's
downfall -- really began in late 1969, during Nixon's first year in office, with
a phone call from a man almost no one today has heard of.

An independent oilman named John M. King dialed in to offer ideas for
improving Nixon's hold over Congress. Former White House staffer Jack
Gleason remembered the episode: "[King] called one day in '69 and said,
'You know, we have to start planning for 1970.' "

King's call suggested he was principally concerned about helping Nixon,
but in retrospect, there may have been more at stake. For one thing, King
was a member of the fraternity of independent oilmen who were growing
increasingly unhappy with Nixon. As we saw in the last chapter, the oil barons
were up in arms over threats to the oil depletion allowance, convinced that
Nixon was not solidly enough in their corner. But they had other gripes.
As Haldeman noted in a diary entry in December 1969: "Big problem persists
on oil import quotas. Have to make some decision, and can't win. If
we do what we should, and what the task force recommends, we'd apparently
end up losing at least a couple of senate seats, including George Bush in
Texas. Trying to figure out a way to duck the whole thing and shift it to Congress."

On a more personal level, King was mired in problems. The Denver-based
King had assembled a global empire with oil drilling and mining operations
in a hundred countries; he was known for a high-flying lifestyle and a gift
for leveraging connections. He even had two Apollo astronauts on
his board. In 1968, King had donated $750,000 to Nixon, and as a big donor,
his calls always got attention. But King was, according to a Time magazine
article of the period, something of a huckster. By late 1969, his empire
was on the verge of collapse. In the end, he would face jail and ruin.

Perhaps he was looking to secure intervention from the White House.
Perhaps it was just general business insurance. Or perhaps he was speaking
on behalf of his fellow in dependent oilmen.

In any event, King's pitch sounded like a good idea. He was proposing
that the Nixon White House funnel money from big GOP donors directly to
Senate and House candidates of its choice, rather than following the customary
method: letting the Republican Party determine the recipients. To do this
without provoking the wrath of the GOP establishment, King suggested
it be kept under wraps.

This idea appealed to the White House brass, and soon, a special operation
was being convened.

"As it matured, we had a couple of meetings with Ehrlichman and Haldeman
and went over some of the ground rules," said Gleason. Haldeman
brought the bare bones of the idea to Nixon, who thought it sounded fine.
Anything that involved secrecy and centralized White House control was
likely to find a receptive ear. Gleason's recollection is confirmed by a notation
in Haldeman's diary of December 11: "I had meeting with [Maurice]
Stans, Dent, and Gleason about setting up our own funding for backing the
good candidates in hot races. A little tricky to handle outside the RNC but
looks pretty good."

The White House political unit assigned the job of organizing and running
the new fund to its operative Gleason, an experienced GOP fundraiser.
Gleason was instructed by his boss, Harry Dent, to find an office for the operation.
When he suggested renting space in one of those prefurnished office
suites that come with secretarial and other services, he was told that this
would be too expensive.

That struck Gleason as odd, since it would not have cost much more and
would have been a pittance in relation to the large sums that would be
raised. But he followed his orders and rented something cheaper and more
discreet. Dent directed him to a townhouse on Nineteenth Street, in a residential
area near Dupont Circle. The space was not just in a townhouse but
in the basement of a townhouse. And not only that, it was in the back of the
basement. Reporters would later describe it as a "townhouse basement back
room" -- an arrangement guaranteed to raise eyebrows if ever discovered.

The way in which the funds were to be handled also struck Gleason as
unnecessarily complicated, and even furtive. While donors could simply --
and legally -- have written a single check to each candidate's campaign committee,
they were instructed instead to break up their donations into a number of
smaller checks. The checks were then routed through the townhouse,
where Gleason would pick them up and deposit them in a "Jack
Gleason, Agent" account at American Security and Trust Bank. Gleason
then would convert the amounts into cashier's checks and send them on to
the respective campaign committees, often further breaking each donation
up into smaller ones and spreading them over more than one campaign
committee of each candidate.

The ostensible reason for these complex arrangements was to enable the
White House to control the money. The actual effect, however, was to create
the impression of something illicit, such as a money-laundering operation
aimed at hiding the identities of the donors.

Somewhere along the way Gleason began to detect an odor stronger than
that of quotidian campaign operations. What seemed suspect to him was
not that Nixon would help Republican candidates -- that was how things
worked. What bothered him were the operational details. Many seemed
positively harebrained, the kind of things with which no president should be
associated. But Gleason just figured that Richard Nixon, or his subordinates,
had a blind spot when it came to appearances of impropriety.

Deep-Sixing Nixon

Late in the election season, Gleason's superiors told him to add a new component
to the Townhouse Operation. Gleason found this new development
particularly disturbing. It was called the "Sixes Project." Launched in October
1970, when the midterm elections were almost over, it provided an extra
personal donation of six thousand dollars to each of thirteen Senate
candidates -- in cash.

Gleason's job was simple enough: get on a plane, fly out to meet each of
the candidates, and personally hand over an envelope of cash. He was to add
a personal message: "Here's a gift from Dick and Pat." And he was to keep
meticulous receipts, noting who received the cash and the date of the transaction.

Gleason was not happy about his role as dispenser of envelopes full of
cash. As he told me in a 2008 interview,

Of all the silly things I've ever been asked to do in this life, traveling
around with six thousand dollars to give the guy and say, "This
is from Dick and Pat," was colossally bad . . . Now you crank me
up, leave a paper trail a mile long and a mile wide of flight tickets,
hotel reservations, rental cars, everything, and have me traipsing
all over the country giving these guys six thousand dollars in cash,
[and besides], the six thousand doesn't matter, doesn't get you anywhere.
If we give you a quarter of a million, what's another six
thousand? . . . The six thousand dollars itself was a disconnect, because
everything else was largely done to keep the whole thing under wraps.

In those days, the campaign finance laws, most of which were at the state
level, were limited and rarely enforced. Reporting requirements were thin,
but those candidates who wanted to abide by the law made sure to report
any cash they received to their respective campaign committees. That posed
a challenge for a candidate caught in a grueling nonstop schedule, who was
handed an envelope of cash. It would be easy enough to forget to report it,
whether deliberately or accidentally.

Even back in 1973, Gleason could come to only one conclusion. When
special prosecutors in the Watergate investigation later grilled him about
the Townhouse Operation, he told them as much. "The purpose of these
contributions was to set up possible blackmail for these candidates later
on." However, at that point Gleason assumed that the sponsors of the
blackmail were Nixon loyalists -- perhaps even authorized by the president
himself.

Alarmed at this arrangement, and cognizant that he might be generating
myriad campaign law violations, Gleason asked the White House for a legal
analysis. But despite multiple requests, he never got it. Finally, he asked for
a letter stating that nothing he was being asked to do was illegal. (That letter,
Gleason later explained, would somehow disappear before it could arrive at
the offices of the Watergate prosecutors.)

Since the six-thousand-dollar donations were ostensibly generated by
"Dick and Pat," one could easily surmise that Richard Nixon, or those under
his authority, were indeed out to get something on Republican candidates.
Once they took the cash, the recipients would have to do as he wanted, or
else risk exposure. As Assistant Special Prosecutor Charles Ruff wrote to
his boss: "It has been our guess that [the Nixon White House] hoped to gain
some leverage over these candidates by placing cash in their hands which
they might not report."

Had this become known, Nixon would have had trouble explaining it.
Few would have believed that such a scheme could have been run under
White House auspices without Nixon's approval. And yet that seems to have
been the case. In fact, Nixon's name rarely appears in the Townhouse files of
Watergate prosecutors -- for whom the evidence of Nixon's wrongdoing
would have been the ultimate prize.

Even the complex and calculating Charles Colson, who served as special
counsel to the president in 1970, admitted to prosecutors that Nixon was
not involved. Colson said that he had sat in on a Townhouse planning meeting
and later briefed the president about "political prospects in that race" -
but "did not recall that the fundraising aspects were discussed with the
President."

John Mitchell, who was attorney general before he resigned in 1972 to
head up Nixon's reelection campaign, attended a meeting for "substantial
contributors" and later told prosecutors that "the President stopped by, but
was not present during discussions of campaign finances." Mitchell himself
denied participation in or knowledge of the Town house plan. Even
Herb Kalmbach, Nixon's personal lawyer, seems to have been involved only
in the most benign part of the operation: the legal solicitation of funds from
wealthy donors. Of course, all this could be about denials and deniability -
but as we shall see, it apparently was not.

Meet John Dean

At the time Town house was becoming operational, the position of counsel
to the president opened up. John Ehrlichman, Nixon's trusted aide, was
moving to head up domestic affairs, and Ehrlichman was looking for someone
to replace him -- a smart lawyer and good detail man who was also loyal
to the president. The man who came on board on July 27, 1970, was John
Wesley Dean III.

Dean arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just as President Nixon was
trying to figure out how to deal with massive street demonstrations against
the Vietnam War. A month before, a White House staffer named Tom Huston
had drawn up a plan to spy on the demonstrators through electronic
surveillance, recruitment of campus informants, and surreptitious entry
into offices and meeting places.

In hindsight, this sounds especially odious, and it was, but at the time, and
from the vantage point of the administration and its supporters in the "silent
majority," America was besieged. The general atmosphere in the country
and the domestic violence, actual and hinted, surrounding the Vietnam War
debate, felt like chaos was descending. Even so, Attorney General John
Mitchell shot down the notorious "Huston Plan." John Dean, however, took
an immediate interest in some of the proposals.

Although his official duties centered on giving the president legal advice --
often on arcane technical matters -- Dean was considered a junior staffer and
had virtually no contact with Nixon. Nevertheless, the White House neophyte
quickly began taking on for himself the far edgier and dubious mantle of
political intelligence guru.

Among the bits of intelligence Dean collected were the details of the
Townhouse Operation. In November 1970, following the midterm elections,
Jack Gleason turned over all his files to the White House, where
Haldeman had them delivered to Dean. Watergate investigators would later
discover that "Haldeman also gave Dean several little notebooks which pertained
to the 1970 fundraising." Those little notebooks would have told Dean who the
donors were, how much they gave, and the identity of the recipients.

Shortly after the files ended up in Dean's hands, the media began
receiving -- perhaps coincidentally -- leaks about the Townhouse Operation.
One of the first reports was an AP article with no byline that appeared
in the New York Times on December 27, 1970. It said that seven
ambassadors had received their positions as rewards for their contributions
to the Townhouse Operation: "Mr. Jack Gleason left the staff of a
White House political operative, Harry Dent, this fall to run the fund-
raising campaign from a basement back office in a Washington townhouse."
And there it was: Gleason caught up in something that sounded
sinister, complete with the townhouse basement back office, all purportedly
on behalf of Richard Nixon.

In February 1972, someone cranked Townhouse back up again. Jim Polk,
an investigative reporter at the Washington Star with an impressive track
record on campaign finance matters, got more information about the fund
from "inside sources."

Polk published an article headlined "Obscure Lawyer Raises Millions for
Nixon." It sounded even more disturbing than the previous one. Polk's article
did two things: it introduced the public to Nixon's personal lawyer Kalmbach
and it provided many new details about the Townhouse fund.

A little-known lawyer in Newport Beach, Calif., has raised millions
of dollars in campaign contributions as an unpublicized fund-
raiser . . . [and] as Nixon's personal agent . . . to collect campaign
checks from Republican donors Kalmbach helped to raise
nearly $3 million in covert campaign money . . . The checks were
sent through a townhouse basement used by former Nixon political
aide Jack A. Gleason. But the operation was run from inside the
White House by presidential assistant H.R. (Bob) Haldeman . . .
Only a portion of this money has shown up on public records. The
rest of the campaign checks have been funneled through dummy
committees.

When I spoke to Polk in 2008, not surprisingly, he no longer recalled the
identity of his source. But whoever had leaked this story to him was no
friend of Nixon's. Yet if it was intended to provoke further interest, it failed.
Someone had attempted to light a fuse with Townhouse, but it did not ignite.
Just four months later, however, another fuse was lit. And this one would
burn on and on.

The Brazen Burglary

If Townhouse was engineered to discredit Nixon, it had one potential flaw.
The wrongdoing involved technical financial matters that reporters might
find daunting. Watergate, on the other hand, was inherently sexy; it had all
the elements of the crime drama it became. The break-in was brazen and
easily grasped, and carried out in such a manner as to just about guarantee
both failure and discovery. It also involved a cast of characters that neither
reporters nor television cameras could resist (as the Watergate hearings later
would demonstrate). It was like a made-for-TV movie: burglars in business
suits, living in a fancy suite near the scene of the crime; Cuban expatriates;
documents in pockets leading to the White House. Even Nixon had to interrupt
his reelection campaign to confront it.

But the burglars didn't appear to take anything, so what was the intended
crime? Breaking and entering -- for what purpose?

As with the JFK assassination, theories abound. The burglars were found
with bugging equipment. But that made little sense; Nixon didn't have
much to worry about from his presumed Democratic opponent, George
McGovern. The risks of a bugging operation far outweighed any conceivable
gains. And if Nixon had really wanted inside dope on the McGovern
campaign, which he hardly needed, he could have sent teams into McGovern's
headquarters up on Capitol Hill, or to Miami, where the Democrats
would hold their convention.

If, on the other hand, the intent was to fire the public imagination, the
Watergate complex was far better -- and Washington itself a necessary locale
if the national press was to stay with the story week after week.

With all this in mind, Nixon's observation in his memoirs that "the whole
thing was so senseless and bungled that it almost looked like some kind of
a setup" seems on the mark.

If the Cubans were really trying to do the job, their supervisors were
guilty of malpractice. They might as well have called the D.C. police to reserve
an interrogation room.

The flubs were so obvious it was as if they were the work of amateurs --
which it was not. Burglary team member James McCord left tape horizontally
over a lock, so that it could be spotted, as it was, by a security guard
when the door was closed. If he had taped the lock vertically, it would have
been invisible to a passerby. And if the intent was to pull off a real burglary,
there was no need for tape anyway -- as the burglars were already inside.
Even so, after the security guard discovered and removed the tape, McCord
put it right back.

The entire operation reflected poor judgment. An experienced burglar
would have known not to carry any sort of identification, and certainly not
identification that led back to the boss. How elementary is that? Among the
incriminating materials found on the Watergate burglars was a check with
White House consultant E. Howard Hunt's signature on it -- and Hunt's
phone number at the White House, in addition to checks drawn on Mexican
bank accounts. Despite the obvious risks, the burglars were also instructed
by Hunt to register at the Watergate Hotel, and to keep their room keys in
their pockets during the mission. These keys led investigators straight back
to an array of incriminating evidence, not the least damaging of which was
a suitcase containing the burglars' ID cards. Everything pointed back to
CREEP and the White House.

The most interesting thing was that the materials identified the burglars
as connected not just to the White House, but to the CIA as well. And not
just to the CIA, but to a group within the CIA that had been active during
the controversial period that included the Bay of Pigs invasion and the
assassination of JFK.

Hunt, whose status in the CIA was described earlier, was a high-ranking
(GS-15) officer and a member of the "Plumbers," a White House special
investigations unit ostensibly dedicated to stopping government leaks to the
media. As discussed in chapter 6, Hunt had been a key player in the coup in
Guatemala and the Bay of Pigs invasion, in addition to working very closely
with Allen Dulles himself. As noted previously, Dulles was in Dallas shortly
before November 22.

And Hunt had been there on the very day of the assassination, according
to an account confirmed in 1978 by James Angleton, the longtime CIA
counterintelligence chief. Angleton, clearly concerned that investigations
would uncover Hunt's presence in Dallas anyway, went so far as to alert a
reporter and a House Committee to Hunt's being in the city that day, and
then opined that Hunt had been involved in unauthorized activities while
there; 'Some very odd things were going on that were out of our control."

Watergate burglar and electronic surveillance expert James McCord, like
Hunt, had also been a GS-15 agent, serving for over a decade in the CIA's
Office of Security. Around the time of the Kennedy assassination, he began
working with anti-Castro Cubans on a possible future invasion of the island.
Allen Dulles once introduced McCord to an Air Force colonel, saying,
"This man is the best man we have." Regarding Nixon, McCord dismissed
him to a colleague as not a team player, not "one of us."

In a long-standing tradition, both Hunt and McCord had officially "resigned"
from the agency prior to the Watergate time frame. But their continued
involvement in CIA-related cover operations suggested otherwise.
Indeed, as noted earlier in the book, many figures, including Poppy Bush's
oil business colleague Thomas J. Devine, officially took retirement prior to
participating in seemingly independent operations in which deniability was
crucial.

Though Hunt claimed to have cut his CIA ties, he actually went out of
his way to draw attention to those ties while working in the Nixon White
House. He ostentatiously ordered a limousine to drive him from the
White House out to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It was as though
he was trying to broadcast the notion that Nixon was working closely with
the agency -- with which, as we now know, the president was in reality battling.

After Hunt's alleged retirement, he was employed at the Mullen Company,
a public relations firm that served as a CIA cover. In a 1973 memo, Charles
Colson recounted a meeting he'd just had with Senate Republican minority
leader Howard Baker. Charles Colson wrote, "Baker said that the Mullen
Company was a CIA front, that [Hunt's] job with the Mullen Company was
arranged by [CIA director] Helms personally." Baker also informed Colson
that, during Hunt's time at the Mullen Company, his pay had been adjusted to
the exact salary he would have been making had he stayed at the spy agency.

Eugenio Martinez, one of the anti-Castro Cuban burglars, was another
CIA operative in the break-in crew. Indeed, he was the one member of the
team who remained actively on the CIA payroll, filing regular reports on the
activities of the team to his Miami case officer. Then there was Bernard L.
Barker, who first worked as an FBI in formant before being turned over to
the CIA during the run-up to the Bay of Pigs. Frank Sturgis, too, had CIA
connections. Martinez, Barker, and Sturgis had worked with Hunt and Mc-
Cord on the Second Naval Guerrilla operation.

So Nixon, who had been trying to see the CIA's file on the Bay of Pigs,
was now staring at a burglary purportedly carried out in his name by veterans
of the same "Bay of Pigs thing" with strong CIA ties. It was like a flashing
billboard warning. CIA professionals, Cuban exiles, all tied to the events
of 1961 through 1963, suddenly appearing in the limelight and tying themselves
and their criminal activity to the president.

watergate burglars Encarta

Layers and Layers

If most of us ever knew, we have probably long since forgotten that before
the June 1972 Watergate break-in, there was another Watergate break-in
by the same crew. With this earlier one, though, they were careful to avoid
detection and were not caught. At that time, they installed listening devices.
The second burglary, the one that seemingly was designed for detection,
and designed to be traced back to the Nixon White House, ostensibly revolved
around removing listening devices installed earlier -- and therefore drawing
attention to the devices and the surveillance.

The conclusion one would likely draw from their being caught red-handed
is that Dick Nixon is up to yet another manifestation of his twisted and illegal
inclinations. And what were they listening to? Purportedly, DNC personnel
were arranging for "dates" for distinguished visitors with a call-girl ring. The
ring was operating from down the street, not far from where the bugs were
being monitored. The conclusion is that Nixon was perhaps trying to sexually
blackmail the Democrats. It got more and more objectionable.

But the fact is that no evidence shows Nixon wanting to sexually blackmail
Democrats, nor wanting to install bugs at the DNC, nor wanting to
order a burglary to remove the bugs. Yet somebody else clearly had a good
imagination, and a talent for executing a script that was magnificently inculpatory
of someone who would appear to deserve removal from the highest
office in the land.

Eventually, Americans would learn that the Watergate break-ins were
not the first such operation that made Nixon look bad, and not the first coordinated
by Hunt and featuring Cuban veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Back in September 1971, the team hit the Beverly Hills office of Dr.
Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the whistle-blower who
leaked the explosive Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. First, though,
Nixon, who was initially indifferent over the leak, was persuaded to take on
the Times for publishing the documents, a posture that would position him
as a foe of public disclosure. It also escalated his already adversarial relationship
with the news media -- a relationship that would become a severe
disadvantage to Nixon as the Watergate "revelations" began to emerge.
Nixon was also persuaded to authorize the formation of a leak-busting
White House group, which was soon dubbed "the Plumbers." Soon, purportedly
operating on Nixon's behalf -- but without his actual approval -- the
Hunt team broke into Dr. Fieldingís office, having been told to photograph
Ellsberg's patient files.

However, as with Watergate, the burglary appears to have had an ulterior
motive. Senator Baker, ranking Republican on the Senate Watergate Committee,
learned of this, according to White House special counsel Charles
Colson, when Baker interviewed the Cuban émigré Eugenio Martinez, who
participated in the burglaries of both Fielding's office and the DNC office in
Watergate:

Baker told me of his interview with Martinez who said that there
were no patient records in Dr. Fielding's office, that he, Martinez,
was very disappointed when they found nothing there, but Hunt
on the other hand seemed very pleased and as a matter of fact
broke out a bottle of champagne when the three men returned
from the job. Martinez says that he has participated in three hundred
or four hundred similar CIA operations, that this was clearly
a 'cover' operation with no intention of ever finding anything.

In fact, though the burglars were ostensibly seeking records while on a
covert mission, they did not act like people who wished to avoid discovery. In
addition to smashing the windows and prying open the front door with a crowbar,
the burglars proceeded to vandalize the office, scattering papers, pills, and
files across the floor. The result was to ensure the generation of a crime report,
establishing a record of the burglary. The break-in would not become public
knowledge until John Dean dramatically revealed it two years later --
and implicitly tied Nixon to it by citing the involvement of Egil Krogh, the man in
charge of Nixon's so-called Plumbers unit.

Dean and his lawyers showed far greater enthusiasm for pursuing the
Beverly Hills break-in than even the prosecutors. As Renata Adler wrote in
the New Yorker: "Dean's attorney, Charles Shaffer, practically had to spell it
out to [the prosecutors] that they would be taking part in an obstruction of
justice themselves if they did not pass the information on."

Like Watergate, the Fielding office break-in was on its face a very bad idea
that was not approved by Nixon but certain to deeply embarrass him and
damage his public standing when it was disclosed. The principal accomplishment
of the break-in was to portray Nixon as a man who had no decency
at all -- purportedly even stooping to obtain private psychiatric records
of a supposed foe. This was almost guaranteed to provoke public revulsion.

The notion that a group surrounding the president could be working to
do him in might sound preposterous to most of us. But not to veterans of
America's clandestine operations, where the goal abroad has often been to
do just that. And Nixon was a perfect target: solitary, taciturn, with few
friends, and not many more people he trusted. Because of this, he had to
hire virtual strangers in the White House, and as a result, the place was
teeming with schemers. Nixon was too distrustful, and yet not distrustful
enough. It was supremely ironic. Nixon, ridiculed for his irrational hatred
and "paranoia" toward the Eastern Establishment, may in the end have been
done in by forces controlled by that very establishment. Of course, it was
nothing less than that level of power to remove presidents, plural, one after
the other if necessary.

Among the myriad plots was the so-called Moorer-Radford affair, cited in
chapter 9, in which the military actually was spying on Nixon and stealing
classified documents in an attempt to gain inside information, influence
policy, and perhaps even unseat the president.

That Nixon could actually have been the victim of Watergate, and not the
perpetrator, will not sit well with many, especially those with a professional
stake in Nixon's guilt. Yet three of the most thoroughly reported books on
Watergate from the past three decades have come to the same conclusion:
that Nixon and/or his top aides were indeed set up. Each of these books takes
a completely different approach, focuses on different aspects, and relies on
essentially different sets of facts and sources. These are 1984's Secret Agenda,
by former Harper's magazine Washington editor Jim Hougan; 1991's Silent
Coup, by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin; and 2008's The Strong Man, by
James Rosen.

Rosen's The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate is a biography
of Nixon's close friend, attorney general, and campaign chief, the
highest-ranking official ever to be sentenced to prison. The book, on which
Rosen labored for seventeen years, is based on sources not previously interviewed
and also on unprecedented access to documents generated by the Senate
Watergate Committee and Watergate special prosecutors. Rosen asserts
that the Watergate operation was authorized behind Mitchell's back by his
subordinate Jeb Magruder and by John Dean and was deliberately sabotaged
in its execution by burglar and former CIA officer James McCord. As Rosen
puts it:

Mitchell knew he had been set up. In later years, his mind reeled at
the singular confluence of amazing characters that produced
Watergate -- Dean, Magruder, Liddy, Helms, Hunt, McCord,
Martinez -- and reckoned himself and the president, neither of
whom enjoyed foreknowledge of the Watergate break-in, victims
in the affair. "The more I got into this," Mitchell said in June 1987,
"the more I see how these sons of bitches have not only done
Nixon in but they've done me in."

Rosen also writes:

The [Watergate] tapes unmasked Nixon not as the take-charge boss
of a criminal conspiracy but rather as an aging and confused politician
lost in a welter of detail, unable to distinguish his Magruders
from his Strachans, uncertain who knew what and when, what
each player had told the grand jury, whose testimony was direct,
whose hearsay.

My independent research takes the argument one step further, and the facts in a completely new direction. It leads to an even more disturbing conclusion as to what
was really going on, and why.

Woodward at His Post

The accepted narrative of Nixon as the villain of Watergate is based largely on
the work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They both were young reporters
on the Washington Post's Metro desk when the story fell into their laps.
When it was over, they were household names. Woodward in particular would
go on to become the nation's most visible investigative journalist, and indeed
the iconic representation of that genre. The work of "Woodstein" would play a
key role in enhancing the franchise of the Post itself. Yet this oeuvre -- in
particular the role of Woodward -- has become somewhat suspect among those
who have taken a second and third look -- including Columbia Journalism
Review contributing editor Steve Weinberg, in a November/December 1991
article.

Woodward did not fit the profile of the typical daily print reporter. Young,
midwestern, Republican, he attended Yale on an ROTC scholarship and
then spent five years in the Navy. He had begun with a top-secret security
clearance on board the USS Wright, specializing in communications, including
with the White House.

His commanding officer was Rear Admiral Robert O. Welander, who
would later be implicated in the military spy ring in the Nixon White
House, mentioned in chapter 9. According to Silent Coup, an exhaustive
study of the military espionage scandal, Woodward then arrived in Washington,
where he worked on the staff of Admiral Thomas Moorer, chief of naval
operations, again as a communications officer, this time one who provided
briefings and documents to top brass in the White House on national security
matters. According to this account, in 1969-70, Woodward frequently
walked through the basement offices of the White House West Wing with
documents from Admiral Moorer to General Alexander Haig, who served
under Henry Kissinger.

In a 2008 interview, Woodward categorically denied having any intelligence
connections. He also denied having worked in the White House or
providing briefings there. "It's a matter of record in the Navy what I did,
what I didn't do," Woodward said. "And this Navy Intelligence, Haig and so
forth, you know, I'd be more than happy to acknowledge it if it's true. It just
isn't. Can you accept that?"

Journalist Len Colodny, however, has produced audiotapes of interviews
by his Silent Coup coauthor, Robert Gettlin, with Admiral Moorer, former defense
secretary Melvin Laird, Pentagon spokesman Jerry Friedheim -- and
even with Woodward's own father, Al -- speaking about Bob's White House
service.

At a minimum, Woodward's entry into journalism received a valuable
outside assist, according to an account provided by Harry Rosenfeld, a retired
Post editor, to the Saratogian newspaper in 2004:

Bob had come to us on very high recommendations from someone
in the White House. He had been an intelligence officer in the
Navy and had served in the Pentagon. He had not been exposed to
any newspaper. We gave him a tryout because he was so highly
recommended. We customarily didn't do that. We wanted to see
some clips, and he had none of that. We tried him out, and after a
week or two I asked my deputy, "What's with this guy?" And he
said well, he's a very bright guy but he doesn't know how to put the
paper in the typewriter. But he was bright, there was that intensity
about him and his willingness, and he acted maturely. So we decided
because he had come so highly recommended and he had
shown certain strengths that we would help get him a job at the
Montgomery County Sentinel.

In 2008, some time after I spoke to Woodward, I reached Rosenfeld. He
said he did not recall telling the Saratogian that Woodward had been hired
on the advice of someone in the White House. He did, however, tell me that
he remembered that Woodward had been recommended by Paul Ignatius,
the Post's president. Prior to taking over the Post's presidency, Ignatius had
been Navy secretary for President Johnson.

In a 2008 interview, Ignatius told me it was possible that he had a hand
in at least recommending Woodward. "It's possible that somebody asked
me about him, and it's possible that I gave him a recommendation," Ignatius
said. "I don't remember initiating anything, but I can't say I didn't." I
asked Ignatius how a top Pentagon administrator such as himself would
even have known of a lowly lieutenant, such as Woodward was back in
those days, and Ignatius said he did not recall.

In September 1971, after one year of training at the Maryland-based Sentinel,
Woodward was hired at the Washington Post . The Post itself is steeped
in intelligence connections. The paper's owner, the Graham family, were, as
noted in chapter 3, aficionados of the apparatus, good friends of top spies,
and friends also of Prescott Bush. They even helped fund Poppy Bush's earliest
business venture. Editor Ben Bradlee was himself a Yale graduate who,
like Woodward, had spent time in naval intelligence during World War II.
(As noted earlier, Poppy Bush had also been associated with naval intelligence
during World War II: prior to beginning his work with the CIA, he had
been involved with top-secret aerial reconnaissance photography.)

Woodward demonstrated his proclivity for clandestine sources a month
before the Watergate break-in, in his coverage of the shooting and serious
wounding of presidential candidate George Wallace at a shopping center in
Washington's Maryland suburbs. A lone gunman, Arthur Bremer, would be
convicted. Woodward impressed his editors with his tenacity on the case,
and his contacts. As noted in a journalistic case study published by Columbia
University:

At the time, according to [Post editors Barry] Sussman and [Harry]
Rosenfeld, Woodward said he had "a friend" who might be able to
help. Woodward says his "friend" filled him in on Bremer's background
and revealed that Bremer had also been stalking other
presidential candidates.

As to Woodward's initial introduction to the newspaper, nobody seems to
have questioned whether a recommendation from someone in the White
House would be an appropriate reason for the Post to hire a reporter. Nor
does anyone from the Post appear to have put a rather obvious two and two
together, and noted that Woodward made quick work of bringing down the
president, and therefore wondered who at the White House recommended
Woodward in the first place -- and with what motivation.

Others, however, were more curious. After Charles Colson met with Senator
Howard Baker and his staff -- including future senator Fred Thompson --
he recounted the session in a previously unpublished memo to file:

The CIA has been unable to determine whether Bob Woodward
was employed by the agency. The agency claims to be having difficulty
checking personnel files. Thompson says that he believes the
delay merely means that they don't want to admit that Woodward
was in the agency. Thompson wrote a lengthy memo to Baker last
week complaining about the CIA's non-cooperation, the fact that
they were supplying material piecemeal and had been very uncooperative.
The memo went into the CIA relationship with the press, specifically
Woodward. Senator Baker sent the memo directly to [CIA Director] Colby
with a cover note and within a matter of a few hours, Woodward
called Baker and was incensed over the memo. It had been immediately
leaked to him.

Woodward's good connections would help generate a series of exclusive-
access interviews that would result in rapidly produced bestselling books.
One was Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987, a controversial book
that relied in part, Woodward claimed, on a deathbed interview -- not
recorded -- with former CIA director William Casey. The 543-page book,
which came out as Poppy Bush was seeking the presidency, contained no
substantive mentions of any role on the part of Bush in these "secret wars,"
though Bush was both vice president with a portfolio for covert ops and a
former CIA director.

Asked how it was possible to leave Bush out of such a detailed account of
covert operations during his vice presidency, Woodward replied, "Bush was,
well, I don't think he was -- What was it he said at the time? I was out of the
loop?" Woodward went on to be blessed with unique access to George W.
Bush -- a president who did not grant a single interview to America's top
newspaper, the New York Times, for nearly half his administration -- and the
automatic smash bestsellers that guaranteed. Woodward would also distinguish
himself for knowing about the administration's role in leaking the
identity of CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame but not writing or saying
anything about it, despite an ongoing investigation and media tempest.
When this was revealed, Woodward issued an apology to the Post.

To its credit, the Washington Post in these years had other staffers doing
some of the best reporting on the intelligence establishment. Perhaps the
most revealing work came prior to Nixon's tenure, while Woodward was still
doing his naval service. In a multipart, front-page series by Richard Harwood
in early 1967, the paper began reporting the extent to which the CIA
had penetrated civil institutions not just abroad, but at home as well. "It was
not enough for the United States to arm its allies, to strengthen governmental
institutions, or to finance the industrial establishment through economic
and military programs," Harwood wrote. "Intellectuals, students, educators,
trade unionists, journalists and professional men had to be reached directly
through their private concerns." Journalists too. Even Carl Bernstein later
wrote about the remarkable extent of the CIA's penetration of newsrooms,
detailing numerous examples, in a 1977 Rolling Stone article. As for the Post
itself, Bernstein wrote:

When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company,
publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that
the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according
to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was
somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director
of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director
of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965,
was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including
many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to
boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument
he built, and played, with help from the press. Phil Graham
was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graham, who committed
suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover
arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.

In 1965-66, an accredited Newsweek stringer in the Far East was
in fact a CIA contract employee earning an annual salary of
$10,000 from the Agency, according to Robert T. Wood, then a CIA
officer in the Hong Kong station. Some Newsweek correspondents
and stringers continued to maintain covert ties with the Agency
into the 1970s, CIA sources said.

Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post
newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some
Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say
they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of
the arrangements.

When the Watergate burglary story broke, Bob Woodward got the assignment,
in part, his editor Barry Sussman recalled, because he never
seemed to leave the building. "I worked the police beat all night," Wood-
ward said in an interview with authors Tom Rosenstiel and Amy S.
Mitchell, "and then I'd go home -- I had an apartment five blocks from the
Post -- and sleep for a while. I'd show up in the newsroom around 10 or 11
[in the morning] and work all day too. People complained I was working too
hard." So when the bulletin came in, Woodward was there. The result was
a front-page account revealing that E. Howard Hunt's name appeared in the
address book of one of the burglars and that a check signed by Hunt had
been found in the pocket of another burglar, who was Cuban. It went further:
Hunt, Woodward reported, worked as a consultant to White House counsel
Charles Colson.

Thus, Woodward played a key role in tying the burglars to Nixon.

Woodward would later explain in All the President's Men (coauthored with
Bernstein) that to find out more about Hunt, he had "called an old friend
and sometimes source who worked for the federal government." His friend
did not like to be contacted at this office and "said hurriedly that the break-
in case was going to 'heat up,' but he couldn't explain and hung up." Thus
began Woodward's relationship with Deep Throat, that mysterious source
who, Woodward would later report, served in the executive branch of government
and had access to information in the White House and CREEP.

Based on tips from Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein began to "follow
the money," writing stories in September and October 1972 on a political
"slush fund" linked to CREEP. One story reported that the fund had
financed the bugging of the Democratic Party's Watergate headquarters as
well as other intelligence-gathering activities. While Nixon coasted to a
landslide victory over the liberal Democrat George McGovern, the story
seemed to go on hiatus. But just briefly.

Poppy Enters, Stage Right

If someone did want to undermine the president from outside the White
House, he couldn't have found a better perch than the chairmanship of the
Republican Party.

Right after the election, Poppy Bush, again utilizing his pull with Nixon,
had persuaded the president to bring him back from his cushy U.N. post
and install him at the Republican National Committee. This put him at the
very epicenter of the nationwide Republican elite that would ultimately
determine whether Nixon would stay or go.

As chairman of the RNC, Poppy was expected to be the president's chief
advocate, especially to the party faithful. He would travel widely, interact
with big donors and party activists. If anyone would have their finger on the
pulse of the loyalist base, it was Poppy. He would have a good sense of what
would keep supporters in line, and conversely, what might convince them to
abandon ship.

But Poppy was unique among RNC chairmen over the years in that he
had convinced Nixon to let him maintain an official presence at the White
House. Just as Nixon had permitted him to participate in cabinet meetings
as U.N. ambassador, he now continued to extend that privilege while Poppy
ran the RNC. This was unprecedented for someone in such an overtly partisan
position.

Here was a man closely connected to the CIA, as we have seen, now both
running the Republican Party and sitting in on cabinet deliberations. An
intelligence officer couldn't have asked for a better perch. Moreover, this put
him in the catbird seat just as Watergate began heating up.

But Poppy was even more wired into Nixonworld. When he came to the
RNC, he hired Harry Dent and Tom Lias, the top officials of Nixon's Political
Affairs office, which had established the Town house Operation. Dent was
the architect of Nixon's Southern strategy, with which Poppy Bush and his
backers were closely allied. Lias had ties to Poppy from before working in
the White House. He had been a top organizer for the Republican Congressional
Campaign Committee, strategizing how to elect people like Poppy to
formerly Democratic seats in the South.

After Poppy came to Washington, the two often socialized. According to
Pierre Ausloos, stepfather of Lias's daughter, and a friend of the family, "On
weekends, Bush would always invite [Lias] for a barbecue party at his house
here in Washington." Ausloos also remembers that during the 1968
Republican convention, Liasís daughter's babysitter was Poppy's son, George
W. Bush.

Thus, at the time Dent and Lias were installed in the White House Political
Affairs office, they were already close with Bush. Indeed, right after the
1970 election and the termination of the Town house Operation, Bush took
Lias with him to New York, where Lias served as a top aide on Poppy's
United Nations staff. The U.N. choice struck people who knew Lias as odd.
Lias had no relevant qualifications or knowledge for the U.N. post, just as
Poppy himself didn't.

Poppy's decision, once he moved to the RNC, to hire both Lias and
Dent -- the two men supervising Jack Gleason's Town house Operation --
is surely significant.

Meanwhile, Poppy Bush and his team had already been in contact with
John Dean.

In a brief 2008 conversation, in which a prickly Dean sought to control
the conditions of the interview, I asked him whether he had any dealings
with Bush. "I think there are some phone calls on my phone logs, but I
never met with him personally," he said.

Indeed, phone logs show that on June 24, 1971, Ambassador Bush called
Dean, and on December 6, 1971, Tom Lias of Ambassador Bush's office
called. The logs show other calls from Lias as well. It is not clear -- nor did
Dean volunteer an opinion -- why Bush and Lias would have been calling
him at all.

Slumming in Greenwich

When the Senate created a committee to investigate Watergate, there was no
guarantee that anything would come of it. The perpetrators -- the burglars
and their supervisors, Hunt and Liddy -- were going on trial, and it was uncertain
whether the hearings would produce any further insights. Moreover,
the committee featured four rather somnolent Democrats and three Republicans,
two of them staunch Nixon loyalists.

This left only one wild card: Lowell Weicker, a liberal Republican from
Connecticut.

A freshman, and an independent one, Weicker was not disposed to knee-
jerk defense of Nixon. Furthermore, he saw himself as a crusader. At six feet
six, Weicker was imposing, considered basically well-intentioned, a little
naive, and in love with publicity. He had gotten his political start in the
Bush hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut; and like the Bushes, he was
heir to a family fortune, in his case from two grandfathers who owned the
Squibb pharmaceutical company.

But there the similarities ended. Weicker chose for his base Greenwich's
Third Voting District, which consisted almost entirely of working-class
Italians. "Just decent, hard-working, down-to-basics families," Weicker
would say. "Had I been raised as a typical Republican in the salons of Fair-
field County, discussing international issues at teas and cocktail parties,
I know my career would have been a short one once off the Greenwich
electoral scene." In 1960, Weicker aligned himself with Albert Morano,
a congressional candidate opposed by the Bush family. Now the Bushes
saw Weicker as a traitor to his class. Over the years, Weicker and Bush
would generally maintain a cool but civil relationship, driven by political
expediency.

"I think he was viewed as an outsider from day one, and it was a perspective
he relished," said Townhouse operative Jack Gleason. "Because he
always used to joke about 'the Round Hill boys out to get me again' every
time he was up for reelection."

Weicker had arrived in Washington in 1968, following his election to the
House of Representatives. Given the past, this would have made him a
not-very-welcome colleague of Poppy Bush. And Poppy probably was not
enthused when, after only two years in the House, Weicker was elected
to Prescott Bush's old Senate seat -- in the same year Poppy lost his second
Senate bid. Weicker's star was rising faster than Poppy's -- and in the Bush
home state to boot. It must have rankled.

Still, Weicker's least endearing qualities -- his considerable ambition,
love of publicity, and penchant for self-aggrandizement -- would shortly
prove useful in at least one respect: as a champion of the "truth" on the
Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, commonly
known as the Watergate Committee. The same Republican maverick who
had no qualms about challenging his party's leadership in Connecticut
would soon debut his maverick persona on the national stage.

In his memoirs, Weicker writes that he was given the Watergate Committee
assignment because he was one of only two Republicans who volunteered
and that his interest in "campaign financing" and dwindling faith in
the democratic process spurred his personal interest. Interestingly, the
other Republican volunteer, stalwart conservative Edward J. Gurney of Florida,
had won his seat with the help of Bush's top political lieutenant, Jimmy
Allison -- and eldest son George W. Bush, who took the extraordinary step of
securing a leave from his National Guard unit in 1968, when he had barely
begun his military training. The other Republican on the committee was Minority
Leader Howard Baker, a moderate. Weicker was the only Republican
on the committee with the inclination to prove his independence from the
party and openly challenge the president.

By the spring of 1973, six defendants had been sentenced in the DNC burglary,
and the Watergate hearings were due to begin. There was now an opportunity
for Nixon to put the whole Watergate affair behind him, without
mortal damage to his presidency. Weicker, however, already saw his role as
an honest broker, and he criticized Nixon's attempts at tamping down the
matter. "I think the national interest is achieved by opening, not closing, the
White House doors," he said. He added that he would vote in favor of subpoenas
for White House officials to appear before the committee.

Poppy Bush apparently agreed. On March 20, the day after Weicker's remarks,
Poppy went to see Nixon at the Oval Office. In his usual oblique way,
ascribing his advice to others, he urged Nixon to send John Dean to testify.

BUSH: We're getting hit a little bit, Mr. President . . . It's building,
and the mail's getting heavier . . .
NIXON: What do you think you can do about it? . . . We've got hearings
coming up. The hearings will make it worse.
BUSH: . . . I was speaking with the executives at the Bull Elephants
The guy said to me, why doesn't the President
send Dean? . . . The disclosure is what they're calling for.
NIXON: We are cooperating They don't want any cooperation.
They aren't interested in getting the facts. They're only interested
in [politicalgains?] I wish there were an answer to Watergate,
but I just don't know any . . . I don't know a damn thing
to do. [emphasis added]

John Ehrlichman remembers that meeting well, as noted in his memoirs.
"Bush argued that the only way to blunt the current onslaught in the newspapers
and on television was for the president to be totally forthcoming -- to
tell everything he knew about all aspects of Watergate."

This was a significant moment, where Poppy demonstrates a possible
connection to and interest in Dean. It was a sort of specific advice that warrants
attention, because it is an indication that the outsider Bush is unusually
well informed about who knows what inside the White House --
and encourages Nixon to let Dean begin confessing his knowledge. When I
asked Dean in 2008 why he thought Poppy Bush was suggesting he testify,
he said he had no idea.

Nixon resisted Poppy's advice to have Dean testify because, Nixon maintained,
there was no White House staff involvement in Watergate, and
therefore Dean's testimony would serve only to break executive privilege,
once and for all. "The president can't run his office by having particularly
his lawyer go up and testify," Nixon told Poppy.

If Poppy Bush seemed to have unusually good intelligence as to what
was happening in the Oval Office, it might have had something to do with
a good friend of his who was right in there with Nixon and Dean during the
most critical days of Watergate. Richard A. Moore, a lawyer who served as a
kind of elder statesman off of whom Nixon and Mitchell could bounce
ideas, was, like Poppy, an alumnus of Andover, Yale, and Skull and Bones.
Moore served as special assistant to the chief of military intelligence during
World War II and is believed to have transitioned to civilian intelligence
after the war. Over the years, Moore was practically a member of the
extended Bush clan, exchanging intimate notes with Poppy and even joining
family dinners.

Moore shows up in background roles on a number of Nixon tapes, and
phone logs show a flurry of phone calls between Moore and Dean, especially
in the final weeks before Dean turned on Nixon. In a little-reported taped telephone
conversation from March 16, Dean tells Nixon that he and Moore are
working on a Watergate report; he also mentions that he and Moore drive
home together. On March 20, in an Oval Office meeting featuring Nixon,
Dean, and Moore -- just prior to Nixon's meeting with Poppy Bush --
Moore can be heard typing the report in the background.

Dean would later write that the term "cancer" as used in his famous "cancer
on the presidency" briefing had been suggested by Moore -- who though a close
Nixon adviser in these sensitive days, managed to emerge from Watergate
obscure and unscathed. His Watergate testimony did not support Dean, but
he tended to be ambiguous. As Time magazine noted on July 23, 1973,
"The Moore testimony was certainly not evidence that the President
had had prior knowledge of the Plumbers' felonious break-in. But it seemingly
betrayed a curious nonchalance on the President's part toward questionable
activities by White House staffers."

Later, with Nixon departing and Ford preparing to become president,
Moore urged Ford to make Poppy Bush his vice president, arguing that
Bush had strong economic credentials. Moore specifically cited Poppy's ties
to Wall Street through his father and grandfather, "both highly respected investment
bankers in New York." Moore would go on to work on all of Poppy
Bush's presidential campaigns, including his unsuccessful 1980 bid, and
would in 1989 be named by Poppy as his ambassador to Ireland.

Repeat After Me

Immediately after Poppy tried to convince Nixon to send Dean to testify,
Dean himself telephoned the president. Dean asked to urgently meet the
following morning and carefully explained to Nixon that there were important
details of which the president was unaware and that he would tell him
about these things -- but did not yet tell him:

DEAN: I think that one thing that we have to continue to do, and
particularly right now, is to examine the broadest, broadest implications
of this whole thing, and, you know, maybe about thirty minutes
of just my recitations to you of facts so that you operate from
the same facts that everybody else has.
NIXON: Right.
DEAN: I don't think -- we have never really done that. It has been sort
of bits and pieces. Just paint the whole picture for you, the soft
spots, the potential problem areas [emphasis added]

In other words, Dean was admitting, nine months into the scandal, that
he knew quite a bit about Watergate that he had never revealed to the president.
Now Dean planned to clue him in.

Nixon then inquired about the progress on a public statement Dean was
to be preparing -- and was made to understand that the statement was going
to try to avoid specifics, i.e., employ a common practice, stonewalling:

NIXON: And so you are coming up, then with the idea of just a
stonewall then? Is that --
DEAN: That's right.
NIXON: Is that what you come down with?
DEAN: Stonewall, with lots of noises that we are always willing to
cooperate, but no one is asking us for anything.

Nixon went on to pressure Dean to issue a statement to the cabinet explaining,
in very general terms, the White House's willingness to cooperate in any
investigations. Without going into detail, Nixon wanted to publicly defend the
innocence of White House officials whom he believed were innocent:

NIXON: I just want a general --
DEAN: An all-around statement.
NIXON: That's right. Try just something general. Like "I have
checked into this matter; I can categorically, based on my investigation,
the following: Haldeman is not involved in this, that
and the other thing. Mr. Colson did not do this; Mr. So- and- so
did not do this. Mr. Blank did not do this." Right down the line,
taking the most glaring things. If there are any further questions,
please let me know. See?
DEAN: Uh huh, I think we can do that.

But Dean apparently didn't intend to "do that." He was seemingly waiting
for the right moment to create the right effect -- and that moment would not
come until he had jumped the wall to the other side and become the key witness
for the prosecution.

In Haldemans diary entry of the same day, he observes that Nixon wants
to come clean, but that Dean is warning him not to:

[The president] feels strongly that we've got to say something to get
ourselves away from looking like we're completely on the defensive
and on a cover-up basis. If we . . . are going to volunteer
to send written statements . . . we might as well do the statements
now and get them publicized and get our answers out. The problem
is that Dean feels this runs too many leads out. [emphasis added]

Thus, according to this account, Nixon was interested in facing his problems.
This included, it appears, telling what they knew -- Nixon's version, in
any case.

And John Dean was urging Nixon not to do that. To make that case, Dean
was feeding Nixon's paranoia. In other words, Dean seemed to be saying:
Too many leads out. Let me control this process.

In response to a combination of events -- Weicker's call for more disclosure,
Bush's intervention with Nixon aimed at forcing Dean to testify, and
Dean's own insistence that there was more to the story -- Nixon met with
Dean the next day. That conversation, together with the smoking gun episode,
would help seal Nixon's fate.

On the morning of March 21, Nixon's White House counsel stepped
into the Oval Office and proceeded to deliver a speech that would make
Dean famous for the rest of his life. He would dramatically warn the president
of a "cancer on the presidency" soon to become inoperable. This
speech, which would shortly become Dean's principal evidence against
Nixon, may have been carefully calculated based on Dean's awareness
that the conversations were being taped. (Dean would later say he suspected
he was being taped, but as we shall see, he may have known for certain.)

In fact, for this dramatic moment, Dean had begun performing dress
rehearsals some eight days earlier. This is borne out by earlier taped
conversations -- ones whose very existence has been largely suppressed in
published accounts. In these earlier tapes, we hear Dean beginning to tell
Nixon about White House knowledge related to Watergate. (Most of these
tapes are excluded from what is generally considered the authoritative compendium
of transcripts, Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes, by Stanley Kutler,
who told me in a 2008 interview that he considers himself a close friend
of John Dean.)

In one unpublicized taped conversation, from March 13, Dean told Nixon
that Haldeman's aide Gordon Strachan had foreknowledge of the break-in,
was already lying about it in interviews, and would continue to do so before
a grand jury. The Watergate prosecutors, for whom Dean was a crucial witness,
had the March 13 tape, but did not enter it into evidence.

DEAN: Well, Chapin didn't know anything about the Watergate, and --
NIXON: You don't think so?
DEAN: No. Absolutely not.
NIXON: Did Strachan?
DEAN: Yes.
NIXON: He knew?
DEAN: Yes.
NIXON: About the Watergate?
DEAN: Yes.
NIXON: Well, then, Bob knew. He probably told Bob, then. He may
not have. He may not have.
DEAN: He was, he was judicious in what he, in what he relayed,
and, uh, but Strachan is as tough as nails. I --
NIXON: What'll he say? Just go in and say he didn't know?
DEAN: He'll go in and stonewall it and say, "I don't know anything
about what you are talking about." He has already done it twice,
as you know, in interviews.

This is significant since Strachan, a junior staff member, was essentially
reporting to Dean -- a fact that Dean failed to point out to Nixon. Although
Strachan was Haldeman's aide, when it came to matters like these, he
would, at Dean's request, deal directly with Dean.
"As to the subject of political intelligence-gathering," Strachan told the Senate Watergate Committee,
"John Dean was designated as the White House contact for the Committee

to Re-elect the President." Thus, if Strachan knew anything about Watergate,
even after the fact, it seems to have been because Dean included him in
the flow of "intelligence."

On March 17, in another tape generally excluded from accounts of Watergate,
Dean told Nixon about the Ellsberg break-in. He also provided a long list of
people who he felt might have "vulnerabilities" concerning Watergate,
and included himself in that list.

NIXON: Now, you were saying too, ah, what really, ah, where the,
this thing leads, I mean in terms of the vulnerabilities and so
forth. It's your view the vulnerables are basically Mitchell, Colson,
Haldeman, indirectly, possibly directly, and of course, the
second level is, as far as the White House is concerned, Chapin.
DEAN: And I'd say Dean, to a degree.
NIXON: You? Why?
DEAN: Well, because I've been all over this thing like a blanket.
NIXON: I know, I know, but you know all about it, but you didn't,
you were in it after the deed was done.
DEAN: That's correct, that I have no foreknowledge . . .
NIXON: Here's the whole point, here's the whole point. My point is
that your problem is you, you have no problem. All the others
that have participated in the God-damned thing, and therefore
are potentially subject to criminal liability. You're not. That's the
difference.

In the heavily publicized "cancer" speech of March 21, Dean essentially
reiterated what he had told Nixon previously, if in more detail. But he added
an important element -- one which would cause Nixon serious problems
when the "cancer" tape was played for the public: a request for one million
dollars in "hush money" for the burglars. Informed by Dean of a "continual
blackmail operation by Hunt and Liddy and the Cubans," Nixon asked how
much money they needed. Dean responded, "These people are going to cost
a million dollars over the next two years." There is debate as to whether
Nixon actually agreed with Dean's suggestion to pay money or merely ruminated
over it. He never did pay the money.

Dean's behavior did not appear to be that of a lawyer seeking to protect
his client, let alone advice appropriate to the conduct of the presidency.

Click here to read part 3 of Russ Baker's investigation >

Read the original article on WhoWhatWhy . Copyright 2012. Follow WhoWhatWhy on Twitter .

[Dec 28, 2017] How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC hacked servers by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
If this is true, then this is definitely a sophisticated false flag operation. Was malware Alperovich people injected specifically designed to implicate Russians? In other words Crowdstrike=Fancy Bear
Images removed. For full content please thee the original source
One interesting corollary of this analysis is that installing Crowdstrike software is like inviting a wolf to guard your chicken. If they are so dishonest you take enormous risks. That might be true for some other heavily advertized "intrusion prevention" toolkits. So those criminals who use mistyped popular addresses or buy Google searches to drive lemmings to their site and then flash the screen that they detected a virus on your computer a, please call provided number and for a small amount of money your virus will be removed get a new more sinister life.
I suspected many of such firms (for example ISS which was bought by IBM in 2006) to be scams long ago.
Notable quotes:
"... They found that generally, in a lot of cases, malware developers didn't care to hide the compile times and that while implausible timestamps are used, it's rare that these use dates in the future. It's possible, but unlikely that one sample would have a postdated timestamp to coincide with their visit by mere chance but seems extremely unlikely to happen with two or more samples. Considering the dates of CrowdStrike's activities at the DNC coincide with the compile dates of two out of the three pieces of malware discovered and attributed to APT-28 (the other compiled approximately 2 weeks prior to their visit), the big question is: Did CrowdStrike plant some (or all) of the APT-28 malware? ..."
"... The IP address, according to those articles, was disabled in June 2015, eleven months before the DNC emails were acquired – meaning those IP addresses, in reality, had no involvement in the alleged hacking of the DNC. ..."
"... The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. ..."
"... That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | theduran.com

Of course the DNC did not want to the FBI to investigate its "hacked servers". The plan was well underway to excuse Hillary's pathetic election defeat to Trump, and CrowdStrike would help out by planting evidence to pin on those evil "Russian hackers." Some would call this entire DNC server hack an "insurance policy."

... ... ...

[Dec 28, 2017] On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim ..."
"... However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news. ..."
"... As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Dec 27, 2017 10:17:37 AM | 92

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse.

Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim , so if Putin were to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election, logic would suggest that he would do so on Hillary Clinton's side. However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news.

As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored.

[Dec 27, 2017] Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections. Any candidate that WOULD make a difference would NEVER see the daylight of nomination, especially at the presidential level. I myself believe all the talk of Russia interfering the 2016 Election is no more than a witch hunt

Highly recommended!
Neocons dominate the US foreign policy establishment.
In other words Russiagate might be a pre-emptive move by neocons after Trump elections.
Notable quotes:
"... The dogma does not come from questioning this conclusion. Because Putin, during the campaign, complimented Trump, does not support the conclusion with its insinuation that those who voted for Trump needed to be influenced by anything other than being fed up with the usual in American politics. Same with Brexit. That dissatisfaction continues, and it doesn't need Russian influence to feed it. This is infantile oversimplification to say so. ..."
"... "The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind." ..."
"... But I do believe Putin, and for that matter Xi Jinping of China too, should make efforts to infiltrate the USA election processes. It's an eye for an eye. USA has been exercising its free hands in manipulating elections and stirring up color revolutions all around the world, including the 2012 presidential election in Russia. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. In fact, I believe it is for this reason that the US MSM is playing up this hocus pocus Russian-gate matter, as a preemptive measure to justify imposing electioneering controls in the future. ..."
"... USA may not be vulnerable as yet to this kind of external nuisances, as the masses have not yet reached the stage of being easily stirred. But that time will come. ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rhett , Dec 26, 2017 2:18:30 PM | 20

I have great respect for the reporting on this site regarding Syria and the Middle East. I regret that for some reason there is this dogmatic approach to the issue of Russian attempts to influence the US election. Why wouldn't the Russians try to sway the election? Allowing Hillary to win would have put a dangerous adversary in the White House, one with even more aggressive neocon tendencies than Obama. Trump has been owned by Russian mobsters since the the 1990s, and his ties to Russian criminals like Felix Sater are well known.

Putin thought that getting Trump in office would allow the US to go down a more restrained foreign policy path and lift sanctions against Russia, completely understandable goals. Using Facebook/Twitter bots and groups like Cambridge Analytica, an effort was made to sway public opinion toward Trump. That is just politics. And does anyone really doubt there are incriminating sexual videos of Trump out there? Trump (like Bill Clinton) was buddies with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Of course there are videos of Trump that can be used for blackmail purposes, and of course they would be used to get him on board with the Russian plan.

The problem is that everything Trump touches dies. He's a fraud and an incompetent idiot. Always has been. To make matters worse, Trump is controlled by the Zionists through his Orthodox Jewish daughter and Israeli spy son-in-law. This gave power to the most openly extreme Zionist elements who will keep pushing for more war in the Middle East. And Trump is so vile that he's hated by the majority of Americans and doesn't have the political power to end sanctions against Russia.

Personally, I think this is all for the best. Despite his Zionist handlers, Trump will unintentionally unwind the American Empire through incompetence and lack of strategy, which allows Syria and the rest of the world to breathe and rebuild. So Russia may have made a bad bet on this guy being a useful ally, but his own stupidity will end up working out to the world's favor in the long run.

Sid2 , Dec 26, 2017 3:17:40 PM | 27
@20

there is considerable irony in use of "dogmatic" here: the dogma actually occurs in the rigid authoritarian propaganda that the Russians Putin specifically interfered with the election itself, which now smugly blankets any discussion. "The Russians interfered" is now dogma, when that statement is not factually shown, and should read, "allegedly interfered."

The dogma does not come from questioning this conclusion. Because Putin, during the campaign, complimented Trump, does not support the conclusion with its insinuation that those who voted for Trump needed to be influenced by anything other than being fed up with the usual in American politics. Same with Brexit. That dissatisfaction continues, and it doesn't need Russian influence to feed it. This is infantile oversimplification to say so.

To suggest "possibly" in any argument does not provide evidence. There is no evidence. Take a look at b's link to the following for a clear, sane assessment of what's going on. As with:

"The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind."

this is b's link in URL form here:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking

Oriental Voice , Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
@20:

I echo you opinion that this site gives great reports on issues pertaining to Syria and the ME. Credit to b.

On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections. Any candidate that WOULD make a difference would NEVER see the daylight of nomination, especially at the presidential level. I myself believe all the talk of Russia interfering the 2016 Election is no more than a witch hunt.

But I do believe Putin, and for that matter Xi Jinping of China too, should make efforts to infiltrate the USA election processes. It's an eye for an eye. USA has been exercising its free hands in manipulating elections and stirring up color revolutions all around the world, including the 2012 presidential election in Russia. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. In fact, I believe it is for this reason that the US MSM is playing up this hocus pocus Russian-gate matter, as a preemptive measure to justify imposing electioneering controls in the future.

USA may not be vulnerable as yet to this kind of external nuisances, as the masses have not yet reached the stage of being easily stirred. But that time will come.

[Dec 27, 2017] Susan Rice, Obama's Dirty Surveillance Rat

Apr 03, 2017 | strata-sphere.com
Published by AJStrata under All General Discussions

So now we know who requested the raw intelligence on Team Trump with the names of American Citizens 'unmasked'. It was then National Security Advisor Susan Rice:

White House lawyers last month discovered that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice's requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government's policy on "unmasking" the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like "U.S. Person One."

Maybe she will claim a video caused her to commit a felony?

As I noted a while back , while Obama and Loretta Lynch authorized the expansion of who could request the unmasking of Americans caught up in surveillance, the process still required a paper trail of who the request was from and for what purpose. From the law itself:

For every entity in the US Intelligence Community involved with the intercepts of Team Trump, the head of that entity should have filled out this request, including:

  1. (U) Use of information. The IC element will explain how it will use the raw SIGINT, to include identifying the particular authorized foreign intelligence or counterintelligence missions or functions that are the basis for its request .

Skipping down, we get to another key item: who reviewed and approved these requests:

C. (U) Evaluation of requests. A high-level NSA official designated by the DIRNSA will review requests for raw SIGINT covered by these Procedures. NSA will document its approval decisions in writing and include a statement explaining how the request fully complies with paragraph A.

OK, a key person who should have participated in the legal distribution of intercepts involving members of Team Trump would be the Director of NSA and whomever they designated to review the requests.

Note that the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) is accepting the requests made by the National Security Advisor (a different NSA). Today that would be one Micheal Rogers, who had to review and concur on Rice's request.

Interesting enough, one would have thought the FBI would be the organization with due cause to unmask Americans for investigation. Why would the head of NSA be investigating Americans and violating their 4th Amendment rights?

Well, that seems pretty obvious given that all this ill-gotten information landed in the hands of the left wing news media, to fuel diversionary stories about some elusive Trump-Russian connection. The fact this information takes a left turn through the office of NSA on its way to the news media is telling in itself.

Clearly what caught Susan Rice was the paper trail of her requests, as is confirmed in the article:

In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice's multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

The strange thing is, if not for all the leaks to the newspapers, I doubt this review of the logs would have happened! She and Team Obama triggered their own demise.

Of course, all this was leaked to a Dem-Friendly news outlet, which tried to spin this as a nothing-burger and claim this is not the smoking gun.

But of course it's the smoking gun!

Let's pick up where the left wing news media tried to stop us from proceeding. Who tipped off Rice on which raw data to unmask? And who was unmasked? The answers will inform us on her intentions.

For example, if Rice's request was broad and yielded a range of Americans unmasked that would be a general request without a target.

But if her request was against specific events with specific foreign players, which only yielded results that led to only Team Trump, then that is a different matter. That would be political targeting and a felony.

Finally, Susan Rice would never, ever do this on her own initiative. She would never risk "The Obama Legacy" over this. A legacy, I must say, that is now in tatters based on this news. It is just a question of whether the destruction of his legacy was due to ineptitude or criminal intent.

There is much more to learn here. Everyone who did this knew they were crossing some serious lines. They knew this because they had to put in place the processes to allow it. And since these unmasking processes were laid out in January of this year, everyone knew they were up to, if not over, those Constitutional lines.

Rice should be pulled in front of Congress and asked point blank under what authority was she, the National Security Advisor, requesting names of US Citizens and their communication contenrs? Recall, some of these requests are not related to Russia at all!

[Dec 27, 2017] More Rice Lies [Just Another Inspector Clouseau]

Notable quotes:
"... Please note the trip down memory lane above, when Susie and Hillary were cohorts at the UN ..."
"... – end update ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | strata-sphere.com

Please note the trip down memory lane above, when Susie and Hillary were cohorts at the UN .

Major Update : If you don't want to take my word for all this, how about Andrew McCarthy :

The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations. Remember that.

In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA.

Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies.

Basically what these tools have done is confess to the crime. Rice did not deny she did this, she claims she had the authority to do this.

She did not.

Bring on the prosecutors – end update

Susan Rice (and her protectors in the news media – one of which is her husband at ABC News) have been putting out a new trial balloon to see if they can avoid the coming Constitutional crisis over the Obama administration using NSA surveillance data to data-mine their political opposition: a.k.a. Team Trump.

The contortions by which Rice and her news media allies (democrats all) are going through to deflect this smoking gun has hit the absurd :

Rice denied those charges Tuesday, saying she was "shocked" to read the claims when they emerged. She said the White House isn't responsible for ordering that type of surveillance.

She maintained, however, that asking for more information about names included in intelligence reports was a routine and necessary aspect of her job in protecting American security .

Uh – no. The White House – which is where she worked when National Security Advisor (please not the emphasis on "Advisor") – cannot investigate US citizens for criminal acts. The White House cannot even direct the FBI who to investigate or not!

Here is her job description :

The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) is appointed by the President without confirmation by the Senate . [3] The influence and role of the National Security Advisor varies from administration to administration and depends not only on the qualities of the person appointed to the position but also on the style and management philosophy of the incumbent President. [4] Ideally, the APNSA serves as an honest broker of policy options for the President in the field of national security, rather than as an advocate for his or her own policy agenda. [5]

This role is to assist in drafting policies, strategies, regulations, etc.

So one has to ask, why was she unmasking these innocent people and violating their 4th Amendment Rights? She actually should have no ability to peak into the lives of Americans. None. Not in her job-jar.

The White House is NOT authorized to investigate – not even foreign players. Those authorities are given to a select few organizations in the federal government.

And when it comes to investigating US Citizens, that falls to one and only one federal organization: The FBI.

I know the Democrat News Media is trying to shield Rice and Obama from their bumbling, stumbling activities that will destroy their legacy.

But at least come up with something that passes the laugh test and does not remind us of another overly-clever sleuth protecting the masses:

Tags: National Security Advisor , Obama , Surveillance , Susan Rice , Team Trump

One response so far

[Dec 26, 2017] The role of intelligence agencies and NGOs in color revolution is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) look like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless (and well paid) demonstrators and then institute a regime change installing their puppets projecting on them authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor

Color revolutions are false flag operations of regime change based on deception, fueling the resentment and delegitimization+ of the elected government and fake promises to population.
Notable quotes:
"... color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception. ..."
"... It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership. ..."
"... Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks. ..."
"... History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. ..."
"... to help deconstruct the deception ..."
"... A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | colorrevolutionsandgeopolitics.blogspot.com

Color revolutions are, without a doubt, one of the main features of global political developments today. Should the casual reader immediately wonder what a "color revolution" is, keep reading, our view here is unique, but we most certainly have some answers.

Let us first begin with the Wikipedia definition. That website introduces the concept by stating the following:

" Color revolution(s) is a term used by the media to describe related [political] movements that developed in several societies in the CIS (former USSR) and Balkan states during the early 2000s. Some observers have called the events a revolutionary wave .

"Participants in the color revolutions have mostly used nonviolent resistance , also called civil resistance . Such methods as demonstrations, strikes and interventions havebeen [used to] protest against governments seen as corrupt and/or authoritarian, and to advocate democracy; and they have also created strong pressure for change. These movements all adopted a specific color or flower as their symbol. The color revolutions are notable for the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and particularly student activists in organizing creative non-violent resistance.

"These movements have been successful in Serbia (especially the Bulldozer Revolution of 2000), in Georgia's Rose Revolution (2003), in Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2004), in Lebanon's Cedar Revolution and (though more violent than the previous ones) in Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution (2005), in Kuwait's Blue Revolution (2005), in Iraq's Purple Revolution (2005), and in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution (1989), but failed in Iran's Green Revolution (2009–2010) . Each time massive street protests followed disputed elections or request of fair elections and led to the resignation or overthrow of leaders considered by their opponents to be authoritarian ."

What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is the massive foreign funding, and at least any notion that color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception.

It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9E75GWFDMec/SjXWwi-wPnI/AAAAAAAAAmc/Jlt2fAVGcgQ/s400/IranProtestor.jpg

The secret ingredient is a sophisticated science used to manipulate emotions and circumvent critical thinking. History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. These days the manipulation is so pervasive, so subtle, so effective, that even critical individuals at times must necessarily fail to recognize how often -- or in what context -- they have fallen prey.

Of course fear is the most obvious emotion played upon to effect massive social change. One need only to reflect upon the last ten years, since 9/11, to know that fear is a primary instrument used to initiate and justify dangerous shifts in public policy.

But as humanity has been physiologically equipped with a range of emotions, and is not merely arrested and controlled by fear alone, a strata of behavioral and political science also found it useful to master the flip-side of the emotional spectrum, and by that we mean desire, and all that drives groups of individuals to act, even in the face of fear, in pursuit of something worthwhile.

Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences' intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.

http://bmpr.com/chip_martin/blogs/images/chip_martin/Skyyad5.jpg (Legs for educational purposes only)

Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.

It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.

Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.

Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.

Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.

And this is where we come in: to help deconstruct the deception .

But we will not just cover color revolutions here, as color revolutions are bound up in the larger geopolitical universe. A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ . It follows that understanding geopolitical context (and motive) is necessary to understanding the purpose of the color revolution.

Toward that end, we will discuss and analyze relationships of global power in great detail. We will highlight specific institutions of power; identify what their power rests upon; draw attention to the individuals that finance and direct their activities; speculate upon some of their motives; and get to know the broad range of tools they use to achieve them, tools which include the color revolution.

As in-depth studies into the color revolution are far too rare, and as the issue itself is far too obscure, we hope to draw more attention to it; to spark discussion and even debate.

It is an issue that takes time and patience. And it is for those that are willing to provide this time and patience that we offer this site.

"Never utter these words: 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge." --Apothegm of Narada

[Dec 26, 2017] A "color revolution" is under way in the United States by the Saker

This article and discussion now is almost one year old, but some people predicted that Trump will betray all his election promises with ease and will just try to survive color regulation against him and pander to Wall Street, Israel and neocons. Which is what he is currently doing. He proved to be far below the intellectual level required for a good president of such country as the USA. Blunders that he already did are inexcusable. May be this is age.
Notable quotes:
"... The forces which are currently trying to impeach, overthrow or murder President Trump are a clear and present danger to the United States as a country and to the US Federal Republic. They are, to use a Russian word, a type of "non-system" opposition which does not want to accept the outcome of the elections and which by rejecting this outcome essentially oppose the entire political system. ..."
"... It amazes me to see that the US pseudo-elites have as much hatred, contempt and fear of the American masses as the Russian pseudo-elites have hatred, contempt and fear of the Russian masses (the Russian equivalent or Hillary's "deplorables" would be a hard to pronounce for English speakers word "быдло", roughly "cattle", "lumpen" or "rabble"). ..."
"... It amazes me to see that the very same people which have demonized Putin for years are now demonizing Trump using exactly the same methods. ..."
"... My current opinion is that he is not neocon or part of color revolution, but he is not a champion of the people either. He is one of the competitors among the elite. (An anti-hero as Crosstalk recently characterized him?) ..."
"... He is pandering to neocons. He is result of people who fed up with the establishment. So he is result of revolution, maybe the first one of many to purge the system. ..."
"... Of course there is a color revolution in the US right now -- because all the sources of neoliberal fake-revolutionary ideology are right here. It's a poisonous ideology which really is popular with smug media elites, boosted by "nudges" from the deep state. It's just a lot of very corrupt, bad people. The ultimate, long-term objective of the deep state may not be readily apparent, but at a fairly serious medium-term level, their interests are precisely the same as what people like Michael Weiss, Dick Cheney, and Van Jones are making clear to us with their own words. ..."
"... Similarly, Trump found his support base from Wall Street/Masters of the Universe as outlined by Pepe Escobar. Of course he doesn't represent "the people" because "the people," whether left or right, are no longer interested in grassroots political organization for their own interests. Wall Street can do that, because they have a source of money independent from the gov't. The only question now is who gets more slices of a shrinking pie, and how radical either side is willing to go in overriding America's broken democratic process to make it happen. ..."
"... Had Clinton won, she could done much worse than Trump, and get away with public opinion. Neoliberal infrastructure would be live and well. ..."
"... A curious aspect of Trump and which "class" he belongs to: As a "kid from Queens" Donald Trump has always been an outsider to the Manhattan social elites. Even after he became far wealthier than they, even after his buildings transformed the New York City skyline he was never admitted into the club. He was only ever allowed in as a guest. ..."
Jan 28, 2017 | thesaker.is

The forces which are currently trying to impeach, overthrow or murder President Trump are a clear and present danger to the United States as a country and to the US Federal Republic. They are, to use a Russian word, a type of "non-system" opposition which does not want to accept the outcome of the elections and which by rejecting this outcome essentially oppose the entire political system.

... ... ...

It amazes me to see that the US pseudo-elites have as much hatred, contempt and fear of the American masses as the Russian pseudo-elites have hatred, contempt and fear of the Russian masses (the Russian equivalent or Hillary's "deplorables" would be a hard to pronounce for English speakers word "быдло", roughly "cattle", "lumpen" or "rabble").

It amazes me to see that the very same people which have demonized Putin for years are now demonizing Trump using exactly the same methods.

And if their own country has to go down in their struggle against the common people – so be it! These self-declared elites will have no compunction whatsoever to destroy the nation their have been parasitizing and exploiting for their own class interest. They did just that to Russia exactly 100 years ago, in 1917. I sure hope that they will not get away with that again in 2017.

J on January 28, 2017 · at 5:40 am UTC

Trump is part of neocon. If anything, trump is part of color revolution, not against it. I do not see his administration turn out well with his action so far. Trump is also a idiot. Any one pitch a fight with a neighbor like he is doing is not suit to deal with relation.

Talk about relation, check out internet video clips and see how much respect he give to his wife.

blue on January 28, 2017 · at 6:26 am UTC

My current opinion is that he is not neocon or part of color revolution, but he is not a champion of the people either. He is one of the competitors among the elite. (An anti-hero as Crosstalk recently characterized him?)

So who is there to champion the people and oppose the monstrous elite? Us -- just us. Each and all of us, and we need to get our acts together. If there is no 'great leader' then we have to lead ourselves: distributed leadership with collective intelligence and power.

J on January 28, 2017 · at 7:07 am UTC

He is pandering to neocons. He is result of people who fed up with the establishment. So he is result of revolution, maybe the first one of many to purge the system.

We need to make sure we take out garbage in every election, we will win in the end.

we can not only see things in one perspective. But it seems not something come naturally out side of east Asia.

J.L.Seagull on January 28, 2017 · at 8:26 am UTC

I don't understand why everything has to be either controlled opposition or controlled support.

Of course there is a color revolution in the US right now -- because all the sources of neoliberal fake-revolutionary ideology are right here. It's a poisonous ideology which really is popular with smug media elites, boosted by "nudges" from the deep state. It's just a lot of very corrupt, bad people. The ultimate, long-term objective of the deep state may not be readily apparent, but at a fairly serious medium-term level, their interests are precisely the same as what people like Michael Weiss, Dick Cheney, and Van Jones are making clear to us with their own words.

Similarly, Trump found his support base from Wall Street/Masters of the Universe as outlined by Pepe Escobar. Of course he doesn't represent "the people" because "the people," whether left or right, are no longer interested in grassroots political organization for their own interests. Wall Street can do that, because they have a source of money independent from the gov't. The only question now is who gets more slices of a shrinking pie, and how radical either side is willing to go in overriding America's broken democratic process to make it happen.

The readers of this website should cheer Trump's willingness to trample on the neoliberal narrative, but their own livelihoods will not be guaranteed by Trump or anyone else in power.

J on January 29, 2017 · at 4:52 am UTC

J.L.S

Had Clinton won, she could done much worse than Trump, and get away with public opinion. Neoliberal infrastructure would be live and well. So I am fully for get rid of her, and do not let Trump getting away with anything. So far, trump's actions are pity, until he cause some real war somewhere. I love to see MSM got taken down.

Sir Humphrey Appleby on January 28, 2017 · at 10:26 am UTC

Khrushchev says to Zhou Enlai, "The difference between the Soviet Union and China is that I rose to power from the peasant class, whereas you came from the privileged Mandarin class." Zhou replies, "True. But there is this similarity. Each of us is a traitor to his class."

I don't know if this is a true story, but Trump may end up obliged to betray his class like others have done in the past if we assume all rich people belong to the same class with homogeneous interests.

Anonymous on January 28, 2017 · at 1:32 pm UTC

A curious aspect of Trump and which "class" he belongs to: As a "kid from Queens" Donald Trump has always been an outsider to the Manhattan social elites. Even after he became far wealthier than they, even after his buildings transformed the New York City skyline he was never admitted into the club. He was only ever allowed in as a guest.

He isn't a member of "the elite" – other than the one of his own making. It's an odd thing but true.

[Dec 26, 2017] As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda. I don't support neoliberal economics by Brad Griffin

Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda . I don't support neoliberal economics. I think we have been going in the wrong direction since the 1970s and don't want to continue going down this road.

Opioid Deaths:

As we all know, the opioid epidemic has become a national crisis and the White working class has been hit the hardest by it. It is a "sea of despair" out there .

[Dec 25, 2017] Kamala Harris Pisses Off Intelligence Committee Chairman When She Tries to Control Senate Hearing!

Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Published on Nov 9, 2017

Kamala Harris Pisses Off Intelligence Committee Chairman When She Tries to Control Senate Hearing!

[Dec 25, 2017] The Israel-gate Side of Russia-gate Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... In this case, what Flynn and Kushner were doing was going directly against US foreign policy, because Obama wanted the resolution to pass; He just didn't want to vote for it because that would cross the Israel lobby in the United States. The US finally ended up abstaining on the resolution and it passed 14-0. ..."
"... But before that happened, Flynn went to the Russians and to Egypt, both members of the Security Council, and tried to get the resolution delayed. But all of Israel's machinations to derail this resolution failed and that is what Mueller was investigating, the intervention and disruption of American foreign policy by private citizens who had no official role. ..."
"... While I think Bibi is an idiot, I also think the Logan Act is overinvoked, overstated, probably of dubious legal value and also of dubious constitutional value. ..."
"... In short, especially because Trump had been elected, though not yet inaugurated, I think he is not at all guilty of a Logan Act violation. This is nothing close to Spiro Agnew calling Anna Chenault from the airplane in August 1968. ..."
"... Probably true, although evidence of extreme collusion with Israel eliminates any case against Russia, with whom we have far more reasons for amity. Bringing out the Israel collusion greatly improves public understanding of political corruption. Perhaps it will awaken some to the Agnew-Chennault betrayal of the people of the US. ..."
"... It's ironic that Russia-gate is turning out to be Israel's effort to distract attention from its complete control over the Democratic party in 2016. From Israeli billionaires behind the scenes to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at the helm. ..."
"... "Whether we like it or not, the former and current administration view Russia is as an enemy state." So that is how it works, the White House says it is an enemy state and therefore it is. The so called declaration is the hammer used for trying to make contact with Russia a criminal offense. We are not at war with Russia although we see our leaders doing their best to provoke Russia into one. ..."
"... The Israel connection disclosed by the malpracticer hack Mueller in the recent Flynn-flam just made Trump bullet-proof (so to speak). ..."
"... So Mueller caught Kushner and Flynn red-handed, sabotaging the Obama administration? What of it? He can't use that evidence, because it would inculpate the Zionist neocons that are orchestrating his farcical, Stalinist witchhunt. And Mueller, being an efficient terminator bot, knows that his target is Russia, not Israel. ..."
"... So Mueller will just have to continue swamp-fishing for potential perjurers ahem witnesses, for the upcoming show trials (to further inflame public opinion against Russia and Russia sympathizers). And continue he will, because (as we all know from Schwarzenegger's flicks), the only way to stop the terminator is to terminate him/it first. ..."
"... Trump and Kushner have nothing to worry about, even if a smoking gun is found that proves their collusion with Israel. That's because the entire political and media establishment will simply ignore the Israeli connection. ..."
"... Journalists and politicians will even continue to present Mike Flynn's contacts as evidence of collusion with Russia. They'll keep on repeating that "Flynn lied about his phone call to the Russian ambassador". But there will be no mention of the fact that the purpose of this contact was to support Israel and not any alleged Russian interference. ..."
"... I think you have it right Brendan. The MSM, Intelligence Community, and Mueller would never go down any path that popularized undue Israeli influence on US foreign policy. "Nothing to see here folks, move along." ..."
"... The Nice Zionists responsible for the thefts and murders for the past 69 years along with the "Jewish Community" in the rest of the world will resolve the matter so as to be fair to both parties. This is mind-boggling fantasy. ..."
"... FFS, Netanyahu aired a political commercial in Florida for Romney saying vote for this guy (against Obama)! I mean, it doesn't get any more overtly manipulative than that. Period. End of story. ..."
"... God, I hate to go all "Israel controls the media" but there it is. Not even a discussion. Just a fact. ..."
"... I also have to point out that he "fist pumped" Hillary Clinton at Mohammed Ali's eulogy. If he's as astute as he purports to be, he has to know that Hillary would have invaded Syria and killed a few hundred thousand more Syrians for the simple act of defiantly preserving their country. By almost any read of Ali's history, he would have been adamantly ("killing brown people") against that. But there was Silverstein using the platform to promote, arguably, perpetual war. ..."
"... Yeah I found a couple of Silverstein's statements to be closer to neocon propaganda than reality: "Because this is Israel and because we have a conflicted relationship with the Israel lobby . . ." "Instead of going directly to the Obama administration, with which they had terrible relations, they went to Trump instead." My impression was that the whole "terrible relationship between Obama and Netanyahu" was manufactured by the Israel lobby to bully Obama. However these are small blips within an otherwise solid critique of the Israel lobby's influence. ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The Israel-gate Side of Russia-gate December 23, 2017

While unproven claims of Russian meddling in U.S. politics have whipped Official Washington into a frenzy, much less attention has been paid to real evidence of Israeli interference in U.S. politics, as Dennis J Bernstein describes.

By Dennis J Bernstein

In investigating Russia's alleged meddling in U.S. politics, special prosecutor Robert Mueller uncovered evidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressured the Trump transition team to undermine President Obama's plans to permit the United Nations to censure Israel over its illegal settlement building on the Palestinian West Bank, a discovery referenced in the plea deal with President Trump's first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

At Netanyahu's behest, Flynn and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly took the lead in the lobbying to derail the U.N. resolution, which Flynn discussed in a phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (in which the Russian diplomat rebuffed Flynn's appeal to block the resolution).

I spoke on Dec, 18 with independent journalist and blogger Richard Silverstein, who writes on national security and other issues for a number of blogs at Tikun Olam .

Dennis Bernstein: A part of Michael Flynn's plea had to do with some actions he took before coming to power regarding Israel and the United Nations. Please explain.

Richard Silverstein:

The Obama administration was negotiating in the [UN] Security Council just before he left office about a resolution that would condemn Israeli settlements. Obviously, the Israeli government did not want this resolution to be passed. Instead of going directly to the Obama administration, with which they had terrible relations, they went to Trump instead. They approached Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner became involved in this. While they were in the transition and before having any official capacity, they negotiated with various members of the Security Council to try to quash the settlement resolution.

One of the issues here which is little known is the Logan Act, which was passed at the foundation of our republic and was designed to prevent private citizens from usurping the foreign policy prerogatives of the executive. It criminalized any private citizen who attempted to negotiate with an enemy country over any foreign policy issue.

In this case, what Flynn and Kushner were doing was going directly against US foreign policy, because Obama wanted the resolution to pass; He just didn't want to vote for it because that would cross the Israel lobby in the United States. The US finally ended up abstaining on the resolution and it passed 14-0.

But before that happened, Flynn went to the Russians and to Egypt, both members of the Security Council, and tried to get the resolution delayed. But all of Israel's machinations to derail this resolution failed and that is what Mueller was investigating, the intervention and disruption of American foreign policy by private citizens who had no official role.

This speaks to the power of the Israel lobby and of Israel itself to disrupt our foreign policy. Very few people have ever been charged with committing an illegal act by advocating on behalf of Israel. That is one of the reasons why this is such an important development. Until now, the lobby has really ruled supreme on the issue of Israel and Palestine in US foreign policy. Now it is possible that a private citizen will actually be made to pay a price for that.

This is an important development because the lobby till now has run roughshod over our foreign policy in this area and this may act as a restraining order against blatant disruption of US foreign policy by people like this.

Bernstein: So this information is a part of Michael Flynn's plea. Anyone studying this would learn something about Michael Flynn and it would be part of the prosecution's investigation.

Silverstein:

That's absolutely right. One thing to note here is that it is reporters who have raised the issue of the Logan Act, not Mueller or Flynn's people or anyone in the Trump administration. But I do think that Logan is a very important part of this plea deal, even if it is not mentioned explicitly.

Bernstein: If the special prosecutor had smoking-gun information that the Trump administration colluded with Russia, in the way they colluded with Israel before coming to power, this would be a huge revelation. But it is definitely collusion when it comes to Israel.

Silverstein: Absolutely. If this were Russia, it would be on the front page of every major newspaper in the United States and the leading story on the TV news. Because this is Israel and because we have a conflicted relationship with the Israel lobby and they have so much influence on US policy concerning Israel, it has managed to stay on the back burner. Only two or three media outlets besides mine have raised this issue of Logan and collusion. Kushner and Flynn may be the first American citizens charged under the Logan Act for interfering on behalf of Israel in our foreign policy. This is a huge issue and it has hardly been raised at all.

Bernstein: As you know, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has made a career out of investigating the Russia-gate charges. She says that she has read all this material carefully, so she must have read about Flynn and Israel, but I haven't heard her on this issue at all.

Silverstein:

Even progressive journalists, who you'd think would be going after this with a vengeance, are frightened off by the fact the lobby really bites back. So, aside from outlets like the Intercept and the Electronic Intifada, there is a lot of hesitation about going after the Israel lobby. People are afraid because they know that there is a high price to be paid. It goes from being purely journalism to being a personal and political vendetta when they get you in their sights. In fact, one of the reasons I feel my blog is so important is that what I do is challenge Israeli policy and Israeli intervention in places where it doesn't belong.

Bernstein: Jared Kushner is the point man for the Trump administration on Israel. He has talked about having a "vision for peace." Do you think it is a problem that this is someone with a long, close relationship with the prime minister of Israel and, in fact, runs a foundation that invests in the building of illegal Israeli settlements? Might this be problematic?

Silverstein:

It is quite nefarious, actually. When Jared Kushner was a teenager, Netanyahu used to stay at the Kushner family home when he visited the United States. This relationship with one of the most extreme right political figures in Israel goes back decades. And it is not just Kushner himself, but all the administration personnel dealing with these so-called peace negotiations, including Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, the ambassador. These are all orthodox Jews who tend to have very nationalist views when it comes to Israel. They all support settlements financially through foundations. These are not honest brokers.

We could talk at length about the history of US personnel who have been negotiators for Middle East peace. All of them have been favorable to Israel and answerable to the Israel lobby, including Dennis Ross and Makovsky, who served in the last administration. These people are dyed-in-the-wool ultra-nationalist supporters of [Israeli] settlements. They have no business playing any role in negotiating a peace deal.

My prediction all along has been that these peace negotiations will come to naught, even though they seem to have bought the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, which is something new in the process. The Palestinians can never accept a deal that has been negotiated by Kushner and company because it will be far too favorable to Israel and it will totally neglect the interests of the Palestinians.

Bernstein: It has been revealed that Kushner supports the building of settlements in the West Bank. Most people don't understand the politics of what is going on there, but it appears to be part of an ethnic cleansing.

Silverstein:

The settlements have always been a violation of international law, ever since Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967. The Geneva Conventions direct an occupying power to withdraw from territory that was not its own. In 1967 Israel invaded Arab states and conquered the West Bank and Gaza but this has never been recognized or accepted by any nation until now.

The fact that Kushner and his family are intimately involved in supporting settlements–as are David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt–is completely outrageous. No member of any previous US administration would have been allowed to participate with these kinds of financial investments in support of settlements. Of course, Trump doesn't understand the concept of conflict of interest because he is heavily involved in such conflicts himself. But no party in the Middle East except Israel is going to consider the US an honest broker and acceptable as a mediator.

When they announce this deal next January, no one in the Arab World is going to accept it, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia because they have other fish to fry in terms of Iran. The next three years are going to be interesting, supposing Trump lasts out his term. My prediction is that the peace plan will fail and that it will lead to greater violence in the Middle East. It will not simply lead to a vacuum, it will lead to a deterioration in conditions there.

Bernstein: The Trump transition team was actually approached directly by the Israeli government to try to intercede at the United Nations.

Silverstein:

I'm assuming it was Netanyahu who went directly to Kushner and Trump. Now, we haven't yet found out that Trump directly knew about this but it is very hard to believe that Trump didn't endorse this. Now that we know that Mueller has access to all of the emails of the transition team, there is little doubt that they have been able to find their smoking gun. Flynn's plea meant that they basically had him dead to rights. It remains to be seen what will happen with Kushner but I would think that this would play some role in either the prosecution of Kushner or some plea deal.

Bernstein: The other big story, of course, is the decision by the Trump administration to move the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Was there any pre-election collusion in that regard and what are the implications?

Silverstein:

Well, it's a terrible decision which goes against forty to fifty years of US foreign policy. It also breaches all international understanding. All of our allies in the European Union and elsewhere are aghast at this development. There is now a campaign in the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution condemning the announcement, which we will veto, but the next step will be to go to the General Assembly, where such a resolution will pass easily.

The question is how much anger, violence and disruption this is going to cause around the world, especially in the Arab and Muslim world. This is a slow-burning fuse. It is not going to explode right now. The issue of Jerusalem is so vital that this is not something that is simply going to go away. This is going to be a festering sore in the Muslim world and among Palestinians. We have already seen attacks on Israeli soldiers and citizens and there will be many more.

As to collusion in all of this, since Trump always said during the campaign that this was what he was going to do, it might be difficult to treat this in the same way as the UN resolution. The UN resolution was never on anybody's radar and nobody knew the role that Trump was playing behind the scenes with that–as opposed to Trump saying right from the get-go that Jerusalem was going to be recognized as the capital of Jerusalem.

By doing that, they have completely abrogated any Palestinian interest in Jerusalem. This is a catastrophic decision that really excludes the United States from being an honest broker here and shows our true colors in terms of how pro-Israel we are.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

Drew Hunkins , December 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm

As most regular readers of CN already know, some dynamite books on the inordinate amount of influence pro-Israel zealots have on Washington:

1.) 'The Host and the Parasite' by Greg Felton
2.) 'Power of Israel in the United States' by James Petras
3.) 'They Dare to Speak Out' by Paul Findley
4.) 'The Israel Lobby' by Mearsheimer and Walt
5.) 'Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of U.S. Power' by James Petras

I suggest that anyone relatively knew to this neglected topic peruse a few of the aforementioned titles. An inevitable backlash by the citizens of the United States is eventually forthcoming against the Zionist Power Configuration. It's crucial that this impending backlash remain democratic, non-violent, eschews anti-Semitism, and travels in a progressive in direction.

Annie , December 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Which one would you suggest? I already read "The Israel Lobby."

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Findley and Mearsheimer are certainly worthwhile. I will look for Petras.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

If you haven't already read them, the end/footnotes in "The Israel Lobby" are more illuminating.

SocraticGadfly , December 23, 2017 at 6:10 pm

That influence is also shown, of course, by the fact that Obama waited until the midnight hours of his tenure and after the 2016 election to even start working on this resolution.

SocraticGadfly , December 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm

While I think Bibi is an idiot, I also think the Logan Act is overinvoked, overstated, probably of dubious legal value and also of dubious constitutional value.

In short, especially because Trump had been elected, though not yet inaugurated, I think he is not at all guilty of a Logan Act violation. This is nothing close to Spiro Agnew calling Anna Chenault from the airplane in August 1968.

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Probably true, although evidence of extreme collusion with Israel eliminates any case against Russia, with whom we have far more reasons for amity. Bringing out the Israel collusion greatly improves public understanding of political corruption. Perhaps it will awaken some to the Agnew-Chennault betrayal of the people of the US.

JWalters , December 24, 2017 at 3:32 am

It's ironic that Russia-gate is turning out to be Israel's effort to distract attention from its complete control over the Democratic party in 2016. From Israeli billionaires behind the scenes to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at the helm.

The leaked emails showed the corruption plainly, and based on the ACTUAL evidence (recorded download time), most likely came from a highly disgruntled insider. The picture was starting to spill into public view. I'd estimate the real huge worry was that if this stuff came out, it could bring out other Israeli secrets, like their involvement in 9/11. That would mean actual jail time. Might be hard to buy your way out of that no matter how much money you have.

Annie , December 23, 2017 at 10:48 pm

The Logan act states that anyone who negotiates with an enemy of the US, and Israel is not defined as an enemy.

Annie , December 23, 2017 at 6:59 pm

The Logan act would not apply here, although I wish it would. I don't think anyone has been convicted based on this act, and they were part of a transition team not to mention the Logan act clearly states a private citizen who attempts to negotiate with an enemy state, and that certainly doesn't apply to Israel. In this administration their bias is so blatant that they can install Kushner as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestine peace process while his family has a close relationship with Netanyahu, and he runs a foundation that invests in the building of illegal settlements which goes against the Geneva conventions. Hopefully Trump's blatant siding with Israel will receive a lot of backlash as did his plan to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

I also found that so called progressive internet sites don't cover this the way they should.

Al Pinto , December 24, 2017 at 9:16 am

@Annie

"The Logan act would not apply here, although I wish it would."

You and me both .

From the point of starting to read this article, it has been in my mind that the Logan act would not apply here. After reading most of the comments, it became clear that not many people viewed this as such. Yes, Joe Tedesky did as well

The UN is the "clearing house" for international politics, where countries freely contact each other's for getting support for their cause behind the scene. The support sought after could be voting for or against the resolution on hand. At times, as Israel did, countries reach out to perceived enemies as well, if they could not secure sufficient support for their cause. This is the normal activity of the UN diplomacy.

Knowing that the outgoing administration would not support its cause, Israel reached out to the incoming administration to delay the vote on the UN resolution. I fail to see anything wrong with Israel's action even in this case; Israel is not an enemy state to the US. As such, there has been no violation of any acts by the incoming administration, even if they tried to secure veto vote for Israel. I do not like it, but no action by Mueller in this case is correct.

People, just like the article in itself, implying that the Logan Act applies in this case are just plain wrong. Not just wrong, but their anti-Israel bias is in plain view.

Whether we like it or not, the former and current administration view Russia is as an enemy state. Even then, Russia contacting the incoming administration is not a violation of the Logan Act. That is just normal diplomacy in the background between countries. What would be a violation is that the contacted official acted on the behalf of Russia and tried to influence the outgoing administration's decision. That is what the Mueller investigation tries to prove hopelessly

Herman , December 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

"Whether we like it or not, the former and current administration view Russia is as an enemy state." So that is how it works, the White House says it is an enemy state and therefore it is. The so called declaration is the hammer used for trying to make contact with Russia a criminal offense. We are not at war with Russia although we see our leaders doing their best to provoke Russia into one.

Annie , December 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for your reply. When I read the article and it referenced the Logan Act, which I am familiar with in that I've read about it before, I was surprised that Bernstein and Silverstein even brought it up because it so obviously does not apply in this case, since Israel is not considered an enemy state. Many have even referenced it as flimsy when it comes to convictions against those in Trump's transition team who had contacts with Russia. No one has ever been convicted under the Logan Act.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 6:41 pm

The Logan Act either should apply equally, or not apply at all. This "Russia-gate" hype seems to apply it selectively.

mrtmbrnmn , December 23, 2017 at 7:36 pm

You guys are blinded by the light. The Israel connection disclosed by the malpracticer hack Mueller in the recent Flynn-flam just made Trump bullet-proof (so to speak).

There is no doubt that Trump is Bibi's and the Saudi's ventriloquist dummy and Jared has been an Israel agent of influence since he was 12.

But half the Dementedcrat Sore Loser Brigade will withdraw from the field of battle (not to mention most of the GOP living dead too) if publically and noisily tying Israel to Trump's tail becomes the only route to his removal. Which it would have to be, as there is no there there regarding the yearlong trumped-up PutinPutinPutin waterboarding of Trump.

Immediately (if not sooner) the mighty (pro-Israel) Donor Bank of Singer (Paul), Saban (Haim), Sachs (Goldman) & Adelson (Sheldon), would change their passwords and leave these politicians/beggars with empty begging bowls. End of $ordid $tory.

alley cat , December 23, 2017 at 7:45 pm

So Mueller caught Kushner and Flynn red-handed, sabotaging the Obama administration? What of it? He can't use that evidence, because it would inculpate the Zionist neocons that are orchestrating his farcical, Stalinist witchhunt. And Mueller, being an efficient terminator bot, knows that his target is Russia, not Israel.

Mueller can use that evidence of sabotage and/or obstruction of justice to try to coerce false confessions from Kushner and Flynn. But what are the chances of that, barring short stayovers for them at some CIA black site?

So Mueller will just have to continue swamp-fishing for potential perjurers ahem witnesses, for the upcoming show trials (to further inflame public opinion against Russia and Russia sympathizers). And continue he will, because (as we all know from Schwarzenegger's flicks), the only way to stop the terminator is to terminate him/it first.

Leslie F. , December 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm

He used it, along with other info, to turn flip Flynn and possibly can use it the same way again Kusher. Not all evidence has end up in court to be useful.

JWalters , December 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm

This is an extremely important story, excellently reported. All the main "facts" Americans think they know about Israel are, amazingly, flat-out lies.

1. Israel was NOT victimized by powerful Arab armies. Israel overpowered and victimized a defenseless, civilian Arab population. Military analysts knew the Arab armies were in poor shape and would not be able to resist the zionist army.

2. Muslim "citizens" of Israel do NOT have all the same rights as Jews.

3. Israelis are NOT under threat from the indigineous Palestinians, but Palestinians are under constant threats of theft and death from the Israelis.

4. Israel does NOT share America's most fundamental values, which rest on the principle of equal human rights for all.

Maintaining such a blanket of major lies for decades requires immense power. And this power would have to be exercised "under the radar" to be effective. That requires even more power. Both Congress and the press have to be controlled. How much power does it take to turn "Progressive Rachel" into "Tel Aviv Rachel"? To turn "It Takes a Village" Hillary into "Slaughter a Village" Hillary? It takes immense power AND ruthlessness.

War profiteers have exactly this combination of immense war profits and the ruthlessness to victimize millions of people.
"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror"
http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

Vast war profits easily afford to buy the mainstream media. And controlling campaign contributions for members of Congress is amazingly cheap in the big picture. Such a squalid sale of souls.

And when simple bribery is not enough, they ruin a person's life through blackmail or false character assassination. And if those don't work they use death threats, including to family members, and finally murder. Their ruthlessness is unrestrained. John Perkins has described these tactics in "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man".

For readers who haven't seen it, here is an excellent riff on the absurdly overwhelming evidence for Israel's influence compared to that of Russia, at a highly professional news and analysis website run by Jewish anti-Zionists.
"Let's talk about Russian influence"
http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/about-russian-influence/

mike k , December 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Hitler and Mussolini, Trump and Netanyahoo – matches made in Hell. These characters are so obviously, blatantly evil that it is deeply disturbing that people fail to see that, and instead go to great lengths to find some complicated flaws in these monsters.

mike k , December 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Keep it simple folks. No need for complex analyses. Just remember that these characters as simply as evil as it gets, and proceed from there. These asinine shows that portray mobsters as complex human beings are dangerously deluding. If you want to be victimized by these types, this kind of overthinking is just the way to go.

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm

There is a modern theory of fiction that insists upon the portrayal of inconsistency in characters, both among the good guys and the bad guys. It is useful to show how those who do wrongs have made specific kinds of errors that make them abnormal, and that those who do right are not perfect but nonetheless did the right thing. Instead it is used by commercial writers to argue that the good are really bad, and the bad are really good, which is of course the philosophy of oligarchy-controlled mass publishers.

Sam F , December 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm

A very important article by Dennis Bernstein, and it is very appropriate that non-zionist Jews are active against the extreme zionist corruption of our federal government. I am sure that they are reviled by the zionists for interfering with the false denunciations of racism against the opponents of zionism. Indeed critics face a very nearly totalitarian power of zionism, which in league with MIC/WallSt opportunism has displaced democracy altogether in the US.

backwardsevolution , December 23, 2017 at 9:18 pm

A nice little set-up by the Obama administration. Perhaps it was entrapment? Who set it up? Flynn and Kushner should have known better to fall for it. So at the end of his Presidency, Obama suddenly gets balls and wants to slap down Israel? Yeah, right.

Nice to have leverage over people, though, isn't it? If you're lucky and play your cards right, you might even be lucky enough to land an impeachment.

Of course, I'm just being cynical. No one would want to overturn democracy, would they?

Certainly people like Comey, Brenner, Clinton, Clapper, Mueller, Rosenstein wouldn't want that, would they?

Joe Tedesky , December 23, 2017 at 10:33 pm

I just can't see any special prosecutor investigating Israel-Gate. Between what the Zionist donors donate to these creepy politicians, too what goods they have on these same mischievous politicians, I just can't see any investigation into Israel's collusion with the Trump Administration going anywhere. Netanyahu isn't Putin, and Russia isn't Israel. Plus, Israel is considered a U.S. ally, while Russia is being marked as a Washington rival. Sorry, this news regarding Israel isn't going to be ranted on about for the next 18 months, like the MSM has done with Russia, because our dear old Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, or so they tell us. So, don't get your hopes up.

JWalters , December 24, 2017 at 3:33 am

It's true the Israelis have America's politicians by the ears and the balls. But as this story gets better known, politicians will start getting questions at their town meetings. Increasingly the politicians will gag on what Israel is force-feeding them, until finally they reach a critical mass of vomit in Congress.

Joe Tedesky , December 24, 2017 at 11:12 am

I hope you are right JWalters. Although relying on a Zionist controlled MSM doesn't give hope for the news getting out properly. Again I hope you are right JWalters. Joe

Jeff Blankfort , December 24, 2017 at 12:18 am

Actually, Netanyahu was so desperate to have the resolution pulled and not voted on that he reached out to any country that might help him after the foreign minister of New Zealand, one of its co-sponsors refused to pull the plug after a testy phone exchange with the Israeli PM ending up threatening an Israeli boycott oturnef the KIwis.

He then turned to his buddy, Vladimir Putin, who owed him a favor for having Israel's UN delegate absent himself for the UNGA vote on sanctioning Russia after its annexation of Crimea.

Putin then called Russia's UN Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, since deceased, and asked him to get the other UNSC ambassadors to postpone the vote until Trump took over the White House but the other ambassadors weren't buying it. Given Russia's historic public position regarding the settlements, Churkin had no choice to vote Yes with the others.

This story was reported in detail in the Israeli press but blacked out in the US which, due to Zionist influence on the media, does not want the American public to know about the close ties between Putin and Netanyahu which has led to the Israeli PM making five state visits there in the last year and a half.

Had Clinton won the White House we can assume that there would have been no US veto. That Netanyahu apparently knew in advance that the US planned to veto the resolution was, I suspect, leaked to the Israelis by US delegate Samantha Power, who was clearly unhappy at having to abstain.

Abe , December 24, 2017 at 12:39 am

The Israeli Prime Minister made five state visits to Russia in the last year and a half to make sure the Russians don't accidentally on purpose blast Israeli warplanes from the sky over Syria (like they oughtta). Putin tries not to snicker when Netanyahu bloviates ad nauseum about the purported "threat" posed by Iran.

argos , December 24, 2017 at 7:00 am

He thinks Putin is a RATS ASS like the yankee government

JWalters , December 24, 2017 at 3:34 am

"This story was reported in detail in the Israeli press but blacked out in the US"

We've just had a whole cluster of big stories involving Israel that have all been essentially blacked out in the US press. e.g.
"Dionne and Shields ignore the Adelson in the room"
http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/jerusalem-israels-capital

This is not due to chance. There is no doubt that the US mainstream media is wholly controlled by the Israelis.

alley cat , December 24, 2017 at 4:49 am

"He [Netanyahu] then turned to his buddy, Vladimir Putin "

Jeff, that characterization of Putin and Netanyahu's relationship makes no sense, since the Russians have consistently opposed Zionism and Putin has been no exception, having spoiled Zionist plans for the destruction of Syria.

"Had Clinton won the White House we can assume that there would have been no US veto."

Not sure where you're going with that, since the US vote was up to Obama, who wanted to get some payback for all of Bibi's efforts to sabotage Obama's treaty with Iran.

For the record, Zionism has had no more rabid supporter than the Dragon Lady. If we're going to make assumptions, we could start by assuming that if she had won the White House we'd all be dead by now, thanks to her obsession (at the instigation of her Zionist/neocon sponsors) with declaring no-fly zones in Syria.

Brendan , December 24, 2017 at 6:18 am

Trump and Kushner have nothing to worry about, even if a smoking gun is found that proves their collusion with Israel. That's because the entire political and media establishment will simply ignore the Israeli connection.

Journalists and politicians will even continue to present Mike Flynn's contacts as evidence of collusion with Russia. They'll keep on repeating that "Flynn lied about his phone call to the Russian ambassador". But there will be no mention of the fact that the purpose of this contact was to support Israel and not any alleged Russian interference.

Skip Scott , December 24, 2017 at 7:59 am

I think you have it right Brendan. The MSM, Intelligence Community, and Mueller would never go down any path that popularized undue Israeli influence on US foreign policy. "Nothing to see here folks, move along."

argos , December 24, 2017 at 6:57 am

The zionist will stop at nothing to control the middle east with American taxpayers money/military equiptment its a win win for the zionist they control America lock stock and barrel a pity though it is a great country to be led by a jewish entity.

Herman , December 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

What will Israel-Palestine look like twenty years from now? Will it remain an apartheid regime, a regime without any Palestinians, or something different. The Trump decision, which the world rejects, brings the issue of "final" settlement to the fore. In a way we can go back to the thirties and the British Mandate. Jewish were fleeing Europe, many coming to Palestine. The British, on behalf of the Zionists, were delaying declaring Palestine a state with control of its own affairs. Seeing the mass immigration and chafing at British foot dragging, the Arabs rebelled, What happened then was that the British, responding to numerous pressures notably war with Germany, acted by granting independence and granting Palestine control of its borders.

With American pressure and the mass exodus of Jews from Europe, Jews defied the British resulting in Jewish resistance. What followed then was a UN plan to divide the land with a Jerusalem an international city administered by the UN. The Arabs rebelled and lost much of what the UN plan provided and Jerusalem as an international city was scrapped.

Will there be a second serious attempt to settle the issue of the land and the status of Jerusalem? Will there be a serious move toward a single state? How will the matter of Jerusalem be resolved. The two state solution has always been a fantasy and acquiescence of Palestinians to engage in this charade exposes their leaders to charges of posturing for perks. Imagined options could go on and on but will there be serious options placed before the world community or will the boots on the ground Israeli policies continue?

As I have commented before, it will most probably be the Jewish community in Israel and the world that shapes the future and if the matter is to be resolved that is fair to both parties, it will be they that starts the ball rolling.

Zachary Smith , December 24, 2017 at 1:34 pm

As I have commented before, it will most probably be the Jewish community in Israel and the world that shapes the future and if the matter is to be resolved that is fair to both parties, it will be they that starts the ball rolling.

The Nice Zionists responsible for the thefts and murders for the past 69 years along with the "Jewish Community" in the rest of the world will resolve the matter so as to be fair to both parties. This is mind-boggling fantasy.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Truly mind-boggling. Ahistorical, and as you say, fantasy.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 5:48 pm

FFS, Netanyahu aired a political commercial in Florida for Romney saying vote for this guy (against Obama)! I mean, it doesn't get any more overtly manipulative than that. Period. End of story.

$50K of Facebook ads about puppies pales in comparison to that blatant, prima facia, public manipulation. God, I hate to go all "Israel controls the media" but there it is. Not even a discussion. Just a fact.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Just for the record, Richard Silverstein blocked me on Twitter because I pointed out that he slammed someone who was suggesting that the Assad government was fighting for its (Syria's) life by fighting terrorists. Actually, more specifically, because of that he read my "Free Palestine" bio on Twitter and called me a Hamas supporter (no Hamas mentioned) and a "moron" for some seeming contradiction.

I also have to point out that he "fist pumped" Hillary Clinton at Mohammed Ali's eulogy. If he's as astute as he purports to be, he has to know that Hillary would have invaded Syria and killed a few hundred thousand more Syrians for the simple act of defiantly preserving their country. By almost any read of Ali's history, he would have been adamantly ("killing brown people") against that. But there was Silverstein using the platform to promote, arguably, perpetual war.

Silverstein is probably not a good (ie. consistent) arbiter of Israeli impact on US politics. Just sayin'.

I wish it were otherwise.

Taras 77 , December 24, 2017 at 6:35 pm

https://www.therussophile.org/virus-found-inside-dnc-server-is-linked-to-a-company-based-in-pakistan.html/

This may be a tad ot but it relates to the alleged hacking of the DNC, the role debbie wasserman schultz plays in the spy ring (awan bros) in house of rep servers: I have long suspected that mossad has their fingers in this entire mess. FWIW

Good site, BTW.

Zachary Smith , December 24, 2017 at 7:35 pm

I can't recall why I removed the Tikun Olam site from my bookmarks – it happened quite a while back. Generally I do that when I feel the blogger crossed some kind of personal red line. Something Mr. Silverstein wrote put him over that line with me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/us/06leak.html?hp

In the course of a search I found that at the neocon NYT. Mr. Silverstein claims several things I find unbelievable, and from that alone I wonder about his ultimate motives. I may be excessively touchy about this, but that's how it is.

Larry Larsen , December 24, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Yeah Zachary, "wondering about ultimate motives" is probably a good way to put it/his views. He's obviously conflicted, if not deferential in some aspects of Israeli policy. He really was a hero of mine, but now I just don't get whether what he says is masking something or a true belief. He says some good stuff, but, but, but .

P. Michael Garber , December 24, 2017 at 11:54 pm

Yeah I found a couple of Silverstein's statements to be closer to neocon propaganda than reality: "Because this is Israel and because we have a conflicted relationship with the Israel lobby . . ." "Instead of going directly to the Obama administration, with which they had terrible relations, they went to Trump instead." My impression was that the whole "terrible relationship between Obama and Netanyahu" was manufactured by the Israel lobby to bully Obama. However these are small blips within an otherwise solid critique of the Israel lobby's influence.

[Dec 25, 2017] Democrats are falling in the ditch they dug

Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Published on Dec 20, 2017

USA BREAKING NEWS TODAY

Former FBI Director James Comey is in meltdown mode after his good buddy, the Deputy Director of the FBI Andy McCabe, just "spilled the beans" to the House Intelligence Committee. It was a "closed door" hearing, but we now have evidence that you need to know. McCabe incriminated his pals, and that's really bad news for Comey. Immediately, Comey sent out a cryptic message to President Donald Trump as he sees his life crumbling before him.

Source:

Comey Panics & Sends Message To Trump After His FBI Buddy Andy McCabe 'Spills The Beans' https://goo.gl/2oK75n

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The tweet:

James Comey

Don't let them get you down: "We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason." Thomas Babbington Macaulay (1830)

7:56 PM - 19 Dec 2017

[Dec 25, 2017] Was The Steele Dossier The FBI's Insurance Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Even though the FISA warrant targeting Page is classified and the FBI and DOJ have resisted informing Congress about it, some of its contents were illegally and selectively leaked to the Washington Post in April 2017 by sources described as "law enforcement and other U.S. officials." According to the Post: ..."
"... Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against the intelligence operative and two other Russian agents. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said. ..."
"... I've emphasized that last portion because it strongly implies that the FISA application included information from the Steele dossier. ..."
"... Do not be confused by the fact that, by the time of this Post report, the Steele-dossier allegations had already been disclosed to the public by BuzzFeed (in January 2017). The Post story is talking about what the DOJ and FBI put in the FISA application back in September 2016. At that time, the meetings alleged in the dossier had not been publicly disclosed. ..."
"... given that Page has not been accused of a crime, and that the DOJ and FBI would have to have alleged some potential criminal activity to justify a FISA warrant targeting the former U.S. naval intelligence officer, it certainly seems likely that the Steele dossier was the source of this allegation. ..."
"... In conclusion, while there is a dearth of evidence to date that the Trump campaign colluded in Russia's cyber -spionage attack on the 2016 election, there is abundant evidence that the Obama administration colluded with the Clinton campaign to use the Steele dossier as a vehicle for court-authorized monitoring of the Trump campaign -- and to fuel a pre-election media narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies believed Trump was scheming with Russia to lift sanctions if he were elected president. Congress should continue pressing for answers, and President Trump should order the Justice Department and FBI to cooperate rather than -- what's the word? -- resist. ..."
"... The "insurance policy" is either an assassination plot, coup d'etat or other forcible method of removing Trump from office (25th Amendment). Period. ..."
"... Clinton was supposed to win and all the corruption was to remain hidden. They are scambling to hide all this crap because shit is about to hit the fan. ..."
"... Think there is much more than just this one piece but yes, she and they were so arrogant they didn't bother to even try to win. They were entitled. And maybe this New Year will illustrate just how dangerously close they brought us to the edge. ..."
"... These fucks destroyed the rule of law when they decided to selectively enforce it when politically convenient. And when they conspired to take advantage of legal processes to overthrow the elected government. ..."
"... They really can't answer the question WHAT besides the Dossier could be the reason for this witch hunt. Crooked obviously knew of Dossier because in the debates she called my man " Putin's Puppet"....This is incompetency and politics that calls into question everything these people did..It's embarrasing and criminal. ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

According to the now-infamous text message sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok to his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, it was in McCabe's office that top FBI counterintelligence officials discussed what they saw as the frightening possibility of a Trump presidency.

That was during the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, no more than a couple of weeks after they started receiving the Steele dossier -- the Clinton campaign's opposition-research reports, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, about Trump's purportedly conspiratorial relationship with Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia.

Was it the Steele dossier that so frightened the FBI? I think so.

There is a great deal of information to follow. But let's cut to the chase: The Obama-era FBI and Justice Department had great faith in Steele because he had previously collaborated with the bureau on a big case. Plus, Steele was working on the Trump-Russia project with the wife of a top Obama Justice Department official, who was personally briefed by Steele. The upper ranks of the FBI and DOJ strongly preferred Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, to the point of overlooking significant evidence of her felony misconduct, even as they turned up the heat on Trump. In sum, the FBI and DOJ were predisposed to believe the allegations in Steele's dossier. Because of their confidence in Steele, because they were predisposed to believe his scandalous claims about Donald Trump, they made grossly inadequate efforts to verify his claims. Contrary to what I hoped would be the case, I've come to believe Steele's claims were used to obtain FISA surveillance authority for an investigation of Trump.

There were layers of insulation between the Clinton campaign and Steele -- the campaign and the Democratic party retained a law firm, which contracted with Fusion GPS, which in turn hired the former spy. At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they'd be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era's Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden.

The best laid schemes . . . gang aft agley.

Why It Matters

Strzok's text about the meeting in McCabe's office is dated August 16, 2016. As we'll see, the date is important. According to Agent Strzok, with Election Day less than three months away, Page, the bureau lawyer, weighed in on Trump's bid: "There's no way he gets elected." Strzok, however, believed that even if a Trump victory was the longest of long shots, the FBI "can't take that risk." He insisted that the bureau had no choice but to proceed with a plan to undermine Trump's candidacy: "It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that, "according to people familiar with his account," Strzok meant that it was imperative that the FBI "aggressively investigate allegations of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia." In laughable strawman fashion, the "people familiar with his account" assure the Journal that Strzok "didn't intend to suggest a secret plan to harm the candidate." Of course, no sensible person suspects that the FBI was plotting Trump's assassination; the suspicion is that, motivated by partisanship and spurred by shoddy information that it failed to verify, the FBI exploited its counterintelligence powers in hopes of derailing Trump's presidential run.

But what were these "allegations of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia" that the FBI decided to "aggressively investigate"? The Journal doesn't say. Were they the allegations in the Steele dossier? That is a question I asked in last weekend's column. It is a question that was pressed by Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) and Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee at Tuesday's sealed hearing. As I explained in the column, the question is critical for three reasons:

(1) The Steele dossier was a Clinton campaign product. If it was used by the FBI and the Obama Justice Department to obtain a FISA warrant, that would mean law-enforcement agencies controlled by a Democratic president fed the FISA court political campaign material produced by the Democratic candidate whom the president had endorsed to succeed him. Partisan claims of egregious scheming with an adversarial foreign power would have been presented to the court with the FBI's imprimatur, as if they were drawn from refined U.S. intelligence reporting. The objective would have been to spy on the opposition Republican campaign.

(2) In June of this year, former FBI director James Comey testified that the dossier was "salacious and unverified." While still director, Comey had described the dossier the same way when he briefed President-elect Trump on it in January 2017. If the dossier was still unverified as late as mid 2017, its allegations could not possibly have been verified months earlier, in the late summer or early autumn of 2016, when it appears that the FBI and DOJ used them in an application to the FISA court.

(3) The dossier appears to contain misinformation. Knowing he was a spy-for-hire trusted by Americans, Steele's Russian-regime sources had reason to believe that misinformation could be passed into the stream of U.S. intelligence and that it would be acted on -- and leaked -- as if it were true, to America's detriment. This would sow discord in our political system. If the FBI and DOJ relied on the dossier, it likely means they were played by the Putin regime.

How Could Something Like This Happen?

We do not have public confirmation that the dossier was, in fact, used by the bureau and the Justice Department to obtain the FISA warrant. Publicly, FBI and DOJ officials have thwarted the Congress with twaddle about protecting both intelligence sources and an internal inspector-general probe. Of course, Congress, which established and funds the DOJ and FBI, has the necessary security clearances to review classified information, has jurisdiction over the secret FISA court, and has independent constitutional authority to examine the activities of legislatively created executive agencies.

In any event, important reporting by Fox News' James Rosen regarding Tuesday's hearing indicates that the FBI did, in fact, credit the contents of the dossier. It appears, however, that the bureau corroborated few of Steele's claims, and at an absurdly high level of generality -- along the lines of: You tell me person A went to place X and committed a crime; I corroborate only that A went to X and blithely assume that because you were right about the travel, you must be right about the crime.

Here, the FBI was able to verify Steele's claim that Carter Page, a very loosely connected Trump-campaign adviser, had gone to Russia. This was not exactly meticulous gumshoe corroboration: Page told many people he was going to Russia, saw many people while there, and gave a speech at a prominent Moscow venue. Having verified only the travel information, the FBI appears to have credited the claims of Steele's anonymous Russian sources that Page carried out nigh-treasonous activities while in Russia.

How could something like this happen? Well, the FBI and DOJ liked and trusted Steele, for what seem to be good reasons. As the Washington Post has reported, the former MI-6 agent's private intelligence firm, Orbis, was retained by England's main soccer federation to investigate corruption at FIFA, the international soccer organization that had snubbed British bids to host the World Cup. In 2010, Steele delivered key information to the FBI's organized-crime liaison in Europe. This helped the bureau build the Obama Justice Department's most celebrated racketeering prosecution: the indictment of numerous FIFA officials and other corporate executives. Announcing the first wave of charges in May 2015, Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a point of thanking the investigators' "international partners" for their "outstanding assistance."

At the time, Bruce Ohr was the Obama Justice Department's point man for "Transnational Organized Crime and International Affairs," having been DOJ's long-serving chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. He also wore a second, top-echelon DOJ hat: associate deputy attorney general. That made him a key adviser to the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates (who later, as acting attorney general, was fired for insubordinately refusing to enforce President Trump's so-called travel ban). In the chain of command, the FBI reports to the DAG's office.

To do the Trump-Russia research, Steele had been retained by the research firm Fusion GPS (which, to repeat, had been hired by lawyers for the Clinton campaign and the DNC). Fusion GPS was run by its founder, former Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Glenn Simpson. Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie, a Russia scholar, worked for Simpson at Fusion. The Ohrs and Simpson appear to be longtime acquaintances, dating back to when Simpson was a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. In 2010, all three participated in a two-day conference on international organized crime, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (see conference schedule and participant list, pp. 27 -- 30). In connection with the Clinton campaign's Trump-Russia project, Fusion's Nellie Ohr collaborated with Steele and Simpson, and DOJ's Bruce Ohr met personally with Steele and Simpson.

Manifestly, the DOJ and FBI were favorably disposed toward Steele and Fusion GPS. I suspect that these good, productive prior relationships with the dossier's source led the investigators to be less exacting about corroborating the dossier's claims.

But that is just the beginning of the bias story.

At a high level, the DOJ and FBI were in the tank for Hillary Clinton. In July 2016, shortly before Steele's reports started floating in, the FBI and DOJ announced that no charges would be brought against Mrs. Clinton despite damning evidence that she mishandled classified information, destroyed government files, obstructed congressional investigations, and lied to investigators. The irregularities in the Clinton-emails investigation are legion: President Obama making it clear in public statements that he did not want Clinton charged; the FBI, shortly afterwards, drafting an exoneration of Clinton months before the investigation ended and central witnesses, including Clinton herself, were interviewed; investigators failing to use the grand jury to compel the production of key evidence; the DOJ restricting FBI agents in their lines of inquiry and examination of evidence; the granting of immunity to suspects who in any other case would be pressured to plead guilty and cooperate against more-culpable suspects; the distorting of criminal statutes to avoid applying them to Clinton; the sulfurous tarmac meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Clinton shortly before Mrs. Clinton was given a peremptory interview -- right before then -- FBI director Comey announced that she would not be charged.

The blatant preference for Clinton over Trump smacked of politics and self-interest. Deputy FBI director McCabe's wife had run for the Virginia state legislature as a Democrat, and her (unsuccessful) campaign was lavishly funded by groups tied to Clinton insider Terry McAuliffe. Agent Strzok told FBI lawyer Page that Trump was an "idiot" and that "Hillary should win 100 million to 0." Page agreed that Trump was "a loathsome human." A Clinton win would likely mean Lynch -- originally raised to prominence when President Bill Clinton appointed her to a coveted U.S. attorney slot -- would remain attorney general. Yates would be waiting in the wings.

The prior relationships of trust with the source; the investment in Clinton; the certitude that Clinton would win and deserved to win, signified by the mulish determination that she not be charged in the emails investigation; the sheer contempt for Trump. This concatenation led the FBI and DOJ to believe Steele -- to want to believe his melodramatic account of Trump-Russia corruption. For the faithful, it was a story too good to check.

The DOJ and FBI, having dropped a criminal investigation that undeniably established Hillary Clinton's national-security recklessness, managed simultaneously to convince themselves that Donald Trump was too much of a national-security risk to be president.

The Timeline

As I noted in last weekend's column, reports are that the FBI and DOJ obtained a FISA warrant targeting Carter Page (no relation to Lisa Page). For a time, Page was tangentially tied to the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser -- he barely knew Trump. The warrant was reportedly obtained after the Trump campaign and Page had largely severed ties in early August 2016. We do not know exactly when the FISA warrant was granted, but the New York Times and the Washington Post have reported, citing U.S. government sources, that this occurred in September 2016 (see here, here, and here). Further, the DOJ and FBI reportedly persuaded the FISA court to extend the surveillance after the first warrant's 90-day period lapsed -- meaning the spying continued into Trump's presidency.

The FBI and DOJ would have submitted the FISA application to the court shortly before the warrant was issued. In the days-to-weeks prior to petitioning the court, the FISA application would have been subjected to internal review at the FBI -- raising the possibility that FBI lawyer Page was in the loop reviewing the investigative work of Agent Strzok, with whom she was having an extramarital affair. There would also have been review at the Justice Department -- federal law requires that the attorney general approve every application to the FISA court.

Presumably, these internal reviews would have occurred in mid-to-late August -- around the time of the meeting in McCabe's office referred to in Strzok's text. Thus, we need to understand the relevant events before and after mid-to-late August. Here is a timeline.

June 2016

In June 2016, Steele began to generate the reports that collectively are known as the "dossier."

In the initial report, dated June 20, 2016, Steele alleged that Putin's regime had been "cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years." (Steele's reports conform to the FBI and intelligence-agency reporting practice of rendering names of interest in capital letters.) The Kremlin was said to have significant blackmail material that could be used against Trump.

In mid-to-late June 2016, according to Politico, Carter Page asked J. D. Gordon, his supervisor on the Trump campaign's National Security Advisory Committee, for permission to go on a trip to Russia in early July. Gordon advised against it. Page then sent an email to Corey Lewandowski, who was Trump's campaign manager until June 20, and Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokeswoman, seeking permission to go on the trip. Word came back to Page by email that he could go, but only in his private capacity, not as a representative of the Trump campaign. Lewandowski says he has never met Carter Page.

July 2016

Page, a top-of-the-class graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with various other academic distinctions, traveled to Moscow for a three-day trip, the centerpiece of which was a July 7 commencement address at the New Economic School (the same institution at which President Obama gave a commencement address on July 7, 2009). The New York Times has reported, based on leaks from "current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials," that Page's July trip to Moscow "was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump's campaign." The Times does not say what information the FBI had received that made the Moscow trip such a "catalyst."

Was it the Steele dossier?

Well, on July 19, Steele reported that, while in Moscow, Page had held secret meetings with two top Putin confederates, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. Steele claimed to have been informed by "a Russian source close to" Sechin, the president of Russia's energy conglomerate Rosneft, that Sechin had floated to Page the possibility of "US-Russia energy co-operation" in exchange for the "lifting of western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine." Page was said to have reacted "positively" but in a manner that was "non-committal."

Another source, apparently Russian, told Steele that "an official close to" Putin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov had confided to "a compatriot" that Igor Diveykin (of the "Internal Political Department" of Putin's Presidential Administration) had also met with Page in Moscow. (Note the dizzying multiple-hearsay basis of this information.) Diveykin is said to have told Page that the regime had "a dossier of 'kompromat'" -- compromising information -- on Hillary Clinton that it would consider releasing to Trump's "campaign team." Diveykin further "hinted (or indicated more strongly) that the Russian leadership also had 'kompromat' on TRUMP which the latter should bear in mind in his dealings with them."

The hacked DNC emails were first released on July 22, shortly before the Democratic National Convention, which ran from July 25 through 28.

In "late July 2016," Steele claimed to have been told by an "ethnic Russian close associate of . . . TRUMP" that there was a "well-developed conspiracy of co-operation" between "them" (apparently meaning Trump's inner circle) and "the Russian leadership." The conspiracy was said to be "managed on the TRUMP side by the Republican candidate's campaign manager, Paul MANAFORT, who was using foreign policy adviser, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries."

The same source claimed that the Russian regime had been behind the leak of DNC emails "to the WikiLeaks platform," an operation the source maintained "had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team." As a quid pro quo, "the TRUMP team" was said to have agreed (a) "to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue," and (b) to raise the failure of NATO nations to meet their defense commitments as a distraction from Russian aggression in Ukraine, "a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject."

Late July to Early August 2016

The Washington Post has reported that Steele's reports were first transmitted "by an intermediary" to the FBI and other U.S. intelligence officials after the Democratic National Convention (which, to repeat, ended on July 28). The intermediary is not identified. We do not know if it was Fusion, though that seems likely given that Fusion shared its work with government and non-government entities. Steele himself is also said to have contacted "a friend in the FBI" about his research after the Democratic convention. As we've seen, Steele made bureau friends during the FIFA investigation.

August 2016

On August 11, as recounted in the aforementioned Wall Street Journal report, FBI agent Strzok texted the following message to FBI lawyer Page: "OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND THE PERVASIVE CONNECTIONS." The Journal does not elaborate on what "allegations" Strzok was referring to, or the source of those allegations.

On August 15, Strzok texted Page about the meeting in deputy FBI director McCabe's office at which it was discussed that the bureau "can't take that risk" of a Trump presidency and needed something akin to an "insurance policy" even though Trump's election was thought highly unlikely.

September 2016

Reporting indicates that sometime in September 2016, the DOJ and FBI applied to the FISA court for a warrant to surveil Carter Page, and that the warrant was granted.

Interestingly, on September 23, 2016, Yahoo's Michael Isikoff reported on leaks he had received that the U.S. government was conducting an intelligence investigation to determine whether Carter Page, as a Trump adviser, had opened up a private communications channel with such "senior Russian officials" as Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin to discuss lifting economic sanctions if Trump became president.

It is now known that Isikoff's main source for the story was Fusion's Glenn Simpson. Isikoff's report is rife with allegations found in the dossier, although the dossier is not referred to as such; it is described as "intelligence reports" that "U.S. officials" were actively investigating -- i.e., Steele's reports were described in a way that would lead readers to assume they were official U.S. intelligence reports. But there clearly was official American government involvement: Isikoff's story asserts that U.S. officials were briefing members of Congress about these allegations that Page was meeting with Kremlin officials on Trump's behalf. The story elaborated that "questions about Page come amid mounting concerns within the U.S. intelligence community about Russian cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee." Those would be the cyberattacks alleged -- in the dossier on which Congress was being briefed -- to be the result of a Trump-Russia conspiracy in which Page was complicit.

Isikoff obviously checked with his government sources to verify what Simpson had told him about the ongoing investigation that was based on these "intelligence reports." His story recounts that "a senior U.S. law enforcement official" confirmed that Page's alleged contacts with Russian officials were "on our radar screen. . . . It's being looked at."

Final Points to Consider

After his naval career, Page worked in investing, including several years at Merrill Lynch in Moscow. As my column last weekend detailed, he has been an apologist for the Russian regime, championing appeasement for the sake of better U.S. -- Russia relations. Page has acknowledged that, during his brief trip to Moscow in July 2016, he ran into some Russian government officials, among many old Russian friends and acquaintances. Yet he vehemently denies meeting with Sechin and Diveykin. (While Sechin's name is well known to investors in the Russian energy sector, Page says that he has never met him and that he had never even heard Diveykin's name until the Steele dossier was publicized in early 2017.)

Furthermore, Page denies even knowing Paul Manafort, much less being used by Manafort as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and Russia. Page has filed a federal defamation lawsuit against the press outlets that published the dossier, has denied the dossier allegations in FBI interviews, and has reportedly testified before the grand jury in Robert Mueller's special-counsel investigation.

Even though the FISA warrant targeting Page is classified and the FBI and DOJ have resisted informing Congress about it, some of its contents were illegally and selectively leaked to the Washington Post in April 2017 by sources described as "law enforcement and other U.S. officials." According to the Post:

The government's application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators' basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.

Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against the intelligence operative and two other Russian agents. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said.

I've emphasized that last portion because it strongly implies that the FISA application included information from the Steele dossier. That is, when the Post speaks of Page's purported "other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed," this is very likely a reference to the meetings with Sechin and Diveykin that Page denies having had -- the meetings described in the dossier. Do not be confused by the fact that, by the time of this Post report, the Steele-dossier allegations had already been disclosed to the public by BuzzFeed (in January 2017). The Post story is talking about what the DOJ and FBI put in the FISA application back in September 2016. At that time, the meetings alleged in the dossier had not been publicly disclosed.

Two final points.

Under federal surveillance law (sec. 1801 of Title 50, U.S. Code), the probable-cause showing the government must make to prove that a person is an agent of a foreign power is different for Americans than for aliens. If the alleged agent is an alien, section 1801(b)(1) applies, and this means that no crime need be established; the government need only show that the target is acting on behalf of a foreign power in the sense of abetting its clandestine anti-American activities.

By contrast, if the alleged agent is an American citizen, such as Page, section 1801(b)(2) applies: The government must show not only that the person is engaged in clandestine activities on behalf of a foreign power but also that these activities

All of these involve evidence of a crime.

The only known suspicions about Page that have potential criminal implications are the allegations in the dossier, which potentially include hacking, bribery, fraud, and racketeering -- if Russia were formally considered an enemy of the United States, they would include treason. The FBI always has information we do not know about. But given that Page has not been accused of a crime, and that the DOJ and FBI would have to have alleged some potential criminal activity to justify a FISA warrant targeting the former U.S. naval intelligence officer, it certainly seems likely that the Steele dossier was the source of this allegation.

In conclusion, while there is a dearth of evidence to date that the Trump campaign colluded in Russia's cyber -spionage attack on the 2016 election, there is abundant evidence that the Obama administration colluded with the Clinton campaign to use the Steele dossier as a vehicle for court-authorized monitoring of the Trump campaign -- and to fuel a pre-election media narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies believed Trump was scheming with Russia to lift sanctions if he were elected president. Congress should continue pressing for answers, and President Trump should order the Justice Department and FBI to cooperate rather than -- what's the word? -- resist.

NoDebt -> xrxs , Dec 24, 2017 11:40 PM

No way the "insurance policy" was this .... dossier. It had made the rounds for almost a year by then. It was a TOOL for then present-day activities (campaign propaganda and obtaining FISA warrants). Everyone knew it was floating around by then.

An insurance policy is something that activates based on a completely unexpected contingency- premature death. Does it seem to you that a bogus report that had been rattling around doing it's intended work for almost six months is that thing? Sure as shit doesn't sound like that to me.

The "insurance policy" is either an assassination plot, coup d'etat or other forcible method of removing Trump from office (25th Amendment). Period.

two hoots -> TeamDepends , Dec 24, 2017 11:06 PM

Could the FBI be that broke, that persuasive, that wreckless? I suspect it is mainly at the top politically appointed positions that take us down that road? Trouble is they take the full agency along with them. Congress has implicit responsibility here also.

This will take some serious unwinding to officially expose the truth that many know exist. Attaching names to these truths is the hard part. As painful as it may be a Watergate style investigation is in order. Justice must be served to demonstrate unacceptable, illegal, nation harming activity is not tolerated at any level. Without it we have reached moral nihilism.

Other

They must have thought Trump had a chance or why would they bother? Maybe not so sure of Hillary after all? Something don't add up with the surity of a Clinton presidency?

"On August 15, Strzok texted Page about the meeting in deputy FBI director McCabe's office at which it was discussed that the bureau "can't take that risk" of a Trump presidency ......."

At look at the late July/Aug polls: https://www.statista.com/chart/5502/trump-vs-clinton_-a-year-at-the-polls/

DeaconPews , Dec 24, 2017 10:02 PM

"At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they'd be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era's Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden."

This is the entirety of the scandal. I've been saying it all along. ...Clinton was supposed to win and all the corruption was to remain hidden. They are scambling to hide all this crap because shit is about to hit the fan.

FoggyWorld -> DeaconPews , Dec 24, 2017 10:24 PM

Think there is much more than just this one piece but yes, she and they were so arrogant they didn't bother to even try to win. They were entitled. And maybe this New Year will illustrate just how dangerously close they brought us to the edge.

We do have things to be grateful for this evening though and just ZH itself has provided us with a space to vent, to cry, to laugh and now maybe to hope.

Merry Christmas to each and every one here - unseen but cared for friends.

otschelnik -> DeaconPews , Dec 24, 2017 11:22 PM

But here's the good news: Rosenstein, Wray and reportedly McCabe have all declined to answer if the golden shower dossier was used in the FISA warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, and/or Manafort. If the dossier WAS the reason and is now discredited oppo-research, then in all likelihood we're looking at huge FBI violation of due process, and a 'fruit of the poisoned tree' instance. That means that any evidence which could be used against Trump which originated from this surveillance would be thrown out of court. The FBI must know this.

Old556 , Dec 24, 2017 10:05 PM

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

– Charles Louis de Secondat 1748

navy62802 -> Old556 , Dec 24, 2017 10:07 PM

These fucks destroyed the rule of law when they decided to selectively enforce it when politically convenient. And when they conspired to take advantage of legal processes to overthrow the elected government.

MuffDiver69 , Dec 24, 2017 10:42 PM

Reasoned article and McCarthy is a former Federal Prosecutor using what is recognized as standard operating procedures in these cases to figure this out. I've come to the same conclusion months back. He obviously has a reputation and can't just sling it... They really can't answer the question WHAT besides the Dossier could be the reason for this witch hunt. Crooked obviously knew of Dossier because in the debates she called my man " Putin's Puppet"....This is incompetency and politics that calls into question everything these people did..It's embarrasing and criminal.

enough of this , Dec 24, 2017 10:44 PM

The Federal Bureau of Indiscretion

http://investmentwatchblog.com/peter-strzok-the-fbis-forrest-gump/

[Dec 25, 2017] Newt Gingrich Says They're ALL Going To Jail

(VIDEO) There is a provable corruption at high level of FBI and group of high level official which engaged in constant and deliberate undermining the rule of law and enforce their opinion on American people.
Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Newt Gingrich says they're all going to jail. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with Fox News' Sean Hannity called the spying on President Trump and the cover-up of Hillary Clinton's wrongdoing one of the worst breaches of our justice system ever

[Dec 24, 2017] Congress in Search of a Bordello by James Petras

Dec 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Presidential Leadership and Abuse in the Workplace

Several Presidents have been accused of gross sexual abuse and humiliation of office staff and interns, most ignobly William Jefferson Clinton. However, the Congressional Office of Compliance, in accord with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 does not collect statistics on presidential abuses and financial settlements. Nevertheless, we can examine the number of Congressional victims and payments during the tenures of the various Presidents during the past 20 years. This can tell us if the Presidents chose to issue any directives or exercise any leadership with regard to stopping the abuses occurring during their administrations.

Under Presidents William Clinton and Barack Obama we have data for 12 years 1997-2000, and 2009-2016. Under President George W Bush and Donald Trump we have data for 9 years 2001-2008 and 2017.

Under the two Democratic Presidents, 148 legislative employees were abused and the Treasury paid out approximately $5 million dollars and under the Republican Presidents, 116 were abused and Treasury and over $12 million dollars was paid out.

Under the Democratic Presidents, the average number of abuse victims was 12 per year; under the Republicans the average number was 13 per year. As in the case of Congressional leadership, US Presidents of both parties showed remarkable bipartisan consistency in tolerating Congressional abuse.

Congressional Abuse: The Larger Meaning

Workplace abuse by elected leaders in Washington is encouraged by Party cronyism, loyalties and shameless bootlicking. It is reinforced by the structure of power pervasive in the ruling class. Congress people exercise near total power over their employees because they are not accountable to their peers or their voters. They are protected by their financial donors, the special Congressional 'judicial' system and by the mass media with a complicity of silence.

The entire electoral system is based on a hierarchy of power, where those on the top can demand subordination and enforce their demands for sexual submission with threats of retaliation against the victim or the victim's outraged family members. This mirrors a feudal plantation system.

However, like sporadic peasant uprisings in the Middle Ages, some employees rise up, resist and demand justice. It is common to see Congressional abusers turn to their office managers, often female, to act as 'capos' to first threaten and then buy off the accuser – using US taxpayer funds. This added abuse never touches the wallet of the abuser or the office enforcer. Compensation is paid by the US Treasury. The social and financial status of the abusers and the abusers' families remain intact as they look forward to lucrative future employment as lobbyists.

This does not occur in isolation from the broader structure of class and power.

The sexual exploitation of workers in the Halls of the US Congress is part of the larger socio-economic system. Elected officials, who abuse their office employees and interns, share the same values with corporate and cultural bosses, who exploit their workers and subordinates. At an even larger level, they share the same values and culture with the ImperialState as it brutalizes and rapes independent nations and peoples.

The system of abuse and exploitation by the Congress and the corporate, cultural, academic, religious and political elite depends on complicit intermediaries who frequently come from upwardly mobile groups. The most abusive legislators will hire upwardly mobile women as public relations officers and office managers to recruit victims and, when necessary, arrange pay-offs. In the corporate sphere, CEOs frequently rely on former plant workers, trade union leaders, women and minorities to serve as 'labor relations' experts to provide a progressive façade in order to oust dissidents and enforce directives persecuting whistleblowers. On a global scale, the political warlords work hand in glove with the mass media and humanitarian interventionist NGO's to demonize independent voices and to glorify the military as they slaughter resistance fighters, while claiming to champion gender and minority rights. Thus, the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was widely propagandized and celebrated as the 'liberation of Afghan women'.

The Congressional perverts have their own private, secret mission: to abuse staff, to nurture the rich, enforce silence and approve legislation to make taxpayers pay the bill.

Let us hope that the current ' Me Too !' movement against workplace sexual abuse will grow to include a broader movement against the neo-feudalism within politics, business, and culture and lead to a political movement uniting workers in all fields.

[Dec 23, 2017] Russiagate as bait and switch maneuver

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good ..."
"... Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Masha Gessen's Warning Ignored as Dreams of Trumpeachment Dance in Our Heads

Gessen felt that the Russiagate gambit would flop, given a lack of smoking-gun evidence and sufficient public interest, particularly among Republicans.

Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good : racism, voter suppression (which may well have elected Trump , by the way), health care, plutocracy, police- and prison-state-ism, immigrant rights, economic exploitation and inequality, sexism and environmental ruination -- you know, stuff like that.

Some of the politically engaged populace noticed the problem early on. According to the Washington political journal The Hill , last summer ,

Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.

Here we are now, half a year later, careening into a dystopian holiday season. With his epically low approval rating of 32 percent , the orange-tinted bad grandpa in the Oval Office has won a viciously regressive tax bill that is widely rejected by the populace. The bill was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress whose current approval rating stands at 13 percent. It is a major legislative victory for the Republicans, a party whose approval rating fell to an all-time low of 29 percent at the end of September -- a party that tried to send a child molester to the U.S. Senate.

[Dec 23, 2017] FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee all but confirms that the only proof the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have of collusion is the discredited Trump Dossier by Tom Luongo,

This is American Maydan -- a plot to depose legitimate (albeit widely hated) government. History repeats. And Mueller is a part of the game to depose Trump for sure. As he is is supported by by powerful anti-Trump forces Trump can't simply fire him without risk of provoking political crisis. He is in Yanukovich position now and need to negotiate from the position of weakness, not strength.
Now it looks more and more plausible that Steele dossier was a joint operation of CIA and MI6 to discredit Trump: an insurance as Peter Strzok told his paramour.
Dec 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Luongo,

The desperation of U.S. liberals to find some truth in the claims that Donald Trump's campaign staff colluded with Russian state actors is approaching infinity.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee all but confirms that the only 'proof' the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have of collusion is the discredited "Trump Dossier."

This dossier was compiled by Christopher Steele and sold to the Clinton Campaign as opposition research by Fusion GPS. McCabe stonewalled the HIC on this matter but couldn't point to anything in the dossier that the FBI verified to be true other than publicly-known knowledge of Carter Page visiting Moscow in 2016.

And the last time I checked (as least for now) visiting Moscow is not a crime.

Neither is what Michael Flynn did a crime either, but let's not bring facts in to dash the hope of the terminally insane.

McCabe has to stonewall on this issue otherwise he and the rest of the FBI are guilty of acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton to assist in spying on her political opponent. Because that's where all of this leads if people would take their ideological blinders off for five seconds and look at what we actually know as opposed to what we 'just know to be true.'

Everyone involved in this sordid affair should be tried for espionage and treason.

Those prominent liberals running around protesting the mere thought of Donald Trump shutting down the Mueller investigation to 'protect the sanctity of our elections' are a bunch of simpering morons.

And I'm sick to death of the blatant and rank hypocrisy when it comes to election fraud in this country.

For this reason alone, the Mueller investigation should be shut down.

... ... ...

[Dec 23, 2017] Imperial arrogance and paranoia in full display

This is the session that happened just before appointment of the Special prosecutor. So it was a interesting moment which relael the growd work for the appointment of the Special prosecutor and the extent US Congress was involved in this activity. So a part of Congress was also active in the plot to depose Trump.
It is also interesting due to the fact that McCabe, the person at the center of Steele dossier controversy at FBI was present. As you can see everybody try to hype Russian threat for their own political gain. And McCabe clearly played into inflaming this paranoia further with his answers.
Also interesting is that while answering "yes" about Russian interference in election was the most safe answer to give, but the real question is not about Russian interference per se, but whether the level of Russian interference exceeded in scope British interference (criminal story with Stele dossier and wiretapping of Trump tower), Israel (via Israel lobbyists, NGOs, Kushner and Trump donors) and Saudi interference (donations to Clinton campaign) to name a few. If the answer is "no", then this is clearly a witch hunt.
Russia is just another neoliberal state, so why it can be a threat to the US neoliberalism unclear. It does resist enlargement of the US neoliberal empire as it has its own geopolitical interests in former USSR space. How would the US react if Russia helped to depose legitimate government in Mexico and started to supply arms in order to get back California, Texas and Florida which new government would consider were occupied by the the USA illegally? the fact that Russia does not want ot be Washington vassal is not illegal. And there is nothing criminal in attempts to resist the spread of the US neoliberal empire on xUSSR space.
Notable quotes:
"... RUBIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCabe, can you without going into the specific of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigations? ..."
"... MCCABE: As you know, Senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigation today. Quite simply put sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people, and upholding the Constitution. ..."
"... WYDEN: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. ..."
"... Gentlemen, it's fair to say I disagreed with Director Comey as much as anyone in this room but the timing of this firing is wrong to anyone with a sembl ..."
"... At our public hearing in January where he refused to discuss his investigation into connections between Russia and Trump associates I stated my fear that if the information didn't come out before inauguration day it might never come out. With all the recent talk in recent weeks about whether there is evidence of collusion, I fear some colleagues have forgotten that Donald Trump urged the Russians to hack his opponents. He also said repeatedly that he loved WikiLeaks. ..."
"... MCCABE: No, sir, that is not accurate. I can tell you, sir, that I worked very, very closely with Director Comey. From the moment he started at the FBI I was his executive assistant director of national security at that time and I worked for him running the Washington field office. And of course I've served as deputy for the last year. ..."
"... MCCABE: I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day. ..."
"... MCCABE: Sir, if you're referring to the Russia investigation, I do. I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately. If you're referring to the many constantly multiplying counter-intelligence threats that we face across the spectrum, they get bigger and more challenging every day and resources become an issue over time. ..."
"... Mr. McCabe, is the agent who is in charge of this very important investigation into Russian attempts to influence our election last fall still in charge? ..."
"... COLLINS: I want to follow up on a question of resources that Senator Heinrich asked your opinion on. Press reports yesterday indicated that Director Comey requested additional resources from the Justice Department for the bureau's ongoing investigation into Russian active measures. Are you aware that request? Can you confirm that that request was in fact made? ..."
"... MCCABE: Yes, sir. So obviously not discussing any specific investigation in detail. The -- the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. democratic process is one that causes us great concern. And quite frankly, it's something we've spent a lot of time working on over the past several months. And to reflect comments that were made in response to an earlier question that Director Coats handled, I think part of that process is to understand the inclinations of our foreign adversaries to interfere in those areas. ..."
"... LANKFORD: OK, so there's not limitations on resources, you have what you need? The -- the actions about Jim Comey and his release has not curtailed the investigation from the FBI, it's still moving forward? ..."
"... MCCABE: The investigation will move forward, absolutely. ..."
"... LANKFORD: Is it your impression at this point that the FBI is unable to complete the investigation in a fair and expeditious way because of the removal of Jim Comey? ..."
"... MANCHIN: I'm sure we'll have more questions in the closed hearing, sir but let me say to the rest of you all, we talked about Kaspersky, the lab, KL Lab. Do you all have -- has it risen to your level being the head of all of our intelligence agencies and people that mostly concerned about the security of our country of having a Russian connection in a lab as far outreaching as KL Labs? ..."
"... STEWART: We are tracking Kaspersky and their software. There is as well as I know, and I've checked this recently, no Kaspersky software on our networks. ..."
"... HARRIS: It's been widely reported, and you've mentioned this, that Director Comey asked Rosenstein for additional resources. And I understand that you're saying that you don't believe that you need any additional resources? ..."
"... MCCABE: For the Russia investigation, ma'am, I think we are adequately resourced. ..."
"... MCCABE: I don't believe there is a crisis of confidence in the leadership of the FBI. That's somewhat self-serving, and I apologize for that ..."
"... POMPEO: It's actually not a yes-or-no question, Senator. I can't answer yes or no. I regret that I'm unable to do so. You have to remember this is a counterintelligence investigation that was largely being conducted by the FBI and not by the CIA. We're a foreign intelligence organization. ..."
May 11, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

Full transcript Acting FBI director McCabe and others testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee

SEN. MARK WARNER, D-VA.: Intelligence community assessment accurately characterized the extent of Russian activities in the 2016 election and its conclusion that Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the hacking and leaking of information and using misinformation to influence our elections? Simple yes or no would suffice.

ROBERT CARDILLO, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I do. Yes, sir.

STEWART: Yes, Senator.

ROGERS: Yes I do.

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE : Yes I do.

MIKE POMPEO, DIRECTOR, CIA: Yes.

MCCABE: Yes.

WARNER: And I guess the presumption there -- or the next presumption, I won't even ask this question is consequently that committee assess -- or that community assessment was unanimous and is not a piece of fake news or evidence of some other individual or nation state other than Russia. So I appreciate that again for the record.

I warned you Mr. McCabe I was going to have to get you on the record as well on this. Mr. McCabe for as long as you are Acting FBI Director do you commit to informing this committee of any effort to interfere with the FBI's ongoing investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign?

MCCABE: I absolutely do.

WARNER: Thank you so much for that. I think in light of what's happened in the last 48 hours it's critically important that we have that assurance and I hope you'll relay, at least from me to the extraordinary people that work at the FBI that this committee supports them, supports their efforts, support their professionalism and supports their independence.

MCCABE: I will sir, thank you.

WARNER: In light of the fact that we just saw French elections where it felt like deja vu all over again in terms of the release of a series of e-mails against Mr. Macron days before the election and the fact that this committee continues to investigate the type of tactics that Russia has used.

Where do we stand, as a country, of preparation to make sure this doesn't happen again in 2018 and 2020 -- where have we moved in terms of collaboration with state voting -- voter files, in terms of working more with the tech community, particularly the platform -- platform entities in terms of how we can better assure real news versus fake news, is there some general sense -- Director Coats I know you've only been in the job for a short period of time -- of how we're going to have a strategic effort? Because while it was Russia in 2016 other nation states could -- you know -- launch similar type assaults.

COATS: Well, we are -- we will continue to use all the assets that we have in terms of collection and analysis relative to what the influence has been and potentially could be in future. Russians have spread this across the globe -- interestingly enough I met with the Prime Minister of Montenegro the latest nation to join NATO, the number 29 nation, what was the main topic?

Russian interference in their political system. And so it does -- it sweeps across Europe and other places. It's clear though, the Russians have upped their game using social media and other opportunities that we -- in ways that we haven't seen before. So it's a great threat to our -- our democratic process and our job here is to provide the best intelligence we can to the policy makers to -- as they develop a strategy in terms of how to best reflect a response to this.

WARNER: Well one of the things I'm concerned about is, we've all expressed this concern but since this doesn't fall neatly into any particular agency's jurisdiction you know, who's -- who's taking the point on interacting with the platform companies like the Google, Facebook and Twitter, who's taking the point in terms of interacting DHS image in terms of state boards of election? How are we trying to ensure that our systems more secure, and if we can get a brief answer on that because I got one last question for Admiral Rogers.

COATS: Well, I think the -- the obviously, our office tasks and takes the point, but there's contribution from agencies across the I.C. We will -- I've asked Director Pompeo to address that and others that might want to address that also. But each of us -- each of the agencies to the extent that they can and have the capacity whether its NSA though SIGINT, whether it's NSA through human or other sources will provide information to us that we want to use as a basis to provide to our -- to our policymakers.

Relative to a grand strategy, I am not aware right now of any -- I think we're still assessing the impact. We have not put a grand strategy together, which would not be our purview, we would provide the basis of intelligence that would then be the foundation for what that strategy would be.

WARNER: My hope -- my hope would be that we need to be proactive in this. We don't want to be sitting here kind of looking back at it after 2018 election cycle. Last question, very briefly, Admiral Rogers do you have any doubt that the Russians were behind the intervention in the French elections?

ROGERS: I -- let me phrase it this way, we are aware of some Russian activity directed against the Russian -- excuse me, directed against the French election process. As I previously said before Congress earlier this week, we in fact reached out to our French counterparts to say, we have become aware of this activity, we want to make you aware, what are you seeing?

I'm not in a position to have looked at the breadth of the French infrastructure. So I'm -- I'm not really in a position to make a whole simple declaratory statement.

WARNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BURR: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCabe, can you without going into the specific of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigations?

MCCABE: As you know, Senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigation today. Quite simply put sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people, and upholding the Constitution.

RUBIO: And this is for all the members of the committee, as has been widely reported, and people know this, Kaspersky Lab software is used by not hundreds of thousands, millions of Americans. To each of our witnesses I would just ask, would any of you be comfortable with the Kaspersky Lab software on your computers?

COATS: A resounding no, from me.

POMPEO: No.

MCCABE: No, Senator.

ROGERS: No, sir.

STEWART: No, Senator.

CARDILLO: No, sir.

... ... ...

POMPEO: I'll -- I'll let Mr. McCabe make a comment as well, but yes, of course. Frankly, this is consistent with what -- right, this is the -- the -- the attempt to interfere in United States is not limited to Russia. The Cubans have deep ties, it is in their deepest tradition to take American visitors and do their best influence of the way that is in adverse to U.S. interests.

MCCABE: Yes, sir. Fully agree, we share your concerns about that issue.

RUBIO: And my final question is on -- all this focus on Russia and what's happened in the past is that the opinion of all of you -- or those of -- you certainly all have insight on this. That even as we focus on 2016 and the efforts leading up to that election, efforts to influence policy making here in the United States vis-a-vis the Russian interests are ongoing that the Russians continue to use active measures; even at this moment, even on this day.

To try, through the use of multiple different ways, to influence the political debate and the decisions made in American politics; particularly as they pertain to Russia's interests around the world. In essence, these active measures is an ongoing threat, not simply something that happened in the past.

MCCABE: Yes, sir, that's right.

POMPEO: Senator, it's right. In some sense, though, we've got to put it in context, this has been going on for a long time. There's -- there's nothing new. Only the cost has been lessened, the cost of doing it.

COATS: I -- I would just add that the use of cyber and social media has significantly increased the impact and the capabilities that -- obviously this has been done for years and years. Even decades. But the ability they have to -- to use the interconnectedness and -- and all the -- all that that provides, that didn't provide before I -- they literally upped their game to the point where it's having a significant impact.

ROGERS: From my perspective I would just highlight cyber is enabling them to access information in massive quantities that weren't quite obtainable to the same level previously and that's just another tool in their attempt to acquire information, misuse of that information, manipulation, outright lies, inaccuracies at time.

But other times, actually dumping raw data which is -- as we also saw during this last presidential election cycle for us.

... ... ...

COATS: I can't speak to how many agents of -- of the U.S. government are as cognizant as perhaps we should be but I certainly think that, given China's aggressive approach relative to information gathering and -- and all the things that you mentioned merits a -- a review of CFIUS in terms of whether or not it is -- needs to have some changes or innovations to -- to address the aggressive -- aggressive Chinese actions not just against or companies, but across the world.

They -- they clearly have a strategy through their investments, they've started a major investment bank -- you name a park of the world Chinese probably are -- are there looking to put investments in. We've seen the situation in Djibouti where they're also adding military capability to their investment, strategic area for -- on the Horn of Africa there that -- that you wouldn't necessarily expect. But they're active in Africa, Northern Africa, they're active across the world.

Their one belt, one road process opens -- opens their trade and -- and what other interest they have to the Indian Ocean in -- and a different way to address nations that they've had difficulty connecting with. So it's a -- it's clearly an issue that we ought to take a look at.

... ... ...

WYDEN: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.

Gentlemen, it's fair to say I disagreed with Director Comey as much as anyone in this room but the timing of this firing is wrong to anyone with a semblance of ethics. Director Comey should be here this morning testifying to the American people about where the investigation he's been running stands.

At our public hearing in January where he refused to discuss his investigation into connections between Russia and Trump associates I stated my fear that if the information didn't come out before inauguration day it might never come out. With all the recent talk in recent weeks about whether there is evidence of collusion, I fear some colleagues have forgotten that Donald Trump urged the Russians to hack his opponents. He also said repeatedly that he loved WikiLeaks.

So the question is not whether Donald Trump actively encouraged the Russians and WikiLeaks to attack our democracy, he did; that is an established fact. The only question is whether he or someone associated with him coordinated with the Russians.

Now, Mr. McCabe, the president's letter to Director Comey asserted that on three separate occasions the director informed him that he was not under investigations. Would it have been wrong for the director to inform him he was not under investigations? Yes or no?

MCCABE: Sir, I'm not going to comment on any conversations that the director may have had with the president...

(CROSSTALK)

WYDEN: I didn't ask that. Would it have been wrong for the director to inform him he was not under investigation? That's not about conversations, that's yes or no answer.

MCCABE: As you know, Senator. We typically do not answer that question. I will not comment on whether or not the director and the president of the United States had that conversation.

WYDEN: Will you refrain from these kinds of alleged updates to the president or anyone else in the White House on the status of the investigation?

MCCABE: I will.

WYDEN: Thank you.

Director Pompeo, one of the few key unanswered questions is why the president didn't fire Michael Flynn after Acting Attorney General Yates warned the White House that he could be blackmailed by the Russians. Director Pompeo, did you know about the acting attorney general's warnings to the White House or were you aware of the concerns behind the warning?

POMPEO: I -- I don't have any comment on that.

WYDEN: Well, were you aware of the concerns behind the warning? I mean, this is a global threat. This is a global threat question, this is a global threat hearing. Were you...

(CROSSTALK)

POMPEO: Tell me...

(CROSSTALK)

WYDEN: Were you aware?

POMPEO: Senator, tell me what global threat it is you're concerned with, please. I'm not sure I understand the question.

WYDEN: Well, the possibility of blackmail. I mean, blackmail by a influential military official, that has real ramifications for the global threat. So this is not about a policy implication, this is about the national security advisor being vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. And the American people deserve to know whether in these extraordinary circumstances the CIA kept them safe.

POMPEO: Yes, sir, the CIA's kept America safe. And...

WYDEN: So...

POMPEO: And the people at the Central Intelligence Agency are committed to that and will remain committed to that. And we will...

(CROSSTALK)

POMPEO: ... do that in the face of...

WYDEN: You won't answer the question...

POMPEO: We will do that in the face of political challenges that come from any direction, Senator.

WYDEN: But, you will not answer the question of whether or not you were aware of the concerns behind the Yates warning.

POMPEO: Sir, I don't know exactly what you're referring to with the Yates warning, I -- I -- I wasn't part of any of those conversations. I -- I... (CROSSTALK)

WYDEN: The Yates warning was...

(CROSSTALK)

POMPEO: ... I have no first hand information with respect to the warning that was given.

WYDEN: OK.

POMPEO: She didn't make that warning to me. I -- I can't -- I can't answer that question, Senator...

WYDEN: OK.

POMPEO: ... as much as I would like to.

WYDEN: OK.

Director Coats, how concerned are you that a Russian government oil company, run by a Putin crony could end up owning a significant percentage of U.S. oil refining capacity and what are you advising the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States about this?

COATS: I don't have specific information relative to that. I think that's something that potentially, we could provide intelligence on in terms of what this -- what situation might be, but...

WYDEN: I'd like you to furnace that in writing. Let me see if I can get one other question in, there have been mountains of press stories with allegations about financial connections between Russia and Trump and his associates. The matters are directly relevant to the FBI and my question is, when it comes to illicit Russian money and in particular, it's potential to be laundered on its way to the United States, what should the committee be most concerned about?

We hear stories about Deutsche Bank, Bank of Cypress, Shell companies in Moldova, the British Virgin Islands. I'd like to get your sense because I'm over my time. Director McCabe, what you we most -- be most concerned about with respect to illicit Russian money and its potential to be laundered on its way the United States?

MCCABE: Certainly sir. So as you know, I am not in the position to be able to speak about specific investigations and certainly not in this setting. However, I will confirm for you that those are issues that concern us greatly.

They have traditionally and they do even more so today, as it becomes easier to conceal the origin and the -- and the track and the destination of purpose of illicit money flows, as the exchange of information becomes more clouded in encryption and then more obtuse, it becomes harder and harder to get to the bottom of those investigations. That would shed light on those issues.

WYDEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. BURR: Senator Risch?

RISCH: Thank you very much. Gentlemen, I -- the purpose of this hearing as the chairman expressed is to give the American people some insight into what we all do, which they don't see pretty much at all. And so I think what I want to do is I want to make an observation and then I want to get your take on it, anybody who wants to volunteer. And I'm going to start with you Director Coats, to volunteer.

My -- I have been -- I've been on this committee all the time I've been here in the Senate and all through the last administration. And I have been greatly impressed by the current administrations hitting the ground running during the first hundred days, as far as their engagement on intelligence matters and their engagement with foreign countries. The national media here is focused on domestic issues which is of great interest to the American people be it healthcare, be it personnel issues in the government.

And they don't -- the -- the media isn't as focused on this administrations fast, and in my judgment, robust engagement with the intelligence communities around the world and with other governments. And my impression is that it's good and it is aggressive. And I want -- I'd like you're -- I'd like your impression of where we're going. Almost all of you had real engagement in the last administration and all the administrations are different. So Director Coats, you want to take that on to start with?

COATS: I'd be happy to start with that, I think most presidents that come into office come with an agenda in mind in terms of what issues they'd like to pursue, many of them issues that effect -- domestic issues that affect infrastructure and education and a number of things only to find that this is dangerous world, that the United States -- that the threats that exist out there need to be -- be given attention to.

This president, who I think the perception was not interested in that, I think Director Pompeo and I can certify the fact that we have spent far more hours in the Oval Office than we anticipated. The president is a voracious consumer of information and asking questions and asking us to provide intelligence. I -- we are both part of a process run through the national security council, General McMaster, all through the deputy's committees and the principal's committees consuming hours and hours of time looking at the threats, how do we address those threats, what is the intelligence that tells us -- that informs the policy makers in terms of how they put a strategy in place.

And so what I initially thought would be a one or two time a week, 10 to 15 minute quick brief, has turned into an everyday, sometimes exceeding 45 minutes to an hour or more just in briefing the president. We have -- I have brought along several of our directors to come and show the president what their agencies do and how important it is the info -- that the information they provide how that -- for the basis of making policy decisions.

I'd like to turn to my CIA colleague to get -- let him give you, and others, to give you their impression.

RISCH: I appreciate that. We're almost out of time but I did -- Director Pompeo you kind of sit in the same spot we all sit in through the last several years and I kind of like your observations along the line of Director Coats, what you feel about the matter?

POMPEO: Yeah, I think Director Coats had it right. He and I spend time with the president everyday, briefing him with the most urgent intelligence matters that are presented to us as -- in our roles. He asks good, hard questions. Make us go make sure we're doing our work in the right way.

Second, you asked about engagement in the world. This administration has reentered the battle space in places the administration -- the previous administration was completely absent. You all travel some too...

RISCH: Yes.

POMPEO: ... you will hear that when you go travel. I've now taken two trips to places and they welcome American leadership. They're not looking for American soldiers, they're not looking for American boots on the ground, they're looking for American leadership around the globe and this president has reentered that space in a way that I think will serve America's interest very well.

RISCH: Yeah I -- I couldn't agree more and we -- we deal with them not only overseas but they come here, as you know, regularly.

POMPEO: Yes sir.

RISCH: And the fact that the president has pulled the trigger twice as he has in -- in the first 100 days and -- and done it in a fashion that didn't start a world war and -- and was watched by both our friends and our enemies has made a significant and a huge difference as far as our standing in the world. My time's up. Thank you very much Mr. Chair.

WARNER: Thank you Senator.

Senator Heinrich.

HEINRICH: Director McCabe you -- you obviously have several decades of law enforcement experience, is it -- is it your experience that people who are innocent of wrong doing typically need to be reassured that they're not the subject of an investigation?

MCCABE: No sir.

HEINRICH: And I ask that because I'm still trying to make heads or tails of the dismissal letter from -- earlier this week from the president where he writes, "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation." And I'm still trying to figure out why that would even make it into a dismissal letter. But let me go to something a little more direct.

Director, has anyone in the White House spoken to you directly about the Russia investigation?

MCCABE: No, sir.

HEINRICH: Let me -- when -- when did you last meet with the president, Director McCabe?

MCCABE: I don't think I -- I'm in...

HEINRICH: Was it earlier this week?

MCCABE: ... the position to comment on that. I have met with the president this week, but I really don't want to go into the details of that.

HEINRICH: OK. But Russia did not come up?

MCCABE: That's correct, it did not.

HEINRICH: OK, thank you. We've heard in the news that -- that -- claims that Director Comey had -- had lost the confidence of rank and file FBI employees. You've been there for 21 years, in your opinion is it accurate that the rank and file no longer supported Director Comey?

MCCABE: No, sir, that is not accurate. I can tell you, sir, that I worked very, very closely with Director Comey. From the moment he started at the FBI I was his executive assistant director of national security at that time and I worked for him running the Washington field office. And of course I've served as deputy for the last year.

MCCABE: I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day.

We are a large organization, we are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. We have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority -- the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.

HEINRICH: Thank you for your candor. Do you feel like you have the adequate resources for the existing investigations that the -- that the bureau is invested in right now to -- to follow them wherever they may lead?

MCCABE: Sir, if you're referring to the Russia investigation, I do. I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately. If you're referring to the many constantly multiplying counter-intelligence threats that we face across the spectrum, they get bigger and more challenging every day and resources become an issue over time.

HEINRICH: Sure.

MCCABE: But in terms of that investigation, sir, I can -- I can assure you we are covered.

HEINRICH: Thank you.

Director Coats, welcome back. Would you agree that it is a national security risk to provide classified information to an individual who has been compromised by a foreign government as a broad matter.

COATS: As a broad matter, yes.

HEINRICH: If the attorney general came to you and said one of your employees was compromised what -- what sort of action would you take?

COATS: I would take the action as prescribed in our procedures relative to how we report this ad how it's -- how it is processed. I mean, it's a serious -- serious issue Our -- our -- I would be consulting with our legal counsel and consulting with our inspector general and others as to how -- how best to proceed with this, but obviously we will take action.

HEINRICH: Would -- would one of the options be dismissal, obviously?

COATS: Very potentially could be dismissal, yes.

HEINRICH: OK, thank you Director.

BURR: Senator Collins?

COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Vice Chairman.

Mr. McCabe, is the agent who is in charge of this very important investigation into Russian attempts to influence our election last fall still in charge?

MCCABE: I mean we have many agents involved in the investigation at many levels so I'm not who you're referring to.

COLLINS: The lead agent overseeing the investigation.

MCCABE: Certainly, almost all of the agents involved in the investigation are still in their positions.

COLLINS: So has there been any curtailment of the FBI's activities in this important investigation since Director Comey was fired?

MCCABE: Ma'am, we don't curtail our activities. As you know, has the -- are people experiencing questions and are reacting to the developments this week? Absolutely.

COLLINS: Does that get in the way of our ability to pursue this or any other investigation?

MCCABE: No ma'am,