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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 have been used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. 

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier Donald Trump -- a former (for the duration of elections) fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Bernie Sanders The Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Demexit
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 Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking
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.

Presedent Truman probably did not suspect that by sighing  the National Security Act of 1947  he signed a death sentence tothe form of democracy that the USA was having up to 1950th.

As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council.[135] In 1952, Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency (NSA).

Since JFK assassination we can talk about "inverted totalitarism" (The term introduced by late Professor Sheldon Wolin)  as the form on government which  become entrenched on on federal level (the related term if the "deep state"), while remnants of democracy are delegated to state and local levels.  Growth of power of intelligence agencies inevitably makes them political players. Nowhere it was more clear then in 2016 Presendential electio, when by derailing Sanders FBI essenatially ensure Trump win and then in cooperation of other againces (and first of all CIA Brennan) lauched a color regoluation againast Trump trying to deposer him vi Special Procecutor mechnism.

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 does it mean "one dollar-one vote" regime?

The fact that parties represent interests radically different from interests of their 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.

In other word decomicatinc elements in the neoliberal political system are just facade for the  dictatorship of financial oligarchy. And pretty brutal one (The Saker - The Unz Review, Feb 23, 2018):

But first, full disclosure: I don’t have much faith in the so-called “democratic process”. Just look at the EU and tell me: do you really believe that the people in power represent the will and interests of the people who, supposedly, elected them? There are exceptions, of course, Switzerland is probably one of the comparatively most democratic countries out there, but mostly what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent. As for the US, for decades now every time the people voted for “A” they always got “non-A” as a result. It is almost comical.

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power. Putting it differently, the “democratic process” is the device by which the real and hidden rulers of the world (or “worldwide behind the scenes powers“, to use the expression of Ivan Il’in), legitimize their power and prevent their overthrow. This is the same technique followed by used car dealerships when they place tens, sometimes, hundreds of US flags on their lots before a car sale: it’s just a basic trick to induce the ‘correct’, patriotic, state of mind.

This is also the reason why there are elections every 4 years in the US: the more illegitimate and despotic any putatively “democratic” regime is, the more often it will organize elections to, so to speak, “increase the dose” of patriotically-induced stupor in its people and give them the illusion that the regime is legitimate, their opinion matters and all is well.

Finally, when needed, slogans such as “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” are used to put to sleep those who might have doubts. In terms of real people power “democracies” are probably the least truly democratic regimes imaginable simply because they are by far the most capable of hiding who really runs the country and where their real centers of power are. Do I really need to add that the worst kind of “democracy” is the capitalist one? You disagree? Then why do you think that Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly declared “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!“? Nowhere is the concentration of capital easier to achieve than in a society which makes it possible for the real ruling class to hide its power behind a screen of electoral farces.

As Sheldon  Wolin put it, all we have under neoliberalism is inverted totalitarism and a nationally security state with modem equivalent of STASI level of total surveillance  instead of democracy.  The neoliberal elite firmly guar the levers of power and  try to eliminate any challenger before it represent a real political threat to the neoliberal social system. Even minor  threats are mercilessly squashed. Look at what  happened to Trump.

Democracy for whom?

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80% or even 90%)  living under the dictatorship (for lower 50% this is even worse -- 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 systematic betrayal of election promises (in this repect Trump is not different  from Barak Obama) as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )? 

Add to this completely brainwashed population ready to vote against their economic interests and  for indefinite and costly wars for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. For example,  despicable warmonger, war criminal(with destruction of Libya and  Syria under  the belt), staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts. Despite clear signs of the deep systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and closely related process of de-legitimization of neoliberal elite (look what percentage of the Americans trust Congress)  all she wanted is to kick the neoliberal can down the road. 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. Any level of betrayal is OK, as parties in reality do not control the  behaviour of their leaders as long as they remain on neoliberal platform,  and they 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 during elections was able to pretend to be the politician, while he clearly is not -- he is a marionette of MIC (much like Barak was marionette of CIA; just look at "very close" and pretty unusual relations  between him and Brennan) as well as Brannan role in color revolution against  Trump

What is the level of interest  of average middle class American in real information about Washington  political machinery and neoliberal social system

Poor people are automatically excluded from politics. most of their energy needs to be  spend on task related to mere survival and desperate attempt to spread their meager paycheck to the next without falling into the laps of loan sharks.

Middle class can afford attempts to analyze the political situation and personal efforts to understand the political system in which they live. And because of that can  have informed political opinion. Theoretically. In reality there also many obstacles here.  One  fundamental obstacle is so called The iron law of oligarchy.  The second, related, is the existence of the deep state.

First of all let me ask a simple question: 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. 

Also  the middle class in not uniform. There is substantial caste of Americans deeply connected with the imperial state (servants of the empire so to speak) and they also represent  a political force with interests different form the average middle class American. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. 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). They have their own opinion and interest in such issues as permanent war for permanent peace.  And without draft this issue does not touch too deeply ordinary middle class American, who do not need to fight and die for the empire.

The second  factor is constant brainwashing be neoliberal MSM. Unless a person make a conscious effort to exclude them and rely of alternative media he/she can't form any informed political opinion.  You will almost never even her the  term "neoliberalism" in neoliberal MSM like NYT or WaPo or CNN or MSNBC. This is a taboo.  But you will hear a lot about "evil Russians" or "evil Chinese" which is a perfect distraction, a smoke screen, designed to hide the real problems facing the US society after 40 years of dominance of neoliberalism as a social system.

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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[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 17, 2018] the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens Ed Schultz I was fired from MSNBC because I supported Bernie Sanders

Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Ed Schultz: I was fired from MSNBC because I supported Bernie Sanders The former anchor claims the network was in the tank for Hillary Clinton

MSNBC anchor-turned-Russia Today host, Ed Schultz, told National Review Monday that he believes he was fired from the left-leaning cable news network because he openly supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary. The network, he claims, was in the tank for Hillary Clinton.

The interview itself is fascinating and a shocking look at the inner workings of MSNBC, even if Schultz isn't exactly a reliable narrator. Schultz claims that MSNBC took a heavy hand in dictating what went on air, and that he was often pushed in the direction of a story by higher-ups, even if he felt his audience wouldn't be interested.

Schultz says his trouble at MSNBC started when he informed his bosses that he planned to cover Bernie Sanders' campaign announcement live from Vermont, and that he would be airing the first, exclusive, cable network interview with the progressive presidential candidate. They objected, and even went so far as to tell Schultz to drop the story.

He refused. And was forced to cover a boring news story in Texas, he says.

Schultz is clear on whom he blames: Hillary Clinton.

" I think the Clintons were connected to [NBC's] Andy Lack, connected at the hip, " Schultz told NRO host Jamie Weinstein. " I think that they didn't want anybody in their primetime or anywhere in their lineup supporting Bernie Sanders. I think that they were in the tank for Hillary Clinton, and I think that it was managed, and 45 days later I was out at MSNBC. "

Schultz's stint at MSNBC came to a screeching halt in July 2015, just as the Democratic primaries were heating up. That same week, the network also axed other underperforming shows, but Schultz maintains that he was given the boot because they didn't want him speaking out against Clinton in the heat of the primaries.

Source: https://www.dailywire.com/news/29531/ed-schultz-i-was-fired-msnbc-because-i-supported-emily-zanotti

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9PIOD4YwOwA

system failure due to insufficient evolution? at

[Apr 17, 2018] Poor Alex

Highly recommended!
Now the color revolution against Trump just does not make any sense. We got to the point where Trump=Hillary. Muller should embrace and kiss Trump and go home... Nobody care if Trump is impeached anymore.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Donald Trump's far-right loyal fans must be really pissed off right now after permanently switching himself to pro-war mode with that evil, warmongering triplet in charge and the second bombing against Syria. Even worse, this time he has done it together with Theresa May and the neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron.

We can tell that by watching the mind-blowing reactions of one of his most fanatic alt-right media supporters: Alex Jones. Jones nearly cried(!) in front of the camera, feeling betrayed from his 'anti-establishment', 'anti-interventionist' idol and declared that he won't support Trump anymore. Well, what did you expect, Alex? expect, Alex?

A year before the 2016 US national elections, the blog already warned that Trump is a pure product of the neoliberal barbarism , stating that the rhetoric of extreme cynicism used by Trump goes back to the Thatcherian cynicism and the division of people between "capable" and "useless".
Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders. Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Donnie sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008!

The only hope that has been left, was to resist against starting a war with Russia, as the US deep state (and Hillary of course) wanted. Well, it was proven to be only a hope too. Last year, Trump bombed Syria under the same pretext resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of confrontation with Russia. Indeed, a year later, Trump already built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish triplet.

And then, Donnie ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neo-colonial friends.

It seems that neither this strike was a serious attempt against the Syrian army and its allies. Yet, Donnie probably won't dare to escalate tension in the Syrian battlefield before the next US national elections. That's because many of his supporters are already pissed off with him and therefore, he wants to go with good chances for a second term.

Although we really hope that we are are wrong this time, we guess that, surrounded by all these warmongering hawks, Donnie, in a potential second term, will be pushed to open another war front in Syria and probably in Iran, defying the Russians and the consequent danger for a WWIII.

Poor Alex et al: we told you about Trump from the beginning. You didn't listen ...

[Apr 16, 2018] Why democratic party is better then Republican in the USA

Apr 16, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

"The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party in the way that manslaughter is slightly better than murder: It might seem like a lesser crime, but the victim can't really tell the difference." -- Michael Harriot

[Apr 16, 2018] Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda. Less slick, but more jingoistic

In reality Trump proved again that POTUS does not matter and presidential elections matter very little. In was he is like drunk Obama, reckelss and jingoistic to the extreme. Both foreign and domestic policy is determined by forces, and are outside POTUS control, with very little input possible. But the "deep state" fully control the POTUS, no matter who he/she are.
Notable quotes:
"... To Trump apologists: Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda. ..."
"... Obamabots gave similar excuses. Real populists simply don't get have a chance of being elected in US money-driven elections. ..."
"... Why was there only two populists running for President in 2016? Sanders, Hillay's sheepdog, destroyed the movement that would been the best check on the establishment and the rush to war. That movement was never going to be allowed to take root. Trump, a friend of the Clinton's was probably meant to prevail. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 15, 2018 5:57:58 PM | 105

To Trump apologists: Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda.

Obamabots gave similar excuses. Real populists simply don't get have a chance of being elected in US money-driven elections.

Why was there only two populists running for President in 2016? Sanders, Hillay's sheepdog, destroyed the movement that would been the best check on the establishment and the rush to war. That movement was never going to be allowed to take root. Trump, a friend of the Clinton's was probably meant to prevail.

Rome had bread and circuses. We've got crumbs and tweets.

[Apr 10, 2018] Has the War Party Hooked Trump by Patrick J. Buchanan

May be a more correct hypothesis that explains Trump behaviour in Skripal case and Douma supposed gas attack is that Trump was a false flag from the beginning. Being a newcomer to politics he, like Obama before him, was a perfect bait and switch" candidate. Hillary statement that he is "unfit for office" proved to be true, but in a different sense then Hillary implied: in foright policy he proved to be copycat of Hillary, save sex change operation.
And like Obama he does not care about hi electorate -- the sheeple that can be deceived again and again...
Notable quotes:
"... On John Bolton's first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both. ..."
"... The War Party that was repudiated in 2016 appears to be back in the saddle. But before he makes good on that threat of a "big price to pay," Trump should ask his advisers what comes after the attack on Syria. ..."
"... Trump's strike, a year ago, with 59 cruise missiles, on the air base that allegedly launched a sarin gas attack, was supported only because Trump was new in office and the strike was not seen as the beginning of a longer and deeper involvement in a war Americans did not want to fight. ..."
"... The folks who cheered Trump a week ago when he said we were getting out of Syria, will they cheer him if he announces that we are going deeper in? ..."
"... Before any U.S. attack, Trump should make sure there is more hard evidence that Assad launched this poison gas attack than there is that Russia launched that poison gas attack in Salisbury, England. ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

With his Sunday tweet that Bashar Assad, "Animal Assad," ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner.

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," tweeted Trump, "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay."

"Big price to pay," said the president.

Now, either Trump launches an attack that could drag us deeper into a seven-year civil war from which he promised to extricate us last week, or Trump is mocked as being a man of bluster and bluff.

For Trump Sunday accused Barack Obama of being a weakling for failing to strike Syria after an earlier chemical attack.

"If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand," Trump tweeted, "the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

Trump's credibility is now on the line and he is being goaded by the war hawks to man up. Sunday, John McCain implied that Trump's comments about leaving Syria "very soon" actually "emboldened" Assad:

"President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma."

Pronouncing Assad a "war criminal," Lindsey Graham said Sunday the entire Syrian air force should be destroyed.

So massive an attack would be an act of war against a nation that has not attacked us and does not threaten us. Hence, Congress, prior to such an attack, should pass a resolution authorizing a U.S. war on Syria.

And, as Congress does, it can debate our objectives in this new war, and how many men, casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East.

On John Bolton's first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both.

The War Party that was repudiated in 2016 appears to be back in the saddle. But before he makes good on that threat of a "big price to pay," Trump should ask his advisers what comes after the attack on Syria.

Lest we forget, there was a reason Obama did not strike Syria for a previous gas attack. Americans rose up as one and said we do not want another Middle East war.

When John Kerry went to Capitol Hill for authorization, Congress, sensing the national mood, declined to support any such attack.

Trump's strike, a year ago, with 59 cruise missiles, on the air base that allegedly launched a sarin gas attack, was supported only because Trump was new in office and the strike was not seen as the beginning of a longer and deeper involvement in a war Americans did not want to fight.

Does Trump believe that his political base is more up for a major U.S. war in Syria today than it was then?

The folks who cheered Trump a week ago when he said we were getting out of Syria, will they cheer him if he announces that we are going deeper in?

Before any U.S. attack, Trump should make sure there is more hard evidence that Assad launched this poison gas attack than there is that Russia launched that poison gas attack in Salisbury, England.

[Apr 08, 2018] Chris Hedges U.S. Citizens Are Living In An Inverted Totalitarian Country

Apr 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The mainstream media deflects attention from where power resides: corporations, not with the leaders of the free world. The arguments posed by Chris Hedges, that the U.S. is neither a democracy nor a republic but a totalitarian state that can now assassinate its citizens at will, are pertinent ones. Scary ones. Especially as consecutive governments seem equally as impotent to invoke any real change for the States. If the media won't stand up to the marionettes who pull the strings of the conglomerates causing deep, indelible polarisation in the world abound; then so we must act. Together.

Listen to the full interview in our weekly Newsvoice Think podcast.

We were delighted to have Chris Hedges on an episode of the Newsvoice Think podcast as we seek to broadcast perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. Right, left, red, blue and purple.

In our interview with Chris, we discussed a range of topics facing the U.S. today as the Trump administration looks back at a year in power, and forward to the November '18 midterms where Democrats will be looking to make gains. Chris was scathing of that party describing them as a "creature of Wall Street, which is choreographed and ceased to be a proper party a long time ago." As a columnist with Truthdig, and a big advocate of independent media. Chris Hedges was the perfect interviewee for us to draw on the benefits of crowdsourced journalism and the challenges facing sites at the mercy of Facebook, Google and Twitter algorithms.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/I0Lzmq8alBw

Chris's ire against the corporate interest of Facebook et al didn't let up saying dissident voices were being shut down and that corporate oligarchs were only too happy to let them. The neutralisation of the media platforms that seek to provide independent opinion on U.S. current affairs is in full pelt.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Im5zi2lcX8Y

North Korea was the hot topic in 2017. Commentators said it was like a return to the days of the Cold War. But Hedges pointed that we need to remember what happened during the Korean War  --  how the North was flattened by U.S. bombs  --  and that as a result they, as a nation, suffer from an almost psychosis as a result. Trump, he said, is an imbecile and only deals in bombast, threats and rhetoric.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/iD2YGy56VAs

Not surprisingly, Trump got it hard from Hedges. Describing his administration as a "kleptocracy" who will seek to attack immigrants and up the xenophobia stakes as it distracts and covers for the unadulterated theft of U.S. natural resources.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/0Ajr6WFf_SM

As young people look to estimable journalists, activists and politicians in the States to help give them a voice, Hedges sees the democratic system as utterly futile. Encouraging mass civil disobedience instead, the ex-NY Times foreign correspondent states that railroads should be blocked and shutting down corporate buildings, for example, is the only way forward.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hailNKOv2mw

The perennial argument between Republicans and Democrats is just that; is the U.S. a Republic or a Democracy? Hedges thinks neither. He told Newsvoice that the States is an inverted totalitarian country where the government regards the public as "irrelevant".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/uexNoNK2Xok

Unlike Ben Wizner from the ACLU who sees hope in delaying Net Neutrality, at least until a new administration is in power, Chris feels it is hopeless  --  that it is a dead duck, and as Net Neutrality slows down independent media platforms, the public will be at the behest of corporate social media sites such as Facebook who'll increasingly deem what you do and don't read or see.

You can read more of Chris' work at Truthdig where he has a weekly column every Monday.

[Apr 05, 2018] Barack Obama supporters outraged by Bernie Sanders's 'deplorable' attack on Democratic Party on anniversary of Martin Luther King assassination by Peter Stubley

Apr 05, 2018 | independent.co.uk

Vermont Senator says business model of Democratic Party has been a failure for 15 years

Bernie Sanders has triggered a backlash by making comments interpreted as an attack on [Wall Street/CIA troll] Barack Obama on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. The senator for Vermont appeared to criticise the first black US President as he branded the Democratic Party a "failure".

Speaking in Jackson, Mississippi, he said Democrats had lost a record number of legislative seats. "The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so has been a failure,'' said the Vermont Senator...Mr Sanders's comments were quickly branded "patronising" and "deplorable".

[Apr 01, 2018] Big American Money, Not Russia, Put Trump in the White House: Reflections on a Recent Report by Paul Street

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite , including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump's isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. ..."
"... Smart Wall Street and K Street Democratic Party bankrollers have long understood that Democratic candidates have to cloak their dollar-drenched corporatism in the deceptive campaign discourse of progressive- and even populist-sounding policy promise to win elections. ..."
"... Trump trailed well behind Clinton in contributions from defense and aerospace – a lack of support extraordinary for a Republican presidential hopeful late in the race. ..."
"... one fateful consequence of trying to appeal to so many conservative business interests was strategic silence about most important matters of public policy. Given the candidate's steady lead in the polls, there seemed to be no point to rocking the boat with any more policy pronouncements than necessary ..."
"... Misgivings of major contributors who worried that the Clinton campaign message lacked real attractions for ordinary Americans were rebuffed. The campaign sought to capitalize on the angst within business by vigorously courting the doubtful and undecideds there, not in the electorate ..."
"... Of course, Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic "New Democrat" turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980s. The rest, as they say, was history – an ugly corporate-neoliberal, imperial, and racist history that I and others have written about at great length. ..."
"... My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency ..."
"... Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton ..."
"... The Condemnation of Little B: New Age Racism in America ..."
"... Still, Trump's success was no less tied to big money than was Hillary's failure. Candidate Trump ran strangely outside the longstanding neoliberal Washington Consensus, as an economic nationalist and isolationist. His raucous rallies were laced with dripping denunciations of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and globalization, mockery of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, rejection of the New Cold War with Russia, and pledges of allegiance to the "forgotten" American "working-class." He was no normal Republican One Percent candidate. ..."
"... Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache ..."
"... "In a frontal assault on the American establishment, the Republican standard bearer proclaimed 'America First.' Mocking the Bush administration's appeal to 'weapons of mass destruction' as a pretext for invading Iraq, he broke dramatically with two generations of GOP orthodoxy and spoke out in favor of more cooperation with Russia . He even criticized the 'carried interest' tax break beloved by high finance" (emphasis added). ..."
"... "What happened in the final weeks of the campaign was extraordinary. Firstly, a giant wave of dark money poured into Trump's own campaign – one that towered over anything in 2016 or even Mitt Romney's munificently financed 2012 effort – to say nothing of any Russian Facebook experiments [Then] another gigantic wave of money flowed in from alarmed business interests, including the Kochs and their allies Officially the money was for Senate races, but late-stage campaigning for down-ballot offices often spills over on to candidates for the party at large." ..."
"... "In a harbinger of things to come, additional money came from firms and industries that appear to have been attracted by Trump's talk of tariffs, including steel and companies making machinery of various types [a] vast wave of new money flowed into the campaign from some of America's biggest businesses and most famous investors. Sheldon Adelson and many others in the casino industry delivered in grand style for its old colleague. Adelson now delivered more than $11 million in his own name, while his wife and other employees of his Las Vegas Sands casino gave another $20 million. ..."
"... Peter Theil contributed more than a million dollars, while large sums also rolled in from other parts of Silicon Valley, including almost two million dollars from executives at Microsoft and just over two million from executives at Cisco Systems. ..."
"... Among those were Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn (who had both contributed to Trump before, but now made much bigger new contributions). In the end, along with oil, chemicals, mining and a handful of other industries, large private equity firms would become one of the few segments of American business – and the only part of Wall Street – where support for Trump was truly heavy the sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds clearly began with the Convention but turned into a torrent " ..."
"... The critical late wave came after Trump moved to rescue his flagging campaign by handing its direction over to the clever, class-attuned, far-right white- and economic- nationalist "populist" and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who advocated what proved to be a winning, Koch brothers-approved "populist" strategy: appeal to economically and culturally frustrated working- and middle-class whites in key battleground states, where the bloodless neoliberal and professional class centrism and snooty metropolitan multiculturalism of the Obama presidency and Clinton campaign was certain to depress the Democratic "base" vote ..."
"... Neither turnout nor the partisan division of the vote at any level looks all that different from other recent elections 2016's alterations in voting behavior are so minute that the pattern is only barely differentiated from 2012." ..."
"... An interesting part of FJC's study (no quick or easy read) takes a close look at the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Internet activism that the Democrats and their many corporate media allies are so insistently eager to blame on Russia and for Hillary's defeat. FJC find that Russian Internet interventions were of tiny significance compared to those of homegrown U.S. corporate and right-wing cyber forces: ..."
"... By 2016, the Republican right had developed internet outreach and political advertising into a fine art and on a massive scale quite on its own. ..."
"... Breitbart and other organizations were in fact going global, opening offices abroad and establishing contacts with like-minded groups elsewhere. Whatever the Russians were up to, they could hardly hope to add much value to the vast Made in America bombardment already underway. Nobody sows chaos like Breitbart or the Drudge Report ." ..."
"... no support from Big Business ..."
"... Sanders pushed Hillary the Goldman candidate to the wall, calling out the Democrats' capture by Wall Street, forcing her to rely on a rigged party, convention, and primary system to defeat him. The small-donor "socialist" Sanders challenge represented something Ferguson and his colleagues describe as "without precedent in American politics not just since the New Deal, but across virtually the whole of American history a major presidential candidate waging a strong, highly competitive campaign whose support from big business is essentially zero ." ..."
"... American Oligarchy ..."
"... teleSur English ..."
"... we had no great electoral democracy to subvert in 2016 ..."
"... Only candidates and positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. As a result, in countries like the US and, increasingly, Western Europe, political parties are first of all bank accounts . With certain qualifications, one must pay to play. Understanding any given election, therefore, requires a financial X-ray of the power blocs that dominate the major parties, with both inter- and intra- industrial analysis of their constituent elements." ..."
"... Elections alone are no guarantee of democracy, as U.S. policymakers and pundits know very well when they rip on rigged elections (often fixed with the assistance of U.S. government and private-sector agents and firms) in countries they don't like ..."
"... Majority opinion is regularly trumped by a deadly complex of forces in the U.S. ..."
"... Trump is a bit of an anomaly – a sign of an elections and party system in crisis and an empire in decline. He wasn't pre-approved or vetted by the usual U.S. " deep state " corporate, financial, and imperial gatekeepers. The ruling-class had been trying to figure out what the Hell to do with him ever since he shocked even himself (though not Steve Bannon) by pre-empting the coronation of the "Queen of Chaos." ..."
"... His lethally racist, sexist, nativist, nuclear-weapons-brandishing, and (last but not at all least) eco-cidal rise to the nominal CEO position atop the U.S.-imperial oligarchy is no less a reflection of the dominant role of big U.S. capitalist money and homegrown plutocracy in U.S. politics than a more classically establishment Hillary ascendancy would have been. It's got little to do with Russia, Russia, Russia – the great diversion that fills U.S. political airwaves and newsprint as the world careens ever closer to oligarchy-imposed geocide and to a thermonuclear conflagration that the RussiaGate gambit is recklessly encouraging. ..."
Mar 30, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

"She Doesn't Have Any Policy Positions"

On the Friday after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and prior to the Tuesday on which the vicious racist and sexist Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Bernie Sanders spoke to a surprisingly small crowd in Iowa City on behalf of Hillary Clinton. As I learned months later, Sanders told one of his Iowa City friends that day that Mrs. Clinton was in trouble. The reason, Sanders reported, was that Hillary wasn't discussing issues or advancing real solutions. "She doesn't have any policy positions," Sanders said.

The first time I heard this, I found it hard to believe. How, I wondered, could anyone run seriously for the presidency without putting issues and policy front and center? Wouldn't any serious campaign want a strong set of issue and policy positions to attract voters and fall back on in case and times of adversity?

Sanders wasn't lying. As the esteemed political scientist and money-politics expert Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen note in an important study released by the Institute for New Economic Thinking two months ago, the Clinton campaign "emphasized candidate and personal issues and avoided policy discussions to a degree without precedent in any previous election for which measurements exist .it stressed candidate qualifications [and] deliberately deemphasized issues in favor of concentrating on what the campaign regarded as [Donald] Trump's obvious personal weaknesses as a candidate."

Strange as it might have seemed, the reality television star and presidential pre-apprentice Donald Trump had a lot more to say about policy than the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a wonkish Yale Law graduate.

"Courting the Undecideds in Business, not in the Electorate"

What was that about? My first suspicion was that Hillary's policy silence was about the money. It must have reflected her success in building a Wall Street-filled campaign funding war-chest so daunting that she saw little reason to raise capitalist election investor concerns by giving voice to the standard fake-progressive "hope" and "change" campaign and policy rhetoric Democratic presidential contenders typically deploy against their One Percent Republican opponents. Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite , including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump's isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. She would cruise into the White House with no hurt plutocrat feelings simply by playing up the ill-prepared awfulness of her Republican opponent.

If Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Chen (hereafter "JFC") are right, I was on to something but not the whole money and politics story. Smart Wall Street and K Street Democratic Party bankrollers have long understood that Democratic candidates have to cloak their dollar-drenched corporatism in the deceptive campaign discourse of progressive- and even populist-sounding policy promise to win elections. Sophisticated funders get it that the Democratic candidates' need to manipulate the electorate with phony pledges of democratic transformation. The big money backers know it's "just politics" on the part of candidates who can be trusted to serve elite interests (like Bill Clinton 1993-2001 and Barack Obama 2009-2017 ) after they gain office.

What stopped Hillary from playing the usual game – the "manipulation of populism by elitism" that Christopher Hitchens once called "the essence of American politics" – in 2016, a year when the electorate was in a particularly angry and populist mood? FJC's study is titled " Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games : Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election." It performs heroic empirical work with difficult campaign finance data to show that Hillary's campaign funding success went beyond her party's usual corporate and financial backers to include normally Republican-affiliated capitalist sectors less disposed than their more liberal counterparts to abide the standard progressive-sounding policy rhetoric of Democratic Party candidates. FJC hypothesize that (along with the determination that Trump was too weak to be taken all that seriously) Hillary's desire get and keep on board normally Republican election investors led her to keep quiet on issues and policy concerns that mattered to everyday people. As FJC note:

"Trump trailed well behind Clinton in contributions from defense and aerospace – a lack of support extraordinary for a Republican presidential hopeful late in the race. For Clinton's campaign the temptation was irresistible: Over time it slipped into a variant of the strategy [Democrat] Lyndon Johnson pursued in 1964 in the face of another [Republican] candidate [Barry Goldwater] who seemed too far out of the mainstream to win: Go for a grand coalition with most of big business . one fateful consequence of trying to appeal to so many conservative business interests was strategic silence about most important matters of public policy. Given the candidate's steady lead in the polls, there seemed to be no point to rocking the boat with any more policy pronouncements than necessary . Misgivings of major contributors who worried that the Clinton campaign message lacked real attractions for ordinary Americans were rebuffed. The campaign sought to capitalize on the angst within business by vigorously courting the doubtful and undecideds there, not in the electorate " (emphasis added). Hillary Happened

FJC may well be right that a wish not to antagonize off right-wing campaign funders is what led Hillary to muzzle herself on important policy matters, but who really knows? An alternative theory I would not rule out is that Mrs. Clinton's own deep inner conservatism was sufficient to spark her to gladly dispense with the usual progressive-sounding campaign boilerplate. Since FJC bring up the Johnson-Goldwater election, it is perhaps worth mentioning that 18-year old Hillary was a "Goldwater Girl" who worked for the arch-reactionary Republican presidential candidate in 1964. Asked about that episode on National Public Radio (NPR) in 1996 , then First Lady Hillary said "That's right. And I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don't recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl."

It was a revealing reflection. The right-wing Democrat Hillary acknowledged that her ideological world view was still rooted in the conservatism of her family of origin. Her problem with the reactionary Republicanism afoot in the U.S. during the middle 1990s was that it was "not conservative in many respects." Her problem with the far-right Republican Congressional leaders Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay was that they were betraying true conservatism – "the conservatism [Hillary] was raised with." This was worse even than the language of the Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) – the right-wing Eisenhower Republican (at leftmost) tendency that worked to push the Democratic Party further to the Big Business-friendly right and away from its working-class and progressive base.

Of course, Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic "New Democrat" turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980s. The rest, as they say, was history – an ugly corporate-neoliberal, imperial, and racist history that I and others have written about at great length. (I cannot reprise here the voluminous details of Mrs. Clinton's longstanding alignment with the corporate, financial, and imperial agendas of the rich and powerful. Two short and highly readable volumes are Doug Henwood, My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency [OR Books, 2015]; Diana Johnstone, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton [CounterPunch Books, 2015]. On the stealth, virulent racism of the Clintons in power, see Elaine Brown's classic volume The Condemnation of Little B: New Age Racism in America [2003].)

What happened? Horrid corporate Hillary happened. And she's still happening. The "lying neoliberal warmonger" recently went to India to double down on her "progressive neoliberal" contempt for the "basket of deplorables" (more on that phrase below) that considers poor stupid and backwards middle America to be by saying this : "If you look at the map of the United States, there's all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coasts. But what the map doesn't show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product (GDP). So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward" (emphasis added).

That was Hillary Goldman Sachs-Council on Foreign Relations-Clinton saying "go to Hell" to working- and middle-class people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia. It was a raised middle and oligarchic finger from a super-wealthy arch-global-corporatist to all the supposedly pessimistic, slow-witted, and retrograde losers stuck between those glorious enclaves (led by Wall Street, Yale, and Harvard on the East coast and Silicon Valley and Hollywood on the West coast) of human progress and variety (and GDP!) on the imperial shorelines. Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin had to go on television to say that Hillary was "wrong" to write off most of the nation as a festering cesspool of pathetic, ass-backwards, lottery-playing, and opioid-addicted white-trash has-beens. It's hard for the Inauthentic Opposition Party (as the late Sheldon Wolin reasonably called the Democrats ) to pose as an authentic opposition party when its' last big-money presidential candidate goes off-fake-progressive script with an openly elitist rant like that.

Historic Mistakes

Whatever the source of her strange policy silence in the 2016 campaign, that hush was "a miscalculation of historic proportion" (FJC). It was a critical mistake given what Ferguson and his colleagues call the "Hunger Games" misery and insecurity imposed on tens of millions of ordinary working- and middle-class middle-Americans by decades of neoliberal capitalist austerity , deeply exacerbated by the Wall Street-instigated Great Recession and the weak Obama recovery. The electorate was in a populist, anti-establishment mood – hardly a state of mind favorable to a wooden, richly globalist, Goldman-gilded candidate, a long-time Washington-Wall Street establishment ("swamp") creature like Hillary Clinton.

In the end, FJC note, the billionaire Trump's ironic, fake-populist "outreach to blue collar workers" would help him win "more than half of all voters with a high school education or less (including 61% of white women with no college), almost two thirds of those who believed life for the next generation of Americans would be worse than now, and seventy-seven percent of voters who reported their personal financial situation had worsened since four years ago."

Trump's popularity with "heartland" rural and working-class whites even provoked Hillary into a major campaign mistake: getting caught on video telling elite Manhattan election investors that half of Trump's supporters were a "basket of deplorables." There was a hauntingly strong parallel between Wall Street Hillary's "deplorables" blooper and the super-rich Republican candidate Mitt Romney's infamous 2012 gaffe : telling his own affluent backers saying that 47% of the population were a bunch of lazy welfare cheats. This time, though, it was the Democrat – with a campaign finance profile closer to Romney's than Obama's in 2012 – and not the Republican making the ugly plutocratic and establishment faux pas .

"A Frontal Assault on the American Establishment"

Still, Trump's success was no less tied to big money than was Hillary's failure. Candidate Trump ran strangely outside the longstanding neoliberal Washington Consensus, as an economic nationalist and isolationist. His raucous rallies were laced with dripping denunciations of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and globalization, mockery of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, rejection of the New Cold War with Russia, and pledges of allegiance to the "forgotten" American "working-class." He was no normal Republican One Percent candidate. As FJC explain:

"In 2016 the Republicans nominated yet another super-rich candidate – indeed, someone on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Like legions of conservative Republicans before him, he trash-talked Hispanics, immigrants, and women virtually non-stop, though with a verve uniquely his own. He laced his campaign with barely coded racial appeals and in the final days, ran an ad widely denounced as subtly anti-Semitic. But in striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, Wall Street, and even Goldman Sachs. ' Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache . When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing. For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.'"

"In a frontal assault on the American establishment, the Republican standard bearer proclaimed 'America First.' Mocking the Bush administration's appeal to 'weapons of mass destruction' as a pretext for invading Iraq, he broke dramatically with two generations of GOP orthodoxy and spoke out in favor of more cooperation with Russia . He even criticized the 'carried interest' tax break beloved by high finance" (emphasis added).

Big Dark Money and Trump: His Own and Others'

This cost Trump much of the corporate and Wall Street financial support that Republican presidential candidates usually get. The thing was, however, that much of Trump's "populist" rhetoric was popular with a big part of the Republican electorate, thanks to the "Hunger Games" insecurity of the transparently bipartisan New Gilded Age. And Trump's personal fortune permitted him to tap that popular anger while leaping insultingly over the heads of his less wealthy if corporate and Wall Street-backed competitors ("low energy" Jeb Bush and "little Marco" Rubio most notably) in the crowded Republican primary race.

A Republican candidate dependent on the usual elite bankrollers would never have been able to get away with Trump's crowd-pleasing (and CNN and FOX News rating-boosting) antics. Thanks to his own wealth, the faux-populist anti-establishment Trump was ironically inoculated against pre-emption in the Republican primaries by the American campaign finance "wealth primary," which renders electorally unviable candidates who lack vast financial resources or access to them.

Things were different after Trump won the Republican nomination, however. He could no longer go it alone after the primaries. During the Republican National Convention and "then again in the late summer of 2016," FJC show, Trump's "solo campaign had to be rescued by major industries plainly hoping for tariff relief, waves of other billionaires from the far, far right of the already far right Republican Party, and the most disruption-exalting corners of Wall Street." By FJC's account:

"What happened in the final weeks of the campaign was extraordinary. Firstly, a giant wave of dark money poured into Trump's own campaign – one that towered over anything in 2016 or even Mitt Romney's munificently financed 2012 effort – to say nothing of any Russian Facebook experiments [Then] another gigantic wave of money flowed in from alarmed business interests, including the Kochs and their allies Officially the money was for Senate races, but late-stage campaigning for down-ballot offices often spills over on to candidates for the party at large."

"The run up to the Convention brought in substantial new money, including, for the first time, significant contributions from big business. Mining, especially coal mining; Big Pharma (which was certainly worried by tough talk from the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, about regulating drug prices); tobacco, chemical companies, and oil (including substantial sums from executives at Chevron, Exxon, and many medium sized firms); and telecommunications (notably AT&T, which had a major merge merger pending) all weighed in. Money from executives at the big banks also began streaming in, including Bank of America, J. P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. Parts of Silicon Valley also started coming in from the cold."

"In a harbinger of things to come, additional money came from firms and industries that appear to have been attracted by Trump's talk of tariffs, including steel and companies making machinery of various types [a] vast wave of new money flowed into the campaign from some of America's biggest businesses and most famous investors. Sheldon Adelson and many others in the casino industry delivered in grand style for its old colleague. Adelson now delivered more than $11 million in his own name, while his wife and other employees of his Las Vegas Sands casino gave another $20 million.

Peter Theil contributed more than a million dollars, while large sums also rolled in from other parts of Silicon Valley, including almost two million dollars from executives at Microsoft and just over two million from executives at Cisco Systems. A wave of new money swept in from large private equity firms, the part of Wall Street which had long championed hostile takeovers as a way of disciplining what they mocked as bloated and inefficient 'big business.' Virtual pariahs to main-line firms in the Business Roundtable and the rest of Wall Street, some of these figures had actually gotten their start working with Drexel Burnham Lambert and that firm's dominant partner, Michael Milkin.

Among those were Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn (who had both contributed to Trump before, but now made much bigger new contributions). In the end, along with oil, chemicals, mining and a handful of other industries, large private equity firms would become one of the few segments of American business – and the only part of Wall Street – where support for Trump was truly heavy the sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds clearly began with the Convention but turned into a torrent "

The critical late wave came after Trump moved to rescue his flagging campaign by handing its direction over to the clever, class-attuned, far-right white- and economic- nationalist "populist" and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who advocated what proved to be a winning, Koch brothers-approved "populist" strategy: appeal to economically and culturally frustrated working- and middle-class whites in key battleground states, where the bloodless neoliberal and professional class centrism and snooty metropolitan multiculturalism of the Obama presidency and Clinton campaign was certain to depress the Democratic "base" vote . Along with the racist voter suppression carried out by Republican state governments (JFC rightly chide Russia-obsessed political reporters and commentators for absurdly ignoring this important factor) and (JFC intriguingly suggest) major anti-union offensives conducted by employers in some battleground states, this major late-season influx of big right-wing political money tilted the election Trump's way.

The Myth of Potent Russian Cyber-Subversion

As FJC show, there is little empirical evidence to support the Clinton and corporate Democrats' self-interested and diversionary efforts to explain Mrs. Clinton's epic fail and Trump's jaw-dropping upset victory as the result of (i) Russian interference, (ii), then FBI Director James Comey's October Surprise revelation that his agency was not done investigating Hillary's emails, and/or (iii) some imagined big wave of white working-class racism, nativism, and sexism brought to the surface by the noxious Orange Hulk. The impacts of both (i) and (ii) were infinitesimal in comparison to the role that big campaign money played both in silencing Hillary and funding Trump.

The blame-the-deplorable-racist-white-working-class narrative is belied by basic underlying continuities in white working class voting patterns. As FJC note: " Neither turnout nor the partisan division of the vote at any level looks all that different from other recent elections 2016's alterations in voting behavior are so minute that the pattern is only barely differentiated from 2012." It was about the money – the big establishment money that the Clinton campaign took (as FJC at least plausibly argue) to recommend policy silence and the different, right-wing big money that approved Trump's comparative right-populist policy boisterousness.

An interesting part of FJC's study (no quick or easy read) takes a close look at the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Internet activism that the Democrats and their many corporate media allies are so insistently eager to blame on Russia and for Hillary's defeat. FJC find that Russian Internet interventions were of tiny significance compared to those of homegrown U.S. corporate and right-wing cyber forces:

"The real masters of these black arts are American or Anglo-American firms. These compete directly with Silicon Valley and leading advertising firms for programmers and personnel. They rely almost entirely on data purchased from Google, Facebook, or other suppliers, not Russia . American regulators do next to nothing to protect the privacy of voters and citizens, and, as we have shown in several studies, leading telecom firms are major political actors and giant political contributors. As a result, data on the habits and preferences of individual internet users are commercially available in astounding detail and quantities for relatively modest prices – even details of individual credit card purchases. The American giants for sure harbor abundant data on the constellation of bots, I.P. addresses, and messages that streamed to the electorate "

" stories hyping 'the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another by the Russians miss the mark.' By 2016, the Republican right had developed internet outreach and political advertising into a fine art and on a massive scale quite on its own. Large numbers of conservative websites, including many that that tolerated or actively encouraged white supremacy and contempt for immigrants, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, or the aspirations of women had been hard at work for years stoking up 'tensions between groups already wary of one another.' Breitbart and other organizations were in fact going global, opening offices abroad and establishing contacts with like-minded groups elsewhere. Whatever the Russians were up to, they could hardly hope to add much value to the vast Made in America bombardment already underway. Nobody sows chaos like Breitbart or the Drudge Report ."

" the evidence revealed thus far does not support strong claims about the likely success of Russian efforts, though of course the public outrage at outside meddling is easy to understand. The speculative character of many accounts even in the mainstream media is obvious. Several, such as widely circulated declaration by the Department of Homeland Security that 21 state election systems had been hacked during the election, have collapsed within days of being put forward when state electoral officials strongly disputed them, though some mainstream press accounts continue to repeat them. Other tales about Macedonian troll factories churning out stories at the instigation of the Kremlin, are clearly exaggerated."

The Sanders Tease: "He Couldn't Have Done a Thing"

Perhaps the most remarkable finding in FJC's study is that Sanders came tantalizingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination against the corporately super-funded Clinton campaign with no support from Big Business . Running explicitly against the "Hunger Games" economy and the corporate-financial plutocracy that created it, Sanders pushed Hillary the Goldman candidate to the wall, calling out the Democrats' capture by Wall Street, forcing her to rely on a rigged party, convention, and primary system to defeat him. The small-donor "socialist" Sanders challenge represented something Ferguson and his colleagues describe as "without precedent in American politics not just since the New Deal, but across virtually the whole of American history a major presidential candidate waging a strong, highly competitive campaign whose support from big business is essentially zero ."

Sanders pulled this off, FJC might have added, by running in (imagine) accord with majority-progressive left-of-center U.S. public opinion. But for the Clintons' corrupt advance- control of the Democratic National Committee and convention delegates, Ferguson et al might further have noted, Sanders might well have been the Democratic presidential nominee, curiously enough in the arch-state-capitalist and oligarchic United States

Could Sanders have defeated the billionaire and right-wing billionaire-backed Trump in the general election? There's no way to know, of course. Sanders consistently out-performed Hillary Clinton in one-on-one match -up polls vis a vis Donald Trump during the primary season, but much of the big money (and, perhaps much of the corporate media) that backed Hillary would have gone over to Trump had the supposedly "radical" Sanders been the Democratic nominee.

Even if Sanders has been elected president, moreover, Noam Chomsky is certainly correct in his recent judgement that Sanders would have been able to achieve very little in the White House. As Chomsky told Lynn Parramore two weeks ago, in an interview conducted for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the same think-tank that published FJC's remarkable study:

"His campaign [was] a break with over a century of American political history. No corporate support, no financial wealth, he was unknown, no media support. The media simply either ignored or denigrated him. And he came pretty close -- he probably could have won the nomination, maybe the election. But suppose he'd been elected? He couldn't have done a thing. Nobody in Congress, no governors, no legislatures, none of the big economic powers, which have an enormous effect on policy. All opposed to him. In order for him to do anything, he would have to have a substantial, functioning party apparatus, which would have to grow from the grass roots. It would have to be locally organized, it would have to operate at local levels, state levels, Congress, the bureaucracy -- you have to build the whole system from the bottom."

As Chomsky might have added, Sanders oligarchy-imposed "failures" would have been great fodder for the disparagement and smearing of "socialism" and progressive, majority-backed policy change. "See? We tried all that and it was a disaster!"

I would note further that the Sanders phenomenon's policy promise was plagued by its standard bearer's persistent loyalty to the giant and absurdly expensive U.S.-imperial Pentagon System, which each year eats up hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars required to implement the progressive, majority-supported policy agenda that Bernie F-35 Sanders ran on.

"A Very Destructive Ideology"

The Sanders challenge was equally afflicted by its candidate-centered electoralism. This diverted energy away from the real and more urgent politics of building people's movements – grassroots power to shake the society to its foundations and change policy from the bottom up (Dr. Martin Luther King's preferred strategy at the end of his life just barely short of 50 years ago, on April 4 th , 1968) – and into the narrow, rigidly time-staggered grooves of a party and spectacle-elections crafted by and for the wealthy Few and the American Oligarchy 's "permanent political class" (historian Ron Formisano). As Chomsky explained on the eve of the 2004 elections:

"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, 'That's politics.' But it isn't. It's only a small part of politics The urgency is for popular progressive groups to grow and become strong enough so that centers of power can't ignore them. Forces for change that have come up from the grass roots and shaken the society to its core include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years sensible [electoral] choices have to be made. But they are secondary to serious political action."

"The only thing that's going to ever bring about any meaningful change," Chomsky told Abby Martin on teleSur English in the fall of 2015, "is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don't pay attention to the election cycle." Under the American religion of voting, Chomsky told Dan Falcone and Saul Isaacson in the spring of 2016, "Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world. It's a very destructive ideology basically, a way of making people passive, submissive objects [we] ought to teach kids that elections take place but that's not politics."

For all his talk of standing atop a great "movement" for "revolution," Sanders was and remains all about this stunted and crippling definition of citizenship and politics as making some marks on ballots and then returning to our domiciles while rich people and their agents (not just any "other guys") "run [ruin?-P.S.] the world [into the ground-P.S.]."

It will take much more in the way of Dr. King's politics of "who' sitting in the streets," not "who's sitting in the White House" (to use Howard Zinn's excellent dichotomy ), to get us an elections and party system worthy of passionate citizen engagement. We don't have such a system in the U.S. today, which is why the number of eligible voters who passively boycotted the 2016 presidential election is larger than both the number who voted for big money Hillary and the number who voted for big money Trump.

(If U.S. progressives really want to consider undertaking the epic lift involved in passing a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, they might want to focus on this instead of calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment. I'd recommend starting with a positive Democracy Amendment that fundamentally overhauls the nation's political and elections set-up in accord with elementary principles and practices of popular sovereignty. Clauses would include but not be limited to full public financing of elections and the introduction of proportional representation for legislative races – not to mention the abolition of the Electoral College, Senate apportionment on the basis of total state population, and the outlawing of gerrymandering.)

Ecocide Trumped by Russia

Meanwhile, back in real history, we have the remarkable continuation of a bizarre right-wing, pre-fascist presidency not in normal ruling-class hands, subject to the weird whims and tweets of a malignant narcissist who doesn't read memorandums or intelligence briefings. Wild policy zig-zags and record-setting White House personnel turnover are par for the course under the dodgy reign of the orange-tinted beast's latest brain spasms. Orange Caligula spends his mornings getting his information from FOX News and his evenings complaining to and seeking advice from a small club of right-wing American oligarchs.

Trump poses grave environmental and nuclear risks to human survival. A consistent Trump belief is that climate change is not a problem and that it's perfectly fine – "great" and "amazing," in fact – for the White House to do everything it can to escalate the Greenhouse Gassing-to-Death of Life on Earth. The nuclear threat is rising now that he has appointed a frothing right-wing uber-warmonger – a longtime advocate of bombing Iran and North Korea who led the charge for the arch-criminal U.S. invasion of Iraq – as his top "National Security" adviser and as he been convinced to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. Thanks, liberal and other Democratic Party RussiaGaters!

The Clinton-Obama neoliberal Democrats have spent more than a year running with the preposterous narrative that Trump is a Kremlin puppet who owes his presence in the White House to Russia's subversion of our democratic elections. The climate crisis holds little for the Trump and Russia-obsessed corporate media. The fact that the world stands at the eve of the ecological self-destruction, with the Trump White House in the lead, elicits barely a whisper in the reigning commercial news media. Unlike Stormy Daniels, for example, that little story – the biggest issue of our or any time – is not good for television ratings and newspaper sales.

Sanders, by the way, is curiously invisible in the dominant commercial media, despite his quiet survey status as the nation's "most popular politician." That is precisely what you would expect in a corporate and financial oligarchy buttressed by a powerful corporate, so-called "mainstream" media oligopoly.

Political Parties as "Bank Accounts"

One of the many problems with the obsessive Blame-Russia narrative that a fair portion of the dominant U.S. media is running with is that we had no great electoral democracy to subvert in 2016 . Saying that Russia has "undermined [U.S.-] American democracy" is like me – middle-aged, five-foot nine, and unblessed with jumping ability – saying that the Brooklyn Nets' Russian-born center Timofy Mozgof subverted my career as a starting player in the National Basketball Association. In state-capitalist societies marked by the toxic and interrelated combination of weak popular organization, expensive politics, and highly concentrated wealth – all highly evident in the New Gilded Age United States – electoral contests and outcomes boil down above all and in the end to big investor class cash. As Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues explain:

"Where investment and organization by average citizens is weak, however, power passes by default to major investor groups, which can far more easily bear the costs of contending for control of the state. In most modern market-dominated societies (those celebrated recently as enjoying the 'end of History'), levels of effective popular organization are generally low, while the costs of political action, in terms of both information and transactional obstacles, are high. The result is that conflicts within the business community normally dominate contests within and between political parties – the exact opposite of what many earlier social theorists expected, who imagined 'business' and 'labor' confronting each other in separate parties Only candidates and positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. As a result, in countries like the US and, increasingly, Western Europe, political parties are first of all bank accounts . With certain qualifications, one must pay to play. Understanding any given election, therefore, requires a financial X-ray of the power blocs that dominate the major parties, with both inter- and intra- industrial analysis of their constituent elements."

Here Ferguson might have said "corporate-dominated" instead of "market-dominated" for the modern managerial corporations emerged as the "visible hand" master of the "free market" more than a century ago.

We get to vote? Big deal.

People get to vote in Rwanda, Russia, the Congo and countless other autocratic states as well. Elections alone are no guarantee of democracy, as U.S. policymakers and pundits know very well when they rip on rigged elections (often fixed with the assistance of U.S. government and private-sector agents and firms) in countries they don't like, which includes any country that dares to "question the basic principle that the United States effectively owns the world by right and is by definition a force for good" ( Chomsky, 2016 ).

Majority opinion is regularly trumped by a deadly complex of forces in the U.S. The list of interrelated and mutually reinforcing culprits behind this oligarchic defeat of popular sentiment in the U.S. is extensive. It includes but is not limited to: the campaign finance, candidate-selection, lobbying, and policy agenda-setting power of wealthy individuals, corporations, and interest groups; the special primary election influence of full-time party activists; the disproportionately affluent, white, and older composition of the active (voting) electorate; the manipulation of voter turnout; the widespread dissemination of false, confusing, distracting, and misleading information; absurdly and explicitly unrepresentative political institutions like the Electoral College, the unelected Supreme Court, the over-representation of the predominantly white rural population in the U.S. Senate; one-party rule in the House of "Representatives"; the fragmentation of authority in government; and corporate ownership of the reigning media, which frames current events in accord with the wishes and world view of the nation's real owners.

Yes, we get to vote. Super. Big deal. Mammon reigns nonetheless in the United States, where, as the leading liberal political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens find , "government policy reflects the wishes of those with money, not the wishes of the millions of ordinary citizens who turn out every two years to choose among the preapproved, money-vetted candidates for federal office."

Trump is a bit of an anomaly – a sign of an elections and party system in crisis and an empire in decline. He wasn't pre-approved or vetted by the usual U.S. " deep state " corporate, financial, and imperial gatekeepers. The ruling-class had been trying to figure out what the Hell to do with him ever since he shocked even himself (though not Steve Bannon) by pre-empting the coronation of the "Queen of Chaos."

He is a homegrown capitalist oligarch nonetheless, a real estate mogul of vast and parasitic wealth who is no more likely to fulfill his populist-sounding campaign pledges than any previous POTUS of the neoliberal era.

His lethally racist, sexist, nativist, nuclear-weapons-brandishing, and (last but not at all least) eco-cidal rise to the nominal CEO position atop the U.S.-imperial oligarchy is no less a reflection of the dominant role of big U.S. capitalist money and homegrown plutocracy in U.S. politics than a more classically establishment Hillary ascendancy would have been. It's got little to do with Russia, Russia, Russia – the great diversion that fills U.S. political airwaves and newsprint as the world careens ever closer to oligarchy-imposed geocide and to a thermonuclear conflagration that the RussiaGate gambit is recklessly encouraging.

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Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Mar 30, 2018] The Death Of The Liberal World Order by Leonid Savin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped." ..."
"... Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. ..."
"... Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding ..."
"... Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. ..."
"... america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon. ..."
"... The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators. ..."
"... However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front. ..."
"... So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control. ..."
Mar 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored Leonid Savin via Oriental Review,

A few days ago the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, published an article, titled "Liberal World Order, R.I.P." In it, he states that the current threat to the liberal world order is coming not from rogue states, totalitarian regimes, religious fanatics, or obscurantist governments (special terms used by liberals when referring to other nations and countries that have not pursued the Western capitalist path of development), but from its primary architect -- the United States of America.

Haass writes: " Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence. Even the US is experiencing unprecedented attacks from its own president on the country's media, courts, and law-enforcement institutions. Authoritarian systems, including China, Russia, and Turkey, have become even more top-heavy. Countries such as Hungary and Poland seem uninterested in the fate of their young democracies

"We are seeing the emergence of regional orders. Attempts to build global frameworks are failing."

Haass has previously made alarmist statements , but this time he is employing his rhetoric to point to the global nature of this phenomenon. Although between the lines one can easily read, first of all, a certain degree of arrogance -- the idea that only we liberals and globalists really know how to administer foreign policy -- and second, the motifs of conspiracy.

"Today's other major powers, including the EU, Russia, China, India, and Japan, could be criticized for what they are doing, not doing, or both."

Probably this list could be expanded by adding a number of Latin American countries, plus Egypt, which signs arms deals with North Korea while denying any violation of UN sanctions, and the burgeoning Shiite axis of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.

But Haass is crestfallen over the fact that it is Washington itself that is changing the rules of the game and seems completely uninterested in what its allies, partners, and clients in various corners of the world will do.

" America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike."

Richard Haass's colleague at the CFR, Stewart Patrick, quite agrees with the claim that it is the US itself that is burying the liberal world order . However, it's not doing it on its own, but alongside China. If the US had previously been hoping that the process of globalization would gradually transform China (and possibly destroy it, as happened to the Soviet Union earlier), then the Americans must have been quite surprised by how it has actually played out. That country modernized without being Westernized, an idea that had once been endorsed by the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Now China is expanding its influence in Eurasia in its own way, and this is for the most part welcomed by its partner countries.

But this has been a painful process for the US, as it is steadily and irrevocably undermining its hegemony.

"Its long-term ambition is to dismantle the U.S. alliance system in Asia, replacing it with a more benign (from Beijing's perspective) regional security order in which it enjoys pride of place, and ideally a sphere of influence commensurate with its power.

China's Belt and Road initiative is part and parcel of this effort, offering not only (much-needed) infrastructure investments in neighboring countries but also the promise of greater political influence in Southeast, South, and Central Asia. More aggressively, China continues to advance outrageous jurisdictional claims over almost the entirety of the South China Sea , where it continues its island-building activities, as well as engaging in provocative actions against Japan in the East China Sea," writes Patrick.

And as for the US:

"The United States, for its part, is a weary titan, no longer willing to bear the burdens of global leadership, either economically or geopolitically.

Trump treats alliances as a protection racket, and the world economy as an arena of zero-sum competition. The result is a fraying liberal international order without a champion willing to invest in the system itself. "

One can agree with both authors' assessments of the changed behavior of one sector of the US establishment, but this is about more than just Donald Trump (who is so unpredictable that he has staffed his own team with a member of the very swamp he was preparing to drain) and North American populism. One needs to look much deeper.

In his book, Nation of Devils: Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience , Stein Ringen, a Norwegian statesman with a history of service in international institutions, notes:

"Today, American democratic exceptionalism is defined by a system that is dysfunctional in all the conditions that are needed for settlement and loyalty...

Capitalism has collapsed into crisis in an orgy of deregulation. Money is transgressing into politics and undermining democracy itself ."

And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped."

Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. Although it must be conceded that if Hillary Clinton had become president, the US collapse would have been far more painful, particularly for the citizens of that country. We would have seen yet more calamitous reforms, a swelling influx of migrants, a further decline in the nation's manufacturing base, and the incitement of new conflicts. Trump is trying to keep the body of US national policy somewhat alive through hospice care, but what's really needed is a major restructuring, including far-reaching political reforms that would allow the country's citizens to feel that they can actually play a role in its destiny.

These developments have spread to many countries in Europe, a continent that, due to its transatlantic involvement, was already vulnerable and susceptible to the current geopolitical turbulence. The emergence of which, by the way, was largely a consequence of that very policy of neoliberalism.

Stein Ringen continues on that score:

"Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding "

It is interesting that panic has seized Western Europe and the US -- the home of transatlanticism, although different versions of this recipe for liberalism have been employed in other regions -- suffice it to recall the experience of Singapore or Brazil. But they don't seem as panicked there as in the West.

Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. Therefore, the destruction of the current system entails the loss of all those dividends previously enjoyed by the liberal political elites of the West that were obtained by speculating in the stock market, from the mechanisms of international foreign-exchange payments (the dollar system), and through the instruments of supranational organizations (the UN, WTO, and World Bank). And, of course, there are the fundamental differences in the cultural varieties of societies.

In his book The Hidden God, Lucien Goldmann draws some interesting conclusions, suggesting that the foundations of Western culture have rationalistic and tragic origins, and that a society immersed in these concepts that have "abolish[ed] both God and the community [soon sees] the disappearance of any external norm which might guide the individual in his life and actions." And because by its very nature liberalism must carry on, in its mechanical fashion, "liberating" the individual from any form of structure (social classes, the Church, family, society, and gender, ultimately liberating man from his very self), in the absence of any standards of deterrence, it is quite logical that the Western world was destined to eventually find itself in crisis. And the surge of populist movements, protectionist measures, and conservative policies of which Haass and other liberal globalists speak are nothing more than examples of those nations' instinct for self-preservation. One need not concoct conspiracy theories about Russia or Putin interfering in the US election (which Donald Trump has also denied, noting only that support was seen for Hillary Clinton, and it is entirely true that a portion of her financial backing did come from Russia). The baseline political decisions being made in the West are in step with the current crisis that is evident on so many levels. It's just that, like always, the Western elites need their ritual whipping boy(although it would be more accurate to call it a human sacrifice). This geopolitical shake-up began in the West as a result of the implicit nature of the very project of the West itself.

But since alternative development scenarios exist, the current system is eroding away. And other political projects are starting to fill the resultant ideological void -- in both form as well as content.

Thus it's fairly likely that the current crisis of liberalism will definitively bury the unipolar Western system of hegemony.

And the budding movements of populism and regional protectionism can serve as the basis for a new, multipolar world order.

J S Bach Fri, 03/30/2018 - 22:48 Permalink

Oh, Wicked Witch of the West Wing, the cleansing fire awaits thy demise! Those meds can only keep you standing for so long. Keep tripping. Keep stumbling. Satan calls you to him. The day approacheth. Tick tock tick tock. 👹😂

beepbop -> TeamDepends Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:01 Permalink

The Death Of The Liberal World Order

The Re-Birth Of the Neocon World Disorder

Neocons=Bolsheviks=Zionists. Over 100 years of bloodshed and mayhem.

dogsandhoney2 -> J S Bach Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:05 Permalink

hillery-cfr neoliberalism is a right-wing politic, actually.

HedgeJunkie -> carbonmutant Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:04 Permalink

Democracy ultimately melts down into chaos. We have a perfectly good US Constitution, why don't we go back to using it as written? That said, I am for anything that makes the elites become common.

curbjob -> carbonmutant Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:26 Permalink

Democracy is a form of government. Populism is a movement. Populist movements come about when the current form of government is failing ... historically it seems they seldom choose wisely.

Dilluminati Fri, 03/30/2018 - 22:58 Permalink

Ridiculous cunt Hillary thinks after getting REJECTED by the voters in the USA that somehow being asked to "go the fuck away and shut the fuck up" makes her a women's leader. The cocksucker Soros and some of these other non-elected globalist should keep in mind that while everybody has a right to an opinion: it took the Clinton Crime Family and lots of corruption to create the scandals that sets a Clinton Crime Family member aside, and why Soros was given a free pass on election meddling and not others requires congressional investigation and a special prosecutor. And then there is that special kind of legal and ignorant opinion like David Hogg who I just disagree with, making him in my opinion and many fellow NRA members a cocksucker and a cunt. I'd wish shingles on David Hogg, Hillary Clinton, and Soros.

Theos Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:02 Permalink

bullshit

america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon.

all i see is a bunch of fleeting old people who found facebook 10 years late are temporarily empowered since they can now connect with other equally impotent old people.

Posa Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

The usual self-serving swill from the Best and the Brightest of the Predator Class out of the CFR via Haas.

The liberal order aka the New British Empire, was born 70 years ago by firebombing and nuking undefended civilian targets. It proceeded to launch serial genocidal rampages in the Koreas, SE Asia, Latin America until finally burning down a large portion of the Middle East.

The fact that there has not been a catastrophic nuclear war is pure dumb luck. The Deep State came within seconds of engineering a nuclear cataclysm off the waters of Cuba in 1962. When JFK started dismantling the CIA Deep State and ending the Cold War with the USSR, Dulles dispatched a CIA hit-squad to gun down the President. (RFK and Nixon immediately understood the assassination was a CIA-led wet-works operation since they chaired the assassination committees themselves in the past).

The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators.

However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front.

So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control.

Yen Cross Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:17 Permalink

I'll pay extra for a ticket to the George Soros funeral. That's like Game-7 at the Libtard world series!

devnickle Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:22 Permalink

Death to globalism. It is the Satan World Order.

Grandad Grumps Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:30 Permalink

Liberalism is anything but liberal... and I suppose that is the problem with it. It aims to do to the western world what Mao did to China and Stalin did to Russia. Many people were murdered or imprisoned and people had no rights, just obligations to dictators and their cronies.

I think this world is past the point where any benefit is gained from having "owners of the people", benevolent or otherwise. And we certainly do not benefit from perverted demonic entities even if they come bearing technology. The price is too high.

Populism goes along with essential freedoms for the human race.-

Yogizuna Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:30 Permalink

As I told the idiotic retards who argued with me on Prodigy fucking 27 years ago, China will not change because of increased trading and the West making them wealthier. In fact, just the opposite. I wonder if they have caught on yet?

SuzerainGreyMole Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

One can understand the demise of the West of many levels. Downfall and then Renewal!

... ... ...

[Mar 29, 2018] The US is by no means a "functioning democracy with proper rule of law". More like a corrupt plutocracy

Mar 29, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Aseoria -> ID6902426 , 28 Mar 2018 12:48

The US has been cracking down on protected First Amendment rights for years now. Just heard that someone was kicked off the post office lawn last week for protesting, so FIrday's peace vigil may be at risk again.We haven't had any problems with the police harassing us for probably 12 years, but that may be raising its head again.

The US government has a lot to answer for in terms of press freedom and its reaction to organized protest. One only need remember the clusterfuck at Standing Rock during the final months of Obama's presidency to see that this country has major problems with racism, violence, liberty, equality, fraternity. The US is by no means a "functioning democracy with proper rule of law". More like a corrupt plutocracy riding full-speed into overt fascism, where who you know and who you blow makes the most difference if you wind up in trouble with the law.

I never take First Amendment rights for granted. I am totally aware that if you don't use your rights, and often, you lose them. I have never had an account on Facebook, but sometimes I cruise other people's pages to the extent that Zuckerburg will allow without gathering my information(or maybe they can get it if you just look at a page). Always thought it was a supremely wrong idea to allow your identity to be taken away by some fat cat with a clever idea.

[Mar 29, 2018] Cultural Marxism and identity politics

Mar 29, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Raoul Duke -> milgram , 28 Mar 2018 08:47

It has nothing to do with marxism. I think "cultural marxism" is used in the same context.

It's basically just a label used by right-wingers to describe all the identity politics etc that faux lefties like the neoliberal democrats engage in to distract their voters from looking at actual leftist economic policies. So instead of trying to narrow the gaps between economic classes it's focuses on giving all identities, cultures and subcultures equal worth.

If that makes sense.. My vocabulary kind of lacked the words I was looking for to try to give a good description just now.. (English being my 2nd language an all)

[Mar 28, 2018] The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks

Notable quotes:
"... Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media's promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it. ..."
"... That democracy is a sham has been the case for decades. It is doubtful the American electorate has a grasp about anything, but regardless .what will they do about it? ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

Realist , March 22, 2018 at 9:30 am GMT

The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks.

Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media's promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it.

That democracy is a sham has been the case for decades. It is doubtful the American electorate has a grasp about anything, but regardless .what will they do about it?

Realist , March 22, 2018 at 10:20 pm GMT

Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media's promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it.

One can only hope that is true, but I have my doubts.

The question is what will they do about it?

Jim Christian , March 22, 2018 at 11:08 pm GMT
@Realist

The question is what will they do about it?

Damned good question, Real. Since they have a collection of dossiers on everyone in a position to do something, I suspect nothing. Oh, they may sacrifice a Brennan, much more likely McCabe, Struzck (or whatever), Lisa Page. They were the operatives. But then, faced with ten years, thrown to the wolves, denied his pension, facing jail, with McCabe, maybe they can play let's make a deal. Brennan would HATE that. Then, those operatives maybe start having accidents. The trick is to keep everyone quiet. One way or the other. They really want to protect Hillary, but I don't get it. Maybe if Hillary could tell HER tales it could trade UP to Soros. He's a monster.

Things roll down hills, Real, DC is a funny place. Believe me, the lights burn furiously all over Washington these days, the bad guys, the Deep State need to cover all this. The private recriminations must be hideous. All around them, people that can bring them down and you really cannot kill everyone. The last one was Monica, that was several departments working 24/7 for a couple of years. That was blow jobs by actual comparison. But this one is sizzling. This one means the country, war, the integrity of our systems, or will put the lie to formerly noble notions. This one tell us if we're the United States with Justice For All, or if we're a Commercial/Military Junta. We have to pick one.

Twodees Partain , March 28, 2018 at 11:41 am GMT
@Realist

"That democracy is a sham has been the case for decades."

Yes, I agree, and the biggest sham of all is that somehow the US is SUPPOSED to be a democracy. That's pure bullshit. The word 'democracy" doesn't appear in the text of the Constitution, and the early statesmen opposed the very idea, calling it "mob rule", "king numbers" and "the tyranny of the majority", among other epithets.

Congress members are required to swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not to bow to majority opinion on anything, whether that opinion comes from their own constituency or not. The democracy scam gives Congress members the pretext for disregarding the Constitution or for cherry picking the provisions of the document using "the will of the people" as a defense for their malfeasance.

Perversely, this also ends up betraying the interests of their true constituents in favor of providing for the interests of whoever pays them the biggest bribes. In a democracy, the representatives allow themselves to do whatever they think will feather their own nests while claiming that they are bowing to the will of "the people".

[Mar 28, 2018] Inspector General Confirms Probe Of FBI s Criminal FISA Warrant Abuse To Spy On Trump

Mar 28, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The DOJ's Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Wednesday that he is expanding his internal investigation into alleged FBI abuses surrounding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications - and will be examining their relationship with former MI6 spy Christopher Steele. The announcement follows several requests from lawmakers and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"The OIG will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department's and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person," the statement reads.

It should be noted that the OIG's current investigation and upcoming report - which led to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's firing, is focused on the agency's handling of the Clinton email investigation. This new probe will focus on FISA abuse and surveillance of the Trump campaign.

On March 1, House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the FBI may have violated criminal statutes, as well as its own strict internal procedures by using unverified information to obtain a surveillance warrant on onetime Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

Nunes referred to the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG), which states that the "accuracy of information contained within FISA applications is of utmost importance... Only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications to the court."

A "FISA memo" released in February by the House Intel Committee (which has since closed its Russia investigation), points to FBI's use of the salacious and unverified "Steele Dossier" funded by the Clinton Campaign and the DNC.

"Former and current DOJ and FBI leadership have confirmed to the committee that unverified information from the Steele dossier comprised an essential part of the FISA applications related to Carter Page," Nunes wrote in his March 1 letter.

Meanwhile, a February 28 letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) requested that IG Horowitz "conduct a comprehensive review of potential improper political influence, misconduct, or mismanagement" in relation to the FBI's handling of counterintelligence and criminal investigations of the Trump campaign prior to the appointment of Robert Mueller.

Steele in the crosshairs

The OIG letter also notes "As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source."

The source, in this case, is Christopher Steele.

The House Intel Committe's "FISA memo" alleges that the political origins of the dossier - paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) - were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request, as DOJ officials knew Steele was being paid by democrats. Moreover, officials at the DOJ and FBI signed one warrant, and three renewals against Carter Page.

Considering that much of the Steele dossier came from a collaboration with high level Kremlin officials (a collusion if you will), Horowitz will be connecting dots that allegedly go from the Clinton campaign directly to the Kremlin.

Although the contents of the dossier were unable to be corroborated, the FBI told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court that Steele's reputation was solid - and used a Yahoo News article written by Michael Isikoff to support the FISA application. The Isikoff article, however, contained information provided by Steele. In other words, the FBI made it appear to the FISA court that two separate sources supported their application, when in fact they both came from Steele.

(interestingly, Isikoff also wrote a hit piece to discredit an undercover FBI informant who testified to Congress last week about millions of dollars in bribes routed to the Clinton Foundation by Russian nuclear officials. Small world!)

So despite the FBI refusing to pay Steele $50,000 when he couldn't verify the dossier's claims, they still used it - in conjunction with a Steele sourced Yahoo! article to spy on a Trump campaign associate. And to make up for the fact that the underlying FISA claims were unverified, they "vouched" for Steele's reputation instead.

[Mar 28, 2018] My impression is that the internal dynamic of development of such a large and well financed intelligence service as CIA is directed toward "liberation" from any civil control.

Notable quotes:
"... Your comment is being held for moderation and will be displayed once it has been approved by the site owner. ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

likbez -> turcopolier ... 28 March 2018 at 03:12 PM

> "The CIA is an instrument of US government."

I would respectfully disagree. My impression is that the internal dynamic of development of such a large and well financed intelligence service as CIA is directed toward "liberation" from any civil control.

And at some point the tail start wagging the dog. At this point we have national security state and this transition is permanent and can't be reversed.

So at some point CIA became the government, not "an instrument of US government." And Church Committee stated this explicitly and tried (unsuccessfully) to curb the level of CIA influence on the US society.

Looks like existence of powerful intelligence agencies is incompatible with the idea of democratic society. At some point the most powerful of them becomes the Big Brother. Welcome to 1984 dystopia or some variation of it.

Your comment is being held for moderation and will be displayed once it has been approved by the site owner.

[Mar 28, 2018] It's Not a Conspiracy Anymore; Public Belief in 'Deep State' Soars by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... Monmouth University Poll ..."
"... It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is. ..."
"... So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. ..."
"... There's no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public's belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats ..."
"... Brennan says "America will triumph over you." But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office. ..."
"... Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement. ..."
"... And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much? They don't. Because it's not really about Trump. It's about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It's theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That's what this is all about ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

On Monday, the Monmouth University Polling Institute released the results of a survey that found that "a large bipartisan majority feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a 'Deep State' of unelected government officials .. [1] Public Troubled By Deep State, Monmouth University Polling Institute

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 2 to 5, 2018 with 803 adults in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/m...31918/

According to the survey:" 6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy. Just 26% say the right balance of power exists between elected and unelected officials in determining policy. Democrats (59%), Republicans (59%) and independents (62%) agree that appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government. ("Public Troubled by 'Deep State", Monmouth.edu)

The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks. Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media's promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it. Check it out:

" Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term "Deep State ;" another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington. Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist." Belief in the probable existence of a Deep State comes from more than 7-in-10 Americans in each partisan group "

So while the cable news channels dismiss anyone who believes in the "Deep State" as a conspiracy theorist, it's clear that the majority of people think that's how the system really works, that is, "a group of unelected government and military officials secretly manipulate or direct national policy."

It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is.

The Monmouth survey also found that "A majority of the American public believe that the U.S. government engages in widespread monitoring of its own citizens and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their own privacy." .

"Fully 8-in-10 believe that the U.S. government currently monitors or spies on the activities of American citizens, including a majority (53%)who say this activity is widespread Few Americans (18%) say government monitoring or spying on U.S. citizens is usually justified, with most (53%) saying it is only sometimes justified. Another 28% say this activity is rarely or never justified ." ("Public Troubled by 'Deep State", Monmouth.edu)

So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. Once again, the data suggests that the American people know what is going on, know that the US has gone from a reasonably free country where civil liberties were protected under the law, to a state-of-the-art surveillance state ruled by invisible elites who see the American people as an obstacle to their global ambitions–but their awareness has not evolved into an organized movement for change. In any event, the public seems to understand that the USG is not as committed to human rights and civil liberties as the media would have one believe. That's a start.

There's no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public's belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats. From the time Trump became the GOP presidential nominee more than 18 months ago, a powerful faction of the Intelligence Community, law enforcement (FBI) and even elements form the Obama DOJ, have vigorously tried to sabotage his presidency, his credibility and his agenda. Without a scintilla of hard evidence to make their case, this same group and their dissembling allies in the media, have cast Trump as a disloyal collaborator who conspired to win the election by colluding with a foreign government. The magnitude of this fabrication is beyond anything we've seen before in American political history, and the absence of any verifiable proof makes it all the more alarming. As it happens, the Deep State is so powerful it can wage a full-blown assault on the highest elected office in the country without even showing probable cause. In other words, the president of the United States is not even accorded the same rights as a common crook. How does that happen?

Over the weekend, former CIA Director and "Russia-gate" ringleader John Brennan fired off an angry salvo at Trump on his Twitter account. Here's what he said:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Doesn't Brennan's statement help to reinforce the public's belief in the Deep State? How does a career bureaucrat who has never been elected to public office decide that it is appropriate to use the credibility of his former office to conduct a pitch-battle with the President of the United States?

Brennan says "America will triumph over you." But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office.

Not so, Brennan. Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement.

And Brennan has been given a platform on the cable news channels so he can continue his assault on the presidency, not because he can prove that Trump is guilty of collusion or obstruction or whatever, but because the people who own the media have mobilized their deep state agents to carry out their vendetta to remove Trump from office by any means possible.

This is the "America" of which Brennan speaks. Not my America, but deep state America.

And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much? They don't. Because it's not really about Trump. It's about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It's theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That's what this is all about

... ... ...

[Mar 27, 2018] The New York Times procures salacious details of "gray-zone sex" by Eric London

Notable quotes:
"... Business Insider ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | www.wsws.org

On February 21, the New York Times published a notice calling on college students to describe and document any sexual encounter "that may not be viewed as sexual assault but which constitutes something murkier than a bad date." The notice incldues a submission form where students can accuse individuals of having engaged in something the Times calls "gray-zone sex." The Times asks its young tipsters to include names, email addresses, phone numbers and colleges, plus text message records and photographs documenting the encounters.

The Times ' announcement, written by gender editor Jessica Bennett and Daniel Jones, reads in its entirety:

As stories of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a debate has erupted over a particular kind of encounter, one that may not be viewed as sexual assault but which constitutes something murkier than a bad date.

We've seen it play out on a public stage, from the Aziz Ansari incident to The New Yorker's "Cat Person" story. So-called "gray-zone sex" has prompted impassioned conversations about -- and personal reflection on -- what constitutes consent and how we signal our desire or apprehension in the moment. This debate is especially vibrant on college campuses, where for years students and administrators have grappled with the issue.

We want to hear how you handle consent for sexual intimacy in relationships and encounters. Do you have a particular experience you find yourself thinking back to? What was said, texted or hinted at, through words or physical cues, that moved the encounter forward -- or stopped it? How did it make you feel at the time, and how do you think about it now?

The February 21 solicitation links to an article Bennett wrote on December 16, 2017 titled, "When Saying 'Yes' Is Easier Than Saying 'No,'" which sheds further light on what the Times means when it asks "what constitutes consent?" The two articles together show the provocative and witch-hunting character of the Times ' efforts to compile a database of sexual harassment allegations on college campuses across the country.

"For years," Bennett begins in the December article, "my female friends and I have spoken, with knowing nods, about a sexual interaction we call 'the place of no return.' It's a kind of sexual nuance that most women instinctively understand: the situation you thought you wanted, or maybe you actually never wanted, but somehow here you are and it's happening and you desperately want out, but you know that at this point exiting the situation would be more difficult than simply lying there and waiting for it to be over. In other words, saying yes when we really mean no."

Bennett provides two examples, one from her personal life and another from a short story published late last year in the New Yorker titled "Cat person." In both cases, the woman is interested in the man, they court one another, and they both agree to have sex. In the New Yorker story, which is also linked in the February 21 announcement, the protagonist is physically unsatisfied by her partner, who she complains is "heavy" and "bad in bed." Later, the protagonist tells all her friends a version of this encounter, "though," the author explains, "not quite the true one."

Bennett says "there are other names for this kind of sex: gray-zone sex, in reference to that murky gray area of consent; begrudgingly consensual sex, because, you know, you don't really want to do it but it's probably easier to just get it over with; lukewarm sex, because you're kind of 'meh' about it; and, of course, bad sex, where the 'bad' refers not to the perceived pleasure of it, but to the way you feel in the aftermath Sometimes 'yes' means 'no,' simply because it is easier to go through with it than explain our way out of a situation."

"Consent" is a legal term that marks the line between noncriminal and criminal conduct. Sex without consent can, and should, lead to the filing of a complaint followed by the initiation of a criminal investigation, prosecution and, if a jury is persuaded by the evidence, conviction. It is a basic legal tenet that the accused cannot be punished by the state for acts that are not proscribed by law, and in the American system, conduct that falls in a "gray zone" by its very nature does not meet the threshold for conviction: guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."

But the Times 's call for young people to submit reports of "gray-zone sex" is aimed at creating a parallel system, outside the framework of the law, in which the accused have no right to privacy or to due process. As law professor Catharine MacKinnon wrote in a Times column on February 4, "#MeToo has done what the law could not."

Playing the role of prosecutors in the court of public opinion, the gender editor and her cohorts at the New York Times are creating a massive database that it can dig through to ruin the careers and lives of students and professors based on unproved accusations of sexual conduct that, in any event, is not illegal.

The aim of this reactionary campaign is both political and pecuniary.

First, the Times hopes to create a political and cultural climate in which a broad array of consensual conduct is deemed punishable, even if it does not violate any legal statute.

The Times 's appeal for accusations comes after a number of spreadsheets have surfaced where students and faculty can anonymously submit accusations of harassment or "creepy behavior" on the part of male collegues or teachers. The submissions will involve a massive invasion of privacy. Individuals, without their knowledge or consent, may be placed in a situation where their most intimate behavior is being secretly documented and forwarded to the New York Times . Texts and even photographs will be examined and leered over by the gender editor and her colleagues. It is not difficult to imagine the abuses of privacy that will flow from the Times 's efforts to procure salacious material.

There are countless legal issues involved. There are many states that outlaw the transmission of sexually explicit and lewd material over the Internet. Will the individuals who foolishly transmit the material requested by the Times be opening themselves up to prosecution? If the Times 's editors discover that one or another submission describes sexual behavior that occurred between minors, will they inform the police that they have evidence of a violation of age-of-consent laws?

If the Times receives a submission that describes a consensual sexual encounter between a student and an older faculty member or administrator, will it decide that it must inform the institution of a possible violation of institutional regulations? And what happens if and when prosecutors, having initiated investigations into "gray-zone sex," obtain supboenas, demanding that the Times turn over its files? Who can doubt that the Times will comply with court orders, regardless of the consequences for those who are caught up in the escalating witch hunt?

Second, the call for "gray-zone sex" stories is a shameless effort to make money. In early February, the Times announced a 46 percent increase in digital subscriptions over the past year, and its stock price has increased 40 percent since October, the month it published the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Reuters wrote, "Subscriptions in the quarter also got a boost from the newspaper's coverage of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment story, helping the company post the highest-ever annual subscription revenue of $1 billion." It was also in October 2017 that the Times announced the position of "gender editor," at which point Bennett declared that gender "needs to exist throughout every section of the paper."

However, the newspaper has had trouble attracting younger readers who are more likely to turn to social media and independent websites for news. In 2017, the Times launched its own Discover section on Snapchat "with the aim of capturing younger demographics," Business Insider wrote. The Times 's campaign to broaden the #MeToo campaign to include "gray-zone sex" stories, with a focus on college campuses, is a part of its filthy business strategy.

[Mar 22, 2018] In order for Sanders to achieve anything substancial, he would have to have a substantial, functioning party apparatus

Mar 22, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

dcblogger , March 22, 2018 at 3:10 pm

In Chicago primaries, a string of defeats for the Democratic establishment at the hands of progressive Democrats
https://boingboing.net/2018/03/21/united-working-families.html

Lee , March 22, 2018 at 3:50 pm

From the Chomsky interview posted above:

In order for him [Sanders] to do anything, he would have to have a substantial, functioning party apparatus, which would have to grow from the grass roots. It would have to be locally organized, it would have to operate at local levels, state levels, Congress, the bureaucracy -- you have to build the whole system from the bottom.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/03/noam-chomsky-populist-groundswell-u-s-elections-future-humanity.html

[Mar 22, 2018] I hope Brennan is running scared, along with Power. It's like the Irish Mafia.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I agree that they are a big threat to life on earth. From the amount of ecological damage that our wars create, the number of people who we have killed or misplaced, to their planned war with Russia that could see the end of the human race and animals. That so many people are believing this Russian propaganda crap is beyond belief. These are the same people who used to question what the intelligence agencies were saying, but not any more. ..."
"... All Maxine "Lip Flappin" Waters does nowadays, like Adam Schiff, is ignore their districts in favor of Russiagate and get Trump out. They don't deserve their congressional positions. ..."
"... Ain't no one touching Schumer, and as for our president all he has to do is make another $10B donation to his favorite country and all this will go away. They done sold this country out many times over. ..."
"... The quaint idea that the public should "just trust" the "intelligence" (sic) "community" (sic) is trotted out by the propaganda media whenever anyone dares to question this gang of spies and dirty tricksters. As if these scum are somehow paragons of virtue and truthfulness! And the mass of Americans just swallow this rotten bait, and continue their profound sleep ..."
"... Yes, the secret agencies must be nearly abolished, as completely incompatible with democracy. ..."
"... I am wondering if Trump is going to make it out of this alive. ..."
"... I can see the pure evil in Brennan's eyes. He is dripping with hatred. Not that I like Trump, but our so-called intelligence agencies must be brought to heel if we are to have any hope for the future. People like Brennan need to be prosecuted and go to jail. ..."
"... Skip Scott -- Trump should keep his mouth shut, I know, but I can't blame the guy for speaking out, especially when he's been hounded by the press with something like 90+% negative coverage. He was right about his phones being "tapped", and everyone said he was out of his mind for saying such a thing. The Steele dossier is a phony, made-up dossier purposely invented to spy on Trump and bring in the Special Prosecutor. Everyone who had a hand in this should be behind bars. This has been an attempted coup against a duly-elected President. ..."
"... When the Inspector General's Report comes out, when Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy finally get the information they've been asking for, I think we're going to see people go to jail. They're now looking into Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation. ..."
"... These guys brought down the World Trade Center just to further their geopolitical agenda. Nothing is beyond their treachery. They don't have to assassinate the man, as they did the hapless Skripal's just to smear Russia one more time. They can bring down Airforce One and blame it on the Russians in some kind of grand two-fer, if they so choose (everyone knows those Russians just can't quit their evil ways). ..."
"... These spooks and their collaborators in the Pentagon, the MIC, Capitol Hill and the MSM have as effectively seized all power in this country as the Stalinists did in the Soviet Union. Idiots like Schumer sometimes unwittingly let the cat out of the bag, and he was right in pin-pointing who runs this country and to what extent they will go to destroy you to maintain their stake in ruling the planet ..."
"... Realist, very true, and you have summarized it so well. I am afraid this Skirpal incident in U.K. has been staged as a prelude to attack on Syria by U.S., U.K., Israel, and France, with Germany and other Western Nations cheering from the side. ..."
"... Trump is completely safe & will not be taken out? Why? Because Candidate Trump has completely backtracked from every foreign policy statements he made such as seeking peace with Russia? It's no coincidence that Trump was made to pay a visit to the one of the Deepstate's intelligence agencies at the CIA? ..."
"... I wonder to what extent Trump is whistling past the graveyard. Most women understand the dynamic: When you know you are under threat, pretend not to notice anything untoward ..."
"... "Power also saw fit to remind Trump where the power lies, so to speak. She warned him publicly that it is "not a good idea to piss off John Brennan." Didn't Michael Hastings piss off Brennan? ..."
"... Washington is like a continuing Soap Opera, as the real bad guys battle it out with the other really bad guys. We the people are mere pawns in their hands, to be influenced and duped to no end, as the lies swirl around and around until a citizen is completely buffaloed into submission. ..."
"... While reading this about John Brennan I could not help but think of JFK firing Allen Dulles. Again with the rhyming. ..."
"... "Former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom said that there was a plot among "high-ranking" people throughout government -- "not just the FBI," who coordinated in a plot to help Hillary Clinton avoid indictment. ..."
"... "I think we have ample facts revealed to us during this last year and a half that high-ranking people throughout government, not just the FBI, high-ranking people had a plot to not have Hillary Clinton, you know, indicted," Kallstrom told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo. ..."
"... "I think it goes right to the top. And it involves that whole strategy -- they were gonna win, nobody would have known any of this stuff, and they just unleashed the intelligence community. Look at the unmaskings. We haven't heard anything about that yet. Look at the way they violated the rights of all those American citizens." ..."
"... "Mike Whitney suspects that John Brennan was the mastermind behind Russia-gate." Looking at the pictures of Barack Obama with John Brennen, they seemed to have very cozy relationship. I wonder about Obama's role in this Russia-Gate. There are many unanswered questions about the top-echelons' role in this bizarre drama which may end up in many ominous consequences for the country and for the World. ..."
"... I think the intelligence agencies are the true source of nearly all of the problems..instead of gathering intelligence the IAs are effecting the events about which the intelligence is supposed to be about. Certainty Intelligence agencies can be credited with 9/11 and the war on Iraq. Interconnected between nations, shuffling in open-source form, secret sharing, false flag event production, and media delivered propaganda are activities which define the intelligence agencies. Secret means slave citizens are denied the knowledge that would allow them to understand how corrupt our societies are; so that the leaders of such societies can continue in the office that commands the power. ..."
"... Brilliantly stated, faraday's law. You've raised the all-important point that the intelligence agencies are are not simply gathering intelligence, they are also engaging in covert action, unlawfully, unaccountably, and unscrutinized. For all we know they could be spending their virtually unlimited funds on creating our enemies, thereby creating a need for our military industrial complex, the only entity that benefits from their work. ..."
"... Seems like the two wings of the Anglo-American establishment alliance are working in concert to defeat all who stand in their way and regain dominance over the western world. In Britain, Teresa May and the Tories -- who are losing popularity to the resurgent Labour party and its progressive leader Jeremy Corbyn -- are trying to blame Russia for a nerve agent attack. The blame game over there is evidence-free of course and the lies and weasel-word assertions are being effectively countered by, among others, ex-Ambassador Craig Murray ( https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/ ) in post after post. ..."
"... You present some interesting points, but John Brennan is no "Wild Bill Donovan" or even a William Casey with the backup of the fraternity of OSS which no longer has meetings. It seems to me that Brennan's and his diminishing followers' power lies with the media that has done the dance of "valued sources" and perception manipulation of the masses. Actually, "night of the long knives" occurred in Saudi Arabia when Prince "Bandar Bush" was captured and "interviewed" not by the FBI or the CIA, but most probably by individuals with videos of confessions which summarized the long history of the activities involving operatives conducting activities during the presidential administrations of both political parties but continuously for clans such as the Bush Dynasty and assorted associates within the institutions that are now domestically profiting from the policies of the President. ..."
"... But beyond this crisis is the larger one of how to harness the Deep State to reflect the nation's interests, not those few who run things now. Some say start to rid foreign intelligence of its operational arm which has been at the forefront of regime change and other mischief. ..."
"... Yes, the CIA operations division should be made small because it is abused for the hidden agendas of oligarchy, that the People would never approve. It should be monitored by an agency reporting directly to Congress. ..."
"... The Deep State, through the CIA, pursues a foreign policy that is often at odds with the wishes of the vast majority of the people in this country ..."
"... Brennans screech confirms that Trump is not just smoke and mirrors. He really hit the bureaucracy where it hurts, their pensions -- brilliant move. ..."
"... Trump and Brennan represent equally criminal factions of the ruling class, divided over foreign policy, particularly in the civil war in Syria, and more generally towards Russia. ..."
"... Brennan and the Democrats speak for powerful sections of the military-intelligence apparatus embittered by the failure of US intervention in Syria and Trump's apparent abandonment of the Islamic fundamentalist groups armed by the CIA to fight the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad. They want to push further into the Syrian slaughter, regardless of the risk of open military conflict with Russia, the world's second strongest nuclear power. ..."
"... That "moral turpitude" reference seems to imply that there is some -- yet to be revealed -- scandal held in abeyance, fully capable of delivering a decisive blow. And, the "deep staters" are merely waiting for the right moment to pull this shark-toothed rabbit out of the hat. ..."
"... Former heads of the nation's top intelligence organization do not attack sitting presidents, let alone in such a visceral vituperative and public fashion. This is indication of deep fissures, quite beyond politics as most citizens understand. As the World Socialist Web Site published today: "There is no recent parallel for statements and actions such as those of the past three days. One would have to go back to the period before the American Civil War to find equivalent levels of tension, which in the late 1850s erupted in violence in the halls of Congress before exploding in full-scale military conflict." ..."
"... Trump is a maverick outsider so it's hard to get a handle on what or who he represents, but the Brennan/deep state side of the dispute is very much aligned with the corporate DNC Democratic Party. That they seem, by Brennan's comments, to consider themselves as the representation of "America" as they abandon constitutional and etiquette norms and articulate visceral hatred towards political rivals should serve as fair warning. ..."
"... Kevin Zeese: "He basically is a Senator for Israel. He totally supports the Israeli foreign policy viewpoint, which is a very hawkish, if you were a Republican you would call him a neocon." ..."
"... Thomas Hedges: "Schumer's staunch support for Israel has prompted him for example, to criticize the Obama administration, when in 2016, the United States abstained from a UN Security Council resolution re-affirming something the Council had almost unanimously upheld since 1979. Namely, that Israel's settlement building projects on Palestinian land violated international law." ..."
"... Brennan is history's most hilarious DCI. His grandiose hissy fit suggests that CIA continues the Dulles tradition of infiltrating the civil service with 'focal points -' illegal CIA moles infiltrating US government agencies -- and the IG fumigated one key out in firing McCabe. ..."
"... the MSM and the Left see the "crime" being that McCabe was fired, not that McCabe broke the law. Kind of like when they didn't see a crime in Hillary using her own personal servers, but saw the crime as being that the emails might have been hacked by a foreign government. That they had no evidence of this didn't matter. ..."
"... Brennan sounds like a desperate man. They must be getting closer to him. ..."
"... See how this works? The article is about Brennan. The comment is about Brennan's CIA. But immersive CIA propaganda immediately diverts the topic to CIA's synthetic warring factions, Hillary! Trump! Hillary! Trump! ..."
"... CIA runs your country. You're not going to get anywhere until you stop bickering about their presidential puppet rulers. ..."
"... The mention of John Brennan brings to mind the bizarre death of Rolling Stone's writer, Michael Hastings, who was reported to be working on a story about Brennan just before he had his "accident". ..."
"... Our MS Media is nothing more than Democrat Propaganda, and that situation will doom us to Russian interference. Every election the Russians can do the same as 2016: release the truth about justice not served. ..."
"... Israel has advised, trained and equipped, and ran "dirty war" operations in the Latin American "dirty war" conflicts in Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia. In the case of the Salvadoran "bloodbath", the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists. ..."
"... USMC activated. Well, I'd put my two-cents on POTUS. Just like we've all seen throughout our lives when the supposed tough guy starts making threats he is really scared Sh**less. Lots of these clowns are just going to disappear during the late night hours of the day never to be heard from again. ..."
"... Guys like Brennan are scared rats in a sinking ship, good riddance! ..."
"... What an amazingly illuminating article. Devin Nunes, who perfectly ok with wire taps as long as the target aren't from his party is somehow a noble individual. While I agree that Brennan should be in prison, it should be for torturing people ..."
Mar 21, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

backwardsevolution March 19, 2018 at 7:08 am

Great article. I hope Brennan is running scared, along with Power. It's like the Irish Mafia.

"Meanwhile, the Washington Post is dutifully playing its part in the deep-state game of intimidation. The following excerpt from Sunday's lead article conveys the intended message: "Some Trump allies say they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI. 'This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI's going to win,' said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. 'You can't fight the FBI. They're going to torch him.'"

That sounds like something "Six Ways From Sunday" Schumer would say. In fact, I'd bet money that it is the shyster himself. That guy should be removed from the Senate in leg irons. He is a menace to society.

Abby , March 19, 2018 at 9:51 pm

I agree that they are a big threat to life on earth. From the amount of ecological damage that our wars create, the number of people who we have killed or misplaced, to their planned war with Russia that could see the end of the human race and animals. That so many people are believing this Russian propaganda crap is beyond belief. These are the same people who used to question what the intelligence agencies were saying, but not any more.

The fact that most of congress and people in other governments have made up the Russian propaganda is what needs to be exposed. This is a huge crime against humanity, IMO. This includes Bernie of all people. They are doing this so they can get their war on with Russia and escalate the Syrian war.

geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 3:02 am

Agreed. All Maxine "Lip Flappin" Waters does nowadays, like Adam Schiff, is ignore their districts in favor of Russiagate and get Trump out. They don't deserve their congressional positions. I wish to add a comment Coleen Rowley's piece. An update: Law Professor Jonathan Turley says Andrew M. will still get his pension, just have to wait until he's 57 (now 50). Can you understand this? What will it take to punish these arrogant evil little punks? And why should we pay their pensions, especially when so many of us get nothing!

Mike S , March 20, 2018 at 12:59 am

Ain't no one touching Schumer, and as for our president all he has to do is make another $10B donation to his favorite country and all this will go away. They done sold this country out many times over.

Brad Owen , March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm

The draining of the swamp has now begun, and battle is about to be joined. That's the word from Alex Jones, Roy Potter and that youtube crowd of similar "guerilla journalists", who fill in for the Deep State-captured and untrustworthy MSM.

The Deep State miscalculated the alignment of forces for the upcoming, somewhat covert, civil war within the governing apparatus; Trump knows the military has his back, especially the Marines, and they are part & parcel of the Constitution. The Deep State is a sick Post-WWII mistake, rogue and criminal, and will be rolled up. There are a lot of jewels hidden in their unacknowledged black programs of great benefit to the World, if we can wrestle them away from these weaponizing psychopaths of the Deep State.

jean , March 20, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Unfortunately whistleblowers like Bill Binny and others can't get airtime on in corporate media but can get a voice on Alex Jones.

William Binney High Ranking NSA Whistle Blower Interview with Alex. Video for Bill Binney alex jones
? 34:25
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW-V-TOJVE8
Jun 14, 2017 -- Uploaded by N Jacobson
William Binney High Ranking NSA Whistle Blower Interview w/ Alex Jones 6-14-17 William Binney, and ..

Whistleblower Reveals NSA Blackmailing Top Govt Officials -- YouTube
Video for Russ tice alex jones
? 22:27
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZoV52qdaOA
Jun 8, 2014 -- Uploaded by The Alex Jones Channel
NSA whistleblower Russell Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the

saveourliberty , March 20, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Attacks on Alex Jones might be warranted, but I find those trivial in comparison for how he has awakened the masses and has given a bully-pit to those that have been silenced by the MSM. Choose your battles. Jones isn't one I want to silence though we can never let our guard down to co-option neither.

Andrew , March 20, 2018 at 7:04 am

An open threat to torch the POTUS and there are no consequences for making such threats? Like Brennan's clear threat? No judicial system to deal with those threats?

mike k , March 19, 2018 at 7:46 am

The quaint idea that the public should "just trust" the "intelligence" (sic) "community" (sic) is trotted out by the propaganda media whenever anyone dares to question this gang of spies and dirty tricksters. As if these scum are somehow paragons of virtue and truthfulness! And the mass of Americans just swallow this rotten bait, and continue their profound sleep ..

Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 6:32 am

Yes, the secret agencies must be nearly abolished, as completely incompatible with democracy.

Wolfbay , March 20, 2018 at 6:54 am

There are only 17 secret agencies. No room to cut.

toni , March 21, 2018 at 11:51 am

Why do you think that there all the shows on television and the movies where the good guy is the cop, or some federal agent?

Skip Scott , March 19, 2018 at 8:06 am

I am wondering if Trump is going to make it out of this alive. I know they don't want to tip their hand to the public, but if their media circus performance doesn't gain sufficient traction, it'll probably be time for a "lone nut" assassin. I can see the pure evil in Brennan's eyes. He is dripping with hatred. Not that I like Trump, but our so-called intelligence agencies must be brought to heel if we are to have any hope for the future. People like Brennan need to be prosecuted and go to jail.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 8:34 am

Skip Scott -- Trump should keep his mouth shut, I know, but I can't blame the guy for speaking out, especially when he's been hounded by the press with something like 90+% negative coverage. He was right about his phones being "tapped", and everyone said he was out of his mind for saying such a thing. The Steele dossier is a phony, made-up dossier purposely invented to spy on Trump and bring in the Special Prosecutor. Everyone who had a hand in this should be behind bars. This has been an attempted coup against a duly-elected President.

When the Inspector General's Report comes out, when Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy finally get the information they've been asking for, I think we're going to see people go to jail. They're now looking into Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation.

Never mind the damage being done re relations between Russia and the U.S. and the possible nuclear threat. These people truly are insane. I agree with you, these intelligence agencies really have gone rogue and need to be "brought to heel".

laninya , March 19, 2018 at 11:22 am

The day Trump keeps his mouth shut or stops tweeting is the day he and his revolution will be over. What do you think is smoking all these malefactors out into the open?

Steve Naidamast , March 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm

backwardsevolution

Former CIA Officer, Kevin Shipp, spoke out in an article I saw the other day that the FBI is working very methodically on the investigations into the Clinton Foundation. He expects that when it comes out so many "heads will roll" in the Congress and the Executive branch that we will have a Constitutional crises portending a collapse of the US government.

Can't wait to see these fireworks :-)

Typingperson , March 19, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Not holding my breath -- but I hope so!

Abby , March 19, 2018 at 9:55 pm

I read this article and I too hope that Shipp is right about this. The Clinton foundation and everything connected to them is rotten. They robbed Haiti's reconstruction funds and gave their friends and family members special access to bilking them. Everyone knew that they did that, yet no one said a word about it.

Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 1:27 am

Steve, I watched this Youtube video of Kevin Shipp talking to this Group of citizens, last evening. It is really very informative. The title of the video was: "CIA Officer exposes the shadow government" dated Feb 19, 2018. This video is really worth watching.

Realist , March 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm

These guys brought down the World Trade Center just to further their geopolitical agenda. Nothing is beyond their treachery. They don't have to assassinate the man, as they did the hapless Skripal's just to smear Russia one more time. They can bring down Airforce One and blame it on the Russians in some kind of grand two-fer, if they so choose (everyone knows those Russians just can't quit their evil ways).

These spooks and their collaborators in the Pentagon, the MIC, Capitol Hill and the MSM have as effectively seized all power in this country as the Stalinists did in the Soviet Union. Idiots like Schumer sometimes unwittingly let the cat out of the bag, and he was right in pin-pointing who runs this country and to what extent they will go to destroy you to maintain their stake in ruling the planet .

All this has been clear for a long time now, yet nothing is ever done about it, probably because the task is too immense, these devils are too numerous and too deeply entrenched. Everything they say or do before the public is simply stagecraft and dramatics, and that includes all the gibbering that emanates from Congress each day, dispensed to you in a direct feed by the propaganda organs of the mass media which now includes most of the internet. You want to hear the truth? Go read a novel, maybe the publishing monolith will occasionally let slip an accurate description of our world couched in metaphor, a glitch in the Matrix, if you will.

Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Realist, very true, and you have summarized it so well. I am afraid this Skirpal incident in U.K. has been staged as a prelude to attack on Syria by U.S., U.K., Israel, and France, with Germany and other Western Nations cheering from the side.

Most likely, a false flag event will staged in Syria very soon to justify it. And there will be some sort of action in Ukraine too. U.S., U.K., and France are deep in debt. China is rising economically, and I am afraid that these Western Imperial Nations will not let go their complete dominance over the planet without a fight.

Events may take a very sad and violent turn in no time.

Skip Scott , March 21, 2018 at 8:47 am

Realist.

That is a very scary scenario you propose about Air Force One, and quite conceivable. The way things are heating up, I suspect something in that order of magnitude very soon.

KiwiAntz , March 20, 2018 at 12:02 am

Trump is completely safe & will not be taken out? Why? Because Candidate Trump has completely backtracked from every foreign policy statements he made such as seeking peace with Russia? It's no coincidence that Trump was made to pay a visit to the one of the Deepstate's intelligence agencies at the CIA?

Trump would have been taken into a office & shown a continuous looped, Zapruder film of JFK getting his head blasted apart, as a warning of what happened to the last President who tried to destroy their power & influences? Remember Chuck Schumer's threat in 2017, warning Trump that the Intelligence Agencies have a number of ways, to take you down, if you rock the boat? Trump was shown what to expect if he doesn't toe the line & do what he's told by his real masters? Confirmation of Trump's obedience to the Deepstate agenda is that as he's now singing from the same song sheet that the Deepstate is singing from, completely backtracking most of his his election promises, making America great again, not by diplomacy but by endless war mongering & foreign interventions with no end in sight?

geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 12:51 am

We have known for sometime that the CIA and Google (not to mention WaPo and Jeff's garage sale site) are tight. Julian Assange's "When Google Met Wikileaks" is a go to for this. And you know that Eric Schmidt and Hillary Clinton are close connivers.

Litchfield , March 20, 2018 at 9:17 am

I wonder to what extent Trump is whistling past the graveyard. Most women understand the dynamic: When you know you are under threat, pretend not to notice anything untoward . . . So as not to trigger something really bad happening. If the picture changed dramatically -- say, with indictments of co-conspirators in the DNC shenanigans or the FBI collusion, or the Russiagate farce -- Trump might do some kind fo about-face. The big question, though, is his real relationship to and heartfelt convictions regarding Netanyahu/Israel.

Gregory Herr , March 20, 2018 at 6:45 pm

"Power also saw fit to remind Trump where the power lies, so to speak. She warned him publicly that it is "not a good idea to piss off John Brennan." Didn't Michael Hastings piss off Brennan?

Gregory Herr , March 20, 2018 at 7:15 pm

http://m.digitaljournal.com/news/world/wikileaks-cia-s-brennan-on-witch-hunt-when-hastings-was-killed/article/421913

Joe Tedesky , March 19, 2018 at 9:06 am

Washington is like a continuing Soap Opera, as the real bad guys battle it out with the other really bad guys. We the people are mere pawns in their hands, to be influenced and duped to no end, as the lies swirl around and around until a citizen is completely buffaloed into submission.

While reading this about John Brennan I could not help but think of JFK firing Allen Dulles. Again with the rhyming.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

Two short interviews with James Kallstrom at this site:

"Former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom said that there was a plot among "high-ranking" people throughout government -- "not just the FBI," who coordinated in a plot to help Hillary Clinton avoid indictment.

"I think we have ample facts revealed to us during this last year and a half that high-ranking people throughout government, not just the FBI, high-ranking people had a plot to not have Hillary Clinton, you know, indicted," Kallstrom told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo.

"I think it goes right to the top. And it involves that whole strategy -- they were gonna win, nobody would have known any of this stuff, and they just unleashed the intelligence community. Look at the unmaskings. We haven't heard anything about that yet. Look at the way they violated the rights of all those American citizens."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-18/ex-fbi-assistant-director-there-was-high-ranking-plot-protect-hillary-brennan

Tom Ratliff , March 19, 2018 at 11:36 am

Yes, very interesting interview with Kallstrom -- on mainstream media, which is important. Seems too many people understand what's really transpired for Trump -- or anyone -- to be in mortal danger. We'll see.

Brennan's tweet suggests he knows the walls are closing in on him.

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , March 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I agree. If you're very strong, you don't bother making public threats against powerful people. You just break their backs without comment. Brennan comes across like he's been backed into a corner where he has no weapons and from which he knows there is no escape.

Mike Whitney suspects that John Brennan was the mastermind behind Russia-gate. http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/is-john-brennan-the-mastermind-behind-russiagate/

geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 1:15 am

It is what I already sussed out, Paul. In reading Whitney's piece, it reminded me that over the last eight years the State Department in their press gatherings continuously mocked any RT reporters and disrespected them. You could easily surmise from this that they had a hand in these propaganda smears and lies.

Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 1:53 am

"Mike Whitney suspects that John Brennan was the mastermind behind Russia-gate." Looking at the pictures of Barack Obama with John Brennen, they seemed to have very cozy relationship. I wonder about Obama's role in this Russia-Gate. There are many unanswered questions about the top-echelons' role in this bizarre drama which may end up in many ominous consequences for the country and for the World.

Bob H , March 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Dave P(et.al.) it's getting more involved every day. It is interesting that the interview was on Fox as it indicates prominent Republicans may be leaning towards a more thorough investigation. However, if the investigation includes an inquiry into Cambridge Analytica they are likely to find that most of the fake news on Facebook that was influential in throwing the election to Trump was the result of Breitbart strategy with no Russian connection. Some Republicans may be willing to do this, but if it were conclusive I doubt whether either the Democrats or the Trump administration would come out on top; there are very few innocents that didn't add to the stench of the swamp. BTW: thanks for that valuable link B.E.!

Stephen J. , March 19, 2018 at 9:40 am

Is This the Land of the Free?

How will it end, or will it go on without end?
This feasting on blood that these demons depend
Will these diabolical devils ever be arraigned and indicted
And will we ever see the land of the free tried and convicted?

[more info at link below]

http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/04/is-this-land-of-free.html
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
"It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby committing two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early in his regime."

Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, April 15/16, 2017.

Bob Van Noy , March 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm

H. W., Kuwait, Sept. 11, 1990

https://www.politico.com/story/2009/09/president-bush-responds-to-iraqi-invasion-of-kuwait-sept-11-1990-026997

David Hamilton , March 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Yes, this "H.W., Kuwait" is the war crime that started the era of ruthless war-making in which we are now trapped. It is the era of the kicked-down Vietnam Syndrome, where we are free once again to enrich our mercenary corporations as we project our military force 'exceptionally' to 'creatively destroy' in our noble quest to guide the world to do things our way. Some may recall how, back then, the pundit and Congressional classes deployed propaganda that was the prototype for what we have since become accustomed to. "We are doing this for peace, so all you dissenters shut up." Nobody then would acknowledge that we had covertly -- and treacherously -- aided and abetted both Iran and Iraq during their 8-year war that immediately preceded our war. (Hush, hush, wink, wink, said the media.) Thus, we had no moral or legal standing to pronounce any country guilty of 'aggression', as we did Saddam's country, who we had also green-lighted into settling his border dispute with force. That alone was enough to reveal our collective disregard for Muslim life. The rules of engagement that allowed water treatment plants to be bombed only confirmed our disregard. Warnings of unintended (or intended?) consequences then, as later, went unheeded, such as the certainty of blow back when one betrays so many peoples of the world who thought we had 'principles'. Is it any wonder there was blow back, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing? (By the way, Rep. Dick Gephardt, criticized in this article, eventually led a valiant but futile effort to derail the war momentum in the House.) Peace.

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , March 19, 2018 at 11:13 pm

Paul Craig Roberts is a bit off. Each of the war crimes he mentions were waging wars of aggression. But there were a multitude of lesser war crimes committed in each of those wars. And his count is off. Bush's wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen did not cease being wars of aggression in 2008 simply because 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue acquired new tenants that year. Obama gets credit for the continuation of those four wars in addition to the wars first launched while he was in office. And Trump likewise must be given credit for his continuations of wars of aggression launched by his predecessors.

Michael Kenny , March 19, 2018 at 11:01 am

For over 50 years, I have applied the rule that I never take the word of anyone who has ever been connected with the CIA.

Skip Scott , March 20, 2018 at 8:21 am

Bullshit. I've seen your posts going back months, and you are a typical MSM propaganda apologist. If you know anything about "Operation Mockingbird", then you know that all of your past comments are "connected with the CIA".

Realist , March 20, 2018 at 11:17 pm

I'm telling ya, the guy seems like the amazing schizoid man these days.

faraday's law , March 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

I think the intelligence agencies are the true source of nearly all of the problems..instead of gathering intelligence the IAs are effecting the events about which the intelligence is supposed to be about. Certainty Intelligence agencies can be credited with 9/11 and the war on Iraq. Interconnected between nations, shuffling in open-source form, secret sharing, false flag event production, and media delivered propaganda are activities which define the intelligence agencies. Secret means slave citizens are denied the knowledge that would allow them to understand how corrupt our societies are; so that the leaders of such societies can continue in the office that commands the power.

Linda Wood , March 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Brilliantly stated, faraday's law. You've raised the all-important point that the intelligence agencies are are not simply gathering intelligence, they are also engaging in covert action, unlawfully, unaccountably, and unscrutinized. For all we know they could be spending their virtually unlimited funds on creating our enemies, thereby creating a need for our military industrial complex, the only entity that benefits from their work.

Dr. Ip , March 19, 2018 at 11:17 am

Seems like the two wings of the Anglo-American establishment alliance are working in concert to defeat all who stand in their way and regain dominance over the western world. In Britain, Teresa May and the Tories -- who are losing popularity to the resurgent Labour party and its progressive leader Jeremy Corbyn -- are trying to blame Russia for a nerve agent attack. The blame game over there is evidence-free of course and the lies and weasel-word assertions are being effectively countered by, among others, ex-Ambassador Craig Murray ( https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/ ) in post after post.

Over here, where the establishment Democrats and their cabal of friendly old Republicans (think: Mitt Romney) have lost their hold on direct power, they are trying to assert it through their long-time henchmen in the intelligence services. Ever since Wild Bill Donovan and the Dulles brothers, the intelligence services have been looking after their own survival and proliferation (and the profits of their masters) while, as a side-benefit, the United States got some security.

This clash of the services with Trump is only the latest in a series of clashes which Presidents have mostly lost (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, even Obama backed down after he became President) unless they were card-carrying members of the clan like Bush the First. So, you can expect Trump to lose as well unless he has the armed forces behind him and can purge the services of his enemies. We actually might have a night of the long knives coming. The question is of course if Caesar can survive the knifings!

Not that this Caesar is an Augustus or Marcus Aurelius

Marshall Smith , March 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm

You present some interesting points, but John Brennan is no "Wild Bill Donovan" or even a William Casey with the backup of the fraternity of OSS which no longer has meetings. It seems to me that Brennan's and his diminishing followers' power lies with the media that has done the dance of "valued sources" and perception manipulation of the masses. Actually, "night of the long knives" occurred in Saudi Arabia when Prince "Bandar Bush" was captured and "interviewed" not by the FBI or the CIA, but most probably by individuals with videos of confessions which summarized the long history of the activities involving operatives conducting activities during the presidential administrations of both political parties but continuously for clans such as the Bush Dynasty and assorted associates within the institutions that are now domestically profiting from the policies of the President.

Yes, Pres. Trump and his advisers (such as Peter Thiel and even possibly Erik Prince and individuals of varied backgrounds possibly to even include Rabbis, Cardinals and other wise men not members of the Brookings Institution or the CFR) knew the obstacles and the nature of the enemies that would unit against a Populist Movement. In addition to advisers aware of the cyber world and the underworld of intelligence/counter-intelligence operations, advisers aware of the functioning of institutions and how institutions change their "culture" were absolutely necessary when the "resistance" was sending the message non-stop that Pres. Trump was only a temporary resident of the White House, and he would follow the path of Nixon, but in short order! Well, it seems that even the FBI is cleaning house internally and even Brennan's supporters within the old intelligence community leadership are giving their endorsement to the President's choice for CIA Dir. and she has a loyal following among the rank and file members of that institution.

Yes, ministers of Egypt wanted to present documents on the Muslim Brotherhood and it's relationship with the Obama Adm.; and Prince Salman will probably bring gifts during his State Visit. Pres. Trump and his team will decide the time and date to unwrap the evidence that will shatter the camera lens and stop the presses! No knives or guns, please!

Herman , March 19, 2018 at 11:45 am

From Wikipedia:

"Moral turpitude is a legal concept in the United States and some other countries that refers to "an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community".[1] This term appears in U.S. immigration law beginning in the 19th century.[2]"

I guess the "community" Brennan was referring to was the Deep State. Not willingly but perhaps fortuitously Trump finds himself on the battlefield playing David and Goliath is there wearing a stone proof helmet. Obama liked to go after leakers, so long as the were underling leakers. If Trump is successful, which is to be hoped for but unlikely, how will the New York Times and Washington Post fill their editorial pages?

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is a paraphrase but apt.

But beyond this crisis is the larger one of how to harness the Deep State to reflect the nation's interests, not those few who run things now. Some say start to rid foreign intelligence of its operational arm which has been at the forefront of regime change and other mischief.

Sam F , March 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Yes, the CIA operations division should be made small because it is abused for the hidden agendas of oligarchy, that the People would never approve. It should be monitored by an agency reporting directly to Congress.

Joe Wallace , March 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Herman and Sam F:

"But beyond this crisis is the larger one of how to harness the Deep State to reflect the nation's interests, not those few who run things now. Some say start to rid foreign intelligence of its operational arm which has been at the forefront of regime change and other mischief."

"Yes, the CIA operations division should be made small because it is abused for the hidden agendas of oligarchy, that the People would never approve. It should be monitored by an agency reporting directly to Congress."

Not until Citizens United v FEC is overturned will we have a foreign policy that reflects the nation's interests, administered by elected officials who actually represent the will of the electorate. The Deep State, through the CIA, pursues a foreign policy that is often at odds with the wishes of the vast majority of the people in this country .

Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 6:55 am

Yes, but the judiciary that decided Citizens United are corruption leaders installed by corrupt politicians installed by the dictatorship of the rich. Until the rich are overthrown there will be no democracy in the US.

Stephen J. , March 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Has the System Become Corrupted?

I believe the system has become corrupted. The same people who parrot the words "rule of law" are according to numerous reports working hand in glove with terrorists. They even pass "laws" against terrorism, while at the same time consorting with terrorists. I guess "our hypocrite leaders" are above the law? The latest horrific terrorist bombing in Manchester raises questions about the spy agency "MI5."
[read more at link below] http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/06/has-system-become-corrupted.html

mike k , March 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Our problem is how to shock the American public into awareness of who their real enemies are: the Oligarchs, Deep State, Zionazis, MSM, MIC. What kind of major disclosure could start the ball rolling? What kind of outrage would be too much for the zombified public to brush off and continue sleeping? What the hell would it take to knock the middle class out of it's putrid comfort zone?

Linda Wood , March 20, 2018 at 7:04 pm

zendeviant, I think it will come to a national refusal to fund illegal activity on the part of our federal government. I don't think it will come to violence, which would accomplish less than nothing. Instead, I think the American people will take legal action to stop the hemorrhage of black funding.

Skip Scott , March 21, 2018 at 10:22 am

Linda-

Funding is not the issue. They just print the money and give it out. Our tax dollars are just demanded to make sure we are in submission. The Pentagon isn't even audited, and at this point would be impossible to audit. Legal action requires an uncompromised judiciary. Haven't seen that in my lifetime. It will take real "boots on the ground" from the people to get any real change. TPTB will only budge when their backs are against the wall.

Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 7:54 am

Fair question, Mike, although perhaps annoying at times to very well-meaning people. Middle class comfort is indeed the security of a corrupt government, and so affluence destroys democracy.

As you know, I have advocated a College of Policy Debate constituted to protect all points of view, and to conduct moderated text-only debate among university experts of several disciplines, of the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Debate summaries commented by all sides are to be made available for public study and comment.

The debates would require a higher standard of argument in foreign and domestic policy on all sides, and would have much reduced the group-think that led to our endless mad wars since WWII. Extreme and naïve politicians would be easier to expose, and media commentators would have a starting point and a standard for media investigation and analysis.

While most politicians will ignore and attack careful analysis, and "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay" (Mencken), the CPD can bring the knowledge of society into public debate, educate the electorate, discourage propaganda, and expose the wrongs of society and the corruption of government that desperately need reform.

If such a rational mechanism fails to awaken the public and cause reform, then we are doomed to overthrow of the dictatorship of the rich, requiring far greater degradation to motivate the people, and greater violence than any previous revolution due to the advance of technology. I fear that both will in fact occur, after a long era of US corruption.

Deniz , March 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Brennans screech confirms that Trump is not just smoke and mirrors. He really hit the bureaucracy where it hurts, their pensions -- brilliant move.

orwell , March 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm

It's nice to see that everybody here agrees about this situation. Really refreshing, and no pro-CIA/FBI TROLLS !!!!!!

Stephen J, , March 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Article of interest at link below. http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/march/19/pompeo-and-haspel-are-symptoms-of-a-deeper-problem/

Herry Smith , March 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm

I remember that Larry Johnson described this threat in detail more than a year ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMkR_5Sesgg It was on RT but he made a lot of sense. Appears to have been vindicated.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Herry Smith -- thanks for posting that interview. Larry Johnson was excellent, articulate, and he's going to be proven right.

Gregory Kruse , March 19, 2018 at 2:05 pm

"Shortly before his re-election in 2012, Obama reportedly was braced at a small dinner party by wealthy donors who wanted to know whatever happened to the 'progressive Obama.' The President did not take kindly to the criticism, rose from the table, and said, 'Don't you remember what happened to Dr. King?'"

Dr. Ip , March 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm

" Trump and Brennan represent equally criminal factions of the ruling class, divided over foreign policy, particularly in the civil war in Syria, and more generally towards Russia.

Brennan and the Democrats speak for powerful sections of the military-intelligence apparatus embittered by the failure of US intervention in Syria and Trump's apparent abandonment of the Islamic fundamentalist groups armed by the CIA to fight the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad. They want to push further into the Syrian slaughter, regardless of the risk of open military conflict with Russia, the world's second strongest nuclear power. "

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/19/pers-m19.html

Bob Ford , March 19, 2018 at 3:15 pm

It is imperative to bring about a cleansing of the FBI and DOJ, removing high-ranking officials who place politics and personal agendas ahead of enforcing the law fairly and without bias. Will that mean a "war" with the deep state? Or are there enough people within the FBI and DOJ who WANT to remove the stains from their agencies? If so, we may see more corruption exposed in the coming days.
A cleansing of the CIA or NSA is probably not feasible, even though it is sorely needed. If the president tried, he would probably be regime-changed.

Bob Van Noy , March 19, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Craig Murray has been totally reliable on Russiagate from the beginning. There is an excellent synopsis of his web reporting with commentary at Unz for those interested. http://www.unz.com/article/russian-to-judgement/

JWalters , March 19, 2018 at 10:24 pm

Excellent link. Thanks very much. His theory that the murder of the ex-Russian spy in England was an Israeli false flag operation seems to me the most plausible theory, for the reasons he states. And it fits so well into the overall picture.

KiwiAntz , March 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm

What a Banana Republic America has become? Russia has just had it's election & we have had all the usual negative comments by Western Leaders regarding Putin & Russia's supposed lack of a democratic process in voting?

Russians, at least, voted for a well known individual in Putin with a proven track record, so they know exactly what they can look forward to, secure in that knowledge of certainty? Russia has no Deepstate puppeteer's pulling the strings behind the scenes!

Contrast that with America? The whole Political system is corrupt & dominated by Corporate money paying off its Leaders? The sick joke is America claims it's a Democracy which it isn't? It's a Fascist Oligarchy ruled by a unelected Deepstate, & it doesn't matter what Party or Leader you voted for, the Deepstate, shadow Govt never just marches on & rules?

It also raises the issue, is there any point in American's actually getting out & voting every 4 yrs, they may as well just stay home & have a beer instead, as this electoral process is a complete & utter farce! America's Deepstate Govt doesn't need or care for your vote? Your vote doesn't matter in the overall scheme of things? And that, by definition, is what America has become, a Banana Republic!

Typingperson , March 20, 2018 at 12:47 am

True. And sad.

Michael Wilk , March 19, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Speaking for myself, I'd love nothing more than to see that degenerate orange-painted child take the intel agencies and their scum-willing leaders down several pegs, just to remind them who is supposed to be working for whom. Alas, the Great Orange Dope hasn't the brains to do anything but screw things up. But give the boy credit for trying, bless his toupée-glue-crusted head.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Dumb like a fox: to be smart or cunning, but pretend you don't know what you're doing. President Trump is letting them hang themselves. As someone said above, he is smoking them out. It is working beautifully too. Who, besides Trump, could have or would have put up with what he's had to contend with? It took a tough, hard-shelled individual who wouldn't cow, someone who would hang in there long enough while the others (the Inspector General, intelligence committees) could do their work.

I grant you that President Trump's brain is not like Slick Willy's or polished smooth like the last Narcissist in Chief, but he's right about a lot of things: you can't have a country without borders; you can't have a country without making your own steel and a healthy manufacturing base; and you can't have a country run by the intelligence agencies.

I'm putting my money on Trump.

Michael Wilk , March 19, 2018 at 5:50 pm

That might be true if this country respected the borders of other nations or if it actually brought back steel-making and a healthy manufacturing base. But Caligula Drumpf never intended to bring any of that back, nor will he even try. Oh, he'll make a few token statements bragging about his exaggerated actions having actually achieved success, but that's all it will be is empty boasting. Let's face it: Drumpf supporters were had.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Too early to call. It took years to ship all of the jobs overseas (thanks, Slick Willy!), and it will take years to bring them back. Did you think Trump was magical, that he could bring the jobs back in one year with the wave of a wand or something? I mean, he's been a tad busy fighting the intelligence community, hasn't he?

If given the chance, he will secure the borders, decrease immigration, institute a merit-based immigration system, bring some jobs back (a lot are being automated). The globalists are losing, but it takes time.

The Swamp will take time to drain as well, but it's proceeding along quite nicely.

Michael Wilk , March 20, 2018 at 9:05 am

But Drumpf won't even try to bring the jobs back. This is not a matter of how quickly he can do something he's never going to do, but about his will to actually follow through on his campaign promises. There's simply no reason to believe Drumpf will bother. Why would he? He's got no stake in bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

Bart Hansen , March 19, 2018 at 5:28 pm

That "six ways from Sunday" saying may keep Schumer in line; but for Trump, what could they possibly have against him that would in the least embarrass or bother his voters, himself or his family? Day after day he crosses a variety of moral red lines.

F. G. Sanford , March 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm

That "moral turpitude" reference seems to imply that there is some -- yet to be revealed -- scandal held in abeyance, fully capable of delivering a decisive blow. And, the "deep staters" are merely waiting for the right moment to pull this shark-toothed rabbit out of the hat. I can't help but wonder what you suspect they'll try next, Ray but this whole thing reminds me of an old friend's advice given to me during a dark and desolate period of my own life: "If they had something really good, they'd have used it by now."

jaycee , March 19, 2018 at 7:23 pm

A word of caution -- the intensely partisan fighting may induce a certain fascination as a spectator, like eye-witnessing the aftermath of a vehicle accident, but what is happening is without precedent, at least in modern history. Former heads of the nation's top intelligence organization do not attack sitting presidents, let alone in such a visceral vituperative and public fashion. This is indication of deep fissures, quite beyond politics as most citizens understand. As the World Socialist Web Site published today: "There is no recent parallel for statements and actions such as those of the past three days. One would have to go back to the period before the American Civil War to find equivalent levels of tension, which in the late 1850s erupted in violence in the halls of Congress before exploding in full-scale military conflict."

Trump is a maverick outsider so it's hard to get a handle on what or who he represents, but the Brennan/deep state side of the dispute is very much aligned with the corporate DNC Democratic Party. That they seem, by Brennan's comments, to consider themselves as the representation of "America" as they abandon constitutional and etiquette norms and articulate visceral hatred towards political rivals should serve as fair warning.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 8:25 pm

jaycee -- great post. I agree with what you've said: what is happening IS without precedent, Brennan/deep state ARE aligned with the Democrats, and they believe only THEY represent the true "America".

Dangerous game by very dangerous people who are systematically destroying the Constitution in their quest to retain power.

Over and over I've heard people who know Trump well say that he listens to them, but then makes up his own mind. They say he wants to stay true to what he promised to the American people, that that is actually important to him. Of course he's willing to compromise some, but he wants the basics of what he promised.

If the Swamp takes him out, the lid is going to come off.

Abe , March 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Chuck Schumer is a leading Democratic Party figure of the pro-Israel Lobby and a rabid Senate warhawk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=456&v=DlV5WChUWFk

Kevin Zeese: "He basically is a Senator for Israel. He totally supports the Israeli foreign policy viewpoint, which is a very hawkish, if you were a Republican you would call him a neocon."

Ariel Gold: "He has come out in strong opposition to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and was very supportive of New York Governor Cuomo's order to ban BDS in New York state, and Schumer made a direct statement in support of that."

Thomas Hedges: "Schumer's staunch support for Israel has prompted him for example, to criticize the Obama administration, when in 2016, the United States abstained from a UN Security Council resolution re-affirming something the Council had almost unanimously upheld since 1979. Namely, that Israel's settlement building projects on Palestinian land violated international law."

Ben Norton: "Schumer criticized the Obama administration for abstaining on this very basic resolution, which every other country voted for. So the US was still a pariah, because the US didn't vote for it, it just abstained on it. But to Schumer that was not enough, he wanted it to be completely vetoed, because anything that Israel does is sacrosanct, and anyone who criticizes it, in Schumer's eyes, is not someone he wants to ally with politically, so he'd rather affectively ally with Trump."

Thomas Hedges: "The most recent showing of that allegiance was [ ] when Schumer supported Trump's decision to launch an air strike on an Air Force base in Syria, something Israel also strongly supported. [ ] But perhaps Schumer's greatest show of allegiance to Israel, was his decision to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, without which experts have warned, would put the United States and Iran on a collision course."

Ben Norton: "Under President Obama, Schumer was one of the most prominent Democrats to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, and he was of course fearmongering about Iran, which to him is the devil incarnate, and he actually made factually false statements about the nuclear agreement, and claimed that it would allow Iran in 10 years to produce nuclear weapons etc."

Thomas Hedges: "Leading up to his decision, Schumer reassured Zionists that he was consulting the most credentialed men in Washington, including Henry Kissinger, an opponent of the deal, and the man who orchestrated the violent coup in Chile that toppled its democratically elected leader, as well as the architect of the very bloody Vietnam war."

Chuck Schumer: I spent some time with Dr. Kissinger, I'm spending time with excellence.

Ariel Gold: So it threatened to pull us into another war, and we're back in that threat again with Trump winning the election we hear a lot about undoing the Iran nuclear deal, and it's one of the things that Israel has been saying they would like to see come out of the Trump administration.

Thomas Hedges: Schumer's willingness to oppose the deal early on, which created an opening for other undecided Democrats to do the same, is a strong display of support for Israel.

JWalters , March 19, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Spot on about Chuck Schumer. The following link, from a Jewish-run, anti-Zionist website, proves that Schumer lies to Americans for the benefit of Israel. He puts Israel's interests above those of the US. He is an Israeli mole in the US government. "Schumer says he opposed the Iran deal because of 'threat to Israel'" http://mondoweiss.net/2018/03/schumer-opposed-because/

Opus Doi , March 19, 2018 at 7:40 pm

America will triumph over you. Wo wo wo. Wo wo wo. Doo doo-doo doo doo! ?

Brennan is history's most hilarious DCI. His grandiose hissy fit suggests that CIA continues the Dulles tradition of infiltrating the civil service with 'focal points -' illegal CIA moles infiltrating US government agencies -- and the IG fumigated one key out in firing McCabe.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Opus Doi -- and the MSM and the Left see the "crime" being that McCabe was fired, not that McCabe broke the law. Kind of like when they didn't see a crime in Hillary using her own personal servers, but saw the crime as being that the emails might have been hacked by a foreign government. That they had no evidence of this didn't matter.

Brennan sounds like a desperate man. They must be getting closer to him.

Opus Doi , March 20, 2018 at 7:56 am

See how this works? The article is about Brennan. The comment is about Brennan's CIA. But immersive CIA propaganda immediately diverts the topic to CIA's synthetic warring factions, Hillary! Trump! Hillary! Trump!

People need to come to grips with the fact that the past four presidents -- the ones you hate and the ones you like -- were all drawn from CIA nomenklatura. DCI Bush; Bill Clinton, recruited by Cord Meyer at Oxford; spy brat and hopeless Arubusto 'wildcatter' GW Bush; and Obama, son of spooks, grandson of spooks, greased into Harvard by Alwaleed bin-Talal's bagman, invisible student at Columbia, honored guest of the future acting president of Pakistan before his career even started. Before CIA took over directly they thwarted (Truman, Eisenhower's disarmament plan, Carter's human rights initiative,) purged (Nixon, Carter,) shot at (Ford,) and shot (Kennedy, Reagan) their presidential figureheads.

CIA runs your country. You're not going to get anywhere until you stop bickering about their presidential puppet rulers.

Kenneth Rapoza , March 19, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Who makes the laws? He who makes the laws can break the laws. I would bet my life that Brenna, Hillary and all the "deep state" actors do not see one second in jail nor pay a nickel in fines.

backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Comey and McCabe were fired for breaking the law. Lots of laws have been broken. The only thing separating the U.S. and a Third World country is the Rule of Law. Start breaking laws and looking the other way on corruption and you've got a Banana Republic. Jail time coming up for some of them.

E. Leete , March 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm

"Give me control over a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." -- Meyer A Rothschild

Whoever controls the creation and destruction of money, as well as credit regulation (this is the deep state; the massive financial matrix including the MIC -- all run by wealthpower giants with their insatiable desires for power to control nothing less than the entire planet) controls the government including the spook/spy agencies (this is the shadow government).

the two are intimately connected, of course, and function thru unbridled unconstitutional powers of secrecy -- empowered by the state secrets privilege

nothing changes until we once and for all time do away with the bankers having the power to issue our money as debt

because, again, it all starts with private control of money creation -- the most enormous farce in all of history and it rules yet today

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." -- Woodrow Wilson

Bob H , March 19, 2018 at 9:59 pm

The mention of John Brennan brings to mind the bizarre death of Rolling Stone's writer, Michael Hastings, who was reported to be working on a story about Brennan just before he had his "accident".

https://news.vice.com/article/primary-sources-emails-show-fbi-worked-to-debunk-conspiracy-theories-following-michael-hastings-death

Hello Good World , March 19, 2018 at 11:26 pm

Imagine if a Trump tweet alleged that a man who was found guilty by the FBI was really innocent. Imagine if Trump tweeted that a man was really guilty despite no evidence found after almost 2 years of investigation.

What would be the response to either tweet be from the MS Media? Our MS Media is nothing more than Democrat Propaganda, and that situation will doom us to Russian interference. Every election the Russians can do the same as 2016: release the truth about justice not served.

Skip Scott , March 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Michael-

I'm no fan of Trump, but Hillary had absolutely no intention to "address the needs of the people". They are all globalizing warmongers who know how to say what needs to be said to get elected, and then do whatever their paymasters tell them. Hillary's speeches to her banker buddies unearthed via Podesta's email account show that she felt it necessary to have "private views" separate from her "public views". How much plainer could it be than that!

j. D. D. , March 20, 2018 at 7:59 am

"Does one collect a full pension in jail?" Brilliant, provocative and persuasive, in the way that any follower of Ray McGovern has come to expect.

Abe , March 21, 2018 at 11:38 am

As the Russia-gate fictions erode and Israel-gate emerges, the Hasbara troll army is scraping the bottom of the propaganda barrel.

Here we have "j. D. D." and the shrill refrain of "BobS"

For more hilarious Hasbara antics from comrade "BobS", see the CN comments at
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/26/growing-risk-of-u-s-iran-hostilities-based-on-false-pretexts-intel-vets-warn/

Comrade "BobS" and fellow Hasbara troll "will" are positively obsessed about Reagan era "dirty wars" Central and South America. That's understandable.

Israel has advised, trained and equipped, and ran "dirty war" operations in the Latin American "dirty war" conflicts in Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia. In the case of the Salvadoran "bloodbath", the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.

McGovern certainly understands what sort of "ally" Israel can be.

So keep on yappin' "BobS". We got you.

IsItAnyWonder , March 20, 2018 at 11:10 am

USMC activated. Well, I'd put my two-cents on POTUS. Just like we've all seen throughout our lives when the supposed tough guy starts making threats he is really scared Sh**less. Lots of these clowns are just going to disappear during the late night hours of the day never to be heard from again.

Our society is sitting on a knifes edge, anything at all happens to Trump and the entire nation will just burn to the ground with literal blood in the streets. No one needs to pound their chest and say what tough guy acts they will do since most of the heavy lifting is already going on with Spec Ops and very soon USMC.

Most of us would not have the skills are knowledge to do what is needed. Foggy Bottom is about to get a big enema along with the CIA to our benefit. Guys like Brennan are scared rats in a sinking ship, good riddance!

geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Excuse me Mr. Williamson, I think you are precisely right. This indeed is the time to get it all out. Expose it all. Lay it all out and go for it. These people have it coming to them.

will , March 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm

What an amazingly illuminating article. Devin Nunes, who perfectly ok with wire taps as long as the target aren't from his party is somehow a noble individual. While I agree that Brennan should be in prison, it should be for torturing people ...

Abe , March 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm

As the Russia-gate fictions erode and Israel-gate emerges, the Hasbara propaganda troll army keeps on sending in the clowns.

For more hilarious Hasbara antics from "works for a living" comrade "will", see the CN comments at
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/22/the-strangelovian-russia-gate-myth/

Comrade "will" and his fellow Hasbara troll "BobS" recite the same propaganda script, going on and on about the war in Latin America.

Of course, the trolls never mention the fact that the US government, especially the CIA, recruited an all-too-eager Israel to "support" the Central and South American military forces and intelligence units engaged in violent and widespread repression during the Reagan and Bush era "dirty wars".

Recently declassified 1983 US government documents have obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act. One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration's National Security Council and reads: "As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador."

Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail. Chapin says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, "we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years (I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard)."

The Reagan and Bush era "dirty wars" were bad enough. The Israeli-Saudi-US Axis jumped the shark with Bush the Lesser and Obama wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Under Trump, Israel remains only to happy to continue providing "support" for Al Qaeda and ISIS.

So keep on blabbin', Hasbara troll team mates "will" and "BobS". We got you.

Drogon , March 20, 2018 at 6:45 pm

"It is an open secret that the CIA has been leaking like the proverbial sieve over the last two years or so" And this is supposed to be a bad thing? I'm sorry, but the more leaks the better IMO.

Ray McGovern , March 21, 2018 at 1:05 am

Drogon, You're right; usually the more leaks the better ..BUT these are "AUTHORIZED" leaks to co-opted journalists and PR people like Palmieri designed to give some "substance" to Russia-gate, for example. ray

Abe , March 21, 2018 at 11:04 am

Speaking of "AUTHORIZED" leaks: http://whitehouse.georgewbush.org/initiatives/posters/images/leaking-secrets.jpg

[Mar 22, 2018] In fact, both the Democratic and Republican War Parties (both slavishly pro-Israel) are fervent advocates of Corporate Socialism, who are willing to do some nuclear damage to stay in power and "protect Israel"

Mar 22, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , March 21, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Standard Tea Party libertarian-ish right-wing Republican railing about the "Democrat" Party

In fact, both the Democratic and Republican War Parties (both slavishly pro-Israel) are fervent advocates of Corporate Socialism, who are willing to do some nuclear damage to stay in power and "protect Israel", an Apartheid Socialist State (ASS) regime that has attempted to colonize the Levant.

So stop huffing that Tea Party hash pipe and get a clue
http://robertlpeters.com/news/the-rich-get-richer-the-poor-get-poorer/

[Mar 21, 2018] The corporate media ignores the rise of oligarchy. The rest of us shouldn t by Bernie Sanders

Mar 21, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The rapid rise of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral, economic, and political issue of our time. Yet, it gets almost no coverage from the corporate media.

How often do network newscasts report on the 40 million Americans living in poverty, or that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major nation on earth? How often does the media discuss the reality that our society today is more unequal than at any time since the 1920s with the top 0.1% now owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%? How often have you heard the media report the stories of millions of people who today are working longer hours for lower wages than was the case some 40 years ago?

How often has ABC, CBS or NBC discussed the role that the Koch brothers and other billionaires play in creating a political system which allows the rich and the powerful to significantly control elections and the legislative process in Congress?

We need to ask the hard questions that the corporate media fails to ask

Sadly, the answer to these questions is: almost never. The corporate media has failed to let the American people fully understand the economic forces shaping their lives and causing many of them to work two or three jobs, while CEOs make hundreds of times more than they do. Instead, day after day, 24/7, we're inundated with the relentless dramas of the Trump White House, Stormy Daniels, and the latest piece of political gossip.

We urgently need to discuss the reality of today's economy and political system, and fight to create an economy that works for everyone and not just the one percent.

We need to ask the hard questions that the corporate media fails to ask: who owns America, and who has the political power? Why, in the richest country in the history of the world are so many Americans living in poverty? What are the forces that have caused the American middle class, once the envy of the world, to decline precipitously? What can we learn from countries that have succeeded in reducing income and wealth inequality, creating a strong and vibrant middle class, and providing basic human services to everyone?

We need to hear from struggling Americans whose stories are rarely told in newspapers or television. Unless we understand the reality of life in America for working families, we're never going to change that reality.

Until we understand that the rightwing Koch brothers are more politically powerful than the Republican National Committee, and that big banks, pharmaceutical companies, and multinational corporations are spending unlimited sums of money to rig the political process, we won't be able to overturn the disastrous US supreme court decision on Citizens United, move to the public funding of elections and end corporate greed.

Until we understand that the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and that people cannot make it on $9 or $10 an hour, we're not going to be able to pass a living wage of at least $15 an hour.

Until we understand that multinational corporations have been writing our trade and tax policies for the past 40 years to allow them to throw American workers out on the street and move to low-wage countries, we're not going to be able to enact fair laws ending the race to the bottom and making the wealthy and the powerful pay their fair share.

Until we understand that we live in a highly competitive global economy and that it is counterproductive that millions of our people cannot afford a higher education or leave school deeply in debt, we will not be able to make public colleges and universities tuition free.

Until we understand that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all and that we spend far more per capita on healthcare than does any other country, we're not going to be able to pass a Medicare for all, single-payer program.

Until we understand that the US pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs because pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever price they want for life-saving medicine, we're not going to be able to lower the outrageous price of these drugs.

Until we understand that climate change is real, caused by humans, and causing devastating problems around the world, especially for poor people, we're not going to be able to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into sustainable forms of energy.

We need to raise political consciousness in America and help us move forward with a progressive agenda that meets the needs of our working families. It's up to us all to join the conversation -- it's just the beginning.

Bernie Sanders is hosting a town hall on Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class on Monday 19 March at 7pm before a live audience in the auditorium of the US Capitol. It will be live-streamed by the Guardian

[Mar 20, 2018] You're suggesting that the plebeian mass of ignorant white trash calling themselves the British nation should actually rule themselves by way of a democratically elected parliament, their national loyalty centered on a constitutional monarch who is head of the English national Christian church.

Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:32 pm GMT

@EliteCommInc.

God Save the Queen.

It's really that simple.

Good God. How disgusting. You're suggesting that the plebeian mass of ignorant white trash calling themselves the British nation should actually rule themselves by way of a democratically elected parliament, their national loyalty centered on a constitutional monarch who is head of the English national Christian church.

Good God, the first thing that scum would do is vote to send the immigrants home, beginning with the mayor of London, followed by the rape gangs of Rotherham and elsewhere.

Fortunately, that can never happen. The media and the K-to-middle-aged education system tell the people how to despise themselves and their natural inclination to self-preservation, while the political machines tell the people who they can have to represent them. Thus, the so-called parliamentary representatives of the people are not representatives of the people in government, but representative of government to the people. Propagandist, that is, i.e., traitors.

[Mar 20, 2018] This country is neither a democracy nor a democratic republic. It is a de facto oligarchy, in which ordinary citizens have but little say.

Mar 20, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sid Finster said in reply to Bill Herschel... 20 March 2018 at 10:42 AM

This country is neither a democracy nor a democratic republic. It is a de facto oligarchy, in which ordinary citizens have but little say.

https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

Wishing otherwise does not make it so.

[Mar 20, 2018] Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand.

Notable quotes:
"... Not to mention that we are currently on version #5 (poisoned in the car, where apparently a British cop and more than 30 other people rode with him, if we are to believe previous statements). Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand. He did it, right in the middle of Britain in Salisbury, next to the British chemical weapons facility. Credo quia absurdum. ..."
"... Actually, having no definite story, and constantly updating the narrative with ridiculous red herrings, is probably the best way to go with a fake terror attack. With a different herring to pursue each day, the truth seeking citizen soon becomes exhausted and relapses back into the normal pattern of going to work and feeding a family, but with a reinforced sense of their own lack of power to either control, or even understand the world in which they live. ..."
"... This is the end time of democracy. We are now entering an age of psycho-totalitarianism. People do what the elite require because their brainwashed friends, neighbors, and children otherwise turn against them. They are demonized and humiliated as racists, anti-Semites, dog whistlers and all the rest of the bullshit lexicon of political correctness not for their actions but merely for their thoughts. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website March 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Anon

Anon from TN
Yes, this is the British version of Russiagate, no doubt: no evidence, numerous versions that contradict each other, lots of hot air and finger pointing. At the moment we do not know what Skripal was poisoned with or by whom, we can't even be sure that anyone was poisoned with anything. All we have is hot air, just like with Iraq WMD. From the same very "reliable" sources: British intelligence services and British PM. Neither ever lies, just ask Tony Blair. Not to mention that we are currently on version #5 (poisoned in the car, where apparently a British cop and more than 30 other people rode with him, if we are to believe previous statements). Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand. He did it, right in the middle of Britain in Salisbury, next to the British chemical weapons facility. Credo quia absurdum.

Actually, having no definite story, and constantly updating the narrative with ridiculous red herrings, is probably the best way to go with a fake terror attack. With a different herring to pursue each day, the truth seeking citizen soon becomes exhausted and relapses back into the normal pattern of going to work and feeding a family, but with a reinforced sense of their own lack of power to either control, or even understand the world in which they live.

This is the end time of democracy. We are now entering an age of psycho-totalitarianism. People do what the elite require because their brainwashed friends, neighbors, and children otherwise turn against them. They are demonized and humiliated as racists, anti-Semites, dog whistlers and all the rest of the bullshit lexicon of political correctness not for their actions but merely for their thoughts.

[Mar 18, 2018] Powerful intelligence agencies are incompatible with any forms of democracy including the democracy for top one precent. The only possible form of government in this situation is inverted totalitarism

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden are upset about something, they just can't say what. In a letter sent to the National Security Agency this week about a fact sheet on its surveillance programs, the senators complained about what they refer to only as "the inaccuracy". The inaccuracy is "significant". The inaccuracy could "decrease public confidence in the NSA's openness and its commitment to protecting Americans' constitutional rights". But, because the information underlying it is classified, the inaccuracy can't be described.

This is either a frustrating illustration of the absurdities of America's secrecy regime, or the start of a pretty solid vaudeville act.

The frenzied public debate over the NSA leaks has focused on the correctness of the government surveillance programs themselves. But America cannot properly debate these and future surveillance efforts until it decides what can be debated.

As an official in the first Obama administration, I worked in jobs requiring top secret clearance. I know firsthand how essential secrecy can be to effecting policy goals and how devastating leaks can be. I navigated diplomatic relationships threatened by the indiscriminate release of WikiLeaks documents, and volunteered on the taskforce that sifted through them, piecing together the damage done. But it is also true that a culture of over-classification has shielded too much from public debate and that more could be disclosed without damaging the efficacy of intelligence programs.

Trillions of new pages of text are classified each year. More than 4.8 million people now have a security clearance, including low level contractors like Edward Snowden . A committee established by Congress, the Public Interest Declassification Board, warned in December that rampant over-classification is "imped[ing] informed government decisions and an informed public" and, worse, "enabl[ing] corruption and malfeasance". In one instance it documented, a government agency was found to be classifying one petabyte of new data every 18 months, the equivalent of 20m filing cabinets filled with text.

It is difficult to argue that all or even most of that information should be classified. By keeping too many secrets, America has created fertile ground for their escape. Already, the Obama administration has been forced to initiate six espionage prosecutions for leaks – twice as many as every previous administration combined.

It has also left the American people disillusioned and mistrustful. This is especially true of a new generation raised in a networked world that has made them expect far greater transparency from the institutions around them. According to a recent Pew Research Center/ USA Today poll , a clear majority of young people (60%) feels that the NSA leaks served the public interest.

The leaks illustrate how bad the lack of trust has become - and present an opportunity for greater disclosure.

There is no doubt that some secrecy is essential to the efficacy of surveillance programs like those revealed by the NSA leaks. The specific sources and methods of such programs should be protected. However, it is entirely possible to protect those specifics while also broadly disclosing to the public the scope of information subject to collection, and the rationale behind doing so.

That level of disclosure should be the norm for future programs, and can still be instated in the case of the current NSA surveillance programs. Two Congressmen – Democrat Adam Schiff, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, and Republican Todd Rokita – introduced a bill last week that would call on the Department of Justice to declassify the legal justifications for NSA surveillance efforts. Universal public disclosure of individual decisions could impede the efficacy of the program, but there is no reason the Department of Justice can't disclose its generalized legal reasoning. That's a drawer in the stadium of filing cabinets that America can safely open.

"You can't have 100% security and then have 100% privacy," President Obama said in the days immediately following the leaks. "We're going to have to make some choices as a society." But the government can and should let Americans know what choices it is that they're making. The intelligence community might find Americans, particularly young Americans most suspicious of government institutions, more sympathetic to their delicate balancing act as informed participants.

[Mar 16, 2018] The National Security Act of 1947 created the deep state. What we see now if just the result of intelligence agencies and Pentagon becoming more visible as the major political players who among other things influence Presidential election and co-determine (with Wall Street) the US foreign policy

Notable quotes:
"... The National Security Act of 1947 ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The National Security Act of 1947 codified the reality of the imperial American military for the baby-boom generation and beyond. The War Department became the Defense Department; the CIA we know today was formed from the Office of Strategic Services. The 1947 NSA document amounted to a formal re-arrangement of the country's priorities coming out of WWII -- when the victorious United States of America became the "leader of the free world." We forget that before World War Two changed everything, the US military was a shadow of what it was to become.

Over these 70 years, the executive in the White House has ping-ponged back-and-forth between the moderate left and the moderate right, between the Democratic and Republican Parties. (Trump may be the exception in being far right.) Every four years there's a national "conversation" of sorts about who's going to live in the White House and make executive decisions and who's going to legislate in Congress. You couldn't come up with a better example to illustrate the idea of a civilian political see-saw than January 20, 2016, the day Barack Obama handed the civilian reins over to Donald Trump. Meanwhile, over those same 70 years, the National Security State (as an institution led by the Pentagon) has existed as a steadily ascending through-line leading to today's post-9/11 world. Our imperial military has been, and remains, virtually untouchable through the electoral process that chooses civilian leadership. Just like assault weapons on a small scale, the National Security State thrives beyond the reach of American politics. In my mind, White House Chief of Staff and former four-star Marine General John Kelly resides in this protected zone as a power behind the civilian throne.

[Mar 14, 2018] Washington policies as the result of a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest

Individual are highly rewarded i f they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests".
Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed
Notable quotes:
"... The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media......these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests". ..."
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

walter, March 2018 at 03:03 PM

Jack, in my opinion, there is no "US". The "US" doesn't have an interest.

There are individuals who behave in their own individual self interest.

The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media......these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests".

Its a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest.

This is my understanding of "the Borg" and "US interests", "US foreign policy goals"....they are actually individual interests shaped by what individuals who work in this realm believe they should believe and espouse to achieve their own goals. Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed

[Mar 14, 2018] Latter Day America

Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com


kralizec -> Conscious Reviver Wed, 03/14/2018 - 07:59 Permalink

Jeepers Cripes, y'all need to get a room and ass-hammer it out!

Latter Day America, there are no pristine people to choose from to populate any goddamned post in government, period! Everybody has baggage, everybody is compromised.

This is the latter days of Rome 2.0 dipshits, got it? It is why one batch of clowns find it impossible to see one thing Trump (or anybody in any country...except Czar Valdimir Putin in Russia...for whatever reason...default/nobody else to pick...when the real answer even there is none of the above though many people refuse to see it) can do right and while the other batch is mystified at those incapable of seeing (albeit sometime thin) distinctions between evils in the era of this-is-as-good-as-it'll-get. Cue the inevitable endless circle jerk.

... ... ...

shortonoil -> Bes Wed, 03/14/2018 - 08:51 Permalink

Trump, and all of DC have as much power to affect what is coming as a flea does trying to bench press 300 lbs. Those of them who are aware of the true situation are scared shit less. Pompeo's appointment is just validating what is really about to come down! When they can't intimidate the public into submission, they will try using a club.

CatInTheHat -> crossroaddemon Tue, 03/13/2018 - 23:29 Permalink

Thanks for saying that. I detest Clinton and I want JUSTICE for what the evil treasonous psychopaths did in 2016, but I also know Bibi and MBS have Trump on a short leash and Islamaphobes fill his home and cabinet.

The soft coup is now complete and a war with Iran inevitable.

[Mar 13, 2018] The current ruling junta in the US absolutely does not have the interests of the American people or the nation at large in mind

Mar 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

SlapHappy | Mar 13, 2018 1:46:05 PM | 18

As if it needs saying, the current ruling junta in the US absolutely does not have the interests of the American people or the nation at large in mind, they're answering to a different set of masters at this point.

Until we can purge the fifth column that's infested the halls of power in this country and obviously in the UK and much of Europe - at least the EU - we'll continue to fight wars for Zionism and all that will be left of the US and Russia when this is over will be bombed-out nuclear wastelands, which is exactly what the Zionists want to have happen.

They did it to Germany and Russia in WWII, and they're going to do it to the US, Russia, and possibly China in WWIII, which is spooling up as we dissect the latest maniacal machinations of the war cabal.

[Mar 12, 2018] The USA has become completely an oligarchy run by a convoluted mix of intellignce agences and various lobbies with a fight going now on at the top (mafia 1 vs. mafia 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power, revenue, war spoils, etc

Highly recommended!
Trump's game looks more and more like a V2.0 of Obama's "bait and switch" game... Another "change we can believe in" scam to artificially extend the shelf life of neoliberal as a social system.
Notable quotes:
"... My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in). ..."
"... DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.) ..."
"... The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc. ..."
"... On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' ..."
"... The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident. ..."
"... The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out? ..."
Mar 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette | Mar 12, 2018 10:51:11 AM | 20

Lozion,

I keep vague track of Trump support by consulting various sites. DT enthusiasts are all very keen on GAB, the censorship on twitter - reddit - youtube and other pop. drives them totally crazy.

My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in).

DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.)

Technotopists are going out of fashion (> global warming disasters.) -- The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc.

On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' as is always the case in these kind of 'tribal' belonging scenes, they have dragged in family members / friends, through the usual conduits of social influence in micro-circles. Which has been made exceptionally easy by the terminal idiocy, blindness and contradictions of the MSM, Dems and the PTB (incl. top Republicans, corporations, etc.) generally. Authoritarian impulses (which DT embraces in part - the WALL is a good ex. - for the rest, hmm..) will flourish up to a point.

The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident.

The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out?

About non-posts, I was going to go into the murder of Kim Jong-Nam (brother of today's Kim) which ties two threads together - NKorea and murder by nerve gas. (Hoarse mentioned this in the other thread.)

[Mar 12, 2018] Why vote for a fake Republican when you can vote for a real one: Meet the Democrats' 'Dirty Dozen' Working to Gut Financial Reforms

Notable quotes:
"... By Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator. Originally published at Alternet ..."
"... This act of regulatory vandalism highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system. ..."
Mar 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on March 10, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. As depressing and predictable as it is to see Democrats yet again prostituting themselves to financiers, payback may finally be coming. From Lambert in Water Cooler yesterday :

Senate: Poll: Five Senate Dems would lose to GOP challenger if elections held today" [ The Hill ]. "New polls published Thursday morning in Axios show Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) would all lose reelection to GOP challengers if voters were heading to the polls this week." Blue Dogs all. Why vote for a fake Republican when you can vote for a real one?

So these Blue Dogs who are gutting the already underwhelming Dodd Frank may not be with us much longer, at least politically. And even though the party is remarkably insistent on adhering to a strategy of corporate toadying that has led it to hemorrhage seats at all levels of government, if these seats all go red, it might be a message even the Democrats might not be able to ignore.

By Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator. Originally published at Alternet

This act of regulatory vandalism highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.

As if to maximize the possibility of another major financial crisis, the Trump administration and the GOP have recently been busy undercutting the limited safeguards established a decade ago via Dodd-Frank. The latest example of this stealth attack on Wall Street reform is the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, appropriately sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Appropriate, because this is literally a "crapo" bill. It provides a few "technical tweaks" to Dodd-Frank in the same way in which protection payouts to organized crime provide businesses with "insurance" against property damage. In reality, it is an act of regulatory vandalism, which highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.

We have grown to expect no less from the GOP, whose sole r aison d'etre these days seems to be filling the trough from which America's fat cats can perpetually gorge themselves. What is truly disturbing, however, is that the Republican effort is being given bipartisan cover by more than a dozen Democratic senators: Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both from Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Tom Carper of Delaware. To this esteemed group, we should also add Senator Angus King (ME), an Independent who regularly caucuses with the Democrats. So, in reality, it's a filibuster-proof "Baker's Dirty Dozen." Digging into the details, perhaps this is what Senator Mitch McConnell had in mind when he predicted more bipartisanship in Congress this year . In co-sponsoring this bill, the 13 senators are providing cover for the GOP when the inevitable fallout comes, dissipating the Democrats' political capital with the electorate in the process.

Yes, we get it: some of these senator incumbents are in red states that voted heavily for Donald Trump in the last election. And the latest polls suggest many are vulnerable in this year's elections. But the last time we checked, there didn't seem to be an overwhelming wave of populist protest demanding regulatory relief for banks. All 50 states -- red and blue -- suffered from the last financial crisis, and it's hard to believe voters in Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana or Missouri would be more likely to support Senators Tester, Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly or McCaskill because they backed a bank deregulation bill (which in reality goes well beyond helping small community banks). Nor do the 2018 races factor as far as Senators Warner, Coons, or Bennet are concerned, given that none are up for re-election this year.

No, the more likely answer is money, plain and simple. The numbers aren't in for 2017, but an analysis of the Federal Election Commission data from the 2016 election appears to explain what is driving this newfound solicitousness toward the banks. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) points out that "nine of the twelve Democrats supporting the deregulatory measure count the financial industry as either their biggest or second-biggest donor." (At least now we have a better understanding as to why Hillary Clinton's " responsibility gene " induced her to select running mate Tim Kaine, who received "large contributions from Big Law partners that represent Wall Street," as opposed to a genuine finance reformer, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is vigorously opposing the new bill.)

We also know ( courtesy of the CRP ) that Mark Warner's last campaign in 2014:

"included among his 20 largest donors the mega Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Goldman's employees and PACs gave Warner's campaign $71,600 while JPMorgan Chase gave the Warner campaign committees $50,566 Senator Heidi Heitkamp is also up for reelection this year and her number one contributor at present is employees and/or PACs of Goldman Sachs which have contributed $79,500 thus far."

Naturally, all of the senators claim their motives are pure. With no hint of irony, a spokesman for Tim Kaine suggested that , "Campaign contributions do not influence Senator Kaine's policy positions." Likewise, an aide for Mark Warner vigorously contested the idea that campaign donations from Wall Street ever influenced the Virginia senator's decision-making on policy matters. Sure, and it was shocking to find out that gambling took place in Rick's Café.

It is true, as Senator Jon Tester (another co-sponsor) notes , that the proposed changes introduced in the Crapo bill (notably the increase in the asset size from $50 billion to $250 billion of those banks that are considered "systemically important" and therefore subject to greater oversight and tighter rules) do not affect the likes of Wall Street banks such as Citigroup, JP MorganChase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, all of which are still covered by the most stringent oversight provisions of Dodd-Frank. But the increased asset threshold does exempt the U.S. bank holding companies of systemically significant foreign banks: Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse, all of whom were implicated in multiple violations of both American and international banking laws in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.

Deutsche Bank alone has paid billions of dollars for its role in perpetuating mortgage fraud, money-laundering and interest rate manipulation (the LIBOR scandal), which ideally should invite more regulatory scrutiny, not less. Instead, a new law ostensibly crafted to provide a few "technical fixes" for Dodd-Frank is now reducing the regulatory oversight of a bank that has been cited in an IMF report as one of Germany's "global systemically important financial institutions." Translating the couched-IMF-speak, the report suggests that Deutsche Bank on its own has the potential to set off a new global contagion, given the scale of its derivatives exposure. Not only too big to fail, but evidently too big to regulate properly either, aided and abetted by members of a party who claim to be appalled at the level of corruption in the Trump administration.

Another side-effect of raising the regulatory threshold to $250 billion in assets is that it diminishes the chance of obtaining an early warning detection signal from somewhat smaller financial institutions. As the experience of Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns illustrated, smaller problems that remain hidden in the shadows can ultimately metastasize if left alone, and become much bigger -- and more systemically dangerous -- later.

So when Senator Kaine nobly suggests that he is merely providing relief for "small community banks and credit unions" in his home state, or Jon Tester argues that he is only helping local banks suffering from Dodd-Frank's regulatory overkill, both are being extraordinarily disingenuous. The reality is that increasing the oversight threshold by 500 percent does not just help a few "small community banks and credit unions" crawl out from a thicket of onerous and costly regulation. Even former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who favored some regulatory relief for community banks, felt that $250 billion threshold was excessive ly lax.

In fact, ( per the Americans for Financial Reform ), the increase "removes the most severe mandate for 25 of the 38 largest banks," which together "account for over $3.5 trillion in banking assets, more than one-sixth of the U.S. total." Additionally, as Pat Garofalo writes : "The bill also includes an exemption from capital standards -- essentially the amount of money that banks need to have on hand in case things go south -- that benefits some big financial firms, and even more are lobbying to be included." In other words, this isn't just George Bailey's friendly neighborhood bank that is getting some regulatory relief here.

All of this newfound regulatory laxity comes at a time when many of the largest Wall Street banks have again resurrected the same practices that almost destroyed them a decade ago. Bank credit analyst Chris Whalen observes : "The leader of this effort is none other than Citigroup (NYSE:C), which has surpassed JP MorganChase (NYSE:JPM) to become the largest derivatives shop in the world. Citi has embraced the most notorious product of the roaring 2000s, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation or 'CDO' security, a product that fraudulently leverages the real world and literally caused the bank to fail a decade ago."

Another example: Trump and his henchman, Mick Mulvaney, have also joined the big banks in attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which by virtue of the Crapo act, will be blocked "from collecting key data showing when and where families of color are being overcharged for home loans or steered into predatory products."

Let's be honest here: even in its original form, Dodd-Frank was the bare minimum the government could have done in the wake of the 2008 disaster. But lobbyists, paid-for politicians and co-opted bank-friendly regulators have been busy "applying technical fixes" to the bill virtually from the moment it was passed a decade ago. The upshot is that the much-trumpeted Wall Street reform is a joke when compared to the comprehensive legislation passed in the aftermath of the Great Depression (which set the stage for decades of relative financial stability). Under Dodd, the banks are purportedly subject to "meaningful stress tests" ( in the words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell ), but the tests are neither particularly stressful, nor do they adequately reflect today's twin dangers of off-balance sheet leverage and the concentration of big banks' on-balance sheet assets in relatively low-return loans.

What should have been done after the global financial crisis? Professors Eric Tymoigne and Randall Wray proposed the following :

"Any of the 'too big to fail' financial institutions that needed funding should have been required to submit to Fed oversight. Top management should have been required to proffer resignations as a condition of lending (with the Fed or Treasury holding the letters until they could decide which should be accepted -- this is how Jessie Jones resolved the bank crisis in the 1930s). Short-term lending against the best collateral should have been provided, at penalty rates. A comprehensive 'cease and desist' order should have been enforced to stop all trading, all lending, all asset sales, and all bonus payments until an assessment of bank solvency could have been completed. The FDIC should have been called-in (in the case of institutions with insured deposits), but in any case, the critically undercapitalized institutions should have been dissolved according to existing law: at the least cost to the Treasury and to avoid increasing concentration in the financial sector."

A number of conclusions can be drawn from this whole sordid episode. An obvious one is that our model of campaign finance is completely broken. While it is encouraging to see some Democratic politicians increasingly adopting the Sanders model of fundraising, swearing off large corporate donations , not enough are doing so. Democrats are united in their concern pertaining to foreign threats that pose risks to the integrity of U.S. elections, but the vigorous opposition to Vladimir Putin and the Russians isn't extended to the domestic oligarchs destroying American democracy (and the economy) from within.

The whole history behind Senator Crapo's bill shows how quickly bank lobbyists can routinely exploit their financial muscle to turn a seemingly innocuous bill into something which pokes yet more holes into the Swiss Cheese-like rules already in place for Dodd. The Baker's Dirty Dozen have accepted donations from Wall Street that not only constrain their ability to implement genuine reforms in finance (and other areas) but also discourage the mobilization of voters, who see this legislative horror show, and consequently opt out of showing up to vote at elections because they know that the system is rigged and dominated by corporate cash (making their votes irrelevant).

Ironically, no less a figure than Donald Trump exploited that voter cynicism in 2016. In striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, and Wall Street (and made effective mockery of Hillary Clinton's ties to Goldman Sachs) and thereby mobilized blue-collar voters in marginal Rust Belt states, giving him his path to the presidency. Of course, we now know that this was all bait-and-switch politics, likely facilitated by forces outside the U.S., along with large corporation donations from domestic elites. We've probably reached the endgame as far as this " investment approach to politics " as it disintegrates into a cesspool of corruption and further financial fragility. It may take another crash before this problem is truly fixed.

In the meantime, this bipartisan subversion of Wall Street reform not only risks making the next crisis at least as bad as 2008, but also reinforces the notion that both parties are equally corrupt, catalyzing the collapse of the American political order . In a further sick twist of fate, the twin corrosive forces of "golden rule politics" (i.e., he who has the gold rules) and a rapidly deflating "bubble-ized" economy could all come to a head under the watch of Donald the Unready. But he won't own this disaster alone, thanks to the help of compromised Wall Street Democrats.

  1. Jen

    Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan from my deep purple state of NH both, voted to allow the bill to proceed. And of course my esteemed congress critter, Annie Kuster, did her bit in congress. Only 968 days until I can exact my retribution on Shaheen at the polls, first and foremost for her vote in favor of fast track, but damned if she doesn't give me another good reason on almost a daily basis.

[Mar 12, 2018] There is no democracy without economic democracy by Jason Hirthler

Highly recommended!
Like many high demand cults neoliberalism is a trap, from which it is very difficult to escape...
Notable quotes:
"... A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism. ..."
"... Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged. ..."
"... The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy. ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

Part 3 - A False Promise

This 'Washington Consensus' is the false promise promoted by the West. The reality is quite different. The crux of neoliberalism is to eliminate democratic government by downsizing, privatizing, and deregulating it. Proponents of neoliberalism recognize that the state is the last bulwark of protection for the common people against the predations of capital. Remove the state and they'll be left defenseless .

Think about it. Deregulation eliminates the laws. Downsizing eliminates departments and their funding. Privatizing eliminates the very purpose of the state by having the private sector take over its traditional responsibilities.

Ultimately, nation-states would dissolve except perhaps for armies and tax systems. A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism.

Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged.

The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy.

What matters to the one percent and the media conglomerates that disseminate their worldview is that the official definitions are accepted by the masses. The real effects need never be known. The neoliberal ideology (theory) thus conceals the neoliberal reality (practice). And for the masses to accept it, it must be mass produced. Then it becomes more or less invisible by virtue of its universality.

Source, links:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/02/colonizing-the-western-mind/
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]

[Mar 11, 2018] I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian

Highly recommended!
Are powerful intelligence agencies compatible even with limited neoliberal democracy, or democracy for top 10 or 1%?
Notable quotes:
"... I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcy ..."
"... Soros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them. ..."
"... Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play... ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> Harry... 10 March 2018 at 06:25 PM

You have a good point, but I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian. Karl Rove's dream to return the economy to the late 19th Century standard.

The Clintonoid project seems set on taking it to the late 16th century. Probably with a return of chattel slavery. I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcy

JTMcPhee -> to steve... 11 March 2018 at 12:56 PM
Soros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them.

Do you really contend that Soros and the Koch brothers, and people like Adelson, aren't busily "undermining American democracy," whatever that is, via their organizations (like ALEC and such) in favor of their oligarchic kleptocratic interests, and going at it 24/7?

The phrase "reductio ad absurdam" comes to mind, for some reason...

Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play...

[Mar 11, 2018] It looks like the USA descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation

Loss of legitimacy of neoliberal elite reminds loss of legitimacy of Nomenklatura in the USSR.
This descent "into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation " also reminds epidemic of alcoholism due to lack of persepdtives both in job environment and housing crisis, where young families did not have a space to live in the USSR.
The logical end on the US empire might well be the USSR style crisis. which might eventually lead to the disintegration of the country.
Notable quotes:
"... NBC News daily has Kumbaya propaganda to facilitate importing of cheap labor and goods. But, what good is a service economy if there is no service? Just like Soviet propaganda, corporate media today is in service of the oligarch owners and sold out party elite. It tries to avoid the truth. Although, NBC did report on the astronomical rise in cost of ambulance service. A couple thousand dollars for mile and half trip to the hospital. They said it was due to the 2008 recession and the cutting of local volunteer emergency services to save tax money. ..."
"... I agree the Democrats shot themselves in the foot because they are unconcerned for the bottom 80% except for their identity issues. They serve their paymasters. ..."
"... The recent Italian election documents the complete collapse of left leaning parties that ignored the plight of the workers in the West. To me, to win, the left in America must write off student debt, implement Medicare for All, end the forever wars and tax George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pierre Omidyar, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family to pay for it. To work, criminal bankers need to be jailed and corporate boards required to manage for long term profits that benefit society not just quarterly and themselves only. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

VietnamVet 10 March 2018 at 05:27 PM

Colonel,

Have you seen the movie "Wind River" yet? It is the best depiction I've seen of the USA descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation.

NBC News daily has Kumbaya propaganda to facilitate importing of cheap labor and goods. But, what good is a service economy if there is no service? Just like Soviet propaganda, corporate media today is in service of the oligarch owners and sold out party elite. It tries to avoid the truth. Although, NBC did report on the astronomical rise in cost of ambulance service. A couple thousand dollars for mile and half trip to the hospital. They said it was due to the 2008 recession and the cutting of local volunteer emergency services to save tax money.

Rather than tax the wealthy and corporations, the middle class is going into debt to pay for education, medical bills, and $40 Northern Virginia one-way tolls. Federal taxes on the middle class support the endless wars.

I agree the Democrats shot themselves in the foot because they are unconcerned for the bottom 80% except for their identity issues. They serve their paymasters.

The recent Italian election documents the complete collapse of left leaning parties that ignored the plight of the workers in the West. To me, to win, the left in America must write off student debt, implement Medicare for All, end the forever wars and tax George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pierre Omidyar, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family to pay for it. To work, criminal bankers need to be jailed and corporate boards required to manage for long term profits that benefit society not just quarterly and themselves only.

[Mar 11, 2018] Bernie Sanders: the only voice of resistance against the Wall Street mafia

Notable quotes:
"... the four largest banks in America are on average 80% bigger today than they were before we bailed them out because they were "too big to fail". Incredibly, the six largest banks in America have over 10 trillion dollars in assets, equivalent to 54% of the GDP of this nation . This is wealth, this is power, this is who owns America. ..."
"... Very conservative, anti-regulatory people hold the White House and key positions in the House and the Senate, and the first thing the industry does is gut regulation. Why? Because it makes the CEOs so wealthy to run these frauds and predation. It's not necessarily good for the banking industry, but it is extremely good for the most senior leaders and they are the ones, of course, who hire and fire the lawyers and the lobbyists, and effectively hire and fire key members of Congress. ..."
"... Apparently, our memories are indeed so short that we have learned nothing from the 2008 Wall Street crash. Bernie Sanders (and probably Elizabeth Warren to some extend), are left alone again to fight against the Wall Street mafia because, apparently, the rest of the US political class has been bought from it. ..."
thebaffler.com

The six largest banks in America have over 10 trillion dollars in assets, equivalent to 54% of the GDP of this nation. This is wealth, this is power, this is who owns America.

globinfo freexchange

Ten years after the big crash of 2007-08, caused by the Wall Street mafia, sending waves of financial destruction around the globe, the awful Trump administration that literally put the Goldman Sachs banksters in charge of the US economy, wants to reset the clock bomb of another financial disaster by deregulating the financial sector! And guess what: the corporate Democrats followed again!

Putting aside that Russiagate fiasco, Bernie Sanders was one more time the only voice of resistance against the Wall Street mafia in a hypnotized by the banking-corporate money US senate.

As Bernie stated:

Just ten years ago, as a result of greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, this country was plunged into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The official unemployment rate soared up to 10% and the real unemployment rate jumped to over 17%. At the height of the financial crisis more than 27 million Americans were unemployed, underemployed or stopped working altogether because they could not find employment. 15 million families - as a result of that financial crisis - lost their homes to foreclosure, as more and more people could not afford to pay their mortgages. As a result of the illegal behavior of Wall Street, American households lost over 13 trillion dollars in savings. That is what Wall Street did 10 years ago.

Believe it or not - and of course we are not going to hear any discussion of this at all -- the four largest banks in America are on average 80% bigger today than they were before we bailed them out because they were "too big to fail". Incredibly, the six largest banks in America have over 10 trillion dollars in assets, equivalent to 54% of the GDP of this nation . This is wealth, this is power, this is who owns America.

If any of these financial institutions were to get into a financial trouble again, there is no doubt that, once again, the taxpayers of this country will be asked to bail them out. Except this time, the bail out might even be larger than it was in 2008.

Bernie is right, the facts are all there, except that, again, he is the only one who speaks about it.

Recall that according to chapter 20 conclusions of the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, " As a result of the rescues and consolidation of financial institutions through failures and mergers during the crisis, the U.S. financial sector is now more concentrated than ever in the hands of a few very large, systemically significant institutions. "

Recall also that in December 1, 2010, the Fed was forced to release details of 21,000 funding transactions it made during the financial crisis, naming names and dollar amounts. Disclosure was due to a provision sparked by Bernie Sanders. The voluminous data dump from the notoriously secret Fed shows just how deeply the Federal Reserve stepped into the shoes of Wall Street and, as the crisis grew and the normal channels of lending froze, the Fed effectively replaced Wall Street and money centers banks in terms of financing. The Fed has thus far reported, without even disclosing specifics of its lending from its discount window, that it supplied, in total, more than $9 trillion to Wall Street firms, commercial banks, foreign banks, corporations and some highly questionable off balance sheet entities. (Much smaller amounts were outstanding at any one time.)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/yzQSlQeK2lk

https://www.youtube.com/embed/on-4ZA_Tkhw


Bill Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, states:

In the savings loan debacle, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, George Akerlof and Paul Romer, who until recently was Chief Economist to the World Bank, wrote that economists didn't realize - because they lacked any theory of fraud - that deregulation was bound to create widespread fraud and a crisis. Now, we know better if we learn the lessons of this crisis, we need not recreate it.

Very conservative, anti-regulatory people hold the White House and key positions in the House and the Senate, and the first thing the industry does is gut regulation. Why? Because it makes the CEOs so wealthy to run these frauds and predation. It's not necessarily good for the banking industry, but it is extremely good for the most senior leaders and they are the ones, of course, who hire and fire the lawyers and the lobbyists, and effectively hire and fire key members of Congress.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PMkNsa3WtMw

Apparently, our memories are indeed so short that we have learned nothing from the 2008 Wall Street crash. Bernie Sanders (and probably Elizabeth Warren to some extend), are left alone again to fight against the Wall Street mafia because, apparently, the rest of the US political class has been bought from it.

[Mar 11, 2018] Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon Wolin

Notable quotes:
"... ...Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment. ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com

The Nation

"Empire" and "superpower" accurately symbolize the projection of American power abroad, but for that reason they obscure the internal consequences. Consider how odd it would sound if we were to refer to "the Constitution of the American Empire" or "superpower democracy." The reason they ring false is that "constitution" signifies limitations on power, while "democracy" commonly refers to the active involvement of citizens with their government and the responsiveness of government to its citizens.

For their part, "empire" and "superpower" stand for the surpassing of limits and the dwarfing of the citizenry. The increasing power of the state and the declining power of institutions intended to control it has been in the making for some time. The party system is a notorious example.

...Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment.

What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic. In the United States, however, it has been apparent for decades that corporate power has become so predominant in the political establishment, particularly in the Republican Party

...At the same time, it is corporate power, as the representative of the dynamic of capitalism and of the ever-expanding power made available by the integration of science and technology with the structure of capitalism, that produces the totalizing drive

.. a pervasive atmosphere of fear abetted by a corporate economy of ruthless downsizing, withdrawal or reduction of pension and health benefits; a corporate political system that relentlessly threatens to privatize Social Security and the modest health benefits available, especially to the poor. With such instrumentalities for promoting uncertainty and dependence, it is almost overkill for inverted totalitarianism to employ a system of criminal justice that is punitive in the extreme, relishes the death penalty and is consistently biased against the powerless.

Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers.

That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.

What is at stake, then, is nothing less than the attempted transformation of a tolerably free society into a variant of the extreme regimes of the past century. In that context, the national elections of 2004 represent a crisis in its original meaning, a turning point. The question for citizens is: Which way?

Sheldon Wolin Sheldon Wolin is the author, most recently, of Alexis de Tocqueville: Man Between Two Worlds (Princeton). A new edition of his book Politics and Vision is forthcoming. He is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University.

[Mar 08, 2018] Mueller determines the US foreign policy toward Russia; The Intel Community Lies About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
The sad but reasonable conclusion from all those Russiagate events is that an influential part of the US elite wants to balance on the edge of war with Russia to ensure profits and flow of taxpayer money. that part of the elite include top honchos on the US intelligence community and Pentagon (surprise, surprise)
The other logical conclusion is that intelligence agencies now determine the US foreign policy and control all major political players (there were widespread suspicions that Clinton, Bush II and Obama were actually closely connected to CIA). Which neatly fits into hypotheses about the "deep state".
This "can of worms" that the US political scene now represents is very dangerous for the future on mankind indeed.
Notable quotes:
"... Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle. ..."
"... "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." ..."
"... More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release ..."
"... If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist. ..."
"... "We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing." ..."
"... The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people. ..."
"... Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved ..."
"... This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies. ..."
"... That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions ..."
"... Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations. ..."
"... We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. ..."
"... We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. ..."
"... We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. ..."
"... It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document. ..."
"... The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged. ..."
"... "The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged. ..."
"... Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it? ..."
"... Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup. ..."
"... To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC ..."
"... Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence. ..."
"... In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich. ..."
"... My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected ..."
"... Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling." ..."
"... His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government. ..."
"... It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already. ..."
"... Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating. ..."
"... But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." ..."
"... Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. ..."
"... Re 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance. ..."
"... "We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found. ..."
"... Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that. ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Intel Community Lie About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus

Americans tend to be a trusting lot. When they hear a high level government official, like former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, state that Russia's Vladimir ordered and monitored a Russian cyber attack on the 2016 Presidential election, those trusting souls believe him. For experienced intelligence professionals, who know how the process of gathering and analyzing intelligence works, they detect a troubling omission in Clapper's presentation and, upon examining the so-called "Intelligence Community Assessment," discover that document is a deceptive fraud. It lacks actual evidence that Putin and the Russians did what they are accused of doing. More troubling -- and this is inside baseball -- is the fact that two critical members of the Intelligence Community -- the DIA and State INR -- were not asked to coordinate/clear on the assessment.

You should not feel stupid if you do not understand or appreciate the last point. That is something only people who actually have produced a Community Assessment would understand. I need to take you behind the scenes and ensure you understand what is intelligence and how analysts assess and process that intelligence. Once you understand that then you will be able to see the flaws and inadequacies in the report released by Jim Clapper in January 2017.

The first thing you need to understand is the meaning of the term, the "Intelligence Community" aka IC. Comedians are not far off the mark in touting this phrase as the original oxymoron. On paper the IC currently is comprised of 17 agencies/departments:
  1. Air Force Intelligence,
  2. Army Intelligence,
  3. Central Intelligence Agency aka CIA,
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence,
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency aka DIA,
  6. Energy Department aka DOE,
  7. Homeland Security Department,
  8. State Department aka INR,
  9. Treasury Department,
  10. Drug Enforcement Administration aka DEA,
  11. Federal Bureau of Investigation aka FBI,
  12. Marine Corps Intelligence,
  13. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency aka NGIA or NGA,
  14. National Reconnaissance Office aka NRO,
  15. National Security Agency aka NSA,
  16. Navy Intelligence
  17. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But not all of these are "national security" agencies -- i.e., those that collect raw intelligence, which subsequently is packaged and distributed to other agencies on a need to know basis. Only six of these agencies take an active role in collecting raw foreign intelligence. The remainder are consumers of that intelligence product. In other words, the information does not originate with them. They are like a subscriber to the New York Times. They get the paper everyday and, based upon what they read, decide what is going on in their particular world. The gatherers of intelligence are:

Nine of the other agencies/departments are consumers. They do not collect and package original info. They are the passive recipients. The analysts in those agencies will base their conclusions on information generated by other agencies, principally the CIA and the NSA.

The astute among you, I am sure, will insist my list is deficient and will ask, "What about the FBI and DEA?" It is true that those two organizations produce a type of human intelligence -- i.e., they recruit informants and those informants provide those agencies with information that the average person understandably would categorize as "intelligence." But there is an important difference between human intelligence collected by the CIA and the human source intelligence gathered by the FBI or the DEA. The latter two are law enforcement agencies. No one from the CIA or the NSA has the power to arrest someone. The FBI and the DEA do.

Their authority as law enforcement agents, however, comes with limitations, especially in collecting so-called intelligence. The FBI and the DEA face egal constraints on what information they can collect and store. The FBI cannot decide on its own that skinheads represent a threat and then start gathering information identifying skinhead leaders. There has to be an allegation of criminal activity. When such "human" information is being gathered under the umbrella of law enforcement authorities, it is being handled as potential evidence that may be used to prosecute someone. This means that such information cannot be shared with anyone else, especially intelligence agencies like the CIA and the NSA.

The "17th" member of the IC is the Director of National Intelligence aka DNI. This agency was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for the ostensible purpose of coordinating the activities and products of the IC. In theory it is the organization that is supposed to coordinate what the IC collects and the products the IC produces. Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle.

An important, but little understood point, is that these agencies each have a different focus. They are not looking at the same things. In fact, most are highly specialized and narrowly focused. Take the Coast Guard, for instance. Their intelligence operations primarily hone in on maritime threats and activities in U.S. territorial waters, such as narcotic interdictions. They are not responsible for monitoring what the Russians are doing in the Black Sea and they have no significant expertise in the cyber activities of the Russian Army military intelligence organization aka the GRU.

In looking back at the events of 2016 surrounding the U.S. Presidential campaign, most people will recall that Hillary Clinton, along with several high level Obama national security officials, pushed the lie that the U.S. Intelligence agreed that Russia had unleashed a cyber war on the United States. The initial lie came from DNI Jim Clapper and Homeland Security Chief, Jeb Johnson, who released the following memo to the press on 7 October 2016 :

"The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."

This was a deliberate deceptive message. It implied that the all 16 intelligence agencies agreed with the premise and "evidence of Russian meddling. Yet not a single bit of proof was offered. More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release:

If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist.

Hillary Clinton helped perpetuate this myth during the late October debate with Donald Trump, when she declared as fact that:

"We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing."

What is shocking is that there was so little pushback to this nonsense. Hardly anyone asked why would the DEA, Coast Guard, the Marines or DOE have any technical expertise to make a judgment about Russian hacking of U.S. election systems. And no one of any importance asked the obvious -- where was the written memo or National Intelligence Estimate laying out what the IC supposedly knew and believed? There was nothing.

It is natural for the average American citizen to believe that something given the imprimatur of the Intelligence Community must reflect solid intelligence and real expertise. Expertise is supposed to be the cornerstone of intelligence analysis and the coordination that occurs within the IC. That means that only those analysts (and the agencies they represent) will be asked to contribute or comment on a particular intelligence issue. When it comes to the question of whether Russia had launched a full out cyber attack on the Democrats and the U.S. electoral system, only analysts from agencies with access to the intelligence and the expertise to analyze that intelligence would be asked to write or contribute to an intelligence memorandum.

Who would that be? The answer is simple -- the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, State INR and the FBI. (One could make the case that there are some analysts within Homeland Security that might have expertise, but they would not necessarily have access to the classified information produced by the CIA or the NSA.) The task of figuring out what the Russians were doing and planned to do fell to five agencies and only three of the five (the CIA, the DIA and NSA) would have had the ability to collect intelligence that could inform the work of analysts.

Before I can explain to you how an analyst work this issue it is essential for you to understand the type of intelligence that would be required to "prove" Russian meddling. There are four possible sources -- 1) a human source who had direct access to the Russians who directed the operation or carried it out; 2) a signal intercept of a conversation or cyber activity that was traced to Russian operatives; 3) a document that discloses the plan or activity observed; or 4) forensic evidence from the computer network that allegedly was attacked.

Getting human source intel is primarily the job of CIA. It also is possible that the DIA or the FBI had human sources that could have contributed relevant intelligence.

Signal intercepts are collected and analyzed by the NSA.

Documentary evidence, which normally is obtained from a human source but can also be picked up by NSA intercepts or even an old-fashioned theft.

Finally there is the forensic evidence . In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked.

What Do Analysts Do?

Whenever there is a "judgment" or "consensus" claimed on behalf to the IC, it means that one or more analysts have written a document that details the evidence and presents conclusions based on that evidence. On a daily basis the average analyst confronts a flood of classified information (normally referred to as "cables" or "messages"). When I was on the job in the 1980s I had to wade through more than 1200 messages -- i.e., human source reports from the CIA, State Department messages with embassies around the world, NSA intercepts, DIA reports from their officers based overseas (most in US embassies) and open source press reports. Today, thanks to the internet, the average analyst must scan through upwards of 3000 messages. It is humanly impossible.

The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people.

Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved :

This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.

Limiting the drafting and clearance on this document to only the CIA, the NSA and the FBI is highly unusual because one of the key analytical conclusions in the document identifies the Russian military intelligence organization, the GRU, as one of the perpetrators of the cyber attack. DIA's analysts are experts on the GRU and there also are analysts in State Department's Bureau of INR who should have been consulted. Instead, they were excluded.

Here is how the process should have worked in producing this document:

  1. One or more analysts are asked to do a preliminary draft. It is customary in such a document for the analyst to cite specific intelligence, using phrases such as: "According to a reliable source of proven access," when citing a CIA document or "According to an intercept of a conversation between knowledgeable sources with access," when referencing something collected by the NSA. The analyst does more than repeat what is claimed in the intel reports, he or she also has the job of explaining what these facts mean or do not mean.
  2. There always is an analyst leading the effort who has the job of integrating the contributions of the other analysts into a coherent document. Once the document is completed in draft it is handed over to Branch Chief and then Division Chief for editing. We do not know who had the lead, but it was either the FBI, the CIA or the NSA.
  3. At the same time the document is being edited at originating agency, it is supposed to be sent to the other clearing agencies, i.e. those agencies that either provided the intelligence cited in the draft (i.e., CIA, NSA, DIA, or State) or that have expertise on the subject. As noted previously, it is highly unusual to exclude the DIA and INR.
  4. Once all the relevant agencies clear on the content of the document, it is sent into the bowels of the DNI where it is put into final form.

That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions:

Sounds pretty ominous, but the language used tells a different story. The conclusions are based on assumptions and judgments. There was nor is any actual evidence from intelligence sources showing that Vladimir Putin ordered up anything or that his government preferred Trump over Clinton.

How do I know this? If such evidence existed -- either documentary or human source or signal intercept -- it would have been cited in this document. Not only that. Such evidence would have corroborated the claims presented in the Steele dossier. But such evidence was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified."

It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document.

That simple fact should tell you all you need to know. The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.


LeaNder , 07 March 2018 at 05:59 PM

Good summary argument, PT. Thanks. Helpful reminder.

But, makes me feel uncomfortable. Cynical scenario. I'd prefer them to be both drivers and driven, somehow stumbling into the chronology of events. They didn't hack the DNC, after all. Crowdstrike? Steele? ...

********
But yes, all the 17 agencies Clinton alluded to in her 3rd encounter with Trump was a startling experience:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/19/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-blames-russia-putin-wikileaks-rele/

turcopolier , 07 March 2018 at 06:10 PM
LeaNder

One other point on which Tacitus and I differ is the quality of the analysts in the "minors." The "bigs" often recruit analysts from the "minors" so they can't be all that bad. And the analysts in all these agencies receive much the same data feed electronically every day. There are exceptions to this but it is generally true. I, too, read hundreds of documents every day to keep up with the knowledge base of the analysts whom I interrogated continuously. "How do you know that?" would have been typical. pl

Flavius , 07 March 2018 at 06:19 PM
Well done.

"The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged.

Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it?

Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup.

The whole sequence reminds me in some ways of the sub prime mortgage bond fiasco: garbage risk progressively bundled, repackaged, rebranded and resold by big name institutions that should have known better.

I have only two questions: was it misfeasance, malfeasance, or some ugly combination of the two? And are they going to get away with it?

Richardstevenhack , 07 March 2018 at 06:23 PM
Re this: " In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked."

To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC.

All three allegedly examined those images and concurred with CrowdStrike's analysis.

Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence.

In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich.

The "assessment" that Putin ordered any of this is pure mind-reading and can be utterly dismissed absent any of the other evidence Publius points out as necessary.

The same applies to any "estimate" that the Russian government preferred Trump or wished to denigrate Clinton. Based on what I read in pro-Russian news outlets, Russian officials took great pains to not pick sides and Putin's comments were similarly very restrained. The main quote from Putin about Trump that emerged was mistranslated as approval whereas it was more an observation of Trump's personality. At no time did Putin ever say he favored Trump over Clinton, even though that was a likely probability given Clinton's "Hitler" comparison.

As an aside, I also recommend Scott Ritter's trashing of the ICA. Ritter is familiar with intelligence estimates and their reliability based on his previous service as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and in Russia implementing arms control treaties.

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exposing-the-man-behind-the-curtain_us_5877887be4b05b7a465df6a4

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

His analysis of the NSA document leaked by NSA contractor Reality Winner which supposedly supported the Russia theory is also relevant.

Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in 'Russiagate' Case
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/leaked-nsa-report-is-short-on-facts-proves-little-in-russiagate-case/

ann , 07 March 2018 at 11:22 PM
This is a wonderful explanation of the intelligence community. And I thank you for the explanation. My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected. However inadequate my summary is it looks like the Democrats are less skilled in propaganda than the Repubs. And what else is the difference?
Richardstevenhack , 08 March 2018 at 03:02 AM
Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling."

His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government.

It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already.

blue peacock , 08 March 2018 at 04:12 AM
GZC #12

Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating.

IMO, the conspiracy is significantly larger in scale and scope than anything the Russians did.

Yes, indeed we'll have to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. But also what facts these other investigations reveal.

English Outsider , 08 March 2018 at 05:57 AM
Thank you for setting out the geography and workings of this complex world.

Might I ask how liaison with other Intelligence Communities fits in? Is intelligence information from non-US sources such as UK intelligence sources subject to the same process of verification and evaluation?

I ask because of the passage in your article -

"But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." "

Does this leave room for the assertion that although the "Dossier" was unverified in the US it was accepted as good information because it had been verified by UK Intelligence or by persons warranted by the UK? In other words, was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:53 AM
EO,

" ... was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?" I would say yes and especially yes if the contact for this piece of data was conducted at the highest level within the context of the already tight liaison between the US IC and Mi-6/GCHQ. PT may think differently. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:54 AM
GZC

A lot of smoke? Only if you wish to place a negative value on everything the Trump people did or were. pl

jsn -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:20 AM
The CIA appears to be trying to right the wrongs done them with the creation of the DNI:
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/08/dems-m08.html
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 08:54 AM
jsn

The wrongs done them? I hope that was irony. pl

turcopolier -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:01 AM
GZC

Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. If he is anything like the many like him whom I observed in my ten business years, then he has cut corners legally somewhere in international business. they pretty much all do that. Kooshy, a successful businessman confirmed that here a while back. These other guys were all business hustlers including Flynn and their activities have made them vulnerable to Mueller. IMO you have to ask yourself how much you want to be governed by political hacks and how much by hustlers. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 09:24 AM
jsn

hy this socialist pub would fing it surprising that former public servants seek elected office is a mystery to me. BTW, in re all the discussion here of the IC, there are many levels in these essentially hierarchical structures and one's knowledge of them is conditioned by the perspective from which you viewed them. pl

DH , 08 March 2018 at 09:50 AM
Re 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance.

Also, the Seymour Hersh tape certainly seems authentic as far as Seth Rich being implicated in the DNC dump.

Publius Tacitus -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:53 AM
GZC,

Are you really this obtuse?

You insist (I guess you rely on MSNBC as your fact source) that Manafort, Page, etc. all "have connections to Russia or Assange." You are using smear and guilt by association. Flynn's so-called connection to Russia was that he accepted an invite to deliver a speech at an RT sponsored event and was paid. So what? Nothing wrong with that. Just ask Bill Clinton. Or perhaps you are referring to the fact that Flynn also spoke to the Russian Ambassador to the US after the election in his capacity as designated National Security Advisor. Zero justification for investigation.

Stone? He left the campaign before there had even been a primary and only had text exchanges with Assange.

Your blind hatred of Trump makes you incapable of thinking logically.

jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:15 AM
Sir,

The most sarcastic irony was intended. This is what the real left looks like, its very different from Clintonite Liberals, not that I agree with their ideological program, though I believe parts have their place.

Liberals have, I believe, jumped the shark: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/07/progressive-journalists-jump-the-shark-on-russiagate/

If the get their way with the new McCarthyism, the implications for dissent, left or right, seem to me to be about the same:
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/federalist-68-the-electoral-college-and-faithless-electors.html#intelligence

jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:25 AM
Sir,

And to your second comment, yes I agree about the complexity of institutions and how situationally constrained individual experiences are, if that was the point.

I'll also concede my brief comments generalize very broadly, but it's hard to frame things more specific comments without direct knowledge, such as the invaluable correspondents here. I try to avoid confirmation bias by reading broadly and try to provide outside perspectives. My apologies if they're too far outside.

I suppose it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of how many former IC self affiliated with which party in choosing to run. I'm just guessing but I'll bet there's more CIA in the D column and more DIA among the Rs.

LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 10:40 AM
love this coinage Flavius: Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged

a lie "circumstantial"? http://recycledknowledge.blogspot.de/2005/05/seven-degrees-of-lie.html

Sid Finster , 08 March 2018 at 11:06 AM
"We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found.

That said, I have no doubt that Mueller will find *something*, simply because an aggressive and determined prosecutor can always find *something*, especially if the target is engaged in higher level business or politics. A form unfiled, an irregularity in an official document, and overly optimistic tax position.

If nothing else works, there's always the good old standby of asking question after question until the target makes a statement that can be construed as perjury or lying to investigators.

Sarah B said in reply to turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:27 AM
My perspective, after reading that linked article by the WSWS, is that both, the IC and the DoD, are trying to take over the whole US political spectrum, in fact, militarizing de facto the US political life....

Now, tell me that this is not an intend by the MIC ( where all the former IC or DoD people finally end when they leave official positions )to take over the government ( if more was needed after what has happened with Trump´s ) to guarantee their profit rate in a moment where everything is crimbling....

Btw, have you read the recently released paper, "WorldWide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" by Daniel R. Coats ( DNI )? You smell fear from the four corners....do not you?

Barbara Ann -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:35 AM
Those immortal words are attributed to Lavrentiy Beria, Colonel and you are not the first to draw the comparison re Mueller's investigation. For those who do not know Beria was head of the NKVD under Stalin.
Barbara Ann -> Sid Finster... , 08 March 2018 at 11:36 AM
Only if you were discussing BDS.
Sarah B , 08 March 2018 at 11:38 AM
Here is the paper in question I am mentioning above: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/2018-ATA---Unclassified-SSCI.pdf Some neutral analyst is saying that from 28 pages, 24 are dedicated to Russia and China, then Iran and NK, in this order...and that it is an official recognition of the new multipolar order....
Peter VE said in reply to johnf... , 08 March 2018 at 11:55 AM
The BBC reported this morning that a police officer who was amongst the earliest responders to the "nerve gas" poisoning of Col. Skripal is also being treated for symptoms. How was it that many "White Helmets" who were filmed where the sarin gas was dropped on Khan Sheikhoun last April suffered no symptoms?
Jack -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:59 AM
Sir

That's a good way to present it political hacks vs hustlers. The fact is Flynn has pled guilty to perjury. Nothing else like collusion with the Russians. And his sentencing is on hold now as the judge has ordered Mueller to hand over any exculpatory evidence. Clearly something is going on his case for the judge to do that.

Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that.

The Twisted Genius , 08 March 2018 at 12:59 PM
The select group of several dozen analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI who produced the January 2017 ICA are very likely the same group of analysts assembled by Brenner in August 2016 to form a task force examining "L'Affaire Russe" at the same time Brennan brought that closely held report to Obama of Putin's specific instructions on an operation to damage Clinton and help Trump. I've seen these interagency task forces set up several times to address particular info ops or cyberattack issues. Access to the work of these task forces was usually heavily restricted. I don't know if this kind of thing has become more prevalent throughout the IC.

I am also puzzled by the absence of DIA in the mix. When I was still working, there were a few DIA analysts who were acknowledged throughout the IC as subject matter experts and analytical leaders in this field. On the operational side, there was never great enthusiasm for things cyber or info ops. There were only a few lonely voices in the darkness. Meanwhile, CIA, FBI and NSA embraced the field wholeheartedly. Perhaps those DIA analytical experts retired or moved on to CYBERCOM, NSA or CIA's Information Operations Center.

LeaNder said in reply to Richardstevenhack ... , 08 March 2018 at 01:01 PM
I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 ...

Richard, over here the type of software is categorized under Advanced Persistent Threat, and beyond that specifically labeled the "Sofacy Group". ... I seem to prefer the more neutral description 'Advanced Persistent Threat' by Kaspersky. Yes, they seem to be suspicious lately in the US. But I am a rather constant consumer, never mind the occasional troubles over the years.

APT: Helps to not get confused by all the respective naming patterns in the economic field over national borders. APT 1 to 29 ...? Strictly, What's the precise history of the 'Bear' label and or the specific, I assume, group of APT? ...

Kasperky pdf-file - whodunnit?
https://tinyurl.com/APT-Avanced-Persitent-Treat

Ever used a datebase checking a file online? Would have made you aware of the multitude of naming patterns.

******
More ad-hoc concerning one item in your argument above. To what extend does a standard back-up system leave relevant forensic traces? Beyond the respective image in the present? Do you know?

Admittedly, I have no knowledge about matters beyond purely private struggles. But yes, they seemed enough to get a vague glimpse of categories in the field of attribution. Regarding suspected state actors vs the larger cybercrime scene that is.

LeaNder said in reply to Fred... , 08 March 2018 at 02:29 PM
Even mentioning those is just further evidence that something really did happen.

I appreciate you are riding our partially shared hobby horse, Fred. ;)

But admittedly this reminds me of something that felt like a debate-shift, I may be no doubt misguided here. Nitwit! In other words I may well have some type of ideological-knot in the relevant section dealing with memory in my brain as long-term undisciplined observer of SST.

But back on topic: the argument seemed to be that "important facts" were omitted. In other words vs earlier times were are now centrally dealing with omission as evidence. No?

Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:18 PM
Ask National Security Advisor General McMaster.
Even Trump now says Putin meddled.
What more evidence do you need
Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:20 PM
General McMaster has seen the evidence and says the fact of Russian meddling can no longer be credibly denied.
That doesn't stop the right-wing extremists from spinning fairy tales.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 03:34 PM
Dave

It is politically necessary for Trump to say that. Tell me, what is meant by "Russian meddling"in this statement by McMaster? pl

Dave -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:50 PM
Russian meddling is hacking our election systems.

The right wing (re: Hannity and Limbaugh) have been trying mightily to discredit this investigation by smearing Mueller's reputation, even though he is a conservative republican.

They are doing this so that if Mueller's report is damning, they can call it a "witch hunt."

I would think that if Trump is innocent, he would cooperate with this investigation fully.

You are insinuating that McMaster is a liar even though he has access to information that you don't.

Publius Tacitus -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:02 PM
Just because trump is stupid is not an excuse for you. You accept a lie without one shred of actual evidence. You are a lemming
Fred -> LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 04:04 PM
LeaNder,

"omission as evidence. " Incorrect. Among the omissions was the fact that the dossier was paid for by a political campaign and that the wife of a senior DOJ lawyer's wife was working for Fusion GPS. Then there's the rest of the political motivations left out.

Fred -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:07 PM
Dave,

Putin hired Facebook. That company seems to do well helping out foreign governments.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/technology/facebook-censorship-tool-china.html

Linda , 08 March 2018 at 04:16 PM
If you have seen the classified information that would be necessary to back up your conclusions, it should not be discussed in this forum. As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publically done. Having said that, I pretty much agree with your conclusion except for the indication that the analysts lied.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:26 PM
Dave

What does "hacking our elections" mean? Does it means breaking into voting systems and changing the outcome by altering votes? Or does it mean information operations to change US voters' minds about for whom they would vote? If the latter you must know that we (the US) have done this many times in foreign elections, including Russian elections, Israeli elections, Italian elections, German elections, etc., or perhaps you think that a different criterion should be applied to people who are not American. As for McMasters, I am unimpressed with him. He displays all the symptoms of Russophobia. He has special information? Information can be interpreted many ways depending on one's purpose. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:36 PM
Linda

PT does not have access to the classified information underlying but your argument that "As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publicly done." doesn't hold water for me since I have seen sources and methods disclosed by the government of the US many times when it felt that necessary. One example that I have mentioned before was that of the trial of Jeffrey Sterling (merlin) for which I was an expert witness and adviser to the federal court for four years. In that one the CIA and DoJ forced the court to allow them to de-classify the CIA DO's operational files on the case and read them into the record in open court. I had read all these files when they were classified at the SCI level. IMO the perpetrators in the Steel Memo case are and were merely hiding behind claims of sources and methods protection in order to protect themselve. pl

JamesT -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 04:37 PM
I continue to learn things around here that I could never learn anywhere else. It is a privilege to read the Colonel, TTG, and Publius Tacitus.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:47 PM
Dave

If you use denigrating language like "wild eyed" to attack your interlocutors you will not be welcome here. pl

LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 04:49 PM
Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind.

Not aware of this. Can you help me out?

No doubt vaguely familiar with public lore, in limited ways. As always.

Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?

Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?

Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.

LeaNder said in reply to Fred ... , 08 March 2018 at 05:10 PM
Ok, true. I forgot 'Steele'* was used as 'evidence'.

Strictly, Pat may have helped me out considering my 'felt' "debate-shift". Indirectly. I do recall, I hesitated to try to clarify matters for myself.

* ...

m -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:29 PM
Depends on what crime the "hack" committed. Fudging on taxes or cutting corners? Big whoop. Laundering $500 mil for a buddy of Vlad's? Now you got my attention and should have the voters' attention.

This is a political process in the end game. Clinton lied about sex in the oval Office and was tried for it. Why don't we exercise patience in the process and see if this President should be tried?

m -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:33 PM
I ain't a lawyer but don't prosecutors hold their cards (evidence) close to their chests until the court has a criminal charge and sets a date for discovery?
Publius Tacitus -> Linda ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:45 PM
Linda,
You betray your ignorance on this subject. You clearly have not understood nor comprehended what I have written. So i will put it in CAPS for you. Please read slowly.

THIS TYPE OF DOCUMENT, IF IT HAD A SOURCE OR SOURCES BEHIND IT, WOULD REFERENCE THOSE SOURCES. AN ANALYST WOULD NOT WRITE "WE ASSESS." IF YOU HAVE A RELIABLE HUMAN SOURCE OR A RELIABLE PIECE OF SIGINT THE YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ASSESS. YOU SIMPLY STATE, ACCORDING TO A KNOWLEDGEABLE AND RELIABLE SOURCE.

GOT IT. And don't come back with nonsense that the sources are so sensitive that they cannot be disclose. News flash genius--the very fact that Clapper put out this piece of dreck would have exposed the sources if they existed (but they do not). In any event, there would be reference to sources that provided the evidence that such activity took place at the direction of Putin.

IT DOES NOT EXIST.

J , 08 March 2018 at 07:08 PM
Colonel,

The granddaddy of them all is #16, and what have they contributed?

Steve McIntyre -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:41 PM
I'm eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the Skripal poisoning. I'm sure I'm not alone in the hope that you will write on it.
The Twisted Genius -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

I notice other Intelligence Community Assessments also use the term "we assess" liberally. For example, the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment and the 2012 ICA on Global Water Security use the "we assess" phrase throughout the documents. I hazard to guess that is why they call these things assessments.

The 2017 ICA on Russian Interference released to the public clearly states: "This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment. This document's conclusions are identical to the highly classified assessment, but this document does not include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence on key elements of the influence campaign. Given the redactions, we made minor edits purely for readability and flow."

I would hazard another guess that those minor edits for readability and flow are the reason that specific intelligence reports and sources, which were left out of the unclassified ICA, are not cited in that ICA.

The Twisted Genius -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 08:26 PM
Dave,

As far as I know, no one has reliably claimed that election systems, as in vote tallies, were ever breached. No votes were changed after they were cast. The integrity of our election system and the 2016 election itself was maintained. Having said that, there is plenty of evidence of Russian meddling as an influence op. I suggest you and others take a gander at the research of someone going by the handle of @UsHadrons and several others. They are compiling a collection of FaceBook, twitter and other media postings that emanated from the IRA and other Russian sources. The breadth of these postings is quite wide and supports the assessment that enhancing the divides that already existed in US society was a primary Russian goal.

https://medium.com/@ushadrons

I pointed this stuff out to Eric Newhill a while back in one of our conversations. He jokingly noted that he may have assisted in spreading a few of these memes. I bet a lot of people will recognize some of the stuff in this collection. That's nothing. Recently we all learned that Michael Moore did a lot more than unwittingly repost a Russian meme. He took part in a NYC protest march organized and pushed by Russians. This stuff is open source proof of Russian meddling.

Publius Tacitus -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:55 PM
TTG
Nice try, but that is bullshit just because recent assessments come out with sloppy language is no excuse. Go back and look at the assessment was done for iraq to justify the war in 2003. Many sources cited because it was considered something Required to justify going to war. As we have been told by many in the media that the Russians meddling was worse or as bad as the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9-11. With something so serious do you want to argue that they would downplay the sourcing?

[Mar 08, 2018] Deep state vs "surface state" struggle: the deep state is winning

Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

likbez -> Dave... 08 March 2018 at 11:44 PM

Dave,

Is it so difficult to understand that there are strong incentives to create the "Russia Threat" to hide the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. The current can of political worms and infighting in Washington, DC between POTUS and intelligence agencies factions supporting anti-trump color revolution clearly demonstrate that this crisis is systemic in nature. In this sense, we can talk about the transformation of the US political system into something new.

One feature of this new system is that the US foreign policy now is influenced, if not controlled by intelligence agencies. The latter also proved to be capable of acting as the kingmakers in the US Presidential elections (this time with side effects: derailing Sanders eventually led to the election of Trump; that's why efforts to depose Trump commenced immediately.)

A large part of the US elite is willing to create the situation of balancing on the edge of nuclear war because it allows them to swipe the dirt under the carpet and unite the nation on bogus premises, suppressing the crisis of confidence in the neoliberal elite. Neo-McCarthyism witch hunt serves exactly this purpose.

Also now it is clear that the intelligence agencies and Pentagon, play active, and maybe even decisive part in determining the US foreign policy, US population and elected POTUS be damned.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his staff showed this new arrangement in Syria in July 2017. And the fact that he was not fired on the spot might well signify the change in political power between the "deep state" and the "surface state". With the latter one step closer to being just a Potemkin Village.

Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?

Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?

Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.

Flavius said in reply to LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 01:54 PM
It will be interesting to see why the interviewing FBI Agents to whom Flynn has admitted to the Mueller Op telling a lie, or lies, did not avail Flynn the opportunity of the 'lie circumstantial." From what I think I know about the case, the answers to the questions put to Flynn were already known to the Agents from wire overhears; and their substance did not constitute a crime in any case. Why would not the Agents interviewing Flynn have said "If you're telling me this, we have reason to think that you're mistaken?" If I'm correct in my understanding, in my opinion, the Agents conducted themselves in a very chickenshit fashion and I would suspect an Agenda was in play.

Making a more general observation regarding the Mueller Op, it seems to me that not the least reprehensible effect of its existence is that de facto it has usurped the authority of the White House and the State Department to conduct Foreign Policy vis a vis Russia. For example, I doubt very much whether Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind. And even if Mueller did, what would, what could the WH or State response have been given the mishapen political climate and the track record of outrageous leaking that so far have gone on without consequence to the leaker.

So the net effect is that Mueller's office is conducting our Russian foreign policy. Authority without either responsibility or expertise is not a desirable thing when it comes to forging correct relations with a nuclear power.

[Mar 08, 2018] The Cult of Authority by C.J. Hopkins

Notable quotes:
"... Great essay. The Russiagate hoax is indeed a mean-spirited political fantasy. Unfortunately, this fraud is being nourished by powerful Trump-haters in government, elite newsrooms and broadcasting booths, think tanks, as well as on numerous Ivy League college campuses. ..."
"... Like it or not, half-truths, propaganda, and nonsensical fairytales are part of America's fabric. Like guided missiles, sophisticated BS comes raining down upon us continuously. Our brains are covered with it. ..."
"... " three celebrity journalists employed by a billionaire to provide the masses " That tells almost all we need to know. Our 'mainstream' journalists, like our academics, see themselves as honest, objective, impartial, tellers of truth. Actually, they are whores to the super rich. ..."
"... Gradually, everyone gets the message: if you don't want to be excommunicated, you had better believe, or pretend to believe, the official narrative of the cult. It isn't a question of deception, belief, gullibility, or even intelligence. It is a question of power, social pressure, and fear of ostracization and exile. Anyone invested in any type of social group that functions along authoritarian lines is susceptible to this type of pressure, regardless of how savvy or intelligent they are. ..."
"... They rather want to be with the crowd. In mass-societies, it's attractive to be with the crowd – and it's a way of being, too, which can numb the mind, no matter how critical the positions are, somebody articulates. ..."
"... In the 70′s CIA made the decision to further diffuse their agency, and that has proceeded to a degree never envisioned at the time. Now CIA includes illegal moles in every relevant US government branch and organization, eyes-only exchange of agents with foreign agencies, and all major mafias involved in transnational organized crime ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Waggle My Authority , March 7, 2018 at 8:32 pm GMT

"Is Donald Trump a Traitor?"

Donald Trump is in no position to give aid or comfort to anyone. Trump, like all US presidents, is an interchangeable figurehead of the CIA regime that rules the US with formal impunity in municipal law. John Kennedy was the last president that didn't know he was a puppet ruler. After CIA killed him, subsequent presidents were purged (Nixon, Carter,) terrorized by assassins (Ford,) or shot (Reagan) by CIA in illegal domestic operations. CIA then installed four presidents (Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama) directly from the ranks of CIA nomenklatura under strict control (remember Obama's instant U-turn on torture after public CIA threats of revolt?)

Even before CIA formally seized head of state powers with their JFK coup, the agency negated independent presidential action, arrogating autonomy for clandestine crime in defiance of Truman and Congress, and thwarting the Eisenhower/Herter disarmament initiative.

Why should Russia care which CIA puppet they shake hands with? They know who's in charge. Putin said as much in public. The US government is CIA.

Tune in next week for another episode of Simple Answers to Stupid Questions.

gustafus , March 7, 2018 at 11:46 pm GMT
@Waggle My Authority

There is a small sea change – the internet and social media have dispersed and castrated the information food chain to the chagrin of our enemies at the CIA .

Trump may be in a position to save us from their tyranny. He has finally settled into the cockpit and is playing with the knobs and levers of government. A Kennedy type action couldn't happen today.

Hell, they barely got away with 9/11 and OKC.

Las Vegas was a HUGE CLUSTER FUCK – probably an arms deal gone bad – with the Mexican security guard fleeing the country. 50-some victims WANT ANSWERS – along with the Las Vegas police Dept.

Don't think the CIA is infallible – they appear to be less than Hollywood style supermen.

One look at Brennan gave me hope. He's a buffoon who had power. But he's just not that special.

I think the shooting in Florida was another fuck up . too many kids are reporting multiple shooters, and the simultaneous "security drill" – smells like yesterday's fish course.

There IS A SEA CHANGE – and a bunch of desperation by the likes of Mueller and Sessions.
Horse trading as I type trying to pin something on Mr. Smith and his loyal followers – because the brains in this country don't gravitate to the CIA or FBI who are now just low rent hucksters with guns.

Waggle My Authority , March 8, 2018 at 2:50 am GMT
@Anon

CIA can afford to be incompetent. When you have impunity, it doesn't matter whether you get caught. Look at Salandria's testimony that CIA did a lot of heavy-handed signaling: Sure we did it. What are you gonna do about it?

https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/FalseMystery/ThePainesRoleInHistory.html

gustafus points up what Russ Baker called 'ruthlessness and ineptitude,' That's because even when the story falls apart, the OPSEC fails, the DCI still has his get-out-jail-free card.

Anon Disclaimer , March 8, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT
Trump isn't a traitor. He's a grifter. It's clear he and Kushner were running a grift during the transition. Russian adoptions : that's pretty funny you have to admit! Kompromat you ask?

When asked whether Russia has such material, Mr Isaev, who is also director of the Russian Institute of Contemporary Economics, replied: "Of course we have it!"

mark green , March 8, 2018 at 7:13 am GMT

Great essay. The Russiagate hoax is indeed a mean-spirited political fantasy. Unfortunately, this fraud is being nourished by powerful Trump-haters in government, elite newsrooms and broadcasting booths, think tanks, as well as on numerous Ivy League college campuses.

Incredibly, the hysteria, loathing and mockery directed against Trump began the moment he announced his candidacy. And it's never let up.

On the day of Trump's inauguration, 'anti-fascist protesters' were making threats and showing contempt for America's elected president. Based on TV coverage, it seemed to be a global phenomena. It was chilling.

To what extent was Soros, et al, funding these events and pulling strings?

After all, Trump campaigned on less war, normalizing relations with Russia, and restoring America's Main Street economy. What's so outrageous about that? Many of these objectives should have been embraced by the Left. But they weren't. The usual activists were too busy hating Trump and his legion of 'deplorables'.

By comparison, the Right didn't explode in rage like this when Obama was elected and inaugurated.

For what it's worth, there's nothing criminal or ever wrong about spinning, prevaricating and stretching the truth to manipulate public opinion. Sure, it's sleazy and destructive; but it's done each and every day in America. Just pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV. There it is. It's how our fractured culture operates.

Oddly, the seething, hate-filled, anti-Trump derangement syndrome that is now in high gear is only tenuously connected to Trump's actual policies. It is Trump the man (and what/who he represents) that countless 'progressives' despise. Only Trump's removal from office (or death) will satisfy them.

As for the Russia-Trump plot to fool the public and 'steal' the US election, that conspiracy theory is similarly unhinged.

There are, after all, so many sources, stories, suppositions, rumors, headlines, Facebook yarns and political ads/endorsements in circulation at any given moment that the idea that one Russia-based internet campaign could 'brainwash' a nation of already-programmed robots into choosing the 'wrong' candidate is ridiculous.

Like it or not, half-truths, propaganda, and nonsensical fairytales are part of America's fabric. Like guided missiles, sophisticated BS comes raining down upon us continuously. Our brains are covered with it.

The only way to resist these odious waves of disinformation is to question everything and engage in genuine critical thinking. This includes rejecting the implausible 'Russiagate' conspiracy theory.

animalogic , March 8, 2018 at 9:02 am GMT
This is aa very good point:

"Anyone invested in any type of social group that functions along authoritarian lines is susceptible to this type of pressure, regardless of how savvy or intelligent they are."

Realist , March 8, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT
@Waggle My Authority

The CIA is just a part of the Deep State.

Jake , March 8, 2018 at 11:50 am GMT
" three celebrity journalists employed by a billionaire to provide the masses " That tells almost all we need to know. Our 'mainstream' journalists, like our academics, see themselves as honest, objective, impartial, tellers of truth. Actually, they are whores to the super rich.
jilles dykstra , March 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm GMT
@Jake

Rockefeller bought a news agency to change his image from profiteer to philanthropist. It worked. John F. Flynn, 'Gold von Gott, Die Rockefeller-Saga', Berlin 1937 ('God's Gold : The Story of Rockefeller and His Times', Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1932)

jacques sheete , March 8, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT

The Cult of Authority

Love the title. Depressed by the fact.

The Alarmist , March 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm GMT
@Anon

I dunno I think the whole air of ineptitude around The Company is just a cover. Why else would GHW Bush have been in Dallas at the time and then rocket just a few years later to its top job? Yeah, I know, it could have been KBR pulling all the strings, but I would still assert The Company was used as the vehicle to pre-position all the other necessary elements, like Papa Cruz, a former anti-Batista foot soldier, showing up a few years to UT just in time to radicalise LHO and set him up as the fall guy. And at the centre of all this, though I'm not sure how except that he ran against Jeb! and Ted, is Donald J Trump.

Dieter Kief , March 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm GMT

Gradually, everyone gets the message: if you don't want to be excommunicated, you had better believe, or pretend to believe, the official narrative of the cult. It isn't a question of deception, belief, gullibility, or even intelligence. It is a question of power, social pressure, and fear of ostracization and exile. Anyone invested in any type of social group that functions along authoritarian lines is susceptible to this type of pressure, regardless of how savvy or intelligent they are.

That's a tad too simple, I'd guess. Those well-known journalists would be free, really, to think, write and talk otherwise. What would happen to them would not be as bad s your above cited argument claims to be true (=happening, in case of dissident thinking).

What I would find appropriate would be to say: They rather want to be with the crowd. In mass-societies, it's attractive to be with the crowd – and it's a way of being, too, which can numb the mind, no matter how critical the positions are, somebody articulates.

So – the antidote to the mass-oriented way of thinking is the critical and enlightend one: Based on rather on the soundness of it's arguments than on ideas of mass-information. It's imperative would be: Soundness of the arguments always first!

That would mean for the Intercept: There's a real danger there, to lose one's mind while achieving mass-compatibility. If you'd reformulate your argument in this slightly altred way, I'd fully agree with you and your otherwise great article, Mr. Hopkins.

Waggle My Authority , March 8, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
@Realist

Interesting point. In the 70′s CIA made the decision to further diffuse their agency, and that has proceeded to a degree never envisioned at the time. Now CIA includes illegal moles in every relevant US government branch and organization, eyes-only exchange of agents with foreign agencies, and all major mafias involved in transnational organized crime, for example,

https://www.wired.com/2012/06/cia/

Is it just headless chaos? Who runs it all? Find the source of impunity. When anyone else gets away with a crime, the impunity is derived, conditional, procedural, dependent on winks and nods. Only the DCI can use the magic national security words and stop a prosecution cold by classifying the criminals, the evidence, and the charge.

Nope, don't fuzz it up, CIA's in charge here.

Joe Hide , March 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
To C.J. Hopkins,

Great article. Mind-bendingly humorous description of true events.

You might consider that the "bosses" of these journalists are not at all the top of the control pyramid, and that they themselves are probably controlled through blackmail in the threat of exposure of their pedophilia, sexually deviate, degenerate histories.

Keep writing!

[Mar 08, 2018] Kleptocracy the most typical form of corruption under neoliberalism, where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the financial oligarchy at the expense of the wider population, now even without pretense of honest service

Notable quotes:
"... he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations). ..."
"... Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible. ..."
"... The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/ ..."
"... Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party. ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Valissa -> jsn... , 01 March 2018 at 07:44 PM

jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! T he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations).

Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible.

Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.

I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:

The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/

Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.

By throwing every problem in Putin's lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn't really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one's own failures. It's always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.

That said, there's a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

... Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn't provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He's simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.

------------

I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.

My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg

[Mar 07, 2018] Putin Says US Political System Eating Itself Up, Explains Preparation For Nuclear War

There is a Russian term for the political condition into which the USA political establishment has arrived: The USA became "nedogovorosposobniy" -- a derogatory term for people who are iether mentally incapacitated or are such crooks that nobody can't be rely on signed by them treaties and who can break any promises given and signed in writing with ease.
After painful months of negotiation with the US, Sergei Lavrov regretfully announced that the Americans were such. There are rules, and the Americans do not know how to observe them. There are boundaries, but no-one has taught them to the Americans. In this sense, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians are grown-ups. It is possible to do business with them without risking the survival of the species.'
That's a sign of a "failed state"
Notable quotes:
"... He described the Western sanctions over Crimea and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine as part of "illegitimate and unfair" efforts to contain Russia, adding that "we will win in the long run." He added that "those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves." ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Putin then ... vented his frustration with the U.S. political system saying " it has demonstrated its inefficiency and has been eating itself up."

" It's quite difficult to interact with such a system, because it's unpredictable ," Putin said.

Russian hopes for a detente and better ties with Washington have been dashed by the ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia. Speaking about the bitter tensions in Russia-West relations, Putin said they have been rooted in Western efforts to contain and weaken Russia.

"We are a great power, and no one likes competition," he said.

Turning his attention to a particularly sensitive topic, Putin said he was dismayed by what he described as the U.S. role in the ouster of Ukraine's Russia-friendly president in February 2014 amid massive protests.

Putin charged that the U.S. had asked Russia to help persuade then-President Viktor Yanukovych not to use force against protesters and then "rudely and blatantly" cheated Russia, sponsoring what he called a "coup. " Russia responded by rushing through a referendum in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, whose result was an overwhelming majority voting to join Russia.

" Few expected us to act so quickly and so resolutely, not to say daringly ," Putin said.

He described the Western sanctions over Crimea and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine as part of "illegitimate and unfair" efforts to contain Russia, adding that "we will win in the long run." He added that "those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves."

Responding to a question about Russia's growing global leverage, Putin responded: "If we play strongly with weak cards, it means the others are just poor players, they aren't as strong as it seemed, they must be lacking something."

* * *

Finally, Putin, who presented a sweeping array of new Russian nuclear weapons last week , voiced hope that nuclear weapons will never be used -- but warned that Russia will retaliate in kind if it comes under a nuclear attack.

"The decision to use nuclear weapons can only be made if our early warning system not only detects a missile launch but clearly forecasts its flight path and the time when warheads reach the Russian territory," he said. "If someone makes a decision to destroy Russia, then we have a legitimate right to respond."

He concluded ominously: "Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?" Tags War Conflict Politics

Comments Vote up! 66 Vote down! 7

Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:23 Permalink

Aim for CA, DC, and NYC, Putin...don't forget Seattle

Cry Baby Moe -> Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:26 Permalink

"Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?"

peace in the world? Happiness for all?

y3maxx -> Cry Baby Moe Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:28 Permalink

Absolutely true....Trump is a balanced man compared to the unbalanced Deep State and Congress.

BullyBearish -> y3maxx Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:30 Permalink

"...would you want to live in a world without classic coke?"

skbull44 -> BullyBearish Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:31 Permalink

Making the MIC great again!!

https://olduvai.ca

ThanksChump -> skbull44 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:38 Permalink

Many Americans are angry that Soviet socialists threw their communist comrades out. Putin, a better capitalist than most US presidents in recent decades, hates communists as much as everyone else does.

Go live in Best Korea, Communist scum.

Luc X. Ifer -> ThanksChump Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:51 Permalink

Well. It was obvious for some time that a corrupt gov will lead unfortunately to capitalism going rogue and eating itself up. Don't get me wrong, is not the capitalism failure is the failure of the ones who supposedly had to ensure the existence of a true free but balanced market, and that's the gov, so as in the former Soviet bloc this proves again that too big and powerful gov naturally evolves into an oligarchy which drives the system to self cannibalize.

silver140 -> Luc X. Ifer Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

The US doesn't have a corrupt government, it has corporate fascist rulers who have puppets posing as politicians who pretend to be in a government.

samsara -> skbull44 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:58 Permalink

Ah, Www.dieoff.com

Remember it?

scaleindependent -> samsara Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:27 Permalink

Never heard of it. Thanks

[Mar 07, 2018] The New Surveillance State and the Old Perjury Trap by Peter Van Buren

Notable quotes:
"... " Incidental collection " is the claimed inadvertent or accidental monitoring of Americans' communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Incidental collection exists alongside court-approved warranted surveillance authorized on a specific individual. But for incidental collection, no probable cause is needed, no warrant is needed, and no court or judge is involved. It just gets vacuumed up. ..."
"... While exactly how many Americans have their communications monitored this way is unknown , we know these Republican Trump supporters and staffers were caught up in surveillance authorized by a Democratic administration (no evidence of incidental surveillance of the Clinton campaign exists). Election-time claims that the Obama administration wasn't " wiretapping " Trump were disingenuous. They in fact gathered an unprecedented level of inside information. How was it used? ..."
"... Incidental collection nailed Michael Flynn : the NSA was ostensibly not surveilling Flynn, just listening in on the Russian ambassador as the two spoke. The embarrassing intercept formed the basis for Flynn's firing as Trump's national security advisor, his guilty plea for perjury, and very possibly his "game-changing" testimony against others. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

March 7, 2018

A significant number of Trump's people were electronically monitored by a Democratic administration -- many "by accident." We now know that a significant number of people affiliated with Donald Trump were surveilled during and after the 2016 campaign, some under warrants, some via "inadvertent" or accidental surveillance. That surveillance is now being used against these individuals in perjury cases, particularly to press them to testify against others, and will likely form the basis of Robert Mueller's eventual action against the president himself.

How did the surveillance state become so fully entrenched in the American political process? Better yet, how did we let it happen?

The role pervasive surveillance plays in politics today has been grossly underreported. Set aside what you think about the Trump presidency for a moment and focus instead on the new paradigm for how politics and justice work inside the surveillance state.

" Incidental collection " is the claimed inadvertent or accidental monitoring of Americans' communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Incidental collection exists alongside court-approved warranted surveillance authorized on a specific individual. But for incidental collection, no probable cause is needed, no warrant is needed, and no court or judge is involved. It just gets vacuumed up.

While exactly how many Americans have their communications monitored this way is unknown , we know these Republican Trump supporters and staffers were caught up in surveillance authorized by a Democratic administration (no evidence of incidental surveillance of the Clinton campaign exists). Election-time claims that the Obama administration wasn't " wiretapping " Trump were disingenuous. They in fact gathered an unprecedented level of inside information. How was it used?

Incidental collection nailed Michael Flynn : the NSA was ostensibly not surveilling Flynn, just listening in on the Russian ambassador as the two spoke. The embarrassing intercept formed the basis for Flynn's firing as Trump's national security advisor, his guilty plea for perjury, and very possibly his "game-changing" testimony against others.

Jeff Sessions was similarly incidentally surveilled, as was former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon , whose conversations were picked up as part of a FISA warrant issued against Trump associate Carter Page . Paul Manafort and Richard Gates were also the subjects of FISA-warranted surveillance: they were surveilled in 2014, the case was dropped for lack of evidence, and then they were re-surveilled after they joined the Trump team and became more interesting to the state.

Officials on the National Security Council revealed that Trump himself may also have been swept up in the surveillance of foreign targets. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, claims multiple communications by Trump transition staff were inadvertently picked up. Trump officials were monitored by British GCHQ with the information shared with their NSA partners. Some reports claim that after a criminal warrant was denied to look into whether or not Trump Tower servers were communicating with a Russian bank, a FISA warrant was issued.

How much information the White House may have acquired on Trump's political strategy, as well as the full story of what might have been done with that information, will never be known. We do know that the director of national intelligence Dan Coats saw enough after he took office to specify that the "intelligence community may not engage in political activity, including dissemination of U.S. person identities to the White House, for the purpose of affecting the political process of the United States."

Coats likely had in mind the use of unmasking by the Obama administration. Identities of U.S. persons picked up inadvertently by surveillance are supposed to be masked, hidden from most users of the data. However, a select group of officials, including political appointees in the White House, can unmask and include names if they believe it is important to understanding the intelligence, or to show evidence of a crime.

Former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice told House investigators in at least one instance she unmasked the identities of Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner , and Steve Bannon. Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power , also made a number of unmasking requests in her final year in office.

But no one knows who unmasked Flynn in his conversations with the Russian ambassador. That and the subsequent leaking of what was said were used not only to snare Flynn in a perjury trap, but also to force him out of government. Prior to the leak that took Flynn down, Obama holdover and then-acting attorney general Sally Yates warned Trump that Flynn could be blackmailed by Moscow for lying about his calls. When Trump didn't immediately fire Flynn, the unmasked surveillance was leaked by a "senior government official" (likely Yates ) to the Washington Post . The disclosure pressured the administration to dump Flynn.

Similar leaks were used to try to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, though they only resulted in him recusing himself from the Russiagate investigation. Following James Comey's firing, that recusal ultimately opened the door for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller.

A highly classified leak was used to help marginalize Jared Kushner. The Washington Post , based on leaked intercepts, claimed foreign officials' from four countries spoke of exploiting Kushner's economic vulnerabilities to push him into acting against the United States. If the story is true, the leakers passed on data revealing sources and methods; those foreign officials now know that, however they communicated their thoughts about Kushner, the NSA was listening. Access to that level of information and the power to expose it is not a rank-and-file action. One analyst described the matter as "the Deep State takes out the White House's Dark Clown Prince."

Pervasive surveillance has shown its power perhaps most significantly in creating perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others.

Trump associate George Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about several meetings concerning Clinton's emails. The FBI knew about the meetings, " propelled in part by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British and Dutch." The feds asked him questions solely in the hope that Papadopoulos would commit perjury, even though there was nothing shown to be criminal about the meetings themselves. Now guilty of a crime, the FBI will use the promise of a light punishment to press Papadopoulos into testifying against others.

There is a common thread here of using surveillance to create a process crime out of a non-material lie (the FBI already knew) where no underlying crime of turpitude exists (the meetings were legal). That this is then used to press someone to testify in an investigation that will have a significant political impact seems undemocratic -- yet it appears to be a primary tool Mueller is using.

This is a far cry from a traditional plea deal, giving someone a light sentence for actual crimes so that they will testify against others. Mueller should know. He famously allowed Mafia hitman Sammy the Bull to escape more serious punishment for 19 first-degree murders in return for testimony against John Gotti. No need to manufacture a perjury trap; the pile of bodies that never saw justice did the trick.

Don't be lured into thinking the ends justify the means, that whatever it takes to purge Trump is acceptable. Say what you want about Flynn, Kushner, et al, what matters most is the dark process being used. The arrival of pervasive surveillance as a political weapon is a harbinger that should chill Americans to their cores.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR


SteveM March 6, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Pervasive surveillance has shown its power perhaps most significantly in creating perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others.

Key advice: Never talk to a cop. Never trust an agent of the Security State. They may still wreck your life, but at least you won't make it easy for them.

Al Boehnlein , says: March 6, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Are you really arguing that using surveillance on foreign agents and spies to catch and compel traders to testify against each other is bad????? Isn't that the way it is usually done?
Joe , says: March 6, 2018 at 11:18 pm
They do have the option of telling the truth.
Bruce Heilbrunn , says: March 6, 2018 at 11:31 pm
It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies. And don't tell me the government has no right to investigate what could be treason by the president and his staff. I know how you love Trump and Russia.
Clean Up Crew , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:06 am
I voted for Trump but now I'm completely disgusted with his failures and betrayals and won't vote for him again.

Setting that aside, it's starting to look to me like the Hillary campaign and allies in the Obama federal bureaucracy were spying on the Trump campaign.

They fully expected Hillary to win and therefore to be able to cover up what they were doing.

But then they lost, and now they're ginning up the Russia/national security angle to blow smoke over what's starting to look like the worst campaign skullduggery since Nixon and Watergate.

It needs to be investigated, and if there's any fire there, vigorously prosecuted. I don't give a damn about Trump anymore, but I give a damn about our democracy and system of government, and if it turns out that some government filth was spying on Trump's campaign, I want them arrested, prosecuted, and thrown in the darkest, dirtiest hole in our prison system. We can't have that kind of s***.

connecticut farmer , says: March 7, 2018 at 8:13 am
Reading this raises the following question: At what point does soft-core totalitarianism morph into hard-core totalitarianism?
Peter Van Buren , says: March 7, 2018 at 10:40 am
If I see one more variation on "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" in a comment my brain will explode. Anyone who writes that kind of thing ("Well maybe they shouldn't lie") is missing the point: our political process was surveilled and no one can control what happens to information gathered. Even if you think it good to "take down" Trump, the process will exist past him to be aimed at a future candidate you support.
SteveJ , says: March 7, 2018 at 10:58 am
"It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies."

Even if true, do you think it is fair for Flynn to be hit with felony charges for his "less than candid answers" with regard to politically and diplomatically sensitive phone calls to the Russian ambassador after the elections were over?

connecticut farmer , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:12 am
"if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"

Sound familiar? The Fifties. When the so-called McCarthyites were peddling this line–to howls of derision from the Left.

Thaomas , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:36 am
Republicans created this mess in their desire to make "security" a partisan issue after 9/11. If they now regret it and wish to undo the mess, more power to them!
MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:49 am
Peter: "If I see one more variation on 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' in a comment my brain will explode."

The Left used to be vociferously in favor of privacy rights. I took note during the Obama years that it really only mattered for abortion and library books, nothing beyond that.

But a thought experiment: How many progressives, for that matter how many Black and Hispanic Americans would be comfortable with the following government requirements:

– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have your name and current address on file at all times.
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a key to your home at all times.
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a tracking device on your car or your person at all times.

If you have nothing to hide, you should have no objections to any of those requirements.

Any takers?

Gerard , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:50 am
[[It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies.]]

Even easier: Be a Democrat, preferably the Party's presidential candidate, and then it doesn't matter whether you tell lies or commit felonies because the corrupt Deep State-lib-Dem-media alliance will hold you safely above the law.

kimp , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm
Even in the midst of all of this, the ongoing ability to continue to spy on our own citizens was recently voted on and passed overwhelmingly, with large bipartisan support. Save your crocodile tears now.
Will Harrington , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm
Bruce Heilbrunn

Russia is not an enemy of the United States despite all the hoopla about how eeeevil they are, we are not at war. Treason is not on the table unless you, you know, amend the constitution, or abandon it, or something.

mark_be , says: March 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm
@MM: apart from the key to your house (and even that might be questionable if you have certain "smart" appliances), you are describing Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and/or Microsoft. Adding Federal Government to that list isn't as much of a jump as you seem to believe.
BobS , says: March 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm
"The arrival of pervasive surveillance as a political weapon is a harbinger that should chill Americans to their cores."

Thankfully J. Edgar Hoover practiced his job with restraint.
That being said, while there is certainly a need for improvement of the FISA program (sadly, the 'principled' Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, Matt Gaetz, et al., missed their opportunity in January when they voted for reauthorization), those individuals caught in the web "by accident" were regularly communicating with targets of legitimately obtained warrants. It was their choice to subsequently lie.
With respect to their "unmasking", it doesn't seem unreasonable that policy makers in the White House should have knowledge of their identity (even in the politicized environment of a presidential campaign), especially when there's the taint of influence of an adversarial government and/or organized crime on a potential POTUS.

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:15 pm
BobS: "Especially when there's the taint of influence of an adversarial government and/or organized crime on a potential POTUS."

How about an actual POTUS?

Can it be presumed the DOJ and FBI had President Obama under similar surveillance?

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm
mark_be: "Adding Federal Government to that list isn't as much of a jump as you seem to believe."

No, federal, state, and local *law enforcement*, that's what I put forth

Are you comfortable with that leap, personally? You know, jumping over probable cause and due process?

Youknowho , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm
It is amazing how many law and order Conservatives start screaming about abuses of power, and targeting specific people when they are the ones at the receiving end.

As a rule, if they did defended the police when the subject was racial profiling, they get to shut up on the subject now.

(Maybe they SHOULD team up with Black Lives Matter..)

b. , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm
We have come a long way from the reactionary and authoritarian chants of "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" in the lead-up and then wake of the sarcastically name PATRIOT Act.

Surveillance and monitoring are, like all other "national securities" spending, primarily profit extraction driven public-private "partnerships", but the major point here always was "if you build it, they will use it".

That, too, is the foundational criticism driving Global Zero and the insistence that Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty be honored by all signatory nuclear powers.

The basic principle of any evolutionary stable open society based on checks and balances is that no self-inflating institutions and power centers are permissible – whether that is inbred, networked multi-generational wealth, incorporated power such as financial institutions, or specific government institutions, such as the military, the "intelligence" agencies etc.

Of course, the whole idea of having secret courts applying secret law in secret decisions without adversary parties, and no mandatory disclosure after the fact, is also fundamentally incompatible with the idea of transparency and accountability, without which free speech and elections are little more than a travelling circus and a vehicle for advertising profit.

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm
mark_be: Sorry, I meant to include fingerprints and DNA samples in that list of items for all levels of law enforcement to retain on file on every American.

How does that sound to you?

Youknowho , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm
@Will Harrington:

Any government whose interests clash with ours must be considered a potential enemy – not enough to go to war, of course, but to be wary of what steps they may take to protect their interests and thwart ours.

As for Russia, alas, she is known for playing very dirty. Before there was a KGB, there was an Okhrana, among whose achievements was the writing and disemination of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Anyone who thinks that because they are no longer communists they Russians are nice guys lives in a fool's paradise

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:53 pm
YKW: "As a rule, if they did defended the police when the subject was racial profiling, they get to shut up on the subject now."

There is no such rule in a free society. People are within their rights to be as hypocritical and inconsistent as they like.

But if there were such a rule, where are the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party? Why aren't they castigating DOJ abuse of power in the previous administration?

Why are neoconservatives and Bush era creeps like Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden darlings of the Left?

[Mar 02, 2018] China alternative to neoliberal democracy

The model Xi adopted is the USSR model. And we know how it ended. Such a country has immense danger that after competent and honest leaders something like Chinese variant of incompetent weaklings like Gorbachov emerged. At this point all bets are off.
The same danger exists for Russia.
This praise for Xi should be viewed with a big grain of salt; people change while in power and most often for worse.
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

Godfree Roberts , • Website

March 2, 2018 at 9:52 am GMT
"Xi Jinping just changed China's constitution to allow him to be dictator for life"?

Come, come, Pat. While American Presidents hire and fire their administrative teams, make war, pardon, imprison or assassinate enemies Chinese leaders, even Mao, are board chairmen only. They can set agenda and direct discussion but, ultimately, must follow to the votes of the seven-man Steering Committee, none of whom they chose or can dismiss–and virtually all Steering Committee decisions are unanimous.

A little background might quieten the heavy breathing. America has term limits for the same reason the Chinese do: both countries' governing elites found that their most capable leaders–Roosevelt and Mao–were sympathetic to ordinary citizens–who returned their affections.

There are no 'term limits' in the CCP. The most-quoted rule of thumb for membership in the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, the top collective leadership group from which General Secretaries are selected, is 'seven up/eight down': cadres up to 67 years can advance to the PSC and become general secretary and must otherwise retire: Deng Xiaoping creatively interpretated this principle of leadership renewal to get rid of his rival/nuisance at the time, 68-year-old Li Ruihuan.

Deng then selected (or pre-positioned) every General Secretary prior to Xi–including Hu Jintao, who became general secretary in 2002, fifteen years after Deng died. But, though he was a close and loyal friend of Xi's father, Deng did not select Xi, who will be 68 on June 15, 2021, a year before his second term ends.

Xi must do a double job. Looking back, he must fulfill the goals Deng set in 1980: complete the Reform and Opening program–a 40-year overhaul of China's economy–by 2020. Looking forward, he must ensure–as Deng did–that he formulates and launches the next 40-year program auspiciously, especially since it will be a return to China's socialist roots.

Xi never needed to 'consolidate power' nor has he needed to add to his Constitutional power since his accession. He was born famous, to one of China's most beloved and admired men, his first job out of college was Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He laid down a stellar, 25-year governance record, has always been famously honest (Lee Kwan Yew called him, "China's Nelson Mandela" and immensely competent.

Xi's doing a stellar job, which make keeping him on a no-brainer: In his first term he raised all wages and pensions by 50%, made corruption unprofitable, made China militarily impregnable and launched the Belt and Road Initiative, among many other accomplishments.

According to a recent World Values Survey, 96% of Chinese expressed confidence in their government (compared to 37% of Americans). Likewise, 83% of Chinese think their country is run for everyone's benefit rather than for a few big interest groups (36% of Americans thought the same). http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSData.jsp?Idioma=I+(http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSData.jsp?Idioma=I)

And according to the Edelman 2016 Report, 80–90% of Chinese trust their government, the highest trust level of any national government. https://www.slideshare.net/EdelmanAPAC/2016-edelman-trust-barometer-china-english?qid=c13f229d-8a8f-4a93-bce8-aeb779e8cc70&v=&b=&from_search=1 .

When people are asked if they agree with the statement "most people can be trusted, "Chinese interpersonal trust is as high as Sweden's. https://ourworldindata.org/trust

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, "Nine in ten Chinese are happy with the direction of their country (87%), feel good about the current state of their economy (91%) and are optimistic about China's economic future (87%)". http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/3/

In 1980 Deng Xiaoping set 2020 as the completion date for his Reform and Opening program–a 40-year overhaul of China's economy.

On June 1, 2021 President Xi will announce that all Deng's goals have been reached and a basic xiaokang society established: no one is poor and everyone receives an education, has paid employment, more than enough food and clothing, access to medical services, old-age support, a home and a comfortable life. (No other country can make this claim).

Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew (who served for 30 years with no term limits!) described the primary responsibility of a government leader to "Paint his vision of the future to his people, translate that vision into policies which he must convince the people are worth supporting and, finally, galvanize them to help him implement them,"

A month after becoming President, in 2012, Xi painted his vision for Two Centennials: to fix inequality ('socialist modernization') by 2012 and to transform China into 'a great modern socialist country, prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful' by 2049.

American Nobelist Robert Fogel says China will definitely be prosperous: its economy will be twice the size of Europe's and America's combined in 2049.

Because he must paint China's new vision, colleagues granted Xi 'core leader' status in 2017 and amended the constitution in 2018 so he and PM can serve another term and make sure the new era gets off to a good start.

[Mar 02, 2018] Bernie is a fraud and Trump is the only real opposition to the entrenched neocon thieves and murderers in Washington

the problem with the clain that "Bernie is a fraud and Trump is the only real opposition to the entrenched neocon thieves and murderers in Washington"this that Trump quickly became neocon in foreign policy.
While Bernie of course proved to be not a fighter and he just gave Hillary the top spot without any fighting. I started to suspect that he is a "corral dog" from the moment he dismissed "private email server" scandal. Moreover he tried to crush the fighting that his supporters intent to launch. In this sense he is still a fraud.
But Trump himself was quickly neutered (in just three month) and now does not represents "Trumpism" (rejection of neoliberal globalization, unrestricted immigration for suppression of wages, rejection of elimination of jobs via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing, rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in Middle east, detente with Russia etc) in any meaningful way. He is just an aging Narcissist in power.
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , March 1, 20 18 at 3:56 am GMT

CPAC shows the conservative grassroots are with the president and that the Beltway elites are cowed.

I was good with Kucinich and Nader. I'm neither Conservative nor Republican. I voted for McGovern. Yet I am a card carrying deplorable. Bernie is a fraud and Trump is the only real opposition to the entrenched thieves and murderers in Washington. Your Conservative grass roots have a significant cohort of fellow travelers. Trump could not have won the upper midwest without us.

I thought Trump's offer of amnesty in exchange for moving toward a sane immigration policy WAS leadership. It's easier to stop immigration than to reverse it. And he exposed the Democrats. They have lost the dreamers as a political tool.

Where Trump is losing me is with his stupid and dangerous foreign policy. That's where I would like to see some leadership.

[Mar 02, 2018] Neocon schumer plays identity politics

Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , March 2, 2018 at 2:59 am GMT

Don't worry about republicans ..democrats are ruining themselves all alone .every time the deplorables see something like this they will double down on anything but a Dem.
Regardless of one's view on blacks or whites this is a major Stupid for a politician.

Chuck Schumer votes against South Carolina federal judge nominee because he's white

https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/chuck-schumer-votes-against-s-c-judicial-nominee-because-he/article_8b9f1890-1d6b-11e8-8533-0f7cc33319a9.html

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected President Donald Trump's nominee for a long-vacant South Carolina federal judgeship not because of his qualifications but because of his race.
The decision drew the quick ire of South Carolina's two U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, a former federal prosecutor.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday he would not support Greenville attorney Marvin Quattlebaum for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court in South Carolina

Voting for Quattlebaum, he said, would result in having a white man replace two African-American nominees from the state put forth by former President Barack Obama.

Schumer said he would not be a part of the Trump administration's pattern of nominating white men.

"The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump's selections for the federal judiciary," Schumer said.

"It's long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents," he continued. "Having a diversity of views and experience on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice."

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, pushed back on Schumer's rationale and urged other Senate Democrats to instead address diversity issues by starting with their offices.

"Perhaps Senate Democrats should be more worried about the lack of diversity on their own staffs than attacking an extremely well-qualified judicial nominee from the great state of South Carolina," Scott tweeted Thursday morning.

[Feb 27, 2018] Shall we check on Lisa Monaco?

Notable quotes:
"... How many unmaskings were done by Lisa Monaco, who worked with Jeh Johnson who wanted to unmask the bad actors? ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com

jeans2nd , February 25, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Anyone up for a story? It is going on bedtime somewhere, so why not?
Full disclosure – have not read all the comments (Incorrigibly Deplorable mind elsewhere).

Shall we check on Lisa Monaco? Chris Farrell says Lisa Monaco was the Trump Administraton's Homeland Security Director in the vid above (2:17).

No. Gen John Kelly was Trump Administration Sec of Homeland Security 20 Jan 2017 to 31 Jul 2017 (Wikipedia). Farrell obviously meant Obama Administration.

Monaco's title was Homeland Security Advisor 8 Mar 2013 – 20 Jan 2017, not Secretary of Homeland Security (Wikipedia).
Lisa Monaco was DOJ NSD AAG before John Carlin took over, 1 Jul 2011 – 8 Mar 2013. Monaco was Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno.
Monaco obviously had DOJ-NSD ties. Monaco's JD is from Univ of Chicago. Where did Obama teach Constitutional Law? Univ of Chicago, iirc. There is much more at Wikipedia.

Working from the PBS youtube uploads of the PBS series "The Putin Files" (25 Oct 2017), as well as Joe Biden at the CFR, the Intel Community's presentation for the Gang of 8 7 Aug 2016 on "Russian hacking" was a Really Big Deal (have listened to hours and hours of these PBS-Putin vids – these people are nutz). The idea was to get the Gang of 8 to sign on to a bi-partisan statement declaring Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC, the DCCC, Podesta, Clinton, etc. The GOPe was reticent, and rightly so. (More on that in a sec.) This was a week before the RNC 2016 Convention.
(a search for these files is easily done, rather than embedding a ton of links – search for "youtube PBS The Putin Files")

Back to our story. Lisa Monaco.

Let us ask Obama Deputy Secretary of State and former Deputy National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken, shall we?

42:58 "And so in August (7 Aug 2016), Brennan, and other leaders in the Intelligence community, as well as our top Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the White House, Lisa Monaco, went to Capitol Hill to talk to the leadership, about what we had learned and what we were seeing."

Lisa Monaco was "our top Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the White House," not Homeland Security, during the 2016 campaign. Our top, mind you.

Jeh Johnson was Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security. Shall we ask Jeh Johnson?

33:00 "There was a session on Capitol Hill, in their SKIF, in their classified briefing room. It was me, Lisa Monaco, and Jim Comey. And, they were all there, the Speaker, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader Reed, the Chair and Ranking of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Intel Committees, and all the Homeland Security Committees, they were all there. And, we briefed them again on what we knew."

Lisa Monaco was in the White House, Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, "our top," even. Lisa Monaco was in on this from the start, before 7 Aug 2016.

The GOPe leaders were reticent to sign on to that bi-partisan agreement, and did not do so until mid-Sept 2016. Why?

The PBS interviewer speaking with Jeh Johnson obviously was a Russian plant.

34:15 "The way the story has been reported is that the Republicans, and McConnell specifically, (garbled, may be the word "eventually") said, I don't see the evidence."

Huh. Imagine that. And there was still was no evidence in the ICA Report. Blast those Deplorables.

Jeh Johnson did not see that, either. The GOPe intentions, and all that.

Apologies. The Incorrigibly Deplorable mind goes to Deplorable places.

Back to our story. Our top whatsit, Lisa Monaco. Unmaskings.

Staying with Jeh Johnson –

39:25 "My preference was that, however we responded, we respond with some things that were cyber-security related, so that part of our steps should be effectively unmasking the bad actors so that they couldn't do it again, outing them, effectively, and that was part of what we did the actions we did, we took within the last month of our Administration "

Unmaskings, huh? Who was doing the unmaskings?

Samantha Power said she was not doing all the bazillon unmaskings that were done in her name.

Oh yes. Anthony Blinken, former Deputy National Security Advisor, was Deputy Secretary of State at that time.

How many unmaskings were done by Lisa Monaco, who worked with Jeh Johnson who wanted to unmask the bad actors?

Lisa Monaco was White House Counterterrorism and Homeland Security. Lisa Monaco was also very experienced in cyber-security (Wikipedia).

The FBI was running a counterintelligence operation. But Lisa Monaco was also Homeland Security Advisor. Lisa Monaco would have every reason to be read into FBI counterintelligence investigations, if one includes the emphasis the Obama White House was presenting at the time, which was cyber-security and Russia's hacking.

Odds are Lisa Monaco was in on the John Brennan-Obama meeting in July 2016, as well as the PDB and all the National Security meetings.

The FBI counterintelligence unit had that FISA Title I thingy going on with DOJ National Security Division. Just like John Brennan had outlined to Obama (PBS vids, detailed in comment couple three days ago). And we know National Security Advisor Susan Rice was unmasking Trump people.
Lisa Monaco did not need to unmask. Others were doing the unmaskings. Laundering unmaskings. Pretty clever, yes?

Go back to the Chris Farrell vid, 02:23 to 03:24 – "She (Lisa Monaco) appears in the notes and calender of Andy McCabe in May of 2016, and if you note back a couple weeks, you remember that there's a text from Page saying that Andy McCabe and Strzok, her friend or boyfriend, that the White House wanted to know everything that they were doing. And so you see that there's contact in May, and then in August you see that the counterintelligence investigation that's opened on the Trump Campaign gets a nickname, they call it Latitude, and it's tied back apparently to Lisa Monaco And who in the White House was managing that? And it appears, it's likely, that it is Lisa Monaco."

Monaco was counterterrorism, not counterintelligence, should one care to get really down in the weeds. Does that matter? Doubtful. The Obama emphasis was originally cyber-security, and Monaco was the Obama cyber-security expert put forward at the time.

Back to our story.
Jake Sullivan was in the Clinton Campaign. What did Jake Sullivan know about FBI investigations? Shall we ask PajamaJake?
47:50 "We heard very late in the day, very late in the process, with just days to go before the election, that there might be some kind of investigation Into the Trump campaign involving the FBI, and we flagged what we were hearing for a variety of reporters who were all told, no that's not true that's not happening. We know now in fact it was true and it was happening, but nobody was able to establish it in the closing days of the campaign."

The Clinton campaign knew about the FBI investigation into the Trump Campaign before the 8 Nov 2016 election. How did Clinton know? McCabe. Wifey. McAuliff.

One last question. Staying with the little weaselly PajamaBoi Jake Sullivan (what a wuss) –
51:57 "The (Trump) White House directed the State Department to essentially draw up a game plan for the lifting of (Russian) sanctions. State Department pushed back hard "

Oh really? Who is leaking from the State Department, one wonders.

Oh yes, Antony Blinken was Deputy Secretary of State. When, exactly, did Anthony Blinken leave the State Department?
Wikipedia says Blinken left the State Department 20 Jan 2017 and was succeeded by John Sullivan. Blinken is now a Global Affairs Analyst for CN&N .
John Sullivan has been working very well with Sec Tillerson by all accounts, and has announced his future retirement.

This Deplorable did not care enough to look up the whereabouts of any of the others. No doubt they are all fomenting our Grande Revolutione somewhere.

Hopefully this is not too convoluted. One's mind has been designated one of the crazies' disaster areas and condemned. There is so much more, but no one would read it anyway.

The Brennan and Podesta stories from those PBS-Putin vids are much too repulsive and frightening for a bedtime story, so we shall save those for summer-round-the-campfire ghost stories.
Nightnight.

[Feb 27, 2018] There is no cavalry coming in persecution of FBI and Justice Department Mayberry Machiavellians

Notable quotes:
"... There is no cavalry coming. I do not think that a DOJ prosecutor working in conjunction with the OIG is suddenly going to appear and hand out indictments at high levels. I do not expect to suddenly awake to find that Sessions has had a grand jury in play all the time. If you think Rosenstein is a white hat, then I have some land west of Miami I'd love to sell you, and you should long ago have been able to gain a measure of Jeff Sessions' spine. These are the ONLY two people who can trigger the necessary DOJ/FBI/State prosecutions. ..."
"... Mueller is a made-man in DC and no one will touch him right now. He is the only hope of the Democrat Party, the massive lobbyist establishment, and the pay-to-play RINOs they support. He has a mission and is protected by the full force of the swamp. ..."
"... He is steadily building a conspiracy case against PDJT that will most likely exploit Jared Kushner's ignorant naivety ..."
"... Conspiracy charges are virtually impossible to defend against. Once Mueller has leveled one against PDJT, there is no window for recovery. It will dominate the news cycle well into the midterms, and cripple any chance of the GOP holding both chambers. We all know what happens after that; auntie Maxine has been screaming it every day. ..."
"... SD can only expose the corruption. It is up to our Justice system to prosecute them. I believe that will never happen. There will be investigations on it for years, until the masses forget, and the next season of "dances with stars" comes on. There are examples of proof in my statements such as the IRS/Lerner felonies, Bengazi, etc. ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com

Pelicansview , February 25, 2018 at 1:24 pm

We all know what happened. We all know what should be done. But, being a consummate skeptic, here's what I think.

There is no cavalry coming. I do not think that a DOJ prosecutor working in conjunction with the OIG is suddenly going to appear and hand out indictments at high levels. I do not expect to suddenly awake to find that Sessions has had a grand jury in play all the time. If you think Rosenstein is a white hat, then I have some land west of Miami I'd love to sell you, and you should long ago have been able to gain a measure of Jeff Sessions' spine. These are the ONLY two people who can trigger the necessary DOJ/FBI/State prosecutions.

Mueller is a made-man in DC and no one will touch him right now. He is the only hope of the Democrat Party, the massive lobbyist establishment, and the pay-to-play RINOs they support. He has a mission and is protected by the full force of the swamp.

He is steadily building a conspiracy case against PDJT that will most likely exploit Jared Kushner's ignorant naivety as one element of the fetid deal, along with the losers he has already collected in his slippery net. And while we laugh at the ridiculousness of the 13-Russians he indicted, think of them rather, as an open invitation for Putin to direct a few of them to be patriots and "testify" in the manner he instructs. If you were Putin, wouldn't you?

Conspiracy charges are virtually impossible to defend against. Once Mueller has leveled one against PDJT, there is no window for recovery. It will dominate the news cycle well into the midterms, and cripple any chance of the GOP holding both chambers. We all know what happens after that; auntie Maxine has been screaming it every day.

There is nothing complex about Mueller's strategy. There is certainly plenty of evidence to expose it and disrupt it before it is fully executed. But, barring a complete reversal of Sessions' or Rosenstein's behavior, I am not at present very hopeful.

davidb , February 25, 2018 at 2:18 pm
@ Harleyd, Bill, BillR, and Pelicansview. I must fully agree with all your remarks. SD has done a outstanding job of bring forth information that would have never been in print anywhere.

SD can only expose the corruption. It is up to our Justice system to prosecute them. I believe that will never happen. There will be investigations on it for years, until the masses forget, and the next season of "dances with stars" comes on. There are examples of proof in my statements such as the IRS/Lerner felonies, Bengazi, etc.

The AG said he wasn't going to pursue a criminal investigation. Everything will blow over soon as the Repukes have decided (or their masters have) to intensionally loose their majority in CONgress, and elect some more Uniparty, Collins/Juan Mcain, type politicians to undermine Trump.

[Feb 27, 2018] I think we may have all been played. We are talking about sedition, if not treason, here. But...

Looks like people in "alt-right" started to distrust key institutions of neoliberal society. Oh wait... "Net, this may well be a clever Swamp strategy. Get Patriots' expectations high, and then dash them. And make a lot of "click bait" money in the process."
Notable quotes:
"... the long promised DOJ IG report. It was originally promised here on Jan. 15 and now, who knows when. It has been repeatedly predicted to be the MOAB we are all waiting for. While it has been delayed several times, I still had hope. ..."
"... "Representative Ratcliffe was on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo where he said IG report is expected to be out in about a month. Ratcliffe expects IG report to reveal significant departures of policy and protocol by FBI and DOJ." ..."
"... Here we go again. We are being "softened up" for a typical bureaucratic "nothing burger". How many times have we heard: "Mistakes were made but we will do better in the futur ..."
"... We are talking about sedition, if not treason, here. There is more than enough evidence on the table to start holding these criminals to account. And yet nothing has happened (except Mueller continuing to shred Trump associates). Not one indictment of a significant Swamper, despite 27 leak investigations and who knows what else. ..."
"... Net, this may well be a clever Swamp strategy. Get Patriots' expectations high, and then dash them. And make a lot of "click bait" money in the process. ..."
"... many may be afraid to admit it to avoid being labelled "concern trolls". How much more delaying are you willing to tolerate. Right into the middle of the mid terms? By then, it's "Game Over" and we're on to Impeachment. ..."
"... Inaction is masquarading as patience ..."
"... I question everything and everyone. I never bought into this IG report to bring down the house. Between Rogers, Sessions, Wray, Flynn, Nunes, grassley, Jordan , Horowitz and POTUS himself, there is enough known to have taken some action on someone for something. With each passing day of "patience", my hope diminshes ..."
"... I agree with Harleyd – With all that is currently known, there should have already been major action by the DOJ. ..."
"... And, the crooked main stream media will not even mention the report! The UniParty will shortly say that President Trump was an anomaly only to be read in history books. ..."
"... I couldn't agree more. Unless Mueller is neutered, the outlook is grim. ..."
"... What was promised on Jan 15 happened ! The IG released thousands of pages to Goodlatte's committee. It was what started the ball rolling with the text massages and and awareness of the deliberate "Insurance policy" concept. ..."
"... Since then 7-8 high level FBI and DOJ have been moved, resigned and replaced -- and talk of widespread corruption in upper levels of FBI, DOJ became part of the news. Then came the Nunes memo -- and public awareness that -- just maybe -- the President had been set up by political use of the FISA court. ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com

Harleyd, February 25, 2018 at 1:10 pm

As many hours as I've spent on this site, and as much as I respect SD's intelligence and writing ability, I think we may have all been played.

As background, politically, I'm slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. And I not only have followed the Treehouse, I've followed several Twitter posters with seemingly "inside" information and insight. We all know who they are.

But I've grown tired of all the "predictions of immediate revelations" that have not come to pass. Daily, breathless, predictions of a big bomb about to drop have strung out into weeks, and now months.

The more us true believers in PDJT are led to believe "TRUTH" and the "RULE OF LAW" are just around the corner, only to be advised of a delay or to have the subject changed, the more we (whether we admit it or not) become discouraged and demoralized. I fear that's part of the plan.

I know. Patience, grasshopper. Well patience was apparently what the Sheriffs in Florida had as they cowered outside the school while kids were blown apart by a known madman with known firearms and a known agenda. Patience, my a$$.

I could list all the "predictions" that have not come true, either here or on key Twitter accounts, but I would just be demoralizing you more.

The one thing that has kept me going, beyond PDJT's constant and inspiring efforts on all our behalfs, is the long promised DOJ IG report. It was originally promised here on Jan. 15 and now, who knows when. It has been repeatedly predicted to be the MOAB we are all waiting for. While it has been delayed several times, I still had hope.

But now, I see this comment from Tex. Rep. Ratcliffe:

"Representative Ratcliffe was on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo where he said IG report is expected to be out in about a month. Ratcliffe expects IG report to reveal significant departures of policy and protocol by FBI and DOJ."

Here we go again. We are being "softened up" for a typical bureaucratic "nothing burger". How many times have we heard: "Mistakes were made but we will do better in the futur e".

I have an admission to make. I personally committed departures from policy and protocol this morning as I didn't fully stop at a stop sign while on my way for newspapers and coffee.

We are talking about sedition, if not treason, here. There is more than enough evidence on the table to start holding these criminals to account. And yet nothing has happened (except Mueller continuing to shred Trump associates). Not one indictment of a significant Swamper, despite 27 leak investigations and who knows what else.

Net, this may well be a clever Swamp strategy. Get Patriots' expectations high, and then dash them. And make a lot of "click bait" money in the process.

I hope to be proven wrong. But until somebody actually indicts a crook, I'm assuming this is all part of the Swamp's plan to skate.

I suspect more than a few of you agree with me. But many may be afraid to admit it to avoid being labelled "concern trolls". How much more delaying are you willing to tolerate. Right into the middle of the mid terms? By then, it's "Game Over" and we're on to Impeachment.

Now or never. Put up or shut up.

Amos The Prophet , February 25, 2018 at 1:44 pm
To coin a phrase, I feel your pain. Now, if only Jeff Sessions were alive, this mess would have been cleaned up ages ago. We'll just have to wait for another "Top Cop" to be appointed or for kindly ole Jeff to be reborn.

Like Liked by 1 person

Oldschool , February 25, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Harleyed, I agree with most of what you say. Inaction is masquarading as patience and people are dying. I question everything and everyone. I never bought into this IG report to bring down the house. Between Rogers, Sessions, Wray, Flynn, Nunes, grassley, Jordan , Horowitz and POTUS himself, there is enough known to have taken some action on someone for something. With each passing day of "patience", my hope diminshes. I am sure many feel this way and 2018 will show just how many there are. The people will never be motivated to fight if their leaders don't.
Brant , February 25, 2018 at 2:28 pm
I do indeed hope. As I've noted a few times recently in my probable desperation pleadings, I would hope that enough of the good guys are pushing forward with major stuff if only to save their own skins. Nunes, Jordan, Grassley, etc. They have stuck their necks out so far and esp with Trump winning, if the republicans lose in November, deep state is going to make a very quick, obvious, and publicly terrible example of the few good guys. If dems win in November, fully expect January 2019 to be one of the most scary and dark times this country has ever faced .and it will not let up. I wouldn't be surprised if they go so far as to root out opposition at the state and district level. Deep state is going to make it so bad that no one will ever cross them again for generations .if ever.
Craig D , February 25, 2018 at 2:31 pm
I agree with Harleyd – With all that is currently known, there should have already been major action by the DOJ. The situation is essentially so bad, that we (The Conservative Tree House) cling to any ray of light (or positive news and debate if Jeff Sessions is good or bad). To anyone looking from the outside, we are pathetic. The OIG report will come out and say misdeeds have occurred and the DOJ will investigate and prosecute if necessary. And, the crooked main stream media will not even mention the report! The UniParty will shortly say that President Trump was an anomaly only to be read in history books.
Pelicansview , February 25, 2018 at 2:56 pm
I couldn't agree more. Unless Mueller is neutered, the outlook is grim.
Leapin , February 25, 2018 at 8:14 pm
Trump knows everything that was going on and has leverage on Mueller who is a compromised individual in his own right but also has a history of service to the country. Have faith.

The Demosocialists have already set up Mueller as having infallible integrity so they can't complain (although they will) when Trump is cleared. He will go with clear evidence of collusion against Trump instead of having "Trump's team" drag him thru the mud if he tries to falsely indict Trump. Manafort and Papa were basically Clinton plants. Tony Podesta goes down next.

Mark McQueen , February 25, 2018 at 3:41 pm
I suppose it depends on your perspective. Bombs HAVE been dropping. This article itself is FULL of bombs. Huge bombs. There are several other new investigations of previous matters pushed aside by Obama's DOJ that currently get little attention. The difference is the leaks have been plugged for the most part. There will be indictments and it will happen before the mid-terms.
NC PATRIOT , February 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm
What was promised on Jan 15 happened ! The IG released thousands of pages to Goodlatte's committee. It was what started the ball rolling with the text massages and and awareness of the deliberate "Insurance policy" concept.

Since then 7-8 high level FBI and DOJ have been moved, resigned and replaced -- and talk of widespread corruption in upper levels of FBI, DOJ became part of the news. Then came the Nunes memo -- and public awareness that -- just maybe -- the President had been set up by political use of the FISA court.

Please don't say nothing is being done. Your lack of strategic patience is underwhelming !

[Feb 27, 2018] Tucker Carlson The Populist Paladin of Primetime

I like his interview with Max Boot Tucker vs critic who calls him cheerleader for Russia - YouTube
Notable quotes:
"... Alan Pell Crawford is the author of ..."
"... , among other books. ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Carlson avoids both O'Reilly's hokeyness and Hannity's pro-Trump histrionics, instead drawing on his own strength as rapid-fire commentator and relentless interrogator -- that rare Grand Inquisitor with a boisterous sense of humor. Besides the obvious entertainment value, what's also worth following is how Carlson's own birthright conservatism (he says he has never gone through a "liberal phase") is a work in progress. He's increasingly willing -- sometimes eager -- to challenge positions sacrosanct to the Republican right, especially to neoconservatives. He drives neocons crazy, for example, with his opposition to the overseas militarism they support and with his skepticism about their fixation on the "Russian threat." That he is perfectly willing to irk the orthodox was on display at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference when he dared suggest that the New York Times , while liberal, is also a paper "that actually cares about accuracy." Boos followed, but he remained unfazed, lecturing his audience about how conservatives should care about getting their facts right, too.

He remains well within the ideological tent on many red meat controversies of the day, however, particularly on immigration, which he considers a factor in the troubling condition of many rural communities. It isn't the only factor, certainly, but it particularly animates Carlson these days. When Trump outraged polite society with his crude characterization of Haiti and African countries, Carlson countered that "almost every single person in America" in fact agrees with the president. "An awful lot of immigrants come to this country from other places that aren't very nice," he said. "Those places are dangerous. They're dirty, they're corrupt, and they're poor, and that's the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here, and you would too if you lived there."

As for the idea that "diversity is our strength," Carlson lit into Sen. Lindsey Graham for saying that America is "an idea, not defined by its people." This claim, Carlson said, might surprise the people who already live here, "with their actual families and towns and traditions and history and customs." It might also come as a surprise that "they're irrelevant to the success or failure of what they imagined was their country." If diversity is our strength, it must follow that "the less we have in common somehow the stronger we are. Is that true? We better hope it's true because we're betting everything on it."

In his attitudes toward "diversity," Carlson considers Graham not much different from his Northwest Washington neighbors. "My neighbors," he says, "don't understand why it is not a good idea to keep 'welcoming' untold thousands of low-income, poorly educated immigrants whose wage expectations are lower than those of Americans who are already here and are struggling to keep their jobs." Who is hurt most, he asks, by this competition for jobs? His answer: "Americans who are themselves poorly educated -- especially, I might add, African-Americans." Organized labor, a pillar of the Democratic Party for decades, always seemed to understand this. Bill Clinton -- "the last Democrat to recognize this problem and speak to the middle class" -- also understood it. "So why can't my neighbors?"

Carlson pauses, tosses another piece of Nicorette gum into his mouth, and laughs. It's not a bitter laugh, but one of seeming disbelief. While he can be abrupt and sometimes even brutal with guests on his nightly program, one-on-one he's good humored and ebullient. He's that way, according to those who know him, even during breaks with on-air guests he is about to behead. He is exceedingly pleasant company for a leisurely lunch at swank Bistro Bis near the Fox headquarters, within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol. (The former smoker orders a plate of cheeses, which seem not to interfere with the gum, which he says both "sharpens the intellect and calms you down at the same time. It's great.") His own office, with the kind of framed political memorabilia de rigueur in Washington, looks out on Union Station. His desk is spacious and well-worn; he likes to tell people "it was Millard Fillmore's," which is the kind of joke also de rigueur in Washington.

"I have a good life," he says. The pay is good, and there was a time he could not have afforded a sizeable house in Northwest Washington. After college, for example, he worked on the editorial staff of the now-defunct Policy Review , then owned by the Heritage Foundation. He also paid his dues as a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and, after that, The Weekly Standard . Back then, of course, he could not have afforded the five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath, 7,400-square-foot house he bought last July (purchase price: $3.895 million).

He likes his new neighbors -- and the nearby dog park. "My neighbors are intelligent and thoughtful people," he says, most of whom still have Obama stickers on their Priuses. "They think Trump is awful on immigration, and they don't see how anyone could possibly view the issue any differently. But that's because there is only one way that the issue touches them in their lives, and that is in terms of their household help. They worry about 'Margarita who has been with our family for years and the kids love her and we just want to know that she will be protected.' They aren't cynical. They really care about the legal status of their household help. I get that. They just don't see the issue in any larger social context."

♦♦♦

There is some irony here, given Carlson's family background. The son of a former president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, director of Voice of America, and ambassador to the African island republic of the Seychelles, this "primetime populist," as The Atlantic 's McKay Coppins calls him, is clearly a child of privilege. While he no longer sports bow-ties, he looks the part, with that well-scrubbedness we associate with boarding schools. (He went to St. George's in Middletown, Rhode Island.) On his mother's side, he is a descendant of St. George Tucker of Bermuda and Williamsburg, who straddled the 18th and 19th centuries, served as one of the first law professors at the College of William and Mary, and was stepfather of the acerbic Virginia Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke. "They thought of naming me St. George Tucker Carlson," he says. His stepmother is a Swanson frozen-food heiress and niece of Senator J. William Fulbright.

Though Carlson sees the irony, he's untroubled by it. "I grew up in the world I'm describing," he acknowledges. "I grew up in Georgetown. I know the way these people think. Look, there are very few poorly educated Honduran talk show hosts who are out to take my job."

Actually, there aren't a lot of well-educated, native-born Ivy Leaguers who pose much of a threat, either, given his current audience ratings. But Carlson knows from personal experience that the world he inhabits can be fickle. He has bounced around on cable news programs since 2000, when he went to work for CNN. In 2005, the channel cancelled his show, "Crossfire," and he was hired by MSNBC, where he hosted "Tucker," also dropped in 2008. Fox picked him up as a news contributor and eventually hired him as co-host of "Fox & Friends." "Tucker Carlson Tonight" debuted in November 2016. ("Sooner or later," he writes in his breezy 2003 memoir of his cable career, Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites , "just about everyone in television gets canned, usually without warning.")

Kelefa Sanneh writes in The New Yorker that Carlson has been doing cable news "for far too long to be considered a rising star," though he still seems like something of a fresh face. Liberals of course can't stand him -- and aren't likely to notice how his views have been changing. "I'm probably more liberal right now than I've ever been," he says. In prep school and at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, he considered the arrival of The American Spectator and Commentary "thrilling." For years he read those magazines "cover to cover," he says. "They were great, especially the Spectator , which had such spirit and published writers like P.J. O'Rourke and Andrew Ferguson. It's depressing to see how far both those once-great magazines have fallen."

Though Carlson supported the Iraq War when Bush initiated it, he later denounced it as "a total nightmare and a disaster, and I'm ashamed I went against my own instincts in supporting it. I'll never do it again. Never." He has also developed a contempt for much of neocon foreign policy -- and for some of its chief proponents. Back in July, a guest on his show was Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who once suggested that the troubled lands of Islam "cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets."

When Carlson told Boot that it was folly for the United States to have tried to oust Syria's Bashar al-Assad and that neocons (and Democrats) are wildly exaggerating the Russian threat, Boot accused Carlson of being a "cheerleader" for Russia, which Carlson called "grotesque." Boot professed indignation that Carlson was "yukking it up over the fact that Putin is interfering and meddling in our election process," and Carlson called it "odd coming from you, who really has been consistently wrong in the most flagrant and flamboyant way for over a decade."

Boot, who can take care of himself, held his own in the exchange, but some hapless "guests" find themselves in a mismatch. Carlson, who seems only too happy to press his advantage, can come off as a bit of a bully, especially when he bursts into derisive laughter. "To me, it's just cringe-making," Ferguson, now with The Weekly Standard , told The New Yorker . "You get some poor little columnist from the Daily Oregonian who said Trump was Hitler, and you beat the shit out of him for ten minutes."

Maybe so, but as the self-styled "sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink," Carlson deploys his well-honed tools of debate in a cause that many consider valuable, even indispensable -- especially in calling out the agents of foreign policy adventurism. Peter Beinart, late of The New Republic , anticipated something conservatives have yet to address but might need to soon. "In his vicious and ad hominem way," wrote Beinart in The Atlantic , "Carlson is doing something extraordinary: He's challenging the Republican Party's hawkish orthodoxy in ways anti-war progressives have been begging cable hosts to do for years [wading into] a debate between the two strands of thinking that have dominated conservative foreign policy for roughly a century." These two strands, presumably, are the long-dominant hawks and the still outnumbered non-interventionists troubled by the expansion of federal power that goes with those who seem to favor one war after another -- often fought simultaneously all over the globe.

This raises a question: Can you be a conservative if you don't embrace foreign policy interventionism? "Look,'' Carlson says, "if Bill Kristol is a conservative, I am not." Further, he suggests he actually isn't much of a conservative on some economic issues either. "I do not favor cutting tax rates for corporations, and I do not favor invading Iran," he says. Sometimes, he adds, "the hard left is correct. The biggest problem this country faces is income inequality, and neither the liberals nor the conservatives see it. There is a great social volatility that goes with inequality like we have now. Inequality will work under a dictatorship, maybe, but it does not work in a democracy. It is dangerous in a democracy. In a democracy, when there is inequality like this, the people will rise up and punish their elected representatives."

In fact, they did rise up, says Carlson, when they elected Trump in 2016. "There was no mystery to why Trump won. He was the only candidate speaking to the collapsing middle class. Conservatives do not understand the social consequences of economic inequality."

Carlson rarely leaves Democrats out of his sights for long, however. Yes, he will go after neocons, but he still directs plenty of firepower at the opposition party, which has only recently come to fear Russia as our "enemy" and uses this perceived threat to undermine President Trump. "Democrats cannot accept the fact that Trump is the president, so they have to find ways to tell themselves he really didn't win the election," Carlson says. "First, it was James Comey's fault. Now it is the Russians with their 'collusion.' The same crowd that for years made excuses for Stalin, now that the Soviet threat no longer exists, has decided that Russia is our 'great enemy.' The same people who for years were highly distrustful of the FBI and the intelligence agencies now accept on faith whatever comes out of them. It's a good thing Frank Church is no longer alive to see this."

Carlson's skeptical view of U.S. policy in the Middle East can be traced, at least in part, to 2006, which was a strange year in Carlson's life. That fall, he appeared on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and was the first contestant to be eliminated. (Even Jerry Springer did better.) In Carlson's defense, he was also doing his nightly MSNBC show "Tucker" at the time and had to miss his dancing classes because he was on assignment in Israel and Lebanon during the war between Israel and Hezbollah. While there, he also was the host of an MSNBC Special Report called "Mideast Crisis."

It is not clear what he learned on "Dancing with the Stars," but he learned a great deal, he says, in the Middle East. "First, the closer you get to any situation, at least in terms of these wars, the more confusing and complicated things are," he says. "Second, the consequences of your actions are never predictable." The United States toppled the Afghan government in 2001, "and 16 years and $1 trillion later, what do we have to show for it?" American diplomats, he reports, can't even drive the two miles from the airport in Kabul to our embassy because it's unsafe. "They have to take helicopters."

Carlson says that the rise of the brutal Islamists of ISIS was a direct result of the Iraq War, a clear example of the law of unintended consequences. "When you think about it," he says, "we are still suffering from the ill effects of World War I. The Austro-Hungarian archduke is assassinated, and the world is still feeling the effects. There are unforeseen consequences of any of these actions."

This concern about consequences sounds eminently conservative, even if a lot of conservatives don't want to hear it. Like their liberal counterparts, many neoconservatives have fallen under the spell of what Carlson considers the maddening optimism of the American people -- the view that we can take any situation around the world and improve it. "Something else you learn in the Middle East is that there are some really crummy places in the world," Carlson says, adding that Americans viewed Iraq's Saddam Hussein as such an evil leader that, no matter what followed, his overthrow would have to be an improvement. "Well, that is naïve," he says. "Things can always get worse. But Americans don't want to believe that, because we lack imagination and we want to help. And as for toppling dictatorships, we don't seem to realize that there's something worse than a dictatorship -- and that's anarchy. Because with anarchy, there can be a dictator in any neighborhood: anybody with an AK-47."

♦♦♦

Is Carlson oblivious to the threats confronting America and its allies? He doesn't think so, even if Boot and other neocons might make that claim. "Am I concerned about North Korea?" he asks. "Am I concerned about Iran? Let's put it this way. I am concerned about North Korea. I am concerned about Iran, but I am also concerned about Pakistan as a nuclear power. I'm concerned about a lot of things." When he hears that Iran is the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world, he asks how many Americans have been killed as a result of Iran-sponsored terrorism. Carlson's answer: "In the neighborhood of none, that's how many."

If Carlson's skepticism about the Iranian threat is still a minority view in Washington, he is used to having unpopular opinions. He seems comfortable taking on the establishment, as he defines it, whether the subject is Iran, Russia, immigration, or trade -- or Trump. When asked what he thinks of Steve Bannon, the president's erstwhile chief strategist who also deals in controversy, Carlson replies, "I don't think Bannon fully understands the ideas he espouses." But he adds: "I will say this for him: He has been brave enough to say that the people in charge in Washington don't know what they are doing, with respect to Iran and a lot else." The people making the decisions these days are the equivalent of day traders, "making it up as they go," Carlson says. "The private equity model is not good for the economy, and it is not good for the government or the American people. It's too shortsighted."

Like millions of other Americans, Carlson worries about the current administration, though not necessarily for the same reasons. "My concern is that Trump is actually weaker than most people realize," he says. "I don't worry about the people who go on TV and say Trump is a 'racist' and a 'fascist' and all that. They have no effect on the administration. The worry for me is the people who want to use Trump as a host to do things they want, like a war with Iran." Many of the people who advocated the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government, which posed the one real counterbalance to Iran, are now calling for American ground troops in the Islamic Republic -- "people like Max Boot, who calls anyone who disagrees with this idea a quisling."

Again the law of unintended consequences comes to mind for Carlson, as does the son he drives down U.S. Route 29 to visit in Charlottesville. "I'm against those people who want a war with Iran. Those are the people who might get my 20-year-old son killed in a war in Iran. Why would I favor that?"

Alan Pell Crawford is the author of How Not to Get Rich: The Financial Misadventures of Mark Twain , among other books.


Cosmin Visan February 26, 2018 at 8:29 pm

Carlson has emerged from a small bubble and moved into a slighter bigger bubble. This has an initial invigorating effect; but it only lasts until he bumps against the bigger bubble. This notion that America is a naive optimist looking to fix things but screwing up is very dear to AC conservatives. But it ain't true. Read that famous quote by Smedley Butler and you will have it in a nutshell.
Westy , says: February 26, 2018 at 9:33 pm
Tucker is good at provoking thought. As a (sorta) conservative reexamining (Reaganite) conservatism as it's been known.
Problem is, he's very short on coherent solutions. The rightist populists generally are. If 'the hard left is right, income inequality is the biggest problem', what is the solution to that other than trust in bigger govt and more collectivism? Protectionism is not going to reverse inequality, the opposite if anything. Nor is immigration restriction likely to, materially. Yes, immigration is a legitimate issue, and no not everyone who wants less is a 'racist'. But the economic as opposed to social impact of immigration is very easy to overstate.
Tucker is ultimately an example of a 'new kind of right' which simply lacks solutions other than those of the left. Why not just embrace the left if it's right about the 'main problem' and you have not other practical solution than those of the left? Maybe a left with less 'elitism' and 'snobbery'? Thought provoking but I'm not sure Tucker is really about anything other than style. It's again a problem of the populist right generally.
Leftophobe , says: February 26, 2018 at 9:53 pm
Tucker is not beholden to anyone. He is a true patriot and has a deep sadness for the loss of accuracy and dignity in American journalism.
somewhere east of falls church , says: February 26, 2018 at 2:20 am
"Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who once suggested that the troubled lands of Islam "cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.""

Boot is such a big, easy target, isn't he? "Jodhpurs and pith helmets" don't you know, preached by a Russian Jew with American citizenship for God's sake

Can't Boot see how pathetic and incongruous this mush sounds coming from a neocon's mouth? Particularly after the serial disasters they engineered in the Mideast? The best of the old Brit colonials (and there weren't that many) weren't just "self-confident", they were shrewd and surpassingly competent. And they didn't let punk client states call the shots. Nonetheless, to the extent that "jodhpurs and pith helmets" were responsible for turning the Middle East and large swathes elsewhere into despoiled ruin, I suppose Boot has got his wish.

How typical of a neocon to mistake attitude for substance and power for "enlightenment", eh?

I guess it's nice to have Boot for Carlson to kick around, and here's hoping Carlson continues to hark to "the People". More "the People" and less Boot would suit me just fine, and I'm one of precious few people who actually own jodhpurs and a pith helmet!

The sooner that the neocons are kicked out of the public square the better.

cka2nd , says: February 26, 2018 at 8:35 am
" the opposition party, which has only recently come to fear Russia as our 'enemy' 'The same crowd that for years made excuses for Stalin'"

I'm sorry Mr. Crawford, but which Democrats are you talking about who "only recently came to fear Russia as our 'enemy?'" The Democrats who prosecuted the Korean and Vietnam Wars? JFK, who campaigned on the lie of a "missile gap?" The Democrats who, while Nixon and Ford pursued Détente, organized rallies and sanctions to force the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate? Charlie Wilson and the other enthusiastic Democratic supporters of the mujahideen of Afghanistan? Bill Clinton, who happily pushed for NATO to include former members of the Warsaw Pact and former Soviet republics while supporting the economic rape of Russia and the collapse of not only its living standards but the longevity of its people's lives?

And, I'm sorry, but which liberals does Mr. Carlson think made excuses for Stalin? Hubert Humphrey? Adlai Stevenson? JFK? LBJ? Henry "Scoop" Jackson? Jimmy Carter, the man who gave the go-ahead to foment an Afghan civil war specifically to goad the Soviet Union to intervene?

I know Bernie Sanders isn't officially a Democrat, but he did run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and he called the late Hugo Chavez a "dead Communist dictator," which certainly seemed to fit very nicely into the mainstream of Democratic Party thinking about Stalin, Russia and Communism for the last 70 years.

Kawi , says: February 26, 2018 at 9:28 am
Max Boot held his own against Tucker? Boot was red-faced and sputtering. He had nothing to say, because his worldview is vapid. I rarely watch TV, but somehow I caught that exchange live, and it was deeply gratifying. Making it even better was the knowledge that there would be clips of it stored on youtube and elsewhere.

This portrait should have mentioned Carlson's essay from the beginning of 2016 asking what conservatives have gotten from the Republican establishment. It was superb.

We need more voices like Carlon's right now. Many more.

Paulb , says: February 26, 2018 at 10:00 am
Another difference: Bernie always uses the phrase "billionaire class" while Tucker uses the more accurate "ruling class." (See the terrific 2-19-18 episode.) But I hope he's careful. Remember what Schumer said a year ago: the intel agencies have "six ways from Sunday of getting back at you." (It would have been nice if one of our crack reporters asked him what he meant by that.)
Gray Liddell , says: February 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm
Tucker is the best. He does his homework and can confront, rhetorically, the diverse group of guests he has on. He does an excellent job of trying to keep the guests on topic. In our age of parrying questions, the Tuck continually zeros in on the salient discrepancies in the discussion. He does not bloviate like O'Reilly did.
Tucker does not toe the party line, he can wonder, out loud why we are fighting these endless wars?
It must take a lot of work to familiarize yourself with all the varying subjects that go in to one night of 'Tucker Carlson'. Lets hope he is on TV for another ten or twenty years.
Tight lines to Tucker.

[Feb 26, 2018] It looks like Christopher Steele's real role was laundering information which had been obtained through continued Inquiries of the NSA mega-file by our Ambassador to the UN

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Following Admiral Roger's closing the FSA mega-file to the FBI, it looks as though Christopher Steele's real role was laundering information stateside which had been obtained through continued Inquiries of the NSA mega-file by our Ambassador to the UN. *** Fusion GPS immediately hired FBI manager Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, and Christopher Steele. Bruce Ohr passed his illegally obtained information to Nellie, she to Steele, who then relayed the material back to Fusion / FBI as coming from his "Russian contacts." ..."
"... And here 44 may have made a mistake in authorizing the spread his Daily Briefing to 30+ agencies and individuals -- again as a work-around of the Roger's information ban. This places 44's fingerprints on the work-around. ..."
"... As it happens, I think the suggestion that Steele's role may have been, in very substantial measure, to give the impression that material from other source was the product of a high-quality 'humint' investigation merits being taken extremely seriously. ..."
"... Carter Page during his period of cooperation with the FBI, almost certainly was handled by Agents assigned to a field office. I wonder what they had to say, assuming they even knew, about HQ opening a CI case targeting their former cooperating witness for FISA coverage. It will be very interesting to see who handled Steele. Strzok? ..."
"... What was the compelling evidence and who furnished it to turn a US Naval Academy graduate, and presumably a Naval Officer with a readily accessible track record in service, into the targeted subject of an espionage investigation. Did he even have any current access to classified information? This is not looking good. ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

RC, 25 February 2018 at 01:32 PM

Following Admiral Roger's closing the FSA mega-file to the FBI, it looks as though Christopher Steele's real role was laundering information stateside which had been obtained through continued Inquiries of the NSA mega-file by our Ambassador to the UN. *** Fusion GPS immediately hired FBI manager Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, and Christopher Steele. Bruce Ohr passed his illegally obtained information to Nellie, she to Steele, who then relayed the material back to Fusion / FBI as coming from his "Russian contacts."

And here 44 may have made a mistake in authorizing the spread his Daily Briefing to 30+ agencies and individuals -- again as a work-around of the Roger's information ban. This places 44's fingerprints on the work-around.

You may recall the incident of the wrong Michael Cohen traveling to Prague to meet with Russians -- when the future 45's personal lawyer was having a family celebration / baseball game stateside? The error was generated by the NSA mega-file. Steele's "Russian contacts" dutifully corroborated Cohen's visit with them in Prague -- how could they not, since they exist only in Steele's mind. In short, the Steele "Russians contacts" are proved to be fictions and if fictions then there was no Russian collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.

*** Our UN Ambassador claims she was not generating hundreds of NSA Inquiries per week and we can believe her. The NSA Inquiries were coming from the FBI via her State Department "support" in DC.

David Habakkuk -> RC... , 26 February 2018 at 11:28 AM
RC,

It really does help if, when you make claims, you link to the source so that others can evaluate them. In the case of the claims you are making, the source is clearly a post two days ago by 'sundance' on the 'Conservative Treehouse' site entitled 'Tying All The Loose Threads Together – DOJ, FBI, DoS, White House: "Operation Latitude" '

(See https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/24/tying-all-the-loose-threads-together-doj-fbi-dos-white-house-operation-latitude/ .)

As it happens, I think the suggestion that Steele's role may have been, in very substantial measure, to give the impression that material from other source was the product of a high-quality 'humint' investigation merits being taken extremely seriously.

However, to repeat claims by 'sundance', while not taking the – rather minimal – amount of trouble required to provide the link which allows others to evaluate them, simply puts people's backs up and makes them less likely to take what you are suggesting seriously.

Flavius , 26 February 2018 at 05:32 PM
Most unusual, I would say, for an Agent in an upper management position in FBI HQ to open a counter intelligence case and then for all intents and purposes assign it to himself. Cases are normally worked and directly supervised in field offices.

Carter Page during his period of cooperation with the FBI, almost certainly was handled by Agents assigned to a field office. I wonder what they had to say, assuming they even knew, about HQ opening a CI case targeting their former cooperating witness for FISA coverage. It will be very interesting to see who handled Steele. Strzok?

What was the compelling evidence and who furnished it to turn a US Naval Academy graduate, and presumably a Naval Officer with a readily accessible track record in service, into the targeted subject of an espionage investigation. Did he even have any current access to classified information? This is not looking good.

[Feb 26, 2018] Et Tu, Bernie by Justin Raimondo

Looks like neoliberals decided to equate widespread anti-neoliberalism and anti-globalization sentiment with pro-Russian propaganda. A very clever and very dirty trick.
What is funny is that Steele dossier and FBI Mayberry Machiavellians machinations actually deprived Sanders a chance to represent Democratic Party. nt that he wanted this badly, he folded eve without major pressure (many be under behind the scenes intimidation due to business dealing of his wife)
Notable quotes:
"... Instead of standing up to the crazies – by which I mean the Democratic party Establishment – and saying that the whole Russia-phobic campaign is based on nothing but hot air and fantasy, he's kowtowing to the very people who are trying to smear him as a Russian agent. Here he is signing on to the Clintonite canon of faith that poor Hillary " had to run against the Russian government " as well as Trump. ..."
"... This is laughable: there's no evidence for this other than Mueller's comical "indictment," which shows that something called the "Internet Research Agency," run by an out-of-work chef, spent a grand total of $100,000 – mostly after the election – on Facebook ads that were both anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. Michael Moore attended one "Russian-sponsored" event – a rally of thousands targeting Trump Tower, and, by the way, the only successful "Russian" event (the pro-Trump events were flops). ..."
"... Not only is Bernie buying into Russia-gate, now that the case for it is collapsing – nearly two years later and there's still no evidence of "collusion" – but he's calling for a full-fledged witch-hunt: ..."
"... Sanders' followers have taken up the hate-on-Russia battle cry with alacrity, with material by the fraudulent fanatic Luke Harding all over the web site of the Democratic Socialists of America. And being the left edge of the Democratic party, DSA will be supporting the very Democratic officeholders and officials who are shouting the loudest about Russia. ..."
"... Oh, he's got money-laundering charges on Paul Manafort and associates, but that has nothing to do with the Trump campaign: it all happened years before Trump ran. He's got Carter Page pleading guilty to lying to the FBI – but it's not clear what this means, exactly, since he's not been charged with a crime after all this time. ..."
"... So no matter what you may think of Trump and his policies, the real question is: will the Deep State and their allies in the media succeed in their bid for power? Will they oust a sitting President and institute a new era in our politics, one in which the political class can exercise its veto over the democratic will of the people? ..."
"... A SPECIAL NOTE : Yes, our matching funds have arrived: a group of donors has gotten together and pledged $30,000 – but there's a catch. We have to match that amount in smaller donations. So now it's up to you. We need your support so we can get back to doing our job – exposing the lies of the War Party. But we can't do it without your tax-deductible donations. ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

Sanders signs on to Russia-gate conspiracy theory

One by one, the plaster gods fall, cracked and crumbled on the ground: the latest is Bernie Sanders, the Great Pinko Hope of the (very few) remaining Democrats with a modicum of sense who reject the "Russia! Russia! Russia!" paranoia of Rep. Adam Schiff and what I call the party's California Crazies. The official Democratic leadership seems to have no real commitment to anything other than fealty to a few well-known oligarchs, who provide the party with needed cash, a burning hatred of Russia – an issue no ordinary voter outside of the Sunshine State loony bin and Washington, D.C. cares about – and exotic issues of interest only to the upper class virtue-signalers who are now their main constituency (e.g., where will trans people go to the bathroom?). Overlaying this potpourri of nothingness, the glue holding it all together, is pure unadulterated hatred: of President Trump, of Trump voters, of Middle America in general, and, of course, fear and loathing of Russia and all things Russian.

And now the one supposedly bright spot in this pit of abysmal darkness has flickered out, with Bernie Sanders, the Ron Paul of the Reds, jumping on the Russia-did-it bandwagon and cowering in the wake of Robert Mueller's laughable "indictment," in which the special prosecutor avers that $100,000 in Facebook ads were designed to throw the election to Trump – and to help Bernie!

Oh no, says Bernie, from his place of exile in the wilds of Vermont, where the Russians did not take over the electrical grid: It wasn't me!

Instead of standing up to the crazies – by which I mean the Democratic party Establishment – and saying that the whole Russia-phobic campaign is based on nothing but hot air and fantasy, he's kowtowing to the very people who are trying to smear him as a Russian agent. Here he is signing on to the Clintonite canon of faith that poor Hillary " had to run against the Russian government " as well as Trump.

This is laughable: there's no evidence for this other than Mueller's comical "indictment," which shows that something called the "Internet Research Agency," run by an out-of-work chef, spent a grand total of $100,000 – mostly after the election – on Facebook ads that were both anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. Michael Moore attended one "Russian-sponsored" event – a rally of thousands targeting Trump Tower, and, by the way, the only successful "Russian" event (the pro-Trump events were flops).

Not only is Bernie buying into Russia-gate, now that the case for it is collapsing – nearly two years later and there's still no evidence of "collusion" – but he's calling for a full-fledged witch-hunt:

"The key issues now are: 1) How we prevent the unwitting manipulation of our electoral and political system by foreign governments. 2) Exposing who was actively consorting with the Russian government's attack on our democracy."

This is the real goal of anti-Trump groups like the " Alliance for Securing Democracy " and their "Hamilton dashboard," which purports to track "pro-Russian" sentiment online: it's the explicit intention of #TheResistance to censor the media with the cooperation of the tech oligarchs like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It's back to the 1950s, folks, only this time the Thought Police are "liberals," and "socialists" like Bernie and the Bernie Bros.

Sanders' followers have taken up the hate-on-Russia battle cry with alacrity, with material by the fraudulent fanatic Luke Harding all over the web site of the Democratic Socialists of America. And being the left edge of the Democratic party, DSA will be supporting the very Democratic officeholders and officials who are shouting the loudest about Russia.

Coming soon: a congressional "investigation" into "pro-Russian" Americans using the "Hamilton dashboard" and the Southern Poverty Law Center as templates. Remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee? Well, it's coming back. That's always been in the cards, and now those cards are about to be dealt.

I'll tell you one thing: I would have colluded with the Klingon Empire to prevent Hillary and her band of authoritarian statists and warmongering nutcases from taking the White House. If only the Russians had intervened, they'd have been doing this country – and the world – a great service. Alas, there's not one lick of solid evidence – forensic, documentary, witness testimony – that shows this. Which is what the Mueller investigation is all about: the Democrats are claiming there was interference, and Mueller is out to find corroboration. Except it's been over a year and he's come up with nothing.

Oh, he's got money-laundering charges on Paul Manafort and associates, but that has nothing to do with the Trump campaign: it all happened years before Trump ran. He's got Carter Page pleading guilty to lying to the FBI – but it's not clear what this means, exactly, since he's not been charged with a crime after all this time.

The Deep State's bid for power has hit several roadblocks recently, but it could yet succeed. First, Mueller could indict the President for "obstruction of justice" – a charge derived not from any real criminal activity, but from the investigation itself. I think this is the most probable outcome of all this.

Barring that, however, there is one road they could and probably would go down, given the intensity of their hatred for this President and their overweening power lust. Having gone this far in an attempt to overthrow a sitting President, they can't just stop halfway to their goal. They have to go all the way, or else suffer the consequences – public exposure, and possible criminal charges. In short, if they fail to get Trump on some semi-legal basis, I think they'd welcome his assassination.

The Deep State cannot allow the Trump administration to stand for a number of reasons, the chief one being that the coup is already in progress and there's no stopping it now. The President's enemies are legion, they are powerful, and they are abroad as well as here on American shores. They cannot allow his brand of "America First" nationalism to succeed, or seem to succeed: it conflicts too violently with their globalist vision of a borderless America-centric empire ruled by a coalition of oligarchs, technocrats, and Deep State operatives who've been shaping world events from the shadows for generations.

So no matter what you may think of Trump and his policies, the real question is: will the Deep State and their allies in the media succeed in their bid for power? Will they oust a sitting President and institute a new era in our politics, one in which the political class can exercise its veto over the democratic will of the people?

That's the issue at hand and that's why I spend so much time writing about Trump and his enemies' efforts to destroy him. Because if the Deep State succeeds, the America we knew and loved will be no more. Something else will take its place – and believe me, it won't be pretty.

A SPECIAL NOTE : Yes, our matching funds have arrived: a group of donors has gotten together and pledged $30,000 – but there's a catch. We have to match that amount in smaller donations. So now it's up to you. We need your support so we can get back to doing our job – exposing the lies of the War Party. But we can't do it without your tax-deductible donations.

If we all get together and make that final push we can make our goal. Every donation counts, no matter the amount. This is how we'll finally win the battle for peace: by uniting, despite superficial differences, to support the institutions that are in the front lines of the struggle for a rational foreign policy. And leading the charge is Antiwar.com.

Please make your tax-deductible contribution today.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here . But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement , with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey , a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon ( ISI Books , 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here .

[Feb 25, 2018] Democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power

Highly recommended!
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

chris , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 10:57 pm GMT

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power.

Your point brought this infamous picture to mind!

Jake , Next New Comment February 26, 2018 at 12:50 am GMT
"what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent."

ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

[Feb 25, 2018] Lawyers For The DNC Argue That Primary Rigging Is Protected By The First Amendment

Neoliberalism in all its glory ;-). One dollar one vote.
How Debbie Wasserman Schultz managed to survive Imran Awan scandal is a mystery. Imran Awan case: Lawmaker calls 'massive' data transfers from Wasserman Schultz aide a 'substantial security threat' Fox News
Perry, a member of the Homeland Security subcommittee on cyber security, said Tuesday that the House Office of Inspector General tracked the network usage of Awan and his associates on House servers and found that a "massive" amount of data was flowing from the networks.
Notable quotes:
"... Attorneys for the Plaintiffs in the case, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, and appears to argue that if the Democratic Party did cheat Sanders in the 2016 Presidential primary race, then that action was protected under the first amendment. Twitter users were quick to respond to the brief, expressing outrage and disgust at the claims made by representatives of the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. ..."
"... This author was shocked to find that despite the characterization of the Becks as peddlers of conspiracy theory, the defense counsel failed to mention the motion for protection filed by the Becks earlier in the litigation process. They also failed to note the voice-modulated phone calls received by the law offices of the Becks which contained a caller-ID corresponding to the law offices of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a defendant in the case. In light of this context, the Becks hardly appear to be peddlers of conspiracy theory. ..."
"... It appears that the defendants in the DNC Fraud Lawsuit are attempting to argue that cheating a candidate in the primary process is protected under the first amendment. ..."
"... If all that weren't enough, DNC representatives argued that the Democratic National Committee had no established fiduciary duty "to the Plaintiffs or the classes of donors and registered voters they seek to represent." ..."
"... It seems here that the DNC is arguing for its right to appoint candidates at its own discretion while simultaneously denying any "fiduciary duty" to represent the voters who donated to the Democratic Party under the belief that the DNC would act impartially towards the candidates involved. ..."
"... If Wikileaks' publication of DNC emails are found to be similarly admissible in a United States court of law, then the contents of the leaked emails could be used to argue that, contrary to the defendant's latest brief, the DNC did favor the campaign of Hillary Clinton over Senator Sanders and that they acted to sabotage Sanders' campaign. ..."
"... Seth Rich murder and DHS investigation into 2016 election tampering soon to expose this party's contempt for the law, and all other forms of ethical conduct. ..."
"... Bernie is more than happy to yammer on about Russian bots swarming Facebook and other social media platforms in some insidious plot to rig the election -- and yet he fails to say a word about the actual attempts to rig the election by the DNA and Hillary. ..."
"... Don't forget in their twisted minds that the lies they tell to support their corrupt agenda are "protected free speech". There are no further examples one needs to show that these fuckers are nothing but malignant sociopaths. The death of the Rule of Law is why sociopaths flourish. ..."
"... They are without shame, without remorse, without ethics or morals, feeling or caring. Yet they still try to defend their indefensible actions where contrition and humbleness would be much better long term..."politically". The rank & file snowflakes would eat up a simple apology because they have been brought up to think thats all it takes to right wrongs. ..."
Feb 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Disobedient Media ,

The ongoing litigation of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit and the appeal regarding its dismissal took a stunning turn yesterday. The defendants in the case, including the DNC and former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, filed a response brief that left many observers of the case at a loss for words. The document , provided by the law offices of the Attorneys for the Plaintiffs in the case, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, and appears to argue that if the Democratic Party did cheat Sanders in the 2016 Presidential primary race, then that action was protected under the first amendment. Twitter users were quick to respond to the brief, expressing outrage and disgust at the claims made by representatives of the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Defense counsel also argued that because of Jared Beck's outspoken twitter posts, the plaintiffs were using the litigation process for political purposes: "For example, Plaintiffs' counsel Jared Beck repeatedly refers to the DNC as "shi*bags" on Twitter and uses other degrading language in reference to Defendants." Fascinatingly, no mention is made regarding the importance of First Amendment at this point in the document.

The defense counsel also took issue with Jared Beck for what they termed as: " Repeatedly promoted patently false and deeply offensive conspiracy theories about the deaths of a former DNC staffer and Plaintiffs' process server in an attempt to bolster attention for this lawsuit."

This author was shocked to find that despite the characterization of the Becks as peddlers of conspiracy theory, the defense counsel failed to mention the motion for protection filed by the Becks earlier in the litigation process. They also failed to note the voice-modulated phone calls received by the law offices of the Becks which contained a caller-ID corresponding to the law offices of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a defendant in the case. In light of this context, the Becks hardly appear to be peddlers of conspiracy theory.

The DNC defense lawyers then argued that: " There is no legitimate basis for this litigation, which is, at its most basic, an improper attempt to forge the federal courts into a political weapon to be used by individuals who are unhappy with how a political party selected its candidate in a presidential campaign ."

The brief continued: " To recognize any of the causes of action that Plaintiffs allege based on their animating theory would run directly contrary to long-standing Supreme Court precedent recognizing the central and critical First Amendment rights enjoyed by political parties, especially when it comes to selecting the party's nominee for public office. "

It appears that the defendants in the DNC Fraud Lawsuit are attempting to argue that cheating a candidate in the primary process is protected under the first amendment.

If all that weren't enough, DNC representatives argued that the Democratic National Committee had no established fiduciary duty "to the Plaintiffs or the classes of donors and registered voters they seek to represent."

It seems here that the DNC is arguing for its right to appoint candidates at its own discretion while simultaneously denying any "fiduciary duty" to represent the voters who donated to the Democratic Party under the belief that the DNC would act impartially towards the candidates involved.

Adding to the latest news regarding the DNC Fraud Lawsuit was the recent finding by the UK Supreme Court, which stated that Wikileaks Cables were admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.

If Wikileaks' publication of DNC emails are found to be similarly admissible in a United States court of law, then the contents of the leaked emails could be used to argue that, contrary to the defendant's latest brief, the DNC did favor the campaign of Hillary Clinton over Senator Sanders and that they acted to sabotage Sanders' campaign.

The outcome of the appeal of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit remains to be seen. Disobedient Media will continue to report on this important story as it unfolds.


css1971 Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:24 Permalink

WTF?

Even on a practical level, beyond the "fraud is free speech" argument, they don't seem to have considered that this argument is a lose/lose proposition. Even if they (DNC) win legally, they are going to lose as people turn away from the finger they're giving them.

vulcanraven -> css1971 Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

In other words, "we can piss in the faces of all you plebes, and you will like it"

macholatte -> just the tip Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:24 Permalink

Notice this is a civil suit brought by a citizen. The Bern is silent and not suing anybody although he was the target of the scam, or maybe a party to it. The DOJ is silent and not looking to put anybody in jail for what appears to be an obvious violation of criminal law.

Nothing to see here. Move along.
- - Jeff Sessions

IntercoursetheEU -> macholatte Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:31 Permalink

Not so for murder, and rigging the general election. Seth Rich murder and DHS investigation into 2016 election tampering soon to expose this party's contempt for the law, and all other forms of ethical conduct.

putaipan -> IntercoursetheEU Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:43 Permalink

don't forget the dead attorney involved in this case (too lazy to google the poor dead guys name)

caconhma -> IntercoursetheEU Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:57 Permalink

What is the difference? There is no any justice in America. It is all gone.

The US people are polarized and, thanks to Hollywood and mainstream media, with the culture of lawless, violence, and hatred of everybody. America is a very sick country with a fake President and the utterly corrupt US Congress. It will not end good or bloodless.

The US military reliance on super-technology is poorly thought of since these high-tech military systems require very highly-educated and intelligent people to operate these systems while the US educational system being a total failure cannot produce.

Lemmy Caution -> macholatte Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:41 Permalink

Bernie is more than happy to yammer on about Russian bots swarming Facebook and other social media platforms in some insidious plot to rig the election -- and yet he fails to say a word about the actual attempts to rig the election by the DNA and Hillary. But, hey, if he can shave a few hundred dollars off of my monthly health insurance premiums he can call for a first-strike nuclear attack on Russia!

AtATrESICI -> JRobby Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:53 Permalink

Clearly we have laws for little people while the owners do whatever the fuck they want.

... the State Department completed its review and determined that 2,115 of the 30,490 emails contain information that is presently
classified Out of these 2,115 emails, the State Department determined that 2,028 emails contain information classified at the Confidential level; 65 contain information classified at the Secret level; and 22 contain information classified at the Top Secret level....

https://vault.fbi.gov/october-2016-application-affidavit-and-search-warrant-related-to-email-server-investigation/October%202016%20Application%20Affidavit%20and%20Search%20Warrant%20Related%20to%20Email%20Server%20Investigation%20Part%2001%20of%2001/view

just the tip -> AtATrESICI Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:59 Permalink

i may be repeating someones posting of: it's a big club, and you ain't in it.

JRobby -> just the tip Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:18 Permalink

Carlin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7yzi1I_Zsk

Still the best 3:00 summary of all time

JRobby -> AtATrESICI Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

Let me reiterate (if I may) Do we really need to see anymore pictures of Delusional Slut Horror Show Wasserman-Schultz?

She has a face that can stop time

Herp and Derp -> AtATrESICI Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

I think this is the exact reason election boards exists. They should be suing the DNC over this as well, but are full of party officials. If there was any sane form of democracy, the DNC would be bared from campaigning in most states.

Al Huxley -> chunga Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:41 Permalink

It's a sewer, the whole fucking system is just a cesspool filled with the most reprehensible, self-serving people in the country outside of Wall Street. But everybody just keeps playing along.

Quinvarius -> Al Huxley Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

Sounds like a swamp.

nmewn -> WorkingPawn Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

At the basic level, the DNC conned it's rank & file members with words like "democracy" and "one man, one vote" and "equality".

The DNC is a political party that relied on useful idiots not reading the fine print of it's charter ;-)

nmewn Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

"The DNC defense lawyers then argued that: " There is no legitimate basis for this litigation, which is, at its most basic,...

...an improper attempt to forge the federal courts into a political weapon to be used by individuals who are unhappy...

...with how a political party selected its candidate in a presidential campaign ."

So basically the same reasoning behind the Mueller witch hunt and using the FBI & FISA courts to destroy political opponents then...lol.

Egggcellent ;-)

SDShack -> nmewn Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:39 Permalink

Don't forget in their twisted minds that the lies they tell to support their corrupt agenda are "protected free speech". There are no further examples one needs to show that these fuckers are nothing but malignant sociopaths. The death of the Rule of Law is why sociopaths flourish.

nmewn -> SDShack Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:57 Permalink

They don't live in the same reality as us and never have.

They are without shame, without remorse, without ethics or morals, feeling or caring. Yet they still try to defend their indefensible actions where contrition and humbleness would be much better long term..."politically". The rank & file snowflakes would eat up a simple apology because they have been brought up to think thats all it takes to right wrongs.

They are all sociopaths.

Pure Evil -> gatorengineer Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:54 Permalink

My take was Bernie was supposed to cat herd the millennials to the Hillary camp but that blew up in their face when the millennials decided to put down their cell phones and proceeded to give Hillary the bird.

Wouldn't doubt a large majority still ended up voting for but they probably won't admit it.

Hubbs Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

Doesn't this make the whole candidate selection process, and all the rules and regulations governing a party's whole nomination process meaningless? If what DEMS did within their own party to Bernie is moot, then what Trump may have done via his "Russian collusion" is mooted also. Can't have it both ways.

SRV Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:41 Permalink

They used the same argument before the appeal... and the corrupt judge agreed with "The Crooks" and closed the case. NOT ONE media outlet covered the fact they actually said in open court that the DNC had no legal obligation to be fair.

But... Russia... Rusia... Russia

Only in America... r.i.p.

[Feb 25, 2018] Why Republican Elites are Threatened

This is almost two year old discussion. Still relevant...
Notable quotes:
"... Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ... ..."
"... I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart. I am not pleased at all, however, that people are still being led to believe that there are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare. ... ..."
"... And the next GOP President will immediately give away those hard earned surpluses generated by President Clinton or Sanders to their plutocratic donors - just as W did. ..."
"... The collapse and subsequent economic rape of the USSR region in 1991-1998 was a huge stimulus for the US economy. Something like 300 millions of new customers overnight for many products and huge expansion of the dollar zone, which partially compensates for the loss of EU to euro. ..."
"... Actually, Bill Clinton put a solid fundament for subsequent deterioration relations with Russia. His semi-successful attempt to colonize Russia (under Yeltsin Russia was a semi-colony and definitely a vassal state of the USA) backfired. ..."
"... Now the teeth of dragon planted by Slick Bill (of Kosovo war fame) are visible in full glory. Russian elite no longer trusts the US elite and feels threatened. ..."
"... Series of female sociopath (or borderline personalities) in the role of Secretaries of State did not help either. The last one, "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary and her protégé Victoria Nuland (which actually was a close associate of Dick Cheney http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2005/11/president_cheney.html ) are actually replay of unforgettable Madeleine Albright with her famous a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."[ ..."
"... "Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ..." ..."
"... I think you have identified the potential roots of a movement. The unwrapping and critical analysis of the demagoguery that has defined the lives of the baby boom generation. The quote below from Dan Baum's Harper's article, Legalize It All", seems particularly poignant: ..."
"... Much Republican elites would love to raise sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any tax that the "little people" pay. This would allow them to cut taxes for rich people even more. This is their game. Take from the poor and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR economics! ..."
"... Excellent piece, but I would point out that the GOP would likely sacrifice their own mothers for upper class tax cuts. ..."
"... Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that the GOP *leadership* is vehemently opposed to Trump, because he threatens their authority, but the rank-and-file seem to be pretty happy with him. ..."
"... The idea seems to be that Trump, if elected, will obviously 'reconstitute' the GOP, re-making it totally, casting out old people, bringing in New Blood. ..."
"... This would be 'yuuugely' more cataclysmic than what happened between Teddy Roosevelt and the anti-progressives of the GOP back in 1912. ..."
"... [I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart.] ..."
Mar 22, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
New Column:
Why Republican Elites are Threatened, by Mark Thoma : ... Donald Trump's tax plan will result in a fall in revenue of 9.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years, yet somehow he will fulfill his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare and balance the budget? When push comes to shove (or worse – this is Trump after all), who do you think he will protect, social insurance programs the working class relies upon for economic security or his own and his party's wealthy interests? Ted Cruz has proposed an 8.6 trillion dollar tax cut. How, exactly, will that be financed without large cuts to social insurance programs or huge increases in the budget deficit?

Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ...

I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart. I am not pleased at all, however, that people are still being led to believe that there are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare. ...

Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 05:24 AM in Economics , Politics , Social Insurance | Permalink Comments (41)

New Deal democrat -> pgl...
And the next GOP President will immediately give away those hard earned surpluses generated by President Clinton or Sanders to their plutocratic donors - just as W did.

Hence my support for a *countercyclical* Balanced Budget Amendment.

Peter K. -> New Deal democrat...
My point was that Sanders or Clinton would be getting the surprise surpluses as W. did.

My hope is that Clinton would do the right thing, but I wouldn't bet money on it. I could see her do tax cuts for corporations and finance. Summers recently had a piece arguing for tax cuts as incentives for private investment.

sanjait -> Peter K....
If we consider that there is probably some pent up business investment demand that could drive above average productivity growth for a few years ... then it plausibly is possible for the country to achieve late 90s style growth.
likbez -> Peter K....

The collapse and subsequent economic rape of the USSR region in 1991-1998 was a huge stimulus for the US economy. Something like 300 millions of new customers overnight for many products and huge expansion of the dollar zone, which partially compensates for the loss of EU to euro.

Even if we count just the cash absorbed by the region, it will be a major economic stimulus. All-it-all it was Bernanke size if we add buying assets for pennies on the dollar.

Actually, Bill Clinton put a solid fundament for subsequent deterioration relations with Russia. His semi-successful attempt to colonize Russia (under Yeltsin Russia was a semi-colony and definitely a vassal state of the USA) backfired.

Now the teeth of dragon planted by Slick Bill (of Kosovo war fame) are visible in full glory. Russian elite no longer trusts the US elite and feels threatened.

Series of female sociopath (or borderline personalities) in the role of Secretaries of State did not help either. The last one, "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary and her protégé Victoria Nuland (which actually was a close associate of Dick Cheney http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2005/11/president_cheney.html ) are actually replay of unforgettable Madeleine Albright with her famous a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."[

pgl :
All well said! The notion that Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump lie a lot is as established as the fact that the earth is not flat.
Jerry Brown -> pgl...
True that!
Paul Mathis :
"[T]here are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare."

As every legitimate economist knows, stimulus spending to increase the GDP growth rate would raise tax revenues without raising tax rates. This phenomenon is well-known to Keynesians and has been demonstrated many times.

Thanks to the disinformation campaign run by Republicans, however, stimulus spending has been taken off the table of economic choices except in China where minimum GDP growth is 6.5%. China is "killing us" economically because we are stupid.

Jerry Brown -> Paul Mathis...
Instead, the Trumps and Cruzes and Ryans believe in giant tax cuts for the very wealthy. This might provide a weak stimulus for the economy, but it is a very poor way to go about it. More likely in my mind is that it would lead to increased pressure to cut government spending on things that actually do help the economy.
Paul Mathis -> Jerry Brown...
Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase demand. Trickle down is a false economic doctrine that exacerbates inequality and therefore reduces demand. Keynes established this principle decades ago but his wisdom has been ignored.
pgl -> Paul Mathis...
You'll love this bit of honesty from right wing Joe Scarborough:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2016/03/08/joe-scarborough-admits-that-trickle-down-economics-is-a-total-republican-lie-video/

But the 1981 tax cuts did increase shopping on Rodeo Drive.

mulp -> pgl...
Job losses began the month Reagan signed the tax cuts. Job creation began the month Reagan hiked taxes to pay workers to fix the roads and bridges. Reagan and his job killing tax cuts caused the recession, not the Fed and monetary policy. Monetary policy was steady from 1980 to 1983.

Reagan's tax cuts struck fear into would be lenders. How much debt was the government going to need if it intentionally cuts it's incomes? On the other hand, if the government stops spending, that's millions of workers who will be forced to stop spending.

For Nixon, the Fed monetized the smaller deficits from repealling the war tax surcharge that balanced the budget in 1969. Just as the Fed monetized all government debt once FDR and his bankers took over, especially Eccles at the Fed.

But Volcker was not going to monetize the debt caused by Reagan's adoption of intentional deficit spending.

But even Reagan eventually understood what FDR did: gdp growth requires workers getting paid more, and government can take the money from people who have it but won't spend it paying workers, but tax and spend, and create jobs.

If only economists today understood it, and called for tax and spend to create jobs to grow gdp.

anne :
Really nice essay.
Mr. Bill :
"Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ..."

I think you have identified the potential roots of a movement. The unwrapping and critical analysis of the demagoguery that has defined the lives of the baby boom generation. The quote below from Dan Baum's Harper's article, Legalize It All", seems particularly poignant:

"At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

BobZ :
I'm pretty sure that the Trumpists would be thrilled to raise taxes...on someone else. It's only the elites that are interested in lowering taxes on the rich. Trump's followers don't care.

I'm also pretty sure that Trump will turn on the donor class rather than reduce anything for his own base - but I could be wrong.

pgl -> BobZ ...
Much Republican elites would love to raise sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any tax that the "little people" pay. This would allow them to cut taxes for rich people even more. This is their game. Take from the poor and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR economics!
pgl -> BobZ ...
Krugman for almost 12 years ago:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/01/opinion/dooh-nibor-economics.html?_r=0

JohnH :
All this liberal hand wringing about Trump's tax plan. Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!! Not a single 'attaboy' from these supposedly liberal economists.

"With the most progressive tax policy of any candidate, Sanders would dramatically increase taxes for the very wealthy and high-income earners (as well as moderate increases for the middle- and upper-middle classes) in order to pay for key planks of his social agenda including tuition-free public college, a Medicare for All healthcare program, massive infrastructure spending, and paid family leave for all workers."
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/03/21/tax-plan-sanders-beats-both-clinton-and-trump-double-digits


"Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant increases in federal income, payroll, business, and estate taxes, and new excise taxes on financial transactions and carbon. New revenues would pay for universal health care, education, family leave, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, and more. TPC estimates the tax proposals would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay some additional tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with the very highest income. His proposals would raise taxes on work, saving, and investment, in some cases to rates well beyond recent historical experience in the US."
http://taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000639-an-analysis-of-senator-bernie-sanderss-tax-proposals.pdf

As I've said many times, most 'liberal' economists simply to not want increased taxes to be put on the table as a viable alternative for funding stimulus. Else, why would they go silent when a major candidate makes such an economically significant proposal? Why is it that they are eager to promote ever more debt but refuse to support more taxes?

pgl -> JohnH...
You are pushing this which is fine. But

"Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!"

I noticed this a long time ago. And I applauded Bernie's proposal. I guess I have to resign as a "liberal economist".

JohnH -> pgl...
Now pgl claims to have supported Bernie's tax plan...when all he said did was to acknowledge that I cited a credible source!
http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/02/bernie_sanders_health_care_tax_plan_would_raise_13_trillion_yet_increase_after-tax_incomes_for_all_i.php#.VvFotY-cHcs

Question is, why are all those 'liberal' economists running from Bernie's progressive tax plan like the plague?

pgl -> JohnH...
I have supported tax increases on the rich many times. Pay attention. Also - read the latest column from Mark Thoma which is what this thread is supposed to be about. I guess Mark must not be a liberal economists either. DUH!
Eric377 -> JohnH...
Because they can always run back to something like it if a Democrat is elected, but not so if Trump or Cruz are and they have convinced themselves that supporting Sanders is a big risk of getting a Republican. And they are right about that.
JohnH -> Eric377...
LOL!!! Democrats will NOT endorse support anything like Bernie's tax pan EVER! Just like 'liberal" economists will never endorse it either...in fact, they have every opportunity to endorse it now but refuse to even talk about it, apparently hoping it will just go away.
mulp -> JohnH...
But the real benefit of high tax rates on people with lots of money is they will work really hard to not pay taxes by investing in new capital assets even if the bean counters think building more assets will only slash returns on capital.

The result is no increase in tax revenue, but lots of jobs created if the tax dodges are designed to create jobs.

The best example is a carbon tax. The correct carbon tax schedule of increases will raise virtually no tax revenue, but will result in trillions of dollars in labor costs building productive capital, which will ironically make the rich far wealthier.

But if millions of people are employed for a lifetime and the burning of fossil fuels ends, only Bernie will be angry that those responsible end up worth hundreds of billions, or maybe become trillionaires. Their businesses will not be profitable, just like Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX are worth tens of billions but are unprofitable.

pgl :
GOP elite Peter Schiff babbling even worse lies than our excellent host has documented:

http://realcrash2016.com/peter-schiff-social-security-could-implode-in-2016/?code=466832/&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral

pgl -> pgl...
Schiff is saying Soc. Sec. will go bankrupt this year. He also predicted hyperinflation and gold at $5000 an ounce:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/02/13/gold-at-5000-and-beyond-peter-schiff-sticks-to-his-call/

Benedict@Large -> pgl...
Every year Schiff predicts a recession. Once every 6-8 years, he's right. Schiff then claims he's predicted every recession for the last three dozen years. Everyone is amazed. "How does he do it?" the crowd gasps.

Why does anyone even mention Schiff? He's a grifter with an angle to part rich people from their money. Nothing more.

pgl :
From the day job - filed under fun with Microsoft Excel. Math nerds will get this right away. I'm reading a report from some expert witness that claims some loan guarantee is worth only 22 basis points when my client has charged 55 basis points. Think of x = 1.005 and take the natural log. Yes, the right answer is 50 basis points. This clown uses Excel and types in log(x).

OK - I hate Microsoft Excel as it took me a while. But the log function assumes base 10. The correct syntax is ln(x).

Somehow I think the right wing elite will start doing similar things in their Soc. Sec. analyzes.

William -> pgl...
Somehow, I think the right wing elite don't know the difference between a basis point and a percentage point, let alone between a base 10 or a base e logarithm.
pgl -> William...
I know Stephen Moore certainly does not know the difference!
DrDick :
Excellent piece, but I would point out that the GOP would likely sacrifice their own mothers for upper class tax cuts.
pgl :
Politics down under (New Zealand). The Green Party is campaigning on transfer pricing enforcement in order to make the multinationals pay their fair share of taxes:

https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/govt-warned-multinational-tax-rort-2013

We need more of this in the US!

Fred C. Dobbs :
Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that the GOP *leadership* is vehemently opposed to Trump, because he threatens their authority, but the rank-and-file seem to be pretty happy with him.
pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...
I was tired and fell asleep by 9PM missing Rachel's show. Thanks for filling me in. She's awesome!
Fred C. Dobbs -> pgl...
The idea seems to be that Trump, if elected, will obviously 'reconstitute' the GOP, re-making it totally, casting out old people, bringing in New Blood.

This would be 'yuuugely' more cataclysmic than what happened between Teddy Roosevelt and the anti-progressives of the GOP back in 1912.

eudaimonia :
[I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart.]

I disagree here. I don't see Trump as exposing the Republican economic agenda to be a fraud. Instead, Trump is exposing that the main driver in conservatism is not policy, but racism.

The Republican base is not "waking up" per say, but Trump rather erased away the policy veneer and has shown the heart of the conservative base.

For decades, the RW economic and social agenda was based off of racism and bigotry - fictional Cadillac mothers, how blacks just vote Democrat since they are lazy, increased voting restrictions for a non-problem, Willie Horton, opposing the CRA in the name of "freedom" and states' rights, etc.

The argument now has simply shifted away from slashing taxes on white rich males since it creates an underclass of dependent minorities, to blaming Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.

If you look at the heart of Trump supporters, they are high school dropouts who have also dropped out of the labor force since they were dependent on the old economy, live in mobile houses and have not moved around much, with a history of voting for segregationists.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/upshot/the-geography-of-Trump_vs_deep_state.html?_r=0

As their economy breaks down around them, like it has in various parts of the country, we are seeing the same social ills emerge - suicide, drug use, depression, rise of divorce, etc.

What Trump has shown them is that it is not their fault. It is not the fault of policy. It is not the fault of globalization. It is not the fault of technological change. It is the fault of the Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.

The core of conservatism is still there: racism, and Trump has simply shown this. Conservatism is not about policy, but an emotional reactionary ideology based on fear and ignorance that looks for minorities to be scapegoats.

pgl :
US Supreme Court splits 4-4 in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore:

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-03-22/u-s-supreme-court-splits-4-4-for-first-time-since-scalia-death?cmpid=yhoo.headline

Appeals Court had ruled in favor of the bank so the bank prevails. OK - we know Scalia would have voted in favor of the bank but now the standard is how would have Garland ruled. The Senate needs to act on his nomination.

sanjait :
Maybe the simplest way to dissect it is to note that the GOP has been running multiple overlapping cons. They tell the base that tax cuts will improve their lives, and then passes tax cuts that go mostly to the rich.

They tell the base that regulations are killing jobs, and then block or remove any government protection or program that makes the country livable so some industrialist can avoid having to deal with externalities. They tell the base that "those people" are taking their stuff, and then shred the safety net that helps almost everyone except the rich.

What Trump has done is expose how these cons don't really fit together logically, but he hasn't really gone strongly against any of them. He's been on both sides of the first two, and tripled down on the third.

[Feb 25, 2018] The State of American Politics

Notable quotes:
"... We don't lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. ..."
"... Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent. The average unemployment rate was actually higher under Reagan than it was during the previous eight years: 7.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent. ... ..."
"... In his first economic text Greg Mankiw (pre Bush Kool Aid) laid this out nicely. Inward shift of the national savings schedule, higher real interest rates, and the crowding-out of investment. Which lowers long-term growth in the standard Solow model. QED! ..."
"... Responding to the increasingly inane behavior of the two parties, Robert Reich envisions a third party win in 2020: http://robertreich.org/post/141437490885 ..."
"... Bratton is the best police commissioner in the nation! My only regret is that the NYPD did not arrest Cruz and toss him in jail for a few days. ..."
"... (i) It implies that high taxation was responsible for the stagnant economy. Therefore, reducing taxes would unleash growth. The early 80's recessions was not caused by high taxation and growth was just as strong before. ..."
"... (ii) Reagan actually passed a significant tax increase in 1982; TERFA. Some have actually called it the largest peacetime tax increase in history. ..."
"... (iii) Supply-siders completely ignore interest rates. The federal funds rate fell from 19% in July 1981 to 8.5% in February 1983. That looks like good ol' fashion Keynesianism at work. ..."
Mar 23, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Paul Ryan, in a speech on the state of American politics, says :
We don't lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold.

Followed by:

... in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.

Bruce Bartlett :

... I was the staff economist for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) in 1977, and it was my job to draft what came to be the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which Reagan endorsed in 1980 and enacted the following year. ...

Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent. The average unemployment rate was actually higher under Reagan than it was during the previous eight years: 7.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent. ...

PAUL MATHIS :
Lyin' Ryan

"In 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work."

In 1981 real GDP increased 2.6%, but in 1982 it was NEGATIVE 1.9%.
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/A191RL1A225NBEA

In 1981 the unemployment rate was 7.6% but by 1982 it was 9.7%.
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UNRATE

So the tax cuts reduced growth and increased unemployment. Those are FACTS

PAUL MATHIS -> pgl...

The Question Was the Effect of the 1981 Tax Cuts

Ryan says they were positive for growth and jobs. They were not based on the ensuing facts.

Obviously many other things were happening but Ryan made a clear statement that was a lie and that needs to be called out.

pgl -> PAUL MATHIS...
In his first economic text Greg Mankiw (pre Bush Kool Aid) laid this out nicely. Inward shift of the national savings schedule, higher real interest rates, and the crowding-out of investment. Which lowers long-term growth in the standard Solow model. QED!

JohnH :

Responding to the increasingly inane behavior of the two parties, Robert Reich envisions a third party win in 2020: http://robertreich.org/post/141437490885

"Politics abhors a vacuum. In 2019, the People's Party filled it.

Its platform called for getting big money out of politics, ending "crony capitalism," abolishing corporate welfare, stopping the revolving door between government and the private sector, and busting up the big Wall Street banks and corporate monopolies.

The People's Party also pledged to revoke the Trans Pacific Partnership, hike taxes on the rich to pay for a wage subs