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Polyarchy Bulletin, 2017

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[Dec 31, 2017] Anti-Populism Ideology of the Ruling Class by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers. ..."
"... The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers. ..."
"... Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns. ..."
"... The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite. ..."
"... The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists. ..."
"... In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Throughout the US and European corporate and state media, right and left, we are told that ' populism' has become the overarching threat to democracy, freedom and . . . free markets. The media's ' anti-populism' campaign has been used and abused by ruling elites and their academic and intellectual camp followers as the principal weapon to distract, discredit and destroy the rising tide of mass discontent with ruling class-imposed austerity programs, the accelerating concentration of wealth and the deepening inequalities.

We will begin by examining the conceptual manipulation of ' populism' and its multiple usages. Then we will turn to the historic economic origins of populism and anti-populism. Finally, we will critically analyze the contemporary movements and parties dubbed ' populist' by the ideologues of ' anti-populism' .

Conceptual Manipulation

In order to understand the current ideological manipulation accompanying ' anti-populism ' it is necessary to examine the historical roots of populism as a popular movement.

Populism emerged during the 19 th and 20 th century as an ideology, movement and government in opposition to autocracy, feudalism, capitalism, imperialism and socialism. In the United States, populist leaders led agrarian struggles backed by millions of small farmers in opposition to bankers, railroad magnates and land speculators. Opposing monopolistic practices of the 'robber barons', the populist movement supported broad-based commercial agriculture, access to low interest farm credit and reduced transport costs.

In all cases, the populist governments in Latin America were based on a coalition of nationalist capitalists, urban workers and the rural poor. In some notable cases, nationalist military officers brought populist governments to power. What they had in common was their opposition to foreign capital and its local supporters and exporters ('compradores'), bankers and their elite military collaborators. Populists promoted 'third way' politics by opposing imperialism on the right, and socialism and communism on the left. The populists supported the redistribution of wealth but not the expropriation of property. They sought to reconcile national capitalists and urban workers. They opposed class struggle but supported state intervention in the economy and import-substitution as a development strategy.

Imperialist powers were the leading anti-populists of that period. They defended property privileges and condemned nationalism as 'authoritarian' and undemocratic. They demonized the mass support for populism as 'a threat to Western Christian civilization'. Not infrequently, the anti-populists ideologues would label the national-populists as 'fascists' . . . even as they won numerous elections at different times and in a variety of countries.

The historical experience of populism, in theory and practice, has nothing to do with what today's ' anti-populists' in the media are calling ' populism' . In reality, current anti-populism is still a continuation of anti-communism , a political weapon to disarm working class and popular movements. It advances the class interest of the ruling class. Both 'anti's' have been orchestrated by ruling class ideologues seeking to blur the real nature of their 'pro-capitalist' privileged agenda and practice. Presenting your program as 'pro-capitalist', pro-inequalities, pro-tax evasion and pro-state subsidies for the elite is more difficult to defend at the ballot box than to claim to be ' anti-populist' .

' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers.

The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers.

Historic 'anti-populism' has its roots in the inability of capitalism to secure popular consent via elections. It reflects their anger and frustration at their failure to grow the economy, to conquer and exploit independent countries and to finance growing fiscal deficits.

The Amalgamation of Historical Populism with the Contemporary Fabricated Populism

What the current anti-populists ideologues label ' populism' has little to do with the historical movements.

Unlike all of the past populist governments, which sought to nationalize strategic industries, none of the current movements and parties, denounced as 'populist' by the media, are anti-imperialists. In fact, the current ' populists' attack the lowest classes and defend the imperialist-allied capitalist elites. The so-called current ' populists' support imperialist wars and bank swindlers, unlike the historical populists who were anti-war and anti-bankers.

Ruling class ideologues simplistically conflate a motley collection of rightwing capitalist parties and organizations with the pro-welfare state, pro-worker and pro-farmer parties of the past in order to discredit and undermine the burgeoning popular multi-class movements and regimes.

Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns.

One has only to compare the currently demonized ' populist' Donald Trump with the truly populist US President Franklin Roosevelt, who promoted social welfare, unionization, labor rights, increased taxes on the rich, income redistribution, and genuine health and workplace safety legislation within a multi-class coalition to see how absurd the current media campaign has become.

The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite.

The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists.

In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters.

The anti-populism of the ruling class serves to confuse the 'right' with the 'left'; to sidelight the latter and promote the former; to amalgamate rightwing 'rallies' with working class strikes; and to conflate rightwing demagogues with popular mass leaders.

Unfortunately, too many leftist academics and pundits are loudly chanting in the 'anti-populist' chorus. They have failed to see themselves among the shock troops of the right. The left ideologues join the ruling class in condemning the corporate populists in the name of 'anti-fascism'. Leftwing writers, claiming to 'combat the far-right enemies of the people' , overlook the fact that they are 'fellow-travelling' with an anti-populist ruling class, which has imposed savage cuts in living standards, spread imperial wars of aggression resulting in millions of desperate refugees- not immigrants –and concentrated immense wealth.

The bankruptcy of today's ' anti-populist' left will leave them sitting in their coffee shops, scratching at fleas, as the mass popular movements take to the streets!

[Dec 31, 2017] Anti-Populism Ideology of the Ruling Class by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers. ..."
"... The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers. ..."
"... Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns. ..."
"... The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite. ..."
"... The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists. ..."
"... In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Throughout the US and European corporate and state media, right and left, we are told that ' populism' has become the overarching threat to democracy, freedom and . . . free markets. The media's ' anti-populism' campaign has been used and abused by ruling elites and their academic and intellectual camp followers as the principal weapon to distract, discredit and destroy the rising tide of mass discontent with ruling class-imposed austerity programs, the accelerating concentration of wealth and the deepening inequalities.

We will begin by examining the conceptual manipulation of ' populism' and its multiple usages. Then we will turn to the historic economic origins of populism and anti-populism. Finally, we will critically analyze the contemporary movements and parties dubbed ' populist' by the ideologues of ' anti-populism' .

Conceptual Manipulation

In order to understand the current ideological manipulation accompanying ' anti-populism ' it is necessary to examine the historical roots of populism as a popular movement.

Populism emerged during the 19 th and 20 th century as an ideology, movement and government in opposition to autocracy, feudalism, capitalism, imperialism and socialism. In the United States, populist leaders led agrarian struggles backed by millions of small farmers in opposition to bankers, railroad magnates and land speculators. Opposing monopolistic practices of the 'robber barons', the populist movement supported broad-based commercial agriculture, access to low interest farm credit and reduced transport costs.

In all cases, the populist governments in Latin America were based on a coalition of nationalist capitalists, urban workers and the rural poor. In some notable cases, nationalist military officers brought populist governments to power. What they had in common was their opposition to foreign capital and its local supporters and exporters ('compradores'), bankers and their elite military collaborators. Populists promoted 'third way' politics by opposing imperialism on the right, and socialism and communism on the left. The populists supported the redistribution of wealth but not the expropriation of property. They sought to reconcile national capitalists and urban workers. They opposed class struggle but supported state intervention in the economy and import-substitution as a development strategy.

Imperialist powers were the leading anti-populists of that period. They defended property privileges and condemned nationalism as 'authoritarian' and undemocratic. They demonized the mass support for populism as 'a threat to Western Christian civilization'. Not infrequently, the anti-populists ideologues would label the national-populists as 'fascists' . . . even as they won numerous elections at different times and in a variety of countries.

The historical experience of populism, in theory and practice, has nothing to do with what today's ' anti-populists' in the media are calling ' populism' . In reality, current anti-populism is still a continuation of anti-communism , a political weapon to disarm working class and popular movements. It advances the class interest of the ruling class. Both 'anti's' have been orchestrated by ruling class ideologues seeking to blur the real nature of their 'pro-capitalist' privileged agenda and practice. Presenting your program as 'pro-capitalist', pro-inequalities, pro-tax evasion and pro-state subsidies for the elite is more difficult to defend at the ballot box than to claim to be ' anti-populist' .

' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers.

The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers.

Historic 'anti-populism' has its roots in the inability of capitalism to secure popular consent via elections. It reflects their anger and frustration at their failure to grow the economy, to conquer and exploit independent countries and to finance growing fiscal deficits.

The Amalgamation of Historical Populism with the Contemporary Fabricated Populism

What the current anti-populists ideologues label ' populism' has little to do with the historical movements.

Unlike all of the past populist governments, which sought to nationalize strategic industries, none of the current movements and parties, denounced as 'populist' by the media, are anti-imperialists. In fact, the current ' populists' attack the lowest classes and defend the imperialist-allied capitalist elites. The so-called current ' populists' support imperialist wars and bank swindlers, unlike the historical populists who were anti-war and anti-bankers.

Ruling class ideologues simplistically conflate a motley collection of rightwing capitalist parties and organizations with the pro-welfare state, pro-worker and pro-farmer parties of the past in order to discredit and undermine the burgeoning popular multi-class movements and regimes.

Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns.

One has only to compare the currently demonized ' populist' Donald Trump with the truly populist US President Franklin Roosevelt, who promoted social welfare, unionization, labor rights, increased taxes on the rich, income redistribution, and genuine health and workplace safety legislation within a multi-class coalition to see how absurd the current media campaign has become.

The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite.

The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists.

In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters.

The anti-populism of the ruling class serves to confuse the 'right' with the 'left'; to sidelight the latter and promote the former; to amalgamate rightwing 'rallies' with working class strikes; and to conflate rightwing demagogues with popular mass leaders.

Unfortunately, too many leftist academics and pundits are loudly chanting in the 'anti-populist' chorus. They have failed to see themselves among the shock troops of the right. The left ideologues join the ruling class in condemning the corporate populists in the name of 'anti-fascism'. Leftwing writers, claiming to 'combat the far-right enemies of the people' , overlook the fact that they are 'fellow-travelling' with an anti-populist ruling class, which has imposed savage cuts in living standards, spread imperial wars of aggression resulting in millions of desperate refugees- not immigrants –and concentrated immense wealth.

The bankruptcy of today's ' anti-populist' left will leave them sitting in their coffee shops, scratching at fleas, as the mass popular movements take to the streets!

[Dec 29, 2017] washingtonpost.com - watergate scandal and deep throat update, e. howard hunt

Dec 29, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com
E. Howard Hunt
E. Howard Hunt
Hunt was a member of the White House "plumbers," the secret team assembled to stop government leaks after defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press. A former CIA operative, Hunt organized the bugging of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate -- as well as a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Hunt's phone number in address books belonging to the Watergate burglars helped investigators -- and reporters -- connect the break-in to the president and his reelection campaign. Convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping, Hunt served 33 months in prison.

By the time of the Watergate burglary, Hunt was already moonlighting as a spy novelist. He has since penned dozens of books, including a memoir and "Dragon Teeth," a thriller published this May.

In 1981, Hunt won $650,000 in a libel suit against the Liberty Lobby for a 1978 article that appeared in the right-wing group's conspiracy-minded newspaper, The Spotlight. The article linked Hunt to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, suggesting the CIA man was in Dallas on the day of the 1963 shooting. Mark Lane, author of the best-selling "Rush to Judgment," successfully defended Liberty Lobby in a second trial in 1985, overturning the original libel award. Lane outlined his theory about Hunt's and the CIA's role in Kennedy's murder in a 1991 book, "Plausible Denial."

Hunt filed for bankruptcy protection from his creditors in June 1995. He died at a Miami hospital after a lengthy bout with pneumonia Jan. 23, 2007.

[Dec 29, 2017] Watergate Scandal Timeline

Dec 29, 2017 | www.historyonthenet.com

The Watergate Break-In
June 16, 1972: In room 214 of the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., seven men gathered to finalize their plans to break in to the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) headquarters, located on the sixth floor of one of the Watergate complex's six buildings. One of these men, G. Gordon Liddy , was a former FBI agent. Another, E. Howard Hunt , had retired from the CIA. James McCord would handle the bugging, Bernard Barker would photograph documents, and Virgilio Gonzalez would pick the locks. The remaining two, Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis, would serve as lookouts. Several of these men were Cuban exiles who had met Hunt through their participation in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion back in 1961.

[Dec 29, 2017] Richard Helms The Intelligence Professional Personified -- Central Intelligence Agency

Notable quotes:
"... . . . it is sometimes difficult for us to understand the intensity of our public critics. Criticism of our efficiency is one thing, criticism of our responsibility quite another. I believe that we are . . . a legitimate object of public concern . . . I find it painful, however, when public debate lessens our usefulness to the nation by casting doubt on our integrity and objectivity. If we are not believed, we have no purpose. . . 30 ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.cia.gov

The Unraveling

During his later years at the CIA, Helms witnessed the Agency and the whole enterprise of intelligence fall into disrepute as Congress and the public subjected US foreign policy to unprecedented criticism. Helms took the occasion of his only public speech as DCI to affirm that "the nation must to a degree take it on faith that we too are honorable men devoted to her service." 28 By the end of his directorship, however, years of political protest, social upheaval, and revelations of government incompetence and wrongdoing had depleted much of that faith. Helms became a (not entirely blameless) casualty of that rapid and sweeping change in the American people's sense of what their government should and should not do. He had once said that Americans "want an effective, strong intelligence operation. They just don't want to hear too much about it." 29 But now prominent voices demanded of the CIA far more accountability than Helms was used to or thought appropriate. As he wrote in this journal in 1967:

. . . it is sometimes difficult for us to understand the intensity of our public critics. Criticism of our efficiency is one thing, criticism of our responsibility quite another. I believe that we are . . . a legitimate object of public concern . . . I find it painful, however, when public debate lessens our usefulness to the nation by casting doubt on our integrity and objectivity. If we are not believed, we have no purpose. . . 30

Photo: Helms testifying before a congressional committee in the 1970s. (U)

Helms testifying before a congressional
committee in the 1970s

Helms declined a presidential request to submit his resignation after the 1972 elections, not wanting to set a precedent that he thought would politicize the position of DCI. After he was forced out in 1973 -- he believed that Nixon was mad at him for refusing to use the CIA in the Watergate cover up -- Helms spent several years coping with controversies ensuing in part from some of his acts of omission and commission while at the Agency. He became a lightning rod for criticism of the CIA during its "time of troubles" in the mid-1970s. He was called back many times from his ambassadorial post in Tehran to testify before investigatory bodies about assassination plots, domestic operations, drug testing, the destruction of records, and other activities of dubious legality and ethicality known collectively as the "Family Jewels." He responded to inquiries about them cautiously, sometimes testily, as he tried to walk the increasingly fuzzy line between discretion and disclosure.

Helms ran into legal troubles resulting from his judgment about when and when not to reveal secrets. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just after leaving the Agency, he denied that the CIA had tried to influence the outcome of the Chilean presidential election in 1970. Helms described his quandary this way: "If I was to live up to my oath and fulfill my statutory responsibility to protect intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure, I could not reveal covert operations to people unauthorized to learn about them." 31 He eventually pleaded no contest to charges of not testifying "fully, completely and accurately" to the committee. His statement to the federal judge who was about to sentence him, although addressed to the immediate situation, could also summarize nearly his whole experience as DCI: "I was simply trying to find my way through a difficult situation in which I found myself

[Dec 29, 2017] Watergate Was A Setup - Business Insider

Notable quotes:
"... Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years ..."
"... Who Will Rid Me of This Troublesome Priest? ..."
"... ascribed to Henry II ..."
"... It sounded preposterous. Cubans in surgical gloves bugging the ..."
"... DNC! I dismissed it as some sort of prank . . . The whole thing ..."
"... made so little sense. Why, I wondered. Why then? Why in such a ..."
"... blundering way . . . Anyone who knew anything about politics ..."
"... would know that a national committee headquarters was a useless ..."
"... place to go for inside information on a presidential campaign. The ..."
"... whole thing was so senseless and bungled that it almost looked ..."
"... like some kind of a setup. ..."
"... HALDEMAN: . . . The FBI agents who are working the case, at this ..."
"... point, feel that's what it is. This is CIA . ..."
"... NIXON: Of course, this is a, this is a [E. Howard] Hunt [operation, ..."
"... and exposure of it] will uncover a lot of things. You open that ..."
"... scab there's a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it ..."
"... would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further. ..."
"... This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that ..."
"... we have nothing to do with ourselves This will open the ..."
"... whole Bay of Pigs thing ..."
"... Also got cranking on the political problem. [President's] obviously ..."
"... concerned about reports (especially Buchanan's) that conservatives ..."
"... and the South are unhappy. Also he's annoyed by constant right- ..."
"... wing bitching, with never a positive alternative. Ordered me to assemble ..."
"... a political group and really hit them to start defending us, ..."
"... including Buchanan . . . [and political specialist Harry] Dent. ..."
"... HALDEMAN: The way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA ..."
"... deputy director Vernon] Walters call [FBI interim director] Pat ..."
"... Gray and just say, "Stay the hell out of this this is ah, business ..."
"... here we don't want you to go any further on it." ..."
"... Then I played Nixon's trump card. "The President asked me to tell ..."
"... you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it ..."
"... opens up, the Bay of Pigs might be blown . . ." ..."
"... Turmoil in the room, Helms gripping the arms of his chair, ..."
"... leaning forward and shouting, "The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do ..."
"... with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs." . . . I was ..."
"... absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered, ..."
"... what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story? ..."
"... In view of our discussion yesterday morning with regard ..."
"... to Cuba, I thought you might like to see a copy of the speech ..."
"... I made before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in ..."
"... which I directed remarks toward this problem. ..."
"... When I return from Europe I am looking forward to having ..."
"... a chance to get a further fill-in with regard to your experiences ..."
"... on the Bay of Pigs incident. ..."
"... 0900 Cols[on] -- re idea of getting pol. Commitments -- ..."
"... Sugar people are richest & most ruthless ..."
"... before we commit -- shld put screws on ..."
"... & get quid pro quo ..."
"... ie Fl[anigan] -- always go to Sugar lobby or oil etc. ..."
"... before we give them anything ..."
"... One of Mr. Kendall's great passions is international trade, and his ..."
"... interest in foreign affairs won him a footnote in a 1975 interim report ..."
"... of a Senate Select Committee. The report was called "Alleged ..."
"... Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders," and discussed in ..."
"... part the assassination of Salvador Allende Gossens, the Marxist ..."
"... Chilean president who was killed in 1973. ..."
"... The report stated that Mr. Kendall had requested in 1970 that ..."
"... Augustin Edwards, who was publisher of the Chilean newspaper ..."
"... El Mercurio, as well as a Pepsi bottler in Chile, meet with high ..."
"... Nixon Administration officials to report on the political situation ..."
"... in Chile. (Pepsi bottling operations were later expropriated by the ..."
"... regime.) That meeting, which included Mr. Kendall, Mr. Edwards, ..."
"... Henry Kissinger and John N. Mitchell, was indeed held, and later ..."
"... the same day, Mr. Nixon met with Dr. Kissinger and Richard ..."
"... Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Helms ..."
"... later testified that President Nixon had ordered at the follow-up ..."
"... meeting that Chile was to be saved from Allende "and he didn't ..."
"... care much how." Mr. Kendall says he sees nothing sinister, or for ..."
"... that matter even controversial, in his action. ..."
"... Of all the silly things I've ever been asked to do in this life, traveling ..."
"... around with six thousand dollars to give the guy and say, "This ..."
"... is from Dick and Pat," was colossally bad . . . Now you crank me ..."
"... up, leave a paper trail a mile long and a mile wide of flight tickets, ..."
"... hotel reservations, rental cars, everything, and have me traipsing ..."
"... all over the country giving these guys six thousand dollars in cash, ..."
"... [and besides], the six thousand doesn't matter, doesn't get you anywhere. ..."
"... If we give you a quarter of a million, what's another six ..."
"... thousand? . . . The six thousand dollars itself was a disconnect, because ..."
"... everything else was largely done to keep the whole thing under wraps. ..."
"... A little-known lawyer in Newport Beach, Calif., has raised millions ..."
"... of dollars in campaign contributions as an unpublicized fund- ..."
"... raiser . . . [and] as Nixon's personal agent . . . to collect campaign ..."
"... checks from Republican donors Kalmbach helped to raise ..."
"... nearly $3 million in covert campaign money . . . The checks were ..."
"... sent through a townhouse basement used by former Nixon political ..."
"... aide Jack A. Gleason. But the operation was run from inside the ..."
"... White House by presidential assistant H.R. (Bob) Haldeman . . . ..."
"... Only a portion of this money has shown up on public records. The ..."
"... rest of the campaign checks have been funneled through dummy ..."
"... Baker told me of his interview with Martinez who said that there ..."
"... were no patient records in Dr. Fielding's office, that he, Martinez, ..."
"... was very disappointed when they found nothing there, but Hunt ..."
"... on the other hand seemed very pleased and as a matter of fact ..."
"... broke out a bottle of champagne when the three men returned ..."
"... from the job. Martinez says that he has participated in three hundred ..."
"... or four hundred similar CIA operations, that this was clearly ..."
"... a 'cover' operation with no intention of ever finding anything. ..."
"... Mitchell knew he had been set up. In later years, his mind reeled at ..."
"... the singular confluence of amazing characters that produced ..."
"... Watergate -- Dean, Magruder, Liddy, Helms, Hunt, McCord, ..."
"... Martinez -- and reckoned himself and the president, neither of ..."
"... whom enjoyed foreknowledge of the Watergate break-in, victims ..."
"... in the affair. "The more I got into this," Mitchell said in June 1987, ..."
"... "the more I see how these sons of bitches have not only done ..."
"... Nixon in but they've done me in." ..."
"... The [Watergate] tapes unmasked Nixon not as the take-charge boss ..."
"... of a criminal conspiracy but rather as an aging and confused politician ..."
"... lost in a welter of detail, unable to distinguish his Magruders ..."
"... from his Strachans, uncertain who knew what and when, what ..."
"... each player had told the grand jury, whose testimony was direct, ..."
"... Bob had come to us on very high recommendations from someone ..."
"... in the White House. He had been an intelligence officer in the ..."
"... Navy and had served in the Pentagon. He had not been exposed to ..."
"... any newspaper. We gave him a tryout because he was so highly ..."
"... recommended. We customarily didn't do that. We wanted to see ..."
"... some clips, and he had none of that. We tried him out, and after a ..."
"... week or two I asked my deputy, "What's with this guy?" And he ..."
"... said well, he's a very bright guy but he doesn't know how to put the ..."
"... paper in the typewriter. But he was bright, there was that intensity ..."
"... about him and his willingness, and he acted maturely. So we decided ..."
"... because he had come so highly recommended and he had ..."
"... shown certain strengths that we would help get him a job at the ..."
"... Montgomery County Sentinel. ..."
"... The CIA has been unable to determine whether Bob Woodward ..."
"... was employed by the agency. The agency claims to be having difficulty ..."
"... checking personnel files. Thompson says that he believes the ..."
"... delay merely means that they don't want to admit that Woodward ..."
"... was in the agency. Thompson wrote a lengthy memo to Baker last ..."
"... week complaining about the CIA's non-cooperation, the fact that ..."
"... they were supplying material piecemeal and had been very uncooperative. ..."
"... The memo went into the CIA relationship with the press, specifically ..."
"... Woodward. Senator Baker sent the memo directly to [CIA Director] Colby ..."
"... with a cover note and within a matter of a few hours, Woodward ..."
"... called Baker and was incensed over the memo. It had been immediately ..."
"... When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company, ..."
"... publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that ..."
"... the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according ..."
"... to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was ..."
"... somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director ..."
"... of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director ..."
"... of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, ..."
"... was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including ..."
"... many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to ..."
"... boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument ..."
"... he built, and played, with help from the press. Phil Graham ..."
"... was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graham, who committed ..."
"... suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover ..."
"... arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said. ..."
"... In 1965-66, an accredited Newsweek stringer in the Far East was ..."
"... in fact a CIA contract employee earning an annual salary of ..."
"... $10,000 from the Agency, according to Robert T. Wood, then a CIA ..."
"... officer in the Hong Kong station. Some Newsweek correspondents ..."
"... and stringers continued to maintain covert ties with the Agency ..."
"... into the 1970s, CIA sources said. ..."
"... Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post ..."
"... newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some ..."
"... Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say ..."
"... they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of ..."
"... the arrangements. ..."
"... BUSH: We're getting hit a little bit, Mr. President . . . It's building, ..."
"... and the mail's getting heavier . . . ..."
"... NIXON: What do you think you can do about it? . . . We've got hearings ..."
"... coming up. The hearings will make it worse. ..."
"... BUSH: . . . I was speaking with the executives at the Bull Elephants ..."
"... The guy said to me, why doesn't the President ..."
"... send Dean? . . . The disclosure is what they're calling for. ..."
"... NIXON: We are cooperating They don't want any cooperation. ..."
"... They aren't interested in getting the facts. They're only interested ..."
"... in [politicalgains?] I wish there were an answer to Watergate, ..."
"... but I just don't know any . . . I don't know a damn thing ..."
"... to do. [emphasis added] ..."
"... DEAN: I think that one thing that we have to continue to do, and ..."
"... particularly right now, is to examine the broadest, broadest implications ..."
"... of this whole thing, and, you know, maybe about thirty minutes ..."
"... of just my recitations to you of facts so that you operate from ..."
"... the same facts that everybody else has. ..."
"... DEAN: I don't think -- we have never really done that. It has been sort ..."
"... of bits and pieces. Just paint the whole picture for you, the soft ..."
"... spots, the potential problem areas [emphasis added] ..."
"... NIXON: And so you are coming up, then with the idea of just a ..."
"... stonewall then? Is that -- ..."
"... DEAN: That's right. ..."
"... NIXON: Is that what you come down with? ..."
"... DEAN: Stonewall, with lots of noises that we are always willing to ..."
"... cooperate, but no one is asking us for anything. ..."
"... NIXON: I just want a general -- ..."
"... DEAN: An all-around statement. ..."
"... NIXON: That's right. Try just something general. Like "I have ..."
"... checked into this matter; I can categorically, based on my investigation, ..."
"... the following: Haldeman is not involved in this, that ..."
"... and the other thing. Mr. Colson did not do this; Mr. So- and- so ..."
"... did not do this. Mr. Blank did not do this." Right down the line, ..."
"... taking the most glaring things. If there are any further questions, ..."
"... please let me know. See? ..."
"... DEAN: Uh huh, I think we can do that. ..."
"... [The president] feels strongly that we've got to say something to get ..."
"... ourselves away from looking like we're completely on the defensive ..."
"... and on a cover-up basis. If we . . . are going to volunteer ..."
"... to send written statements . . . we might as well do the statements ..."
"... now and get them publicized and get our answers out. The problem ..."
"... is that Dean feels this runs too many leads out. [emphasis added] ..."
"... DEAN: Well, Chapin didn't know anything about the Watergate, and -- ..."
"... NIXON: You don't think so? ..."
"... DEAN: No. Absolutely not. ..."
"... NIXON: Did Strachan? ..."
"... NIXON: He knew? ..."
"... NIXON: About the Watergate? ..."
"... NIXON: Well, then, Bob knew. He probably told Bob, then. He may ..."
"... not have. He may not have. ..."
"... DEAN: He was, he was judicious in what he, in what he relayed, ..."
"... and, uh, but Strachan is as tough as nails. I -- ..."
"... NIXON: What'll he say? Just go in and say he didn't know? ..."
"... DEAN: He'll go in and stonewall it and say, "I don't know anything ..."
"... about what you are talking about." He has already done it twice, ..."
"... as you know, in interviews. ..."
"... NIXON: Now, you were saying too, ah, what really, ah, where the, ..."
"... this thing leads, I mean in terms of the vulnerabilities and so ..."
"... forth. It's your view the vulnerables are basically Mitchell, Colson, ..."
"... Haldeman, indirectly, possibly directly, and of course, the ..."
"... second level is, as far as the White House is concerned, Chapin. ..."
"... DEAN: And I'd say Dean, to a degree. ..."
"... NIXON: You? Why? ..."
"... DEAN: Well, because I've been all over this thing like a blanket. ..."
"... NIXON: I know, I know, but you know all about it, but you didn't, ..."
"... you were in it after the deed was done. ..."
"... DEAN: That's correct, that I have no foreknowledge . . . ..."
"... NIXON: Here's the whole point, here's the whole point. My point is ..."
"... that your problem is you, you have no problem. All the others ..."
"... that have participated in the God-damned thing, and therefore ..."
"... are potentially subject to criminal liability. You're not. That's the ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.businessinsider.com

This is the second installment of a three-part series, featuring chapters related to Nixon and Watergate from WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker's book, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years .

Notes: (1) Although these excerpts do not contain footnotes, the book itself is heavily footnoted and exhaustively sourced. (2) To distinguish between George Bush, father and son, George H.W. Bush is sometimes referred to by his nickname Poppy, and George W. Bush by his, W. (3) Additional context can be found in the preceding chapters.

Before you read this second installment, please go here to read the first installment.

***********

Family of Secrets

Chapter 10: Downing Nixon: The Setup

Who Will Rid Me of This Troublesome Priest?
ascribed to Henry II

On June 17, 1972, a group of burglars, carrying electronic surveillance
equipment, was arrested inside the Democratic National
Committee offices at 2650 Virginia Avenue, NW, in Washington,
D.C., the Watergate building complex. The men were quickly identified as
having ties to the Nixon reelection campaign and to the White House.

Though at the time the incident got little attention, it would snowball into
one of the biggest crises in American political history, define Richard Nixon
forever, and drive him out of the White House.

Most historical accounts judge Nixon responsible in some way for the
Watergate burglary -- or at least for an effort to cover it up. And many people
believe Nixon got what he deserved.

But like other epic events, Watergate turns out to be an entirely different
story than the one we thought we knew.

Hanky-Panky, Cuban-Style

Almost no one has better expressed reasons to doubt Nixon's involvement
than Nixon himself. In his memoirs, Nixon described how he learned about
the burglary while vacationing in Florida, from the morning newspaper. He
recalled his reaction at the time:

It sounded preposterous. Cubans in surgical gloves bugging the
DNC! I dismissed it as some sort of prank . . . The whole thing
made so little sense. Why, I wondered. Why then? Why in such a
blundering way . . . Anyone who knew anything about politics
would know that a national committee headquarters was a useless
place to go for inside information on a presidential campaign. The
whole thing was so senseless and bungled that it almost looked
like some kind of a setup.

Nixon was actually suggesting not just a setup, but one intended to harm
him.

Perhaps because anything he might say would seem transparently self-
serving, this claim received little attention and has been largely forgotten.

Notwithstanding Nixon's initial reaction to the news of the break-in,
less than a week later he suddenly learned more -- and this gave him much
to ponder.

On June 23, Nixon's chief of staff, H. R. "Bob" Haldeman, came into the
Oval Office to give the president an update on a variety of topics, including
the investigation of the break-in. Haldeman had just been briefed by John
Dean, who had gotten his information from FBI investigators.

HALDEMAN: . . . The FBI agents who are working the case, at this
point, feel that's what it is. This is CIA .

Nixon's response would show that he had already realized this:

NIXON: Of course, this is a, this is a [E. Howard] Hunt [operation,
and exposure of it] will uncover a lot of things. You open that
scab there's a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it
would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further.
This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that
we have nothing to do with ourselves This will open the
whole Bay of Pigs thing

Of course, it is important to remember that Nixon knew every word he
uttered was being recorded. Like his predecessors Kennedy and Johnson,
he had decided to install a taping system so that he could maintain a record
of his administration. He was, in a way, dictating a file memo for future historians.

But that doesn't make everything he said untrue. While Nixon undoubtedly
spun some things, he still had to communicate with his subordinates,
and the tape was rolling while he was trying to run the country. Those were
actual meetings and real conversations, tape or no tape. And though the
result was 3,700 hours of White House tape recordings, Nixon evinced
merely sporadic consciousness of the fact that the tape was rolling. Only after
his counsel John Dean defected to the prosecutors did Nixon appear to
be tailoring his words.

Nixon's memoirs, combined with the tape of June 23, make clear that
Nixon recognized certain things about the implementation of the burglary.
The caper was carried out by pros, yet paradoxically was amateurish, easily
detected -- an instigation of the crime more easily pinned on someone else.
A break-in at Democratic Party headquarters: On whom would that be
blamed? Well, who was running against a Democrat for reelection that
fall? Why, Richard Nixon of course. Nixon, who frequently exhibited a grim
and self-pitying awareness of how he generally was portrayed, might have
grasped how this would play out publicly. Dick Nixon: ruthless, paranoid,
vengeful -- Tricky Dick. Wouldn't this burglary be just the kind of thing that
that Dick Nixon -- the "liberal media's" version of him -- would do? Nixon's
opponent, George McGovern, made this charge repeatedly during the 1972
campaign.

Though Nixon would sweep the election, it would become increasingly
apparent to him that, where Watergate was concerned, the jury was stacked.
The path was set. Someone had him in a corner.

But who?

Many people, including those within Nixon's own base of support, were
not happy with him -- even from early in his administration. As Haldeman
noted in his diary, one month after the inauguration in 1969:

Also got cranking on the political problem. [President's] obviously
concerned about reports (especially Buchanan's) that conservatives
and the South are unhappy. Also he's annoyed by constant right-
wing bitching, with never a positive alternative. Ordered me to assemble
a political group and really hit them to start defending us,
including Buchanan . . . [and political specialist Harry] Dent.

There would be growing anger in the Pentagon about Nixon and Kissinger's
secret attempts to secure agreements with China and the Soviet Union without
consulting the military. And there were the oilmen, who found Nixon
wasn't solid enough on their most basic concerns, such as the oil depletion
allowance and oil import quotas.

As for the burglary crew, Nixon recognized them instantly, because he
knew what they represented. While serving as vice president, Nixon had
overseen some covert operations and served as the "action officer" for the
planning of the Bay of Pigs, of which these men were hard-boiled veterans.
They had been out to overthrow Fidel Castro, and if possible, to kill him.

Nixon had another problem. These pros were connected to the CIA, and
as we shall see, Nixon was not getting along well with the agency.

One of the main reasons we fundamentally misunderstand Watergate is
that the guardians of the historical record focused only on selected parts of
Nixon's taped conversations, out of context. Consider a widely cited portion
of a June 23 meeting tape, which would become known forever as the
"smoking gun" conversation:

HALDEMAN: The way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA
deputy director Vernon] Walters call [FBI interim director] Pat
Gray and just say, "Stay the hell out of this this is ah, business
here we don't want you to go any further on it."
NIXON: Um hum.

Short excerpts like this seem especially damning. This one sounds right
off the bat like a cover-up - Nixon using the CIA to suppress an FBI investigation
into the break-in.

But these utterances take on a different meaning when considered with
other, less publicized parts of the same conversation. A prime example:
Haldeman went on to tell Nixon that Pat Gray, the acting FBI director, had
called CIA director Richard Helms and said, "I think we've run right into
the middle of a CIA covert operation."

Although the first excerpt above sounds like a discussion of a cover-up,
when we consider the information about the CIA involvement, it begins to
seem as if Nixon is not colluding. He may well have been refusing to take the
rap for something he had not authorized -- and certainly not for something
that smelled so blatantly like a trap. Nixon would have understood that if the
FBI were to conduct a full investigation and conclude that the break-in was indeed
an illegal operation of the CIA, it would all be blamed squarely on the
man who supposedly had ultimate authority over both agencies -- him. And
doubly so, since the burglars and their supervisors were tied not just
to the CIA but also directly back to Nixon's reelection committee and the
White House itself.

Yet, however concerned Nixon certainly must have been at this moment,
he played it cool. He concurred with the advice that his chief of staff was
passing along from the counsel John Dean, which was to press the CIA to
clean up its own mess.

If the CIA was involved, then the agency would have to ask the FBI to
back off. The CIA itself would have to invoke its perennial escape clause --
say that national security was at stake.

This must have sounded to Nixon like the best way to deal with a vexing
and shadowy situation. He had no way of knowing that, two years later, his
conversation with Haldeman would be publicly revealed and construed as
that of a man in control of a plot, rather than the target of one.

Sniffing Around the Bay of Pigs

How could Nixon have so quickly gotten a fix on the Watergate crew? He
might have recognized that the involvement of this particular group of
Cubans, together with E. Howard Hunt -- and the evidence tying them back
to the White House -- was in part a message to him. One of the group leaders,
G. Gordon Liddy, would even refer to the team as a bunch of "professional
killers." Indeed , several of this Bay of Pigs circle had gone to Vietnam
to participate in the assassination-oriented Phoenix Program; as noted in
chapter 7, Poppy Bush and his colleague, CIA operative Thomas Devine,
had been in Vietnam at the peak of Phoenix, and Bush had ties to at least
some from this émigré group.

So Nixon recognized this tough gang, but this time, they weren't focused on
Fidel Castro; they were focused on Dick Nixon.

Hunt was a familiar figure from the CIA old guard. A near contemporary of
Poppy Bush's at Yale , Hunt had, as noted in earlier chapters, gone on to star in
numerous agency foreign coup operations, including in Guatemala. He had
worked closely with Cuban émigrés and had been in sensitive positions at the
time John F. Kennedy was murdered and Lee Harvey Oswald named the lone
assassin. Moreover, Hunt had been a staunch loyalist of Allen Dulles, whom
Kennedy had ousted over the failed Bay of Pigs invasion; he allegedly even
collaborated on Dulles's 1963 book, The Craft of Intelligence. Hunt was one
connected fellow, and his presence in an operation of this sort, particularly with
veterans of the Cuba invasion, was not something to pass over lightly.

Nixon had further basis for viewing the events of Watergate with special
trepidation. From the moment he entered office until the day, five and a half
years later, when he was forced to resign, Nixon and the CIA had been at
war. Over what? Over records dating back to the Kennedy administration
and even earlier.

Nixon had many reasons to be interested in the events of the early 1960s.
As noted, he had been the "action officer" for the planning of the Bay of Pigs
and the attempt to overthrow Castro. But even more interestingly, Nixon had,
by coincidence, been in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and had left the city
just hours before the man he barely lost to in 1960 had been gunned down.

Five years after the Kennedy assassination, as Richard Nixon himself assumed
the presidency, one of his first and keenest instincts was to try to learn more
about these monumental events of the past decade.

Both of Nixon's chief aides, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, noted
in their memoirs that the president seemed obsessed with what he called
the "Bay of Pigs thing." Both were convinced that when Nixon used the
phrase, it was shorthand for something bigger and more disturbing. Nixon
did not tell even those closest to him what he meant.

When Nixon referred to the Bay of Pigs, he could certainly have been using
it as a euphemism, because any way one thought about it, it spelled
trouble. The Bay of Pigs invasion itself had been a kind of setup of another
president. JFK had made clear that he would not allow U.S. military forces
to be used against Castro. When the invasion by U.S.-backed Cuban exiles
failed, the CIA and the U.S. military hoped this would force Kennedy to
launch an all-out invasion. Instead, he balked, and blamed Dulles and his
associates for the botched enterprise, and, to their astonishment, forced
them out of the agency. As noted in chapter 4, these were the roots of the hatred
felt by Hunt, Dulles, and the Bush family toward Kennedy.

Nixon was keenly aware that Kennedy's battle with powerful internal elements
had preceded JFK's demise. After all, governments everywhere have
historically faced the reality that the apparatus of state security might have
the chief of state in its gun sights -- and that it certainly possesses the ability
to act.

Moreover, Richard Nixon was a curious fellow. Within days of taking
office in 1969, Nixon had begun conducting an investigation of his own regarding
the turbulent and little-understood days leading up to the end of the
Kennedy administration. He had ordered Ehrlichman, the White House
counsel, to instruct CIA director Helms to hand over the relevant files, which
surely amounted to thousands and thousands of documents. Six months
later, Ehrlichman confided to Haldeman that the agency had failed to produce
any of the files.

"Those bastards in Langley are holding back something," a frustrated
Ehrlichman told Haldeman. "They just dig their heels in and say the President
can't have it. Period. Imagine that. The Commander-in-Chief wants to
see a document and the spooks say he can't have it . . . From the way they're
protecting it, it must be pure dynamite."

Nixon himself then summoned Helms, who also refused to help. Helms
would later recall that Nixon "asked me for some information about the Bay
of Pigs and I think about the Diem episode in Vietnam and maybe something
about Trujillo in the Dominican Republic" -- all events involving the
violent removal of foreign heads of state.

Fidel Castro had managed to survive not only the Bay of Pigs but also multiple
later assassination attempts. Diem and Trujillo were not so fortunate.
And President Kennedy, who made a lot of Cuban enemies after the botched
Bay of Pigs operations, had also succumbed to an assassin's bullet. This was a
legacy that might well seize the attention of one of Kennedy's successors.

The explosiveness of the mysterious "Bay of Pigs thing" became abundantly
apparent on June 23, 1972, the day Nixon instructed Haldeman to tell
CIA director Helms to rein in the FBI's Watergate investigation. Recalled
Haldeman:

Then I played Nixon's trump card. "The President asked me to tell
you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it
opens up, the Bay of Pigs might be blown . . ."

Turmoil in the room, Helms gripping the arms of his chair,
leaning forward and shouting, "The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do
with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs." . . . I was
absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered,
what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story?

Nixon made clear to his top aides that he was not only obsessed with the
CIA's murky past, but also its present. He seemed downright paranoid about
the agency, periodically suggesting to his aides that covert operatives lurked
everywhere. And indeed, as we shall see, they did.

In all likelihood, the practice of filling the White House with intelligence
operatives was not limited to the Nixon administration, but an ongoing effort.
To the intelligence community, the White House was no different than
other civil institutions it actively penetrated. Presidents were viewed less as
elected leaders to be served than as temporary occupants to be closely monitored,
subtly guided, and where necessary, given a shove.

If the CIA was in fact trying to implicate Nixon in Watergate (and, as we
shall see, in other illegal and troubling covert operations), the goal might
have been to create the impression that the agency was joined at the hip
with Nixon in all things. Then, if Nixon were to pursue the CIA's possible
role in the assassination of Kennedy, the agency could simply claim that
Nixon himself knew about these illegal acts, or was somehow complicit in
them.

A Little Exposure Never Hurts

Something had been gnawing at Nixon since November 22, 1963. Why had
he ended up in Dallas the very day the man who he believed had stolen the
presidency from him was shot? Nixon had been asked to go there just a few
weeks before, for the rather banal purpose of an appearance at a Pepsi-Cola
corporate meeting -- coinciding with a national soda pop bottlers' convention.
The potential implications could not have been lost on this most shrewd and
suspicious man.

Nixon was no shrinking violet in Dallas. He called a press conference in
his hotel suite on November 21, the day before Kennedy's murder, criticizing
Kennedy's policies on civil rights and foreign relations but also urging
Texans to show courtesy to the president during his visit.

More significantly, he declared his belief that Kennedy was going to replace
Vice President Johnson with a new running mate in 1964. This was
an especially incendiary thing to say, since the whole reason for Kennedy's
visit was to cement his links to Texas Democrats, help bridge a gap between
the populist and conservative wings of the state party, and highlight his partnership
with Johnson. Nixon's comment was hot enough that it gained a place in the
early edition of the November 22 Dallas Morning News, under the headline
"Nixon Predicts JFK May Drop Johnson."

This was likely to get the attention of Johnson, who would be in the motorcade
that day -- and of conservatives generally, the bottlers included, whom Johnson
had addressed as keynote speaker at their convention earlier in the week.

Nixon had finished his business and left the city by 9:05 on the morning
of the twenty-second, several hours before Kennedy was shot. He learned
of the event on his arrival back in New York City. Like most people, he no
doubt was shocked and perhaps a bit alarmed. Many people, Nixon included,
believed that Kennedy had stolen the presidential election in 1960 by fixing
vote counts in Texas and Illinois.

At the very least, the appearance of Nixon's November 21 press conference
remarks in the newspaper just hours before Kennedy's death was a
stark reminder of the large and diverse group of enemies, in and out of politics,
that JFK had accumulated.

Certainly, Nixon himself was sensitive to the notion that his appearance
in Dallas had somehow contributed to Kennedy's bloody fate. According to
one account, Nixon learned of the assassination while in a taxi cab en route
from the airport. He claimed at the time and in his memoirs that he was
calm, but his adviser Stephen Hess remembered it differently. Hess was the
first person in Nixon's circle to see him that day in New York, and he recalled
that "his reaction appeared to me to be, 'There but for the Grace of
God go I.' He was very shaken."

As Hess later told political reporter Jules Witcover: "He had the morning
paper, which he made a great effort to show me, reporting he had held a
press conference in Dallas and made a statement that you can disagree with
a person without being discourteous to him or interfering with him. He
tried to make the point that he had tried to prevent it . . . It was his way of
saying, 'Look, I didn't fuel this thing.' "

Nixon's presence in Dallas on November 22, 1963, along with LBJ's --
and Poppy Bush's quieter presence on the periphery -- created a rather remarkable
situation. Three future presidents of the United States were all present in a
single American city on the day when their predecessor was assassinated
there. Within days, a fourth -- Gerald Ford -- would be asked by LBJ to join
the Warren Commission investigating the event.

Bottled Up

Nixon's unfortunate timing resulted from a series of events that seem, in retrospect,
almost to have benefited from a guiding hand. In mid-1963, friends
had persuaded him that his long-term prospects required a move from California,
where he had lost the 1962 race for the governorship. Now that he
was a two-time loser, Nixon's best hope, they counseled, was to find a position
in New York that would pay him handsomely, and let him politick and
keep himself in the public eye. His friend Donald Kendall, the longtime head
of Pepsi's international operations, offered to make him chairman of the
international division. But the consensus was that a law firm job would suit
him better, so he joined the firm of Mudge, Stern, Baldwin, and Todd.
Kendall sweetened the deal by throwing the law firm Pepsi's lucrative legal
business. In September, Kendall himself was promoted to head the entire
Pepsi company.

On November 1, President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, a corrupt
anti-Communist, was overthrown and assassinated. On November 7, Nixon
wrote to GOP strategist Robert Humphreys, expressing outrage over Diem's
death and blaming the Kennedy administration. "Our heavy-handed complicity
in his murder can only have the effect of striking terror in the hearts
of leaders of other nations who presumably are our friends."

Historians disagree on what exactly Kennedy knew about Diem's death,
though Kennedy registered shock at the news -- just as he had when Patrice
Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader, was assassinated in 1961.
Kennedy realized that he could be blamed. Later on, it would be established
by the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA had been attempting to
kill Lumumba.

Also of interest is a little-noticed comment made by President Lyndon
Johnson in 1966, caught by his own recording equipment, in which he
declared about Diem: "We killed him. We all got together and got a god-
damn bunch of thugs and assassinated him." It is not clear whom he
meant by "we."

Kendall asked Nixon to accompany him to Dallas for the Pepsi corporate
gathering coinciding with the bottlers' convention in late November. The
convention was an important annual event for Pepsi, and so would have
been on Kendall's schedule for a while, though the necessity of Nixon's
presence is less apparent. And with LBJ as keynote speaker, and appearances
by Miss USA, Yogi Berra, and Joan Crawford, Nixon, the two-time loser, did
not even appear at the convention.

For his part, Nixon seems to have agreed to go because it was an opportunity
to share the limelight surrounding Kennedy's visit. And since Nixon was
traveling as a representative of Pepsi, and flying on its corporate plane --
something noted in the news coverage -- Kendall was getting double duty out
of Nixon's play for media attention. That was something Kendall understood
well.

Donald Kendall was, like Nixon and Poppy Bush, a World War II Navy
vet who had served in the Pacific. But instead of politics, he had gone into
the business world, joining the Pepsi- Cola company and rising quickly
through the ranks. Like Nixon and Bush, he was enormously ambitious.
And in his oversight of Pepsi operations abroad, he also shared something
else with them: a deep concern about Communist encroachment -- which
was just about everywhere. Plus Kendall had a passion for covert operations.

Kendall's particular reason for being interested in Cuba was sugar, for
many years a key ingredient of Pepsi-Cola. Cuba was the world's leading
supplier; and Castro's expropriations, and the resulting U.S. embargo, had
caused chaos in the soft drink industry. (It also had affected the fortunes of
Wall Street firms such as Brown Brothers Harriman, which, as noted in
chapter 3, had extensive sugar holdings on the island.)

Indeed, articles from the Dallas papers anticipating the bottlers' convention
talked openly about all these problems with Cuba. One of the articles, titled
"Little Relief Seen for Sugar Problem," explains the pressure felt by soft drink
bottlers in light of a crisis concerning high sugar prices. The president of a major
New York-based sugar company is quoted explaining why the crisis had
not yet been averted: "The government probably thought the Castro regime
might be eliminated."

It is in this context that we consider a June 1963 letter from Nixon to
Kendall, then still running Pepsi's foreign operations. A researcher working
for me found it in Nixon's presidential library archives; it appears to be previously
unpublished.

Dear Don:
In view of our discussion yesterday morning with regard
to Cuba, I thought you might like to see a copy of the speech
I made before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in
which I directed remarks toward this problem.
When I return from Europe I am looking forward to having
a chance to get a further fill-in with regard to your experiences
on the Bay of Pigs incident.

Dick

The letter rings a little odd. Nixon and Kendall were close, and more than
two years had passed since the Bay of Pigs; it was unlikely that this would be
the first chance Nixon got to discuss the subject with his friend. Furthermore,
Kendall is not known to have had any "experiences" in relation to the invasion.
In a 2008 interview, Kendall, by then eighty-seven years old but still maintaining
an office at Pepsi and seeming vigorous, said that he could not recall the letter
nor provide an explanation for it.

Given this, the use of the phrase in the letter appears to be some form of
euphemism between friends, a sort of discreet wink. Nixon, the former
coordinator of covert operations under Ike, clearly knew that Kendall was
more than a soda pop man. Nixon's experiences representing Pepsi instilled
in him a lasting -- and not altogether favorable -- impression of what he
acidly termed "the sugar lobby." Haldeman got the message that treading
carefully was wise. Some of his notes are intriguing in this respect. He
urges special counsel Charles Colson:

0900 Cols[on] -- re idea of getting pol. Commitments --
Sugar people are richest & most ruthless
before we commit -- shld put screws on
& get quid pro quo
ie Fl[anigan] -- always go to Sugar lobby or oil etc.
before we give them anything

The CIA also knew the soft drink industry well. The agency used bottling
plants, including those run by Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and other companies, for
both cover and intelligence. Moreover, the local bottling franchises tended
to be given to crucial figures in each country, with ties to the military and
the ruling elites. It was not just bottlers that played such a role; there were
marketing monopolies for all kinds of products, from cars to sewing machines,
given out on recommendations of the CIA.

Kendall was a close friend of the Bush family and a fellow resident of
Greenwich, Connecticut. In 1988, he would serve in the crucial position of
finance chairman for Poppy Bush's successful run for the presidency. His
support for the Bushes included donating to George W. Bush's 1978 Midland
congressional campaign.

And as noted by the New York Times , Kendall was identified with the successful
effort to overthrow the elected democratic socialist president of Chile, Salvador
Allende.

As the Times would report in July 1976:

One of Mr. Kendall's great passions is international trade, and his
interest in foreign affairs won him a footnote in a 1975 interim report
of a Senate Select Committee. The report was called "Alleged
Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders," and discussed in
part the assassination of Salvador Allende Gossens, the Marxist
Chilean president who was killed in 1973.
The report stated that Mr. Kendall had requested in 1970 that
Augustin Edwards, who was publisher of the Chilean newspaper
El Mercurio, as well as a Pepsi bottler in Chile, meet with high
Nixon Administration officials to report on the political situation
in Chile. (Pepsi bottling operations were later expropriated by the
regime.) That meeting, which included Mr. Kendall, Mr. Edwards,
Henry Kissinger and John N. Mitchell, was indeed held, and later
the same day, Mr. Nixon met with Dr. Kissinger and Richard
Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Helms
later testified that President Nixon had ordered at the follow-up
meeting that Chile was to be saved from Allende "and he didn't
care much how." Mr. Kendall says he sees nothing sinister, or for
that matter even controversial, in his action.

Like many on the right, quite a few bottlers regarded the Kennedy administration's
policy toward Castro's Cuba as dangerously soft. Declassified FBI
files show that, after Kennedy's death, one man contacted the FBI regarding
threatening remarks that his brother, a bottler, had made in reference to the
president. Another convention attendee was identified in FBI reports as
having had a drink with Jack Ruby, the assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald, on
the night of November 21.

Though unhappy with Kennedy, these independent businessmen clearly
wanted to hear what Johnson had to say, which is why the Texas-born vice
president was the convention's keynote speaker.

By some estimates, the convention included close to eight thousand
bottlers -- so many, in fact, that it had taken over Dallas's largest venue, the
new Market Hall. This meant that when Kennedy's trip planners determined
where he would speak on November 22, one of the very few sufficiently large
and central venues had long since been taken. The Dallas Trade Mart thereby
became the most likely location for Kennedy's speech, with the route through
downtown to the Trade Mart, past the Texas School Book Depository, as the
most likely for the presidential motorcade.

In fact, the Trade Mart was secured by that most unlikely group of "friends"
of JFK, the Dallas Citizens Council, whose members' views were described by
the New York Times as "very conservative and range rightward." The council
had cosponsored the luncheon as a putative peace offering to JFK. Indeed, it
seems that JFK's itinerary in Dallas was circumscribed by the bottlers and the
Citizens Council.

The mere fact that eight thousand strangers had poured into Dallas in
the days before JFK's arrival should presumably have been of interest, yet
the Warren Commission ignored the event altogether.

Another interesting thing about the bottlers' convention is that the Army
Reserves volunteered to help facilitate an unusual extracurricular activity.
As noted in chapters 6 and 7, Poppy Bush's friend Jack Crichton was head of
a local Army Intelligence unit. Associates of Crichton's who were involved
with the Army Reserves had managed to get into the pilot car of Kennedy's
procession, with one as the driver. Crichton would also provide the interpreter
for Marina Oswald after her husband's arrest as the prime suspect in
Kennedy's murder.

According to a short item in the Dallas Morning News the day before
Kennedy was shot, members of the Dallas unit of the 90th Artillery Division
of the Army Reserve would be providing trucks and drivers to transport two
hundred orphans to a livestock arena for a rodeo sponsored by the bottlers'
group. This was to take place at nine P.M. on the night before Kennedy's arrival.
The arena was at Fair Park, near the site under which Crichton's Dallas
Civil Defense maintained its underground emergency bunker and communications
facility. Putting aside the Dickensian aspect of moving orphans in
Army trucks within an affluent American city, this raises some questions
about the reason for this odd maneuver. Whatever the true purpose of a small
platoon of Army vehicles being permitted to move about Dallas on purportedly
unrelated civilian business as the president's arrival was imminent, it appears
investigators never considered this incident worthy of a closer look.

Cumulatively, the bottlers' convention was responsible for a number of
curious circumstances that may be said to have some relevance to the
events surrounding Kennedy's death:

• The convention brought Nixon to Dallas.
• It brought eight thousand strangers to Dallas.
• It sent army vehicles into action on city streets the night before the
assassination.
• Its early reservation of one large venue helped determine Kennedy's
ultimate destination and thus the motorcade route.

In any event, as Nixon's adviser Stephen Hess has recounted, the former
vice president emerged deeply shaken about the timing of his Dallas visit. It
served to remind him that if he ever occupied the Oval Office, he too could
be vulnerable and targeted -- by the very same players. And his presence in
this incriminating spot was suggestive of wheels within wheels, to which he
of all people would have been alert. Were these intrigues what fueled President
Nixon's obsession with the CIA and its cloak-and-dagger activities in
the Kennedy era? This little-noted tug-of-war, a struggle over both current
policy and past history, would become an ongoing theme throughout Nixon's
term in office.

The Loyalist in Chief

At one time, Poppy Bush had worked hard to position himself as Richard
Nixon's most loyal servant. An example appeared in a 1971 profile of Poppy
in his role as Nixon's United Nations ambassador. Under the banner headline
"Bush Working Overtime," the Dallas Morning News of September 19,
1971, portrayed the ambassador as poised at the center of world affairs.
Leaning forward at his desk, a large globe next to him, his lean face bearing
a look of calm intensity, George H. W. Bush looked almost presidential.

The reporter for the Texas paper picked up on that. But he was equally
struck by Poppy's devotion to the sitting president. Ambassador Bush, he
noted, "is loyal -- some say to a fault -- to President Nixon, and frequently
quotes him in conversation."

It was the image Poppy wanted to convey. Even when the reporter asked
for his own views, he quickly deferred. "I like to think of myself as a pragmatist,
but I have learned to defy being labeled," Bush said. "What I can say
is that I am a strong supporter of the President."

Of course, when someone defies being labeled, it gives him extraordinary
flexibility to move in different circles, to collect information, to spin on
a dime -- in short, to behave a lot like a covert intelligence officer.

The image of Poppy as the ultimate loyalist was one he would project for
three more years -- right up to the final days of the Nixon presidency. Not
even Nixon, who was famously distrustful, seemed to doubt it. After winning
the 1972 election in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Nixon decided
to hedge his bets and clean house.

Planning to fire all but his most trusted aides, Nixon instructed Ehrlichman
to "eliminate everyone except George Bush. Bush will do anything for
our cause." This trust endured to the end of Nixon's presidency.

If indeed Bush was ever a Nixon loyalist, he certainly flipped the moment
the tide turned. This new stance emerged with the 1974 public release of
the transcript of Nixon's smoking gun conversation with Haldeman. As
Bush would record in his diary after Nixon's final cabinet meeting, the taped
conversation was irrefutable proof that "Nixon lied about his knowledge of
the cover-up of the Watergate scandal . . . I felt betrayed by his lie . . . I want
to make damn clear the lie is something we can't support."

Added Poppy: "This era of tawdry, shabby lack of morality has got to end."

This purported diary entry was most likely part of Poppy's perennial alibi
trail. It could have been Bush family tradecraft, something like Barbara's
Tyler, Texas, hair salon letter from November 22, 1963 -- always intended
for public view. Perhaps the most revealing part is the point at which Bush
summarizes the content of the smoking gun conversation. Poppy selectively
paraphrases a tiny part of that session, making it look as if Nixon had
ordered Haldeman (as Bush put it) to "block the FBI's investigation of the
Watergate break-in." This, Poppy asserted, "was proof [that] the President
had been involved, at least in the cover-up."

What Poppy omitted were two key things: that it was actually John Dean's
suggestion, not Nixon's, to block the investigation -- and that the CIA was at
the center of the intrigue to begin with.

Watergate's Unknown Prelude

The series of scandals that undid Richard Nixon's presidency are principally
identified with the 1972 burglary at the Democratic party offices in the Watergate
complex. But one could argue that Watergate -- and Nixon's
downfall -- really began in late 1969, during Nixon's first year in office, with
a phone call from a man almost no one today has heard of.

An independent oilman named John M. King dialed in to offer ideas for
improving Nixon's hold over Congress. Former White House staffer Jack
Gleason remembered the episode: "[King] called one day in '69 and said,
'You know, we have to start planning for 1970.' "

King's call suggested he was principally concerned about helping Nixon,
but in retrospect, there may have been more at stake. For one thing, King
was a member of the fraternity of independent oilmen who were growing
increasingly unhappy with Nixon. As we saw in the last chapter, the oil barons
were up in arms over threats to the oil depletion allowance, convinced that
Nixon was not solidly enough in their corner. But they had other gripes.
As Haldeman noted in a diary entry in December 1969: "Big problem persists
on oil import quotas. Have to make some decision, and can't win. If
we do what we should, and what the task force recommends, we'd apparently
end up losing at least a couple of senate seats, including George Bush in
Texas. Trying to figure out a way to duck the whole thing and shift it to Congress."

On a more personal level, King was mired in problems. The Denver-based
King had assembled a global empire with oil drilling and mining operations
in a hundred countries; he was known for a high-flying lifestyle and a gift
for leveraging connections. He even had two Apollo astronauts on
his board. In 1968, King had donated $750,000 to Nixon, and as a big donor,
his calls always got attention. But King was, according to a Time magazine
article of the period, something of a huckster. By late 1969, his empire
was on the verge of collapse. In the end, he would face jail and ruin.

Perhaps he was looking to secure intervention from the White House.
Perhaps it was just general business insurance. Or perhaps he was speaking
on behalf of his fellow in dependent oilmen.

In any event, King's pitch sounded like a good idea. He was proposing
that the Nixon White House funnel money from big GOP donors directly to
Senate and House candidates of its choice, rather than following the customary
method: letting the Republican Party determine the recipients. To do this
without provoking the wrath of the GOP establishment, King suggested
it be kept under wraps.

This idea appealed to the White House brass, and soon, a special operation
was being convened.

"As it matured, we had a couple of meetings with Ehrlichman and Haldeman
and went over some of the ground rules," said Gleason. Haldeman
brought the bare bones of the idea to Nixon, who thought it sounded fine.
Anything that involved secrecy and centralized White House control was
likely to find a receptive ear. Gleason's recollection is confirmed by a notation
in Haldeman's diary of December 11: "I had meeting with [Maurice]
Stans, Dent, and Gleason about setting up our own funding for backing the
good candidates in hot races. A little tricky to handle outside the RNC but
looks pretty good."

The White House political unit assigned the job of organizing and running
the new fund to its operative Gleason, an experienced GOP fundraiser.
Gleason was instructed by his boss, Harry Dent, to find an office for the operation.
When he suggested renting space in one of those prefurnished office
suites that come with secretarial and other services, he was told that this
would be too expensive.

That struck Gleason as odd, since it would not have cost much more and
would have been a pittance in relation to the large sums that would be
raised. But he followed his orders and rented something cheaper and more
discreet. Dent directed him to a townhouse on Nineteenth Street, in a residential
area near Dupont Circle. The space was not just in a townhouse but
in the basement of a townhouse. And not only that, it was in the back of the
basement. Reporters would later describe it as a "townhouse basement back
room" -- an arrangement guaranteed to raise eyebrows if ever discovered.

The way in which the funds were to be handled also struck Gleason as
unnecessarily complicated, and even furtive. While donors could simply --
and legally -- have written a single check to each candidate's campaign committee,
they were instructed instead to break up their donations into a number of
smaller checks. The checks were then routed through the townhouse,
where Gleason would pick them up and deposit them in a "Jack
Gleason, Agent" account at American Security and Trust Bank. Gleason
then would convert the amounts into cashier's checks and send them on to
the respective campaign committees, often further breaking each donation
up into smaller ones and spreading them over more than one campaign
committee of each candidate.

The ostensible reason for these complex arrangements was to enable the
White House to control the money. The actual effect, however, was to create
the impression of something illicit, such as a money-laundering operation
aimed at hiding the identities of the donors.

Somewhere along the way Gleason began to detect an odor stronger than
that of quotidian campaign operations. What seemed suspect to him was
not that Nixon would help Republican candidates -- that was how things
worked. What bothered him were the operational details. Many seemed
positively harebrained, the kind of things with which no president should be
associated. But Gleason just figured that Richard Nixon, or his subordinates,
had a blind spot when it came to appearances of impropriety.

Deep-Sixing Nixon

Late in the election season, Gleason's superiors told him to add a new component
to the Townhouse Operation. Gleason found this new development
particularly disturbing. It was called the "Sixes Project." Launched in October
1970, when the midterm elections were almost over, it provided an extra
personal donation of six thousand dollars to each of thirteen Senate
candidates -- in cash.

Gleason's job was simple enough: get on a plane, fly out to meet each of
the candidates, and personally hand over an envelope of cash. He was to add
a personal message: "Here's a gift from Dick and Pat." And he was to keep
meticulous receipts, noting who received the cash and the date of the transaction.

Gleason was not happy about his role as dispenser of envelopes full of
cash. As he told me in a 2008 interview,

Of all the silly things I've ever been asked to do in this life, traveling
around with six thousand dollars to give the guy and say, "This
is from Dick and Pat," was colossally bad . . . Now you crank me
up, leave a paper trail a mile long and a mile wide of flight tickets,
hotel reservations, rental cars, everything, and have me traipsing
all over the country giving these guys six thousand dollars in cash,
[and besides], the six thousand doesn't matter, doesn't get you anywhere.
If we give you a quarter of a million, what's another six
thousand? . . . The six thousand dollars itself was a disconnect, because
everything else was largely done to keep the whole thing under wraps.

In those days, the campaign finance laws, most of which were at the state
level, were limited and rarely enforced. Reporting requirements were thin,
but those candidates who wanted to abide by the law made sure to report
any cash they received to their respective campaign committees. That posed
a challenge for a candidate caught in a grueling nonstop schedule, who was
handed an envelope of cash. It would be easy enough to forget to report it,
whether deliberately or accidentally.

Even back in 1973, Gleason could come to only one conclusion. When
special prosecutors in the Watergate investigation later grilled him about
the Townhouse Operation, he told them as much. "The purpose of these
contributions was to set up possible blackmail for these candidates later
on." However, at that point Gleason assumed that the sponsors of the
blackmail were Nixon loyalists -- perhaps even authorized by the president
himself.

Alarmed at this arrangement, and cognizant that he might be generating
myriad campaign law violations, Gleason asked the White House for a legal
analysis. But despite multiple requests, he never got it. Finally, he asked for
a letter stating that nothing he was being asked to do was illegal. (That letter,
Gleason later explained, would somehow disappear before it could arrive at
the offices of the Watergate prosecutors.)

Since the six-thousand-dollar donations were ostensibly generated by
"Dick and Pat," one could easily surmise that Richard Nixon, or those under
his authority, were indeed out to get something on Republican candidates.
Once they took the cash, the recipients would have to do as he wanted, or
else risk exposure. As Assistant Special Prosecutor Charles Ruff wrote to
his boss: "It has been our guess that [the Nixon White House] hoped to gain
some leverage over these candidates by placing cash in their hands which
they might not report."

Had this become known, Nixon would have had trouble explaining it.
Few would have believed that such a scheme could have been run under
White House auspices without Nixon's approval. And yet that seems to have
been the case. In fact, Nixon's name rarely appears in the Townhouse files of
Watergate prosecutors -- for whom the evidence of Nixon's wrongdoing
would have been the ultimate prize.

Even the complex and calculating Charles Colson, who served as special
counsel to the president in 1970, admitted to prosecutors that Nixon was
not involved. Colson said that he had sat in on a Townhouse planning meeting
and later briefed the president about "political prospects in that race" -
but "did not recall that the fundraising aspects were discussed with the
President."

John Mitchell, who was attorney general before he resigned in 1972 to
head up Nixon's reelection campaign, attended a meeting for "substantial
contributors" and later told prosecutors that "the President stopped by, but
was not present during discussions of campaign finances." Mitchell himself
denied participation in or knowledge of the Town house plan. Even
Herb Kalmbach, Nixon's personal lawyer, seems to have been involved only
in the most benign part of the operation: the legal solicitation of funds from
wealthy donors. Of course, all this could be about denials and deniability -
but as we shall see, it apparently was not.

Meet John Dean

At the time Town house was becoming operational, the position of counsel
to the president opened up. John Ehrlichman, Nixon's trusted aide, was
moving to head up domestic affairs, and Ehrlichman was looking for someone
to replace him -- a smart lawyer and good detail man who was also loyal
to the president. The man who came on board on July 27, 1970, was John
Wesley Dean III.

Dean arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just as President Nixon was
trying to figure out how to deal with massive street demonstrations against
the Vietnam War. A month before, a White House staffer named Tom Huston
had drawn up a plan to spy on the demonstrators through electronic
surveillance, recruitment of campus informants, and surreptitious entry
into offices and meeting places.

In hindsight, this sounds especially odious, and it was, but at the time, and
from the vantage point of the administration and its supporters in the "silent
majority," America was besieged. The general atmosphere in the country
and the domestic violence, actual and hinted, surrounding the Vietnam War
debate, felt like chaos was descending. Even so, Attorney General John
Mitchell shot down the notorious "Huston Plan." John Dean, however, took
an immediate interest in some of the proposals.

Although his official duties centered on giving the president legal advice --
often on arcane technical matters -- Dean was considered a junior staffer and
had virtually no contact with Nixon. Nevertheless, the White House neophyte
quickly began taking on for himself the far edgier and dubious mantle of
political intelligence guru.

Among the bits of intelligence Dean collected were the details of the
Townhouse Operation. In November 1970, following the midterm elections,
Jack Gleason turned over all his files to the White House, where
Haldeman had them delivered to Dean. Watergate investigators would later
discover that "Haldeman also gave Dean several little notebooks which pertained
to the 1970 fundraising." Those little notebooks would have told Dean who the
donors were, how much they gave, and the identity of the recipients.

Shortly after the files ended up in Dean's hands, the media began
receiving -- perhaps coincidentally -- leaks about the Townhouse Operation.
One of the first reports was an AP article with no byline that appeared
in the New York Times on December 27, 1970. It said that seven
ambassadors had received their positions as rewards for their contributions
to the Townhouse Operation: "Mr. Jack Gleason left the staff of a
White House political operative, Harry Dent, this fall to run the fund-
raising campaign from a basement back office in a Washington townhouse."
And there it was: Gleason caught up in something that sounded
sinister, complete with the townhouse basement back office, all purportedly
on behalf of Richard Nixon.

In February 1972, someone cranked Townhouse back up again. Jim Polk,
an investigative reporter at the Washington Star with an impressive track
record on campaign finance matters, got more information about the fund
from "inside sources."

Polk published an article headlined "Obscure Lawyer Raises Millions for
Nixon." It sounded even more disturbing than the previous one. Polk's article
did two things: it introduced the public to Nixon's personal lawyer Kalmbach
and it provided many new details about the Townhouse fund.

A little-known lawyer in Newport Beach, Calif., has raised millions
of dollars in campaign contributions as an unpublicized fund-
raiser . . . [and] as Nixon's personal agent . . . to collect campaign
checks from Republican donors Kalmbach helped to raise
nearly $3 million in covert campaign money . . . The checks were
sent through a townhouse basement used by former Nixon political
aide Jack A. Gleason. But the operation was run from inside the
White House by presidential assistant H.R. (Bob) Haldeman . . .
Only a portion of this money has shown up on public records. The
rest of the campaign checks have been funneled through dummy
committees.

When I spoke to Polk in 2008, not surprisingly, he no longer recalled the
identity of his source. But whoever had leaked this story to him was no
friend of Nixon's. Yet if it was intended to provoke further interest, it failed.
Someone had attempted to light a fuse with Townhouse, but it did not ignite.
Just four months later, however, another fuse was lit. And this one would
burn on and on.

The Brazen Burglary

If Townhouse was engineered to discredit Nixon, it had one potential flaw.
The wrongdoing involved technical financial matters that reporters might
find daunting. Watergate, on the other hand, was inherently sexy; it had all
the elements of the crime drama it became. The break-in was brazen and
easily grasped, and carried out in such a manner as to just about guarantee
both failure and discovery. It also involved a cast of characters that neither
reporters nor television cameras could resist (as the Watergate hearings later
would demonstrate). It was like a made-for-TV movie: burglars in business
suits, living in a fancy suite near the scene of the crime; Cuban expatriates;
documents in pockets leading to the White House. Even Nixon had to interrupt
his reelection campaign to confront it.

But the burglars didn't appear to take anything, so what was the intended
crime? Breaking and entering -- for what purpose?

As with the JFK assassination, theories abound. The burglars were found
with bugging equipment. But that made little sense; Nixon didn't have
much to worry about from his presumed Democratic opponent, George
McGovern. The risks of a bugging operation far outweighed any conceivable
gains. And if Nixon had really wanted inside dope on the McGovern
campaign, which he hardly needed, he could have sent teams into McGovern's
headquarters up on Capitol Hill, or to Miami, where the Democrats
would hold their convention.

If, on the other hand, the intent was to fire the public imagination, the
Watergate complex was far better -- and Washington itself a necessary locale
if the national press was to stay with the story week after week.

With all this in mind, Nixon's observation in his memoirs that "the whole
thing was so senseless and bungled that it almost looked like some kind of
a setup" seems on the mark.

If the Cubans were really trying to do the job, their supervisors were
guilty of malpractice. They might as well have called the D.C. police to reserve
an interrogation room.

The flubs were so obvious it was as if they were the work of amateurs --
which it was not. Burglary team member James McCord left tape horizontally
over a lock, so that it could be spotted, as it was, by a security guard
when the door was closed. If he had taped the lock vertically, it would have
been invisible to a passerby. And if the intent was to pull off a real burglary,
there was no need for tape anyway -- as the burglars were already inside.
Even so, after the security guard discovered and removed the tape, McCord
put it right back.

The entire operation reflected poor judgment. An experienced burglar
would have known not to carry any sort of identification, and certainly not
identification that led back to the boss. How elementary is that? Among the
incriminating materials found on the Watergate burglars was a check with
White House consultant E. Howard Hunt's signature on it -- and Hunt's
phone number at the White House, in addition to checks drawn on Mexican
bank accounts. Despite the obvious risks, the burglars were also instructed
by Hunt to register at the Watergate Hotel, and to keep their room keys in
their pockets during the mission. These keys led investigators straight back
to an array of incriminating evidence, not the least damaging of which was
a suitcase containing the burglars' ID cards. Everything pointed back to
CREEP and the White House.

The most interesting thing was that the materials identified the burglars
as connected not just to the White House, but to the CIA as well. And not
just to the CIA, but to a group within the CIA that had been active during
the controversial period that included the Bay of Pigs invasion and the
assassination of JFK.

Hunt, whose status in the CIA was described earlier, was a high-ranking
(GS-15) officer and a member of the "Plumbers," a White House special
investigations unit ostensibly dedicated to stopping government leaks to the
media. As discussed in chapter 6, Hunt had been a key player in the coup in
Guatemala and the Bay of Pigs invasion, in addition to working very closely
with Allen Dulles himself. As noted previously, Dulles was in Dallas shortly
before November 22.

And Hunt had been there on the very day of the assassination, according
to an account confirmed in 1978 by James Angleton, the longtime CIA
counterintelligence chief. Angleton, clearly concerned that investigations
would uncover Hunt's presence in Dallas anyway, went so far as to alert a
reporter and a House Committee to Hunt's being in the city that day, and
then opined that Hunt had been involved in unauthorized activities while
there; 'Some very odd things were going on that were out of our control."

Watergate burglar and electronic surveillance expert James McCord, like
Hunt, had also been a GS-15 agent, serving for over a decade in the CIA's
Office of Security. Around the time of the Kennedy assassination, he began
working with anti-Castro Cubans on a possible future invasion of the island.
Allen Dulles once introduced McCord to an Air Force colonel, saying,
"This man is the best man we have." Regarding Nixon, McCord dismissed
him to a colleague as not a team player, not "one of us."

In a long-standing tradition, both Hunt and McCord had officially "resigned"
from the agency prior to the Watergate time frame. But their continued
involvement in CIA-related cover operations suggested otherwise.
Indeed, as noted earlier in the book, many figures, including Poppy Bush's
oil business colleague Thomas J. Devine, officially took retirement prior to
participating in seemingly independent operations in which deniability was
crucial.

Though Hunt claimed to have cut his CIA ties, he actually went out of
his way to draw attention to those ties while working in the Nixon White
House. He ostentatiously ordered a limousine to drive him from the
White House out to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It was as though
he was trying to broadcast the notion that Nixon was working closely with
the agency -- with which, as we now know, the president was in reality battling.

After Hunt's alleged retirement, he was employed at the Mullen Company,
a public relations firm that served as a CIA cover. In a 1973 memo, Charles
Colson recounted a meeting he'd just had with Senate Republican minority
leader Howard Baker. Charles Colson wrote, "Baker said that the Mullen
Company was a CIA front, that [Hunt's] job with the Mullen Company was
arranged by [CIA director] Helms personally." Baker also informed Colson
that, during Hunt's time at the Mullen Company, his pay had been adjusted to
the exact salary he would have been making had he stayed at the spy agency.

Eugenio Martinez, one of the anti-Castro Cuban burglars, was another
CIA operative in the break-in crew. Indeed, he was the one member of the
team who remained actively on the CIA payroll, filing regular reports on the
activities of the team to his Miami case officer. Then there was Bernard L.
Barker, who first worked as an FBI in formant before being turned over to
the CIA during the run-up to the Bay of Pigs. Frank Sturgis, too, had CIA
connections. Martinez, Barker, and Sturgis had worked with Hunt and Mc-
Cord on the Second Naval Guerrilla operation.

So Nixon, who had been trying to see the CIA's file on the Bay of Pigs,
was now staring at a burglary purportedly carried out in his name by veterans
of the same "Bay of Pigs thing" with strong CIA ties. It was like a flashing
billboard warning. CIA professionals, Cuban exiles, all tied to the events
of 1961 through 1963, suddenly appearing in the limelight and tying themselves
and their criminal activity to the president.

watergate burglars Encarta

Layers and Layers

If most of us ever knew, we have probably long since forgotten that before
the June 1972 Watergate break-in, there was another Watergate break-in
by the same crew. With this earlier one, though, they were careful to avoid
detection and were not caught. At that time, they installed listening devices.
The second burglary, the one that seemingly was designed for detection,
and designed to be traced back to the Nixon White House, ostensibly revolved
around removing listening devices installed earlier -- and therefore drawing
attention to the devices and the surveillance.

The conclusion one would likely draw from their being caught red-handed
is that Dick Nixon is up to yet another manifestation of his twisted and illegal
inclinations. And what were they listening to? Purportedly, DNC personnel
were arranging for "dates" for distinguished visitors with a call-girl ring. The
ring was operating from down the street, not far from where the bugs were
being monitored. The conclusion is that Nixon was perhaps trying to sexually
blackmail the Democrats. It got more and more objectionable.

But the fact is that no evidence shows Nixon wanting to sexually blackmail
Democrats, nor wanting to install bugs at the DNC, nor wanting to
order a burglary to remove the bugs. Yet somebody else clearly had a good
imagination, and a talent for executing a script that was magnificently inculpatory
of someone who would appear to deserve removal from the highest
office in the land.

Eventually, Americans would learn that the Watergate break-ins were
not the first such operation that made Nixon look bad, and not the first coordinated
by Hunt and featuring Cuban veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Back in September 1971, the team hit the Beverly Hills office of Dr.
Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the whistle-blower who
leaked the explosive Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. First, though,
Nixon, who was initially indifferent over the leak, was persuaded to take on
the Times for publishing the documents, a posture that would position him
as a foe of public disclosure. It also escalated his already adversarial relationship
with the news media -- a relationship that would become a severe
disadvantage to Nixon as the Watergate "revelations" began to emerge.
Nixon was also persuaded to authorize the formation of a leak-busting
White House group, which was soon dubbed "the Plumbers." Soon, purportedly
operating on Nixon's behalf -- but without his actual approval -- the
Hunt team broke into Dr. Fieldingís office, having been told to photograph
Ellsberg's patient files.

However, as with Watergate, the burglary appears to have had an ulterior
motive. Senator Baker, ranking Republican on the Senate Watergate Committee,
learned of this, according to White House special counsel Charles
Colson, when Baker interviewed the Cuban émigré Eugenio Martinez, who
participated in the burglaries of both Fielding's office and the DNC office in
Watergate:

Baker told me of his interview with Martinez who said that there
were no patient records in Dr. Fielding's office, that he, Martinez,
was very disappointed when they found nothing there, but Hunt
on the other hand seemed very pleased and as a matter of fact
broke out a bottle of champagne when the three men returned
from the job. Martinez says that he has participated in three hundred
or four hundred similar CIA operations, that this was clearly
a 'cover' operation with no intention of ever finding anything.

In fact, though the burglars were ostensibly seeking records while on a
covert mission, they did not act like people who wished to avoid discovery. In
addition to smashing the windows and prying open the front door with a crowbar,
the burglars proceeded to vandalize the office, scattering papers, pills, and
files across the floor. The result was to ensure the generation of a crime report,
establishing a record of the burglary. The break-in would not become public
knowledge until John Dean dramatically revealed it two years later --
and implicitly tied Nixon to it by citing the involvement of Egil Krogh, the man in
charge of Nixon's so-called Plumbers unit.

Dean and his lawyers showed far greater enthusiasm for pursuing the
Beverly Hills break-in than even the prosecutors. As Renata Adler wrote in
the New Yorker: "Dean's attorney, Charles Shaffer, practically had to spell it
out to [the prosecutors] that they would be taking part in an obstruction of
justice themselves if they did not pass the information on."

Like Watergate, the Fielding office break-in was on its face a very bad idea
that was not approved by Nixon but certain to deeply embarrass him and
damage his public standing when it was disclosed. The principal accomplishment
of the break-in was to portray Nixon as a man who had no decency
at all -- purportedly even stooping to obtain private psychiatric records
of a supposed foe. This was almost guaranteed to provoke public revulsion.

The notion that a group surrounding the president could be working to
do him in might sound preposterous to most of us. But not to veterans of
America's clandestine operations, where the goal abroad has often been to
do just that. And Nixon was a perfect target: solitary, taciturn, with few
friends, and not many more people he trusted. Because of this, he had to
hire virtual strangers in the White House, and as a result, the place was
teeming with schemers. Nixon was too distrustful, and yet not distrustful
enough. It was supremely ironic. Nixon, ridiculed for his irrational hatred
and "paranoia" toward the Eastern Establishment, may in the end have been
done in by forces controlled by that very establishment. Of course, it was
nothing less than that level of power to remove presidents, plural, one after
the other if necessary.

Among the myriad plots was the so-called Moorer-Radford affair, cited in
chapter 9, in which the military actually was spying on Nixon and stealing
classified documents in an attempt to gain inside information, influence
policy, and perhaps even unseat the president.

That Nixon could actually have been the victim of Watergate, and not the
perpetrator, will not sit well with many, especially those with a professional
stake in Nixon's guilt. Yet three of the most thoroughly reported books on
Watergate from the past three decades have come to the same conclusion:
that Nixon and/or his top aides were indeed set up. Each of these books takes
a completely different approach, focuses on different aspects, and relies on
essentially different sets of facts and sources. These are 1984's Secret Agenda,
by former Harper's magazine Washington editor Jim Hougan; 1991's Silent
Coup, by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin; and 2008's The Strong Man, by
James Rosen.

Rosen's The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate is a biography
of Nixon's close friend, attorney general, and campaign chief, the
highest-ranking official ever to be sentenced to prison. The book, on which
Rosen labored for seventeen years, is based on sources not previously interviewed
and also on unprecedented access to documents generated by the Senate
Watergate Committee and Watergate special prosecutors. Rosen asserts
that the Watergate operation was authorized behind Mitchell's back by his
subordinate Jeb Magruder and by John Dean and was deliberately sabotaged
in its execution by burglar and former CIA officer James McCord. As Rosen
puts it:

Mitchell knew he had been set up. In later years, his mind reeled at
the singular confluence of amazing characters that produced
Watergate -- Dean, Magruder, Liddy, Helms, Hunt, McCord,
Martinez -- and reckoned himself and the president, neither of
whom enjoyed foreknowledge of the Watergate break-in, victims
in the affair. "The more I got into this," Mitchell said in June 1987,
"the more I see how these sons of bitches have not only done
Nixon in but they've done me in."

Rosen also writes:

The [Watergate] tapes unmasked Nixon not as the take-charge boss
of a criminal conspiracy but rather as an aging and confused politician
lost in a welter of detail, unable to distinguish his Magruders
from his Strachans, uncertain who knew what and when, what
each player had told the grand jury, whose testimony was direct,
whose hearsay.

My independent research takes the argument one step further, and the facts in a completely new direction. It leads to an even more disturbing conclusion as to what
was really going on, and why.

Woodward at His Post

The accepted narrative of Nixon as the villain of Watergate is based largely on
the work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They both were young reporters
on the Washington Post's Metro desk when the story fell into their laps.
When it was over, they were household names. Woodward in particular would
go on to become the nation's most visible investigative journalist, and indeed
the iconic representation of that genre. The work of "Woodstein" would play a
key role in enhancing the franchise of the Post itself. Yet this oeuvre -- in
particular the role of Woodward -- has become somewhat suspect among those
who have taken a second and third look -- including Columbia Journalism
Review contributing editor Steve Weinberg, in a November/December 1991
article.

Woodward did not fit the profile of the typical daily print reporter. Young,
midwestern, Republican, he attended Yale on an ROTC scholarship and
then spent five years in the Navy. He had begun with a top-secret security
clearance on board the USS Wright, specializing in communications, including
with the White House.

His commanding officer was Rear Admiral Robert O. Welander, who
would later be implicated in the military spy ring in the Nixon White
House, mentioned in chapter 9. According to Silent Coup, an exhaustive
study of the military espionage scandal, Woodward then arrived in Washington,
where he worked on the staff of Admiral Thomas Moorer, chief of naval
operations, again as a communications officer, this time one who provided
briefings and documents to top brass in the White House on national security
matters. According to this account, in 1969-70, Woodward frequently
walked through the basement offices of the White House West Wing with
documents from Admiral Moorer to General Alexander Haig, who served
under Henry Kissinger.

In a 2008 interview, Woodward categorically denied having any intelligence
connections. He also denied having worked in the White House or
providing briefings there. "It's a matter of record in the Navy what I did,
what I didn't do," Woodward said. "And this Navy Intelligence, Haig and so
forth, you know, I'd be more than happy to acknowledge it if it's true. It just
isn't. Can you accept that?"

Journalist Len Colodny, however, has produced audiotapes of interviews
by his Silent Coup coauthor, Robert Gettlin, with Admiral Moorer, former defense
secretary Melvin Laird, Pentagon spokesman Jerry Friedheim -- and
even with Woodward's own father, Al -- speaking about Bob's White House
service.

At a minimum, Woodward's entry into journalism received a valuable
outside assist, according to an account provided by Harry Rosenfeld, a retired
Post editor, to the Saratogian newspaper in 2004:

Bob had come to us on very high recommendations from someone
in the White House. He had been an intelligence officer in the
Navy and had served in the Pentagon. He had not been exposed to
any newspaper. We gave him a tryout because he was so highly
recommended. We customarily didn't do that. We wanted to see
some clips, and he had none of that. We tried him out, and after a
week or two I asked my deputy, "What's with this guy?" And he
said well, he's a very bright guy but he doesn't know how to put the
paper in the typewriter. But he was bright, there was that intensity
about him and his willingness, and he acted maturely. So we decided
because he had come so highly recommended and he had
shown certain strengths that we would help get him a job at the
Montgomery County Sentinel.

In 2008, some time after I spoke to Woodward, I reached Rosenfeld. He
said he did not recall telling the Saratogian that Woodward had been hired
on the advice of someone in the White House. He did, however, tell me that
he remembered that Woodward had been recommended by Paul Ignatius,
the Post's president. Prior to taking over the Post's presidency, Ignatius had
been Navy secretary for President Johnson.

In a 2008 interview, Ignatius told me it was possible that he had a hand
in at least recommending Woodward. "It's possible that somebody asked
me about him, and it's possible that I gave him a recommendation," Ignatius
said. "I don't remember initiating anything, but I can't say I didn't." I
asked Ignatius how a top Pentagon administrator such as himself would
even have known of a lowly lieutenant, such as Woodward was back in
those days, and Ignatius said he did not recall.

In September 1971, after one year of training at the Maryland-based Sentinel,
Woodward was hired at the Washington Post . The Post itself is steeped
in intelligence connections. The paper's owner, the Graham family, were, as
noted in chapter 3, aficionados of the apparatus, good friends of top spies,
and friends also of Prescott Bush. They even helped fund Poppy Bush's earliest
business venture. Editor Ben Bradlee was himself a Yale graduate who,
like Woodward, had spent time in naval intelligence during World War II.
(As noted earlier, Poppy Bush had also been associated with naval intelligence
during World War II: prior to beginning his work with the CIA, he had
been involved with top-secret aerial reconnaissance photography.)

Woodward demonstrated his proclivity for clandestine sources a month
before the Watergate break-in, in his coverage of the shooting and serious
wounding of presidential candidate George Wallace at a shopping center in
Washington's Maryland suburbs. A lone gunman, Arthur Bremer, would be
convicted. Woodward impressed his editors with his tenacity on the case,
and his contacts. As noted in a journalistic case study published by Columbia
University:

At the time, according to [Post editors Barry] Sussman and [Harry]
Rosenfeld, Woodward said he had "a friend" who might be able to
help. Woodward says his "friend" filled him in on Bremer's background
and revealed that Bremer had also been stalking other
presidential candidates.

As to Woodward's initial introduction to the newspaper, nobody seems to
have questioned whether a recommendation from someone in the White
House would be an appropriate reason for the Post to hire a reporter. Nor
does anyone from the Post appear to have put a rather obvious two and two
together, and noted that Woodward made quick work of bringing down the
president, and therefore wondered who at the White House recommended
Woodward in the first place -- and with what motivation.

Others, however, were more curious. After Charles Colson met with Senator
Howard Baker and his staff -- including future senator Fred Thompson --
he recounted the session in a previously unpublished memo to file:

The CIA has been unable to determine whether Bob Woodward
was employed by the agency. The agency claims to be having difficulty
checking personnel files. Thompson says that he believes the
delay merely means that they don't want to admit that Woodward
was in the agency. Thompson wrote a lengthy memo to Baker last
week complaining about the CIA's non-cooperation, the fact that
they were supplying material piecemeal and had been very uncooperative.
The memo went into the CIA relationship with the press, specifically
Woodward. Senator Baker sent the memo directly to [CIA Director] Colby
with a cover note and within a matter of a few hours, Woodward
called Baker and was incensed over the memo. It had been immediately
leaked to him.

Woodward's good connections would help generate a series of exclusive-
access interviews that would result in rapidly produced bestselling books.
One was Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987, a controversial book
that relied in part, Woodward claimed, on a deathbed interview -- not
recorded -- with former CIA director William Casey. The 543-page book,
which came out as Poppy Bush was seeking the presidency, contained no
substantive mentions of any role on the part of Bush in these "secret wars,"
though Bush was both vice president with a portfolio for covert ops and a
former CIA director.

Asked how it was possible to leave Bush out of such a detailed account of
covert operations during his vice presidency, Woodward replied, "Bush was,
well, I don't think he was -- What was it he said at the time? I was out of the
loop?" Woodward went on to be blessed with unique access to George W.
Bush -- a president who did not grant a single interview to America's top
newspaper, the New York Times, for nearly half his administration -- and the
automatic smash bestsellers that guaranteed. Woodward would also distinguish
himself for knowing about the administration's role in leaking the
identity of CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame but not writing or saying
anything about it, despite an ongoing investigation and media tempest.
When this was revealed, Woodward issued an apology to the Post.

To its credit, the Washington Post in these years had other staffers doing
some of the best reporting on the intelligence establishment. Perhaps the
most revealing work came prior to Nixon's tenure, while Woodward was still
doing his naval service. In a multipart, front-page series by Richard Harwood
in early 1967, the paper began reporting the extent to which the CIA
had penetrated civil institutions not just abroad, but at home as well. "It was
not enough for the United States to arm its allies, to strengthen governmental
institutions, or to finance the industrial establishment through economic
and military programs," Harwood wrote. "Intellectuals, students, educators,
trade unionists, journalists and professional men had to be reached directly
through their private concerns." Journalists too. Even Carl Bernstein later
wrote about the remarkable extent of the CIA's penetration of newsrooms,
detailing numerous examples, in a 1977 Rolling Stone article. As for the Post
itself, Bernstein wrote:

When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company,
publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that
the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according
to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was
somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director
of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director
of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965,
was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including
many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to
boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument
he built, and played, with help from the press. Phil Graham
was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graham, who committed
suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover
arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.

In 1965-66, an accredited Newsweek stringer in the Far East was
in fact a CIA contract employee earning an annual salary of
$10,000 from the Agency, according to Robert T. Wood, then a CIA
officer in the Hong Kong station. Some Newsweek correspondents
and stringers continued to maintain covert ties with the Agency
into the 1970s, CIA sources said.

Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post
newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some
Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say
they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of
the arrangements.

When the Watergate burglary story broke, Bob Woodward got the assignment,
in part, his editor Barry Sussman recalled, because he never
seemed to leave the building. "I worked the police beat all night," Wood-
ward said in an interview with authors Tom Rosenstiel and Amy S.
Mitchell, "and then I'd go home -- I had an apartment five blocks from the
Post -- and sleep for a while. I'd show up in the newsroom around 10 or 11
[in the morning] and work all day too. People complained I was working too
hard." So when the bulletin came in, Woodward was there. The result was
a front-page account revealing that E. Howard Hunt's name appeared in the
address book of one of the burglars and that a check signed by Hunt had
been found in the pocket of another burglar, who was Cuban. It went further:
Hunt, Woodward reported, worked as a consultant to White House counsel
Charles Colson.

Thus, Woodward played a key role in tying the burglars to Nixon.

Woodward would later explain in All the President's Men (coauthored with
Bernstein) that to find out more about Hunt, he had "called an old friend
and sometimes source who worked for the federal government." His friend
did not like to be contacted at this office and "said hurriedly that the break-
in case was going to 'heat up,' but he couldn't explain and hung up." Thus
began Woodward's relationship with Deep Throat, that mysterious source
who, Woodward would later report, served in the executive branch of government
and had access to information in the White House and CREEP.

Based on tips from Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein began to "follow
the money," writing stories in September and October 1972 on a political
"slush fund" linked to CREEP. One story reported that the fund had
financed the bugging of the Democratic Party's Watergate headquarters as
well as other intelligence-gathering activities. While Nixon coasted to a
landslide victory over the liberal Democrat George McGovern, the story
seemed to go on hiatus. But just briefly.

Poppy Enters, Stage Right

If someone did want to undermine the president from outside the White
House, he couldn't have found a better perch than the chairmanship of the
Republican Party.

Right after the election, Poppy Bush, again utilizing his pull with Nixon,
had persuaded the president to bring him back from his cushy U.N. post
and install him at the Republican National Committee. This put him at the
very epicenter of the nationwide Republican elite that would ultimately
determine whether Nixon would stay or go.

As chairman of the RNC, Poppy was expected to be the president's chief
advocate, especially to the party faithful. He would travel widely, interact
with big donors and party activists. If anyone would have their finger on the
pulse of the loyalist base, it was Poppy. He would have a good sense of what
would keep supporters in line, and conversely, what might convince them to
abandon ship.

But Poppy was unique among RNC chairmen over the years in that he
had convinced Nixon to let him maintain an official presence at the White
House. Just as Nixon had permitted him to participate in cabinet meetings
as U.N. ambassador, he now continued to extend that privilege while Poppy
ran the RNC. This was unprecedented for someone in such an overtly partisan
position.

Here was a man closely connected to the CIA, as we have seen, now both
running the Republican Party and sitting in on cabinet deliberations. An
intelligence officer couldn't have asked for a better perch. Moreover, this put
him in the catbird seat just as Watergate began heating up.

But Poppy was even more wired into Nixonworld. When he came to the
RNC, he hired Harry Dent and Tom Lias, the top officials of Nixon's Political
Affairs office, which had established the Town house Operation. Dent was
the architect of Nixon's Southern strategy, with which Poppy Bush and his
backers were closely allied. Lias had ties to Poppy from before working in
the White House. He had been a top organizer for the Republican Congressional
Campaign Committee, strategizing how to elect people like Poppy to
formerly Democratic seats in the South.

After Poppy came to Washington, the two often socialized. According to
Pierre Ausloos, stepfather of Lias's daughter, and a friend of the family, "On
weekends, Bush would always invite [Lias] for a barbecue party at his house
here in Washington." Ausloos also remembers that during the 1968
Republican convention, Liasís daughter's babysitter was Poppy's son, George
W. Bush.

Thus, at the time Dent and Lias were installed in the White House Political
Affairs office, they were already close with Bush. Indeed, right after the
1970 election and the termination of the Town house Operation, Bush took
Lias with him to New York, where Lias served as a top aide on Poppy's
United Nations staff. The U.N. choice struck people who knew Lias as odd.
Lias had no relevant qualifications or knowledge for the U.N. post, just as
Poppy himself didn't.

Poppy's decision, once he moved to the RNC, to hire both Lias and
Dent -- the two men supervising Jack Gleason's Town house Operation --
is surely significant.

Meanwhile, Poppy Bush and his team had already been in contact with
John Dean.

In a brief 2008 conversation, in which a prickly Dean sought to control
the conditions of the interview, I asked him whether he had any dealings
with Bush. "I think there are some phone calls on my phone logs, but I
never met with him personally," he said.

Indeed, phone logs show that on June 24, 1971, Ambassador Bush called
Dean, and on December 6, 1971, Tom Lias of Ambassador Bush's office
called. The logs show other calls from Lias as well. It is not clear -- nor did
Dean volunteer an opinion -- why Bush and Lias would have been calling
him at all.

Slumming in Greenwich

When the Senate created a committee to investigate Watergate, there was no
guarantee that anything would come of it. The perpetrators -- the burglars
and their supervisors, Hunt and Liddy -- were going on trial, and it was uncertain
whether the hearings would produce any further insights. Moreover,
the committee featured four rather somnolent Democrats and three Republicans,
two of them staunch Nixon loyalists.

This left only one wild card: Lowell Weicker, a liberal Republican from
Connecticut.

A freshman, and an independent one, Weicker was not disposed to knee-
jerk defense of Nixon. Furthermore, he saw himself as a crusader. At six feet
six, Weicker was imposing, considered basically well-intentioned, a little
naive, and in love with publicity. He had gotten his political start in the
Bush hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut; and like the Bushes, he was
heir to a family fortune, in his case from two grandfathers who owned the
Squibb pharmaceutical company.

But there the similarities ended. Weicker chose for his base Greenwich's
Third Voting District, which consisted almost entirely of working-class
Italians. "Just decent, hard-working, down-to-basics families," Weicker
would say. "Had I been raised as a typical Republican in the salons of Fair-
field County, discussing international issues at teas and cocktail parties,
I know my career would have been a short one once off the Greenwich
electoral scene." In 1960, Weicker aligned himself with Albert Morano,
a congressional candidate opposed by the Bush family. Now the Bushes
saw Weicker as a traitor to his class. Over the years, Weicker and Bush
would generally maintain a cool but civil relationship, driven by political
expediency.

"I think he was viewed as an outsider from day one, and it was a perspective
he relished," said Townhouse operative Jack Gleason. "Because he
always used to joke about 'the Round Hill boys out to get me again' every
time he was up for reelection."

Weicker had arrived in Washington in 1968, following his election to the
House of Representatives. Given the past, this would have made him a
not-very-welcome colleague of Poppy Bush. And Poppy probably was not
enthused when, after only two years in the House, Weicker was elected
to Prescott Bush's old Senate seat -- in the same year Poppy lost his second
Senate bid. Weicker's star was rising faster than Poppy's -- and in the Bush
home state to boot. It must have rankled.

Still, Weicker's least endearing qualities -- his considerable ambition,
love of publicity, and penchant for self-aggrandizement -- would shortly
prove useful in at least one respect: as a champion of the "truth" on the
Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, commonly
known as the Watergate Committee. The same Republican maverick who
had no qualms about challenging his party's leadership in Connecticut
would soon debut his maverick persona on the national stage.

In his memoirs, Weicker writes that he was given the Watergate Committee
assignment because he was one of only two Republicans who volunteered
and that his interest in "campaign financing" and dwindling faith in
the democratic process spurred his personal interest. Interestingly, the
other Republican volunteer, stalwart conservative Edward J. Gurney of Florida,
had won his seat with the help of Bush's top political lieutenant, Jimmy
Allison -- and eldest son George W. Bush, who took the extraordinary step of
securing a leave from his National Guard unit in 1968, when he had barely
begun his military training. The other Republican on the committee was Minority
Leader Howard Baker, a moderate. Weicker was the only Republican
on the committee with the inclination to prove his independence from the
party and openly challenge the president.

By the spring of 1973, six defendants had been sentenced in the DNC burglary,
and the Watergate hearings were due to begin. There was now an opportunity
for Nixon to put the whole Watergate affair behind him, without
mortal damage to his presidency. Weicker, however, already saw his role as
an honest broker, and he criticized Nixon's attempts at tamping down the
matter. "I think the national interest is achieved by opening, not closing, the
White House doors," he said. He added that he would vote in favor of subpoenas
for White House officials to appear before the committee.

Poppy Bush apparently agreed. On March 20, the day after Weicker's remarks,
Poppy went to see Nixon at the Oval Office. In his usual oblique way,
ascribing his advice to others, he urged Nixon to send John Dean to testify.

BUSH: We're getting hit a little bit, Mr. President . . . It's building,
and the mail's getting heavier . . .
NIXON: What do you think you can do about it? . . . We've got hearings
coming up. The hearings will make it worse.
BUSH: . . . I was speaking with the executives at the Bull Elephants
The guy said to me, why doesn't the President
send Dean? . . . The disclosure is what they're calling for.
NIXON: We are cooperating They don't want any cooperation.
They aren't interested in getting the facts. They're only interested
in [politicalgains?] I wish there were an answer to Watergate,
but I just don't know any . . . I don't know a damn thing
to do. [emphasis added]

John Ehrlichman remembers that meeting well, as noted in his memoirs.
"Bush argued that the only way to blunt the current onslaught in the newspapers
and on television was for the president to be totally forthcoming -- to
tell everything he knew about all aspects of Watergate."

This was a significant moment, where Poppy demonstrates a possible
connection to and interest in Dean. It was a sort of specific advice that warrants
attention, because it is an indication that the outsider Bush is unusually
well informed about who knows what inside the White House --
and encourages Nixon to let Dean begin confessing his knowledge. When I
asked Dean in 2008 why he thought Poppy Bush was suggesting he testify,
he said he had no idea.

Nixon resisted Poppy's advice to have Dean testify because, Nixon maintained,
there was no White House staff involvement in Watergate, and
therefore Dean's testimony would serve only to break executive privilege,
once and for all. "The president can't run his office by having particularly
his lawyer go up and testify," Nixon told Poppy.

If Poppy Bush seemed to have unusually good intelligence as to what
was happening in the Oval Office, it might have had something to do with
a good friend of his who was right in there with Nixon and Dean during the
most critical days of Watergate. Richard A. Moore, a lawyer who served as a
kind of elder statesman off of whom Nixon and Mitchell could bounce
ideas, was, like Poppy, an alumnus of Andover, Yale, and Skull and Bones.
Moore served as special assistant to the chief of military intelligence during
World War II and is believed to have transitioned to civilian intelligence
after the war. Over the years, Moore was practically a member of the
extended Bush clan, exchanging intimate notes with Poppy and even joining
family dinners.

Moore shows up in background roles on a number of Nixon tapes, and
phone logs show a flurry of phone calls between Moore and Dean, especially
in the final weeks before Dean turned on Nixon. In a little-reported taped telephone
conversation from March 16, Dean tells Nixon that he and Moore are
working on a Watergate report; he also mentions that he and Moore drive
home together. On March 20, in an Oval Office meeting featuring Nixon,
Dean, and Moore -- just prior to Nixon's meeting with Poppy Bush --
Moore can be heard typing the report in the background.

Dean would later write that the term "cancer" as used in his famous "cancer
on the presidency" briefing had been suggested by Moore -- who though a close
Nixon adviser in these sensitive days, managed to emerge from Watergate
obscure and unscathed. His Watergate testimony did not support Dean, but
he tended to be ambiguous. As Time magazine noted on July 23, 1973,
"The Moore testimony was certainly not evidence that the President
had had prior knowledge of the Plumbers' felonious break-in. But it seemingly
betrayed a curious nonchalance on the President's part toward questionable
activities by White House staffers."

Later, with Nixon departing and Ford preparing to become president,
Moore urged Ford to make Poppy Bush his vice president, arguing that
Bush had strong economic credentials. Moore specifically cited Poppy's ties
to Wall Street through his father and grandfather, "both highly respected investment
bankers in New York." Moore would go on to work on all of Poppy
Bush's presidential campaigns, including his unsuccessful 1980 bid, and
would in 1989 be named by Poppy as his ambassador to Ireland.

Repeat After Me

Immediately after Poppy tried to convince Nixon to send Dean to testify,
Dean himself telephoned the president. Dean asked to urgently meet the
following morning and carefully explained to Nixon that there were important
details of which the president was unaware and that he would tell him
about these things -- but did not yet tell him:

DEAN: I think that one thing that we have to continue to do, and
particularly right now, is to examine the broadest, broadest implications
of this whole thing, and, you know, maybe about thirty minutes
of just my recitations to you of facts so that you operate from
the same facts that everybody else has.
NIXON: Right.
DEAN: I don't think -- we have never really done that. It has been sort
of bits and pieces. Just paint the whole picture for you, the soft
spots, the potential problem areas [emphasis added]

In other words, Dean was admitting, nine months into the scandal, that
he knew quite a bit about Watergate that he had never revealed to the president.
Now Dean planned to clue him in.

Nixon then inquired about the progress on a public statement Dean was
to be preparing -- and was made to understand that the statement was going
to try to avoid specifics, i.e., employ a common practice, stonewalling:

NIXON: And so you are coming up, then with the idea of just a
stonewall then? Is that --
DEAN: That's right.
NIXON: Is that what you come down with?
DEAN: Stonewall, with lots of noises that we are always willing to
cooperate, but no one is asking us for anything.

Nixon went on to pressure Dean to issue a statement to the cabinet explaining,
in very general terms, the White House's willingness to cooperate in any
investigations. Without going into detail, Nixon wanted to publicly defend the
innocence of White House officials whom he believed were innocent:

NIXON: I just want a general --
DEAN: An all-around statement.
NIXON: That's right. Try just something general. Like "I have
checked into this matter; I can categorically, based on my investigation,
the following: Haldeman is not involved in this, that
and the other thing. Mr. Colson did not do this; Mr. So- and- so
did not do this. Mr. Blank did not do this." Right down the line,
taking the most glaring things. If there are any further questions,
please let me know. See?
DEAN: Uh huh, I think we can do that.

But Dean apparently didn't intend to "do that." He was seemingly waiting
for the right moment to create the right effect -- and that moment would not
come until he had jumped the wall to the other side and become the key witness
for the prosecution.

In Haldemans diary entry of the same day, he observes that Nixon wants
to come clean, but that Dean is warning him not to:

[The president] feels strongly that we've got to say something to get
ourselves away from looking like we're completely on the defensive
and on a cover-up basis. If we . . . are going to volunteer
to send written statements . . . we might as well do the statements
now and get them publicized and get our answers out. The problem
is that Dean feels this runs too many leads out. [emphasis added]

Thus, according to this account, Nixon was interested in facing his problems.
This included, it appears, telling what they knew -- Nixon's version, in
any case.

And John Dean was urging Nixon not to do that. To make that case, Dean
was feeding Nixon's paranoia. In other words, Dean seemed to be saying:
Too many leads out. Let me control this process.

In response to a combination of events -- Weicker's call for more disclosure,
Bush's intervention with Nixon aimed at forcing Dean to testify, and
Dean's own insistence that there was more to the story -- Nixon met with
Dean the next day. That conversation, together with the smoking gun episode,
would help seal Nixon's fate.

On the morning of March 21, Nixon's White House counsel stepped
into the Oval Office and proceeded to deliver a speech that would make
Dean famous for the rest of his life. He would dramatically warn the president
of a "cancer on the presidency" soon to become inoperable. This
speech, which would shortly become Dean's principal evidence against
Nixon, may have been carefully calculated based on Dean's awareness
that the conversations were being taped. (Dean would later say he suspected
he was being taped, but as we shall see, he may have known for certain.)

In fact, for this dramatic moment, Dean had begun performing dress
rehearsals some eight days earlier. This is borne out by earlier taped
conversations -- ones whose very existence has been largely suppressed in
published accounts. In these earlier tapes, we hear Dean beginning to tell
Nixon about White House knowledge related to Watergate. (Most of these
tapes are excluded from what is generally considered the authoritative compendium
of transcripts, Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes, by Stanley Kutler,
who told me in a 2008 interview that he considers himself a close friend
of John Dean.)

In one unpublicized taped conversation, from March 13, Dean told Nixon
that Haldeman's aide Gordon Strachan had foreknowledge of the break-in,
was already lying about it in interviews, and would continue to do so before
a grand jury. The Watergate prosecutors, for whom Dean was a crucial witness,
had the March 13 tape, but did not enter it into evidence.

DEAN: Well, Chapin didn't know anything about the Watergate, and --
NIXON: You don't think so?
DEAN: No. Absolutely not.
NIXON: Did Strachan?
DEAN: Yes.
NIXON: He knew?
DEAN: Yes.
NIXON: About the Watergate?
DEAN: Yes.
NIXON: Well, then, Bob knew. He probably told Bob, then. He may
not have. He may not have.
DEAN: He was, he was judicious in what he, in what he relayed,
and, uh, but Strachan is as tough as nails. I --
NIXON: What'll he say? Just go in and say he didn't know?
DEAN: He'll go in and stonewall it and say, "I don't know anything
about what you are talking about." He has already done it twice,
as you know, in interviews.

This is significant since Strachan, a junior staff member, was essentially
reporting to Dean -- a fact that Dean failed to point out to Nixon. Although
Strachan was Haldeman's aide, when it came to matters like these, he
would, at Dean's request, deal directly with Dean.
"As to the subject of political intelligence-gathering," Strachan told the Senate Watergate Committee,
"John Dean was designated as the White House contact for the Committee

to Re-elect the President." Thus, if Strachan knew anything about Watergate,
even after the fact, it seems to have been because Dean included him in
the flow of "intelligence."

On March 17, in another tape generally excluded from accounts of Watergate,
Dean told Nixon about the Ellsberg break-in. He also provided a long list of
people who he felt might have "vulnerabilities" concerning Watergate,
and included himself in that list.

NIXON: Now, you were saying too, ah, what really, ah, where the,
this thing leads, I mean in terms of the vulnerabilities and so
forth. It's your view the vulnerables are basically Mitchell, Colson,
Haldeman, indirectly, possibly directly, and of course, the
second level is, as far as the White House is concerned, Chapin.
DEAN: And I'd say Dean, to a degree.
NIXON: You? Why?
DEAN: Well, because I've been all over this thing like a blanket.
NIXON: I know, I know, but you know all about it, but you didn't,
you were in it after the deed was done.
DEAN: That's correct, that I have no foreknowledge . . .
NIXON: Here's the whole point, here's the whole point. My point is
that your problem is you, you have no problem. All the others
that have participated in the God-damned thing, and therefore
are potentially subject to criminal liability. You're not. That's the
difference.

In the heavily publicized "cancer" speech of March 21, Dean essentially
reiterated what he had told Nixon previously, if in more detail. But he added
an important element -- one which would cause Nixon serious problems
when the "cancer" tape was played for the public: a request for one million
dollars in "hush money" for the burglars. Informed by Dean of a "continual
blackmail operation by Hunt and Liddy and the Cubans," Nixon asked how
much money they needed. Dean responded, "These people are going to cost
a million dollars over the next two years." There is debate as to whether
Nixon actually agreed with Dean's suggestion to pay money or merely ruminated
over it. He never did pay the money.

Dean's behavior did not appear to be that of a lawyer seeking to protect
his client, let alone advice appropriate to the conduct of the presidency.

Click here to read part 3 of Russ Baker's investigation >

Read the original article on WhoWhatWhy . Copyright 2012. Follow WhoWhatWhy on Twitter .

[Dec 28, 2017] How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC hacked servers by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
If this is true, then this is definitely a sophisticated false flag operation. Was malware Alperovich people injected specifically designed to implicate Russians? In other words Crowdstrike=Fancy Bear
Images removed. For full content please thee the original source
One interesting corollary of this analysis is that installing Crowdstrike software is like inviting a wolf to guard your chicken. If they are so dishonest you take enormous risks. That might be true for some other heavily advertized "intrusion prevention" toolkits. So those criminals who use mistyped popular addresses or buy Google searches to drive lemmings to their site and then flash the screen that they detected a virus on your computer a, please call provided number and for a small amount of money your virus will be removed get a new more sinister life.
I suspected many of such firms (for example ISS which was bought by IBM in 2006) to be scams long ago.
Notable quotes:
"... Disobedient Media outlines the DNC server cover-up evidenced in CrowdStrike malware infusion ..."
"... In the article, they claim to have just been working on eliminating the last of the hackers from the DNC's network during the past weekend (conveniently coinciding with Assange's statement and being an indirect admission that their Falcon software had failed to achieve it's stated capabilities at that time , assuming their statements were accurate) . ..."
"... To date, CrowdStrike has not been able to show how the malware had relayed any emails or accessed any mailboxes. They have also not responded to inquiries specifically asking for details about this. In fact, things have now been discovered that bring some of their malware discoveries into question. ..."
"... there is a reason to think Fancy Bear didn't start some of its activity until CrowdStrike had arrived at the DNC. CrowdStrike, in the indiciators of compromise they reported, identified three pieces of malware relating to Fancy Bear: ..."
"... They found that generally, in a lot of cases, malware developers didn't care to hide the compile times and that while implausible timestamps are used, it's rare that these use dates in the future. It's possible, but unlikely that one sample would have a postdated timestamp to coincide with their visit by mere chance but seems extremely unlikely to happen with two or more samples. Considering the dates of CrowdStrike's activities at the DNC coincide with the compile dates of two out of the three pieces of malware discovered and attributed to APT-28 (the other compiled approximately 2 weeks prior to their visit), the big question is: Did CrowdStrike plant some (or all) of the APT-28 malware? ..."
"... The IP address, according to those articles, was disabled in June 2015, eleven months before the DNC emails were acquired – meaning those IP addresses, in reality, had no involvement in the alleged hacking of the DNC. ..."
"... The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. ..."
"... That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | theduran.com

Of course the DNC did not want to the FBI to investigate its "hacked servers". The plan was well underway to excuse Hillary's pathetic election defeat to Trump, and CrowdStrike would help out by planting evidence to pin on those evil "Russian hackers." Some would call this entire DNC server hack an "insurance policy."

... ... ...

[Dec 28, 2017] On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim ..."
"... However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news. ..."
"... As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Dec 27, 2017 10:17:37 AM | 92

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse.

Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim , so if Putin were to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election, logic would suggest that he would do so on Hillary Clinton's side. However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news.

As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored.

[Dec 27, 2017] Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections. Any candidate that WOULD make a difference would NEVER see the daylight of nomination, especially at the presidential level. I myself believe all the talk of Russia interfering the 2016 Election is no more than a witch hunt

Highly recommended!
Neocons dominate the US foreign policy establishment.
In other words Russiagate might be a pre-emptive move by neocons after Trump elections.
Notable quotes:
"... The dogma does not come from questioning this conclusion. Because Putin, during the campaign, complimented Trump, does not support the conclusion with its insinuation that those who voted for Trump needed to be influenced by anything other than being fed up with the usual in American politics. Same with Brexit. That dissatisfaction continues, and it doesn't need Russian influence to feed it. This is infantile oversimplification to say so. ..."
"... "The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind." ..."
"... But I do believe Putin, and for that matter Xi Jinping of China too, should make efforts to infiltrate the USA election processes. It's an eye for an eye. USA has been exercising its free hands in manipulating elections and stirring up color revolutions all around the world, including the 2012 presidential election in Russia. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. In fact, I believe it is for this reason that the US MSM is playing up this hocus pocus Russian-gate matter, as a preemptive measure to justify imposing electioneering controls in the future. ..."
"... USA may not be vulnerable as yet to this kind of external nuisances, as the masses have not yet reached the stage of being easily stirred. But that time will come. ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rhett , Dec 26, 2017 2:18:30 PM | 20

I have great respect for the reporting on this site regarding Syria and the Middle East. I regret that for some reason there is this dogmatic approach to the issue of Russian attempts to influence the US election. Why wouldn't the Russians try to sway the election? Allowing Hillary to win would have put a dangerous adversary in the White House, one with even more aggressive neocon tendencies than Obama. Trump has been owned by Russian mobsters since the the 1990s, and his ties to Russian criminals like Felix Sater are well known.

Putin thought that getting Trump in office would allow the US to go down a more restrained foreign policy path and lift sanctions against Russia, completely understandable goals. Using Facebook/Twitter bots and groups like Cambridge Analytica, an effort was made to sway public opinion toward Trump. That is just politics. And does anyone really doubt there are incriminating sexual videos of Trump out there? Trump (like Bill Clinton) was buddies with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Of course there are videos of Trump that can be used for blackmail purposes, and of course they would be used to get him on board with the Russian plan.

The problem is that everything Trump touches dies. He's a fraud and an incompetent idiot. Always has been. To make matters worse, Trump is controlled by the Zionists through his Orthodox Jewish daughter and Israeli spy son-in-law. This gave power to the most openly extreme Zionist elements who will keep pushing for more war in the Middle East. And Trump is so vile that he's hated by the majority of Americans and doesn't have the political power to end sanctions against Russia.

Personally, I think this is all for the best. Despite his Zionist handlers, Trump will unintentionally unwind the American Empire through incompetence and lack of strategy, which allows Syria and the rest of the world to breathe and rebuild. So Russia may have made a bad bet on this guy being a useful ally, but his own stupidity will end up working out to the world's favor in the long run.

Sid2 , Dec 26, 2017 3:17:40 PM | 27
@20

there is considerable irony in use of "dogmatic" here: the dogma actually occurs in the rigid authoritarian propaganda that the Russians Putin specifically interfered with the election itself, which now smugly blankets any discussion. "The Russians interfered" is now dogma, when that statement is not factually shown, and should read, "allegedly interfered."

The dogma does not come from questioning this conclusion. Because Putin, during the campaign, complimented Trump, does not support the conclusion with its insinuation that those who voted for Trump needed to be influenced by anything other than being fed up with the usual in American politics. Same with Brexit. That dissatisfaction continues, and it doesn't need Russian influence to feed it. This is infantile oversimplification to say so.

To suggest "possibly" in any argument does not provide evidence. There is no evidence. Take a look at b's link to the following for a clear, sane assessment of what's going on. As with:

"The centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump. The story became gospel with breathtaking suddenness and completeness. Doubters are perceived as heretics and as apologists for Trump and Putin, the evil twins and co-conspirators behind this attack on American democracy. Responsibility for the absence of debate lies in large part with the major media outlets. Their uncritical embrace and endless repetition of the Russian hack story have made it seem a fait accompli in the public mind. It is hard to estimate popular belief in this new orthodoxy, but it does not seem to be merely a creed of Washington insiders. If you question the received narrative in casual conversations, you run the risk of provoking blank stares or overt hostility – even from old friends. This has all been baffling and troubling to me; there have been moments when pop-culture fantasies (body snatchers, Kool-Aid) have come to mind."

this is b's link in URL form here:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking

Oriental Voice , Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
@20:

I echo you opinion that this site gives great reports on issues pertaining to Syria and the ME. Credit to b.

On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections. Any candidate that WOULD make a difference would NEVER see the daylight of nomination, especially at the presidential level. I myself believe all the talk of Russia interfering the 2016 Election is no more than a witch hunt.

But I do believe Putin, and for that matter Xi Jinping of China too, should make efforts to infiltrate the USA election processes. It's an eye for an eye. USA has been exercising its free hands in manipulating elections and stirring up color revolutions all around the world, including the 2012 presidential election in Russia. They should be given a taste of their own medicine. In fact, I believe it is for this reason that the US MSM is playing up this hocus pocus Russian-gate matter, as a preemptive measure to justify imposing electioneering controls in the future.

USA may not be vulnerable as yet to this kind of external nuisances, as the masses have not yet reached the stage of being easily stirred. But that time will come.

[Dec 27, 2017] Susan Rice, Obama's Dirty Surveillance Rat

Apr 03, 2017 | strata-sphere.com
Published by AJStrata under All General Discussions

So now we know who requested the raw intelligence on Team Trump with the names of American Citizens 'unmasked'. It was then National Security Advisor Susan Rice:

White House lawyers last month discovered that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice's requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government's policy on "unmasking" the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like "U.S. Person One."

Maybe she will claim a video caused her to commit a felony?

As I noted a while back , while Obama and Loretta Lynch authorized the expansion of who could request the unmasking of Americans caught up in surveillance, the process still required a paper trail of who the request was from and for what purpose. From the law itself:

For every entity in the US Intelligence Community involved with the intercepts of Team Trump, the head of that entity should have filled out this request, including:

  1. (U) Use of information. The IC element will explain how it will use the raw SIGINT, to include identifying the particular authorized foreign intelligence or counterintelligence missions or functions that are the basis for its request .

Skipping down, we get to another key item: who reviewed and approved these requests:

C. (U) Evaluation of requests. A high-level NSA official designated by the DIRNSA will review requests for raw SIGINT covered by these Procedures. NSA will document its approval decisions in writing and include a statement explaining how the request fully complies with paragraph A.

OK, a key person who should have participated in the legal distribution of intercepts involving members of Team Trump would be the Director of NSA and whomever they designated to review the requests.

Note that the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) is accepting the requests made by the National Security Advisor (a different NSA). Today that would be one Michael Rogers, who had to review and concur on Rice's request.

Interesting enough, one would have thought the FBI would be the organization with due cause to unmask Americans for investigation. Why would the head of NSA be investigating Americans and violating their 4th Amendment rights?

Well, that seems pretty obvious given that all this ill-gotten information landed in the hands of the left wing news media, to fuel diversionary stories about some elusive Trump-Russian connection. The fact this information takes a left turn through the office of NSA on its way to the news media is telling in itself.

Clearly what caught Susan Rice was the paper trail of her requests, as is confirmed in the article:

In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice's multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

The strange thing is, if not for all the leaks to the newspapers, I doubt this review of the logs would have happened! She and Team Obama triggered their own demise.

Of course, all this was leaked to a Dem-Friendly news outlet, which tried to spin this as a nothing-burger and claim this is not the smoking gun.

But of course it's the smoking gun!

Let's pick up where the left wing news media tried to stop us from proceeding. Who tipped off Rice on which raw data to unmask? And who was unmasked? The answers will inform us on her intentions.

For example, if Rice's request was broad and yielded a range of Americans unmasked that would be a general request without a target.

But if her request was against specific events with specific foreign players, which only yielded results that led to only Team Trump, then that is a different matter. That would be political targeting and a felony.

Finally, Susan Rice would never, ever do this on her own initiative. She would never risk "The Obama Legacy" over this. A legacy, I must say, that is now in tatters based on this news. It is just a question of whether the destruction of his legacy was due to ineptitude or criminal intent.

There is much more to learn here. Everyone who did this knew they were crossing some serious lines. They knew this because they had to put in place the processes to allow it. And since these unmasking processes were laid out in January of this year, everyone knew they were up to, if not over, those Constitutional lines.

Rice should be pulled in front of Congress and asked point blank under what authority was she, the National Security Advisor, requesting names of US Citizens and their communication contenrs? Recall, some of these requests are not related to Russia at all!

[Dec 27, 2017] More Rice Lies [Just Another Inspector Clouseau]

Notable quotes:
"... Please note the trip down memory lane above, when Susie and Hillary were cohorts at the UN ..."
"... – end update ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | strata-sphere.com

Please note the trip down memory lane above, when Susie and Hillary were cohorts at the UN .

Major Update : If you don't want to take my word for all this, how about Andrew McCarthy :

The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations. Remember that.

In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA.

Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies.

Basically what these tools have done is confess to the crime. Rice did not deny she did this, she claims she had the authority to do this.

She did not.

Bring on the prosecutors – end update

Susan Rice (and her protectors in the news media – one of which is her husband at ABC News) have been putting out a new trial balloon to see if they can avoid the coming Constitutional crisis over the Obama administration using NSA surveillance data to data-mine their political opposition: a.k.a. Team Trump.

The contortions by which Rice and her news media allies (democrats all) are going through to deflect this smoking gun has hit the absurd :

Rice denied those charges Tuesday, saying she was "shocked" to read the claims when they emerged. She said the White House isn't responsible for ordering that type of surveillance.

She maintained, however, that asking for more information about names included in intelligence reports was a routine and necessary aspect of her job in protecting American security .

Uh – no. The White House – which is where she worked when National Security Advisor (please not the emphasis on "Advisor") – cannot investigate US citizens for criminal acts. The White House cannot even direct the FBI who to investigate or not!

Here is her job description :

The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) is appointed by the President without confirmation by the Senate . [3] The influence and role of the National Security Advisor varies from administration to administration and depends not only on the qualities of the person appointed to the position but also on the style and management philosophy of the incumbent President. [4] Ideally, the APNSA serves as an honest broker of policy options for the President in the field of national security, rather than as an advocate for his or her own policy agenda. [5]

This role is to assist in drafting policies, strategies, regulations, etc.

So one has to ask, why was she unmasking these innocent people and violating their 4th Amendment Rights? She actually should have no ability to peak into the lives of Americans. None. Not in her job-jar.

The White House is NOT authorized to investigate – not even foreign players. Those authorities are given to a select few organizations in the federal government.

And when it comes to investigating US Citizens, that falls to one and only one federal organization: The FBI.

I know the Democrat News Media is trying to shield Rice and Obama from their bumbling, stumbling activities that will destroy their legacy.

But at least come up with something that passes the laugh test and does not remind us of another overly-clever sleuth protecting the masses:

Tags: National Security Advisor , Obama , Surveillance , Susan Rice , Team Trump

One response so far

[Dec 26, 2017] The role of intelligence agencies and NGOs in color revolution is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) look like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless (and well paid) demonstrators and then institute a regime change installing their puppets projecting on them authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor

Color revolutions are false flag operations of regime change based on deception, fueling the resentment and delegitimization+ of the elected government and fake promises to population.
Notable quotes:
"... color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception. ..."
"... It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership. ..."
"... Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks. ..."
"... History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. ..."
"... to help deconstruct the deception ..."
"... A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | colorrevolutionsandgeopolitics.blogspot.com

Color revolutions are, without a doubt, one of the main features of global political developments today. Should the casual reader immediately wonder what a "color revolution" is, keep reading, our view here is unique, but we most certainly have some answers.

Let us first begin with the Wikipedia definition. That website introduces the concept by stating the following:

" Color revolution(s) is a term used by the media to describe related [political] movements that developed in several societies in the CIS (former USSR) and Balkan states during the early 2000s. Some observers have called the events a revolutionary wave .

"Participants in the color revolutions have mostly used nonviolent resistance , also called civil resistance . Such methods as demonstrations, strikes and interventions havebeen [used to] protest against governments seen as corrupt and/or authoritarian, and to advocate democracy; and they have also created strong pressure for change. These movements all adopted a specific color or flower as their symbol. The color revolutions are notable for the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and particularly student activists in organizing creative non-violent resistance.

"These movements have been successful in Serbia (especially the Bulldozer Revolution of 2000), in Georgia's Rose Revolution (2003), in Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2004), in Lebanon's Cedar Revolution and (though more violent than the previous ones) in Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution (2005), in Kuwait's Blue Revolution (2005), in Iraq's Purple Revolution (2005), and in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution (1989), but failed in Iran's Green Revolution (2009–2010) . Each time massive street protests followed disputed elections or request of fair elections and led to the resignation or overthrow of leaders considered by their opponents to be authoritarian ."

What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is the massive foreign funding, and at least any notion that color revolutions are psychosocial operations of deception.

It's a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and "channel" local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9E75GWFDMec/SjXWwi-wPnI/AAAAAAAAAmc/Jlt2fAVGcgQ/s400/IranProtestor.jpg

The secret ingredient is a sophisticated science used to manipulate emotions and circumvent critical thinking. History shows that, to much of the power elite, humanity is seen as a collection of nerve endings to be pushed and pulled one way or the other, sometimes made to tremble in fear, sometimes made to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. These days the manipulation is so pervasive, so subtle, so effective, that even critical individuals at times must necessarily fail to recognize how often -- or in what context -- they have fallen prey.

Of course fear is the most obvious emotion played upon to effect massive social change. One need only to reflect upon the last ten years, since 9/11, to know that fear is a primary instrument used to initiate and justify dangerous shifts in public policy.

But as humanity has been physiologically equipped with a range of emotions, and is not merely arrested and controlled by fear alone, a strata of behavioral and political science also found it useful to master the flip-side of the emotional spectrum, and by that we mean desire, and all that drives groups of individuals to act, even in the face of fear, in pursuit of something worthwhile.

Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences' intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.

http://bmpr.com/chip_martin/blogs/images/chip_martin/Skyyad5.jpg (Legs for educational purposes only)

Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.

It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.

Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.

Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.

Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.

And this is where we come in: to help deconstruct the deception .

But we will not just cover color revolutions here, as color revolutions are bound up in the larger geopolitical universe. A color revolution is only an instrument of foreign policy--only a tool -- the ultimate object being the geopolitical advantages gained by powerful financiers and the brain trust they employ . It follows that understanding geopolitical context (and motive) is necessary to understanding the purpose of the color revolution.

Toward that end, we will discuss and analyze relationships of global power in great detail. We will highlight specific institutions of power; identify what their power rests upon; draw attention to the individuals that finance and direct their activities; speculate upon some of their motives; and get to know the broad range of tools they use to achieve them, tools which include the color revolution.

As in-depth studies into the color revolution are far too rare, and as the issue itself is far too obscure, we hope to draw more attention to it; to spark discussion and even debate.

It is an issue that takes time and patience. And it is for those that are willing to provide this time and patience that we offer this site.

"Never utter these words: 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge." --Apothegm of Narada

[Dec 26, 2017] A "color revolution" is under way in the United States by the Saker

This article and discussion now is almost one year old, but some people predicted that Trump will betray all his election promises with ease and will just try to survive color regulation against him and pander to Wall Street, Israel and neocons. Which is what he is currently doing. He proved to be far below the intellectual level required for a good president of such country as the USA. Blunders that he already did are inexcusable. May be this is age.
Notable quotes:
"... The forces which are currently trying to impeach, overthrow or murder President Trump are a clear and present danger to the United States as a country and to the US Federal Republic. They are, to use a Russian word, a type of "non-system" opposition which does not want to accept the outcome of the elections and which by rejecting this outcome essentially oppose the entire political system. ..."
"... It amazes me to see that the US pseudo-elites have as much hatred, contempt and fear of the American masses as the Russian pseudo-elites have hatred, contempt and fear of the Russian masses (the Russian equivalent or Hillary's "deplorables" would be a hard to pronounce for English speakers word "быдло", roughly "cattle", "lumpen" or "rabble"). ..."
"... It amazes me to see that the very same people which have demonized Putin for years are now demonizing Trump using exactly the same methods. ..."
"... My current opinion is that he is not neocon or part of color revolution, but he is not a champion of the people either. He is one of the competitors among the elite. (An anti-hero as Crosstalk recently characterized him?) ..."
"... He is pandering to neocons. He is result of people who fed up with the establishment. So he is result of revolution, maybe the first one of many to purge the system. ..."
"... Of course there is a color revolution in the US right now -- because all the sources of neoliberal fake-revolutionary ideology are right here. It's a poisonous ideology which really is popular with smug media elites, boosted by "nudges" from the deep state. It's just a lot of very corrupt, bad people. The ultimate, long-term objective of the deep state may not be readily apparent, but at a fairly serious medium-term level, their interests are precisely the same as what people like Michael Weiss, Dick Cheney, and Van Jones are making clear to us with their own words. ..."
"... Similarly, Trump found his support base from Wall Street/Masters of the Universe as outlined by Pepe Escobar. Of course he doesn't represent "the people" because "the people," whether left or right, are no longer interested in grassroots political organization for their own interests. Wall Street can do that, because they have a source of money independent from the gov't. The only question now is who gets more slices of a shrinking pie, and how radical either side is willing to go in overriding America's broken democratic process to make it happen. ..."
"... Had Clinton won, she could done much worse than Trump, and get away with public opinion. Neoliberal infrastructure would be live and well. ..."
"... A curious aspect of Trump and which "class" he belongs to: As a "kid from Queens" Donald Trump has always been an outsider to the Manhattan social elites. Even after he became far wealthier than they, even after his buildings transformed the New York City skyline he was never admitted into the club. He was only ever allowed in as a guest. ..."
Jan 28, 2017 | thesaker.is

The forces which are currently trying to impeach, overthrow or murder President Trump are a clear and present danger to the United States as a country and to the US Federal Republic. They are, to use a Russian word, a type of "non-system" opposition which does not want to accept the outcome of the elections and which by rejecting this outcome essentially oppose the entire political system.

... ... ...

It amazes me to see that the US pseudo-elites have as much hatred, contempt and fear of the American masses as the Russian pseudo-elites have hatred, contempt and fear of the Russian masses (the Russian equivalent or Hillary's "deplorables" would be a hard to pronounce for English speakers word "быдло", roughly "cattle", "lumpen" or "rabble").

It amazes me to see that the very same people which have demonized Putin for years are now demonizing Trump using exactly the same methods.

And if their own country has to go down in their struggle against the common people – so be it! These self-declared elites will have no compunction whatsoever to destroy the nation their have been parasitizing and exploiting for their own class interest. They did just that to Russia exactly 100 years ago, in 1917. I sure hope that they will not get away with that again in 2017.

J on January 28, 2017 · at 5:40 am UTC

Trump is part of neocon. If anything, trump is part of color revolution, not against it. I do not see his administration turn out well with his action so far. Trump is also a idiot. Any one pitch a fight with a neighbor like he is doing is not suit to deal with relation.

Talk about relation, check out internet video clips and see how much respect he give to his wife.

blue on January 28, 2017 · at 6:26 am UTC

My current opinion is that he is not neocon or part of color revolution, but he is not a champion of the people either. He is one of the competitors among the elite. (An anti-hero as Crosstalk recently characterized him?)

So who is there to champion the people and oppose the monstrous elite? Us -- just us. Each and all of us, and we need to get our acts together. If there is no 'great leader' then we have to lead ourselves: distributed leadership with collective intelligence and power.

J on January 28, 2017 · at 7:07 am UTC

He is pandering to neocons. He is result of people who fed up with the establishment. So he is result of revolution, maybe the first one of many to purge the system.

We need to make sure we take out garbage in every election, we will win in the end.

we can not only see things in one perspective. But it seems not something come naturally out side of east Asia.

J.L.Seagull on January 28, 2017 · at 8:26 am UTC

I don't understand why everything has to be either controlled opposition or controlled support.

Of course there is a color revolution in the US right now -- because all the sources of neoliberal fake-revolutionary ideology are right here. It's a poisonous ideology which really is popular with smug media elites, boosted by "nudges" from the deep state. It's just a lot of very corrupt, bad people. The ultimate, long-term objective of the deep state may not be readily apparent, but at a fairly serious medium-term level, their interests are precisely the same as what people like Michael Weiss, Dick Cheney, and Van Jones are making clear to us with their own words.

Similarly, Trump found his support base from Wall Street/Masters of the Universe as outlined by Pepe Escobar. Of course he doesn't represent "the people" because "the people," whether left or right, are no longer interested in grassroots political organization for their own interests. Wall Street can do that, because they have a source of money independent from the gov't. The only question now is who gets more slices of a shrinking pie, and how radical either side is willing to go in overriding America's broken democratic process to make it happen.

The readers of this website should cheer Trump's willingness to trample on the neoliberal narrative, but their own livelihoods will not be guaranteed by Trump or anyone else in power.

J on January 29, 2017 · at 4:52 am UTC

J.L.S

Had Clinton won, she could done much worse than Trump, and get away with public opinion. Neoliberal infrastructure would be live and well. So I am fully for get rid of her, and do not let Trump getting away with anything. So far, trump's actions are pity, until he cause some real war somewhere. I love to see MSM got taken down.

Sir Humphrey Appleby on January 28, 2017 · at 10:26 am UTC

Khrushchev says to Zhou Enlai, "The difference between the Soviet Union and China is that I rose to power from the peasant class, whereas you came from the privileged Mandarin class." Zhou replies, "True. But there is this similarity. Each of us is a traitor to his class."

I don't know if this is a true story, but Trump may end up obliged to betray his class like others have done in the past if we assume all rich people belong to the same class with homogeneous interests.

Anonymous on January 28, 2017 · at 1:32 pm UTC

A curious aspect of Trump and which "class" he belongs to: As a "kid from Queens" Donald Trump has always been an outsider to the Manhattan social elites. Even after he became far wealthier than they, even after his buildings transformed the New York City skyline he was never admitted into the club. He was only ever allowed in as a guest.

He isn't a member of "the elite" – other than the one of his own making. It's an odd thing but true.

[Dec 26, 2017] As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda. I don't support neoliberal economics by Brad Griffin

Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda . I don't support neoliberal economics. I think we have been going in the wrong direction since the 1970s and don't want to continue going down this road.

Opioid Deaths:

As we all know, the opioid epidemic has become a national crisis and the White working class has been hit the hardest by it. It is a "sea of despair" out there .

[Dec 25, 2017] Kamala Harris Pisses Off Intelligence Committee Chairman When She Tries to Control Senate Hearing!

Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Published on Nov 9, 2017

Kamala Harris Pisses Off Intelligence Committee Chairman When She Tries to Control Senate Hearing!

[Dec 25, 2017] Democrats are falling in the ditch they dug

Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Published on Dec 20, 2017

USA BREAKING NEWS TODAY

Former FBI Director James Comey is in meltdown mode after his good buddy, the Deputy Director of the FBI Andy McCabe, just "spilled the beans" to the House Intelligence Committee. It was a "closed door" hearing, but we now have evidence that you need to know. McCabe incriminated his pals, and that's really bad news for Comey. Immediately, Comey sent out a cryptic message to President Donald Trump as he sees his life crumbling before him.

Source:

Comey Panics & Sends Message To Trump After His FBI Buddy Andy McCabe 'Spills The Beans' https://goo.gl/2oK75n

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The tweet:

James Comey

Don't let them get you down: "We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason." Thomas Babbington Macaulay (1830)

7:56 PM - 19 Dec 2017

[Dec 25, 2017] Was The Steele Dossier The FBI's Insurance Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Even though the FISA warrant targeting Page is classified and the FBI and DOJ have resisted informing Congress about it, some of its contents were illegally and selectively leaked to the Washington Post in April 2017 by sources described as "law enforcement and other U.S. officials." According to the Post: ..."
"... Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against the intelligence operative and two other Russian agents. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said. ..."
"... I've emphasized that last portion because it strongly implies that the FISA application included information from the Steele dossier. ..."
"... Do not be confused by the fact that, by the time of this Post report, the Steele-dossier allegations had already been disclosed to the public by BuzzFeed (in January 2017). The Post story is talking about what the DOJ and FBI put in the FISA application back in September 2016. At that time, the meetings alleged in the dossier had not been publicly disclosed. ..."
"... given that Page has not been accused of a crime, and that the DOJ and FBI would have to have alleged some potential criminal activity to justify a FISA warrant targeting the former U.S. naval intelligence officer, it certainly seems likely that the Steele dossier was the source of this allegation. ..."
"... In conclusion, while there is a dearth of evidence to date that the Trump campaign colluded in Russia's cyber -spionage attack on the 2016 election, there is abundant evidence that the Obama administration colluded with the Clinton campaign to use the Steele dossier as a vehicle for court-authorized monitoring of the Trump campaign -- and to fuel a pre-election media narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies believed Trump was scheming with Russia to lift sanctions if he were elected president. Congress should continue pressing for answers, and President Trump should order the Justice Department and FBI to cooperate rather than -- what's the word? -- resist. ..."
"... The "insurance policy" is either an assassination plot, coup d'etat or other forcible method of removing Trump from office (25th Amendment). Period. ..."
"... Clinton was supposed to win and all the corruption was to remain hidden. They are scambling to hide all this crap because shit is about to hit the fan. ..."
"... Think there is much more than just this one piece but yes, she and they were so arrogant they didn't bother to even try to win. They were entitled. And maybe this New Year will illustrate just how dangerously close they brought us to the edge. ..."
"... These fucks destroyed the rule of law when they decided to selectively enforce it when politically convenient. And when they conspired to take advantage of legal processes to overthrow the elected government. ..."
"... They really can't answer the question WHAT besides the Dossier could be the reason for this witch hunt. Crooked obviously knew of Dossier because in the debates she called my man " Putin's Puppet"....This is incompetency and politics that calls into question everything these people did..It's embarrasing and criminal. ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

According to the now-infamous text message sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok to his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, it was in McCabe's office that top FBI counterintelligence officials discussed what they saw as the frightening possibility of a Trump presidency.

That was during the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, no more than a couple of weeks after they started receiving the Steele dossier -- the Clinton campaign's opposition-research reports, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, about Trump's purportedly conspiratorial relationship with Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia.

Was it the Steele dossier that so frightened the FBI? I think so.

There is a great deal of information to follow. But let's cut to the chase: The Obama-era FBI and Justice Department had great faith in Steele because he had previously collaborated with the bureau on a big case. Plus, Steele was working on the Trump-Russia project with the wife of a top Obama Justice Department official, who was personally briefed by Steele. The upper ranks of the FBI and DOJ strongly preferred Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, to the point of overlooking significant evidence of her felony misconduct, even as they turned up the heat on Trump. In sum, the FBI and DOJ were predisposed to believe the allegations in Steele's dossier. Because of their confidence in Steele, because they were predisposed to believe his scandalous claims about Donald Trump, they made grossly inadequate efforts to verify his claims. Contrary to what I hoped would be the case, I've come to believe Steele's claims were used to obtain FISA surveillance authority for an investigation of Trump.

There were layers of insulation between the Clinton campaign and Steele -- the campaign and the Democratic party retained a law firm, which contracted with Fusion GPS, which in turn hired the former spy. At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they'd be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era's Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden.

The best laid schemes . . . gang aft agley.

Why It Matters

Strzok's text about the meeting in McCabe's office is dated August 16, 2016. As we'll see, the date is important. According to Agent Strzok, with Election Day less than three months away, Page, the bureau lawyer, weighed in on Trump's bid: "There's no way he gets elected." Strzok, however, believed that even if a Trump victory was the longest of long shots, the FBI "can't take that risk." He insisted that the bureau had no choice but to proceed with a plan to undermine Trump's candidacy: "It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that, "according to people familiar with his account," Strzok meant that it was imperative that the FBI "aggressively investigate allegations of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia." In laughable strawman fashion, the "people familiar with his account" assure the Journal that Strzok "didn't intend to suggest a secret plan to harm the candidate." Of course, no sensible person suspects that the FBI was plotting Trump's assassination; the suspicion is that, motivated by partisanship and spurred by shoddy information that it failed to verify, the FBI exploited its counterintelligence powers in hopes of derailing Trump's presidential run.

But what were these "allegations of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia" that the FBI decided to "aggressively investigate"? The Journal doesn't say. Were they the allegations in the Steele dossier? That is a question I asked in last weekend's column. It is a question that was pressed by Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) and Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee at Tuesday's sealed hearing. As I explained in the column, the question is critical for three reasons:

(1) The Steele dossier was a Clinton campaign product. If it was used by the FBI and the Obama Justice Department to obtain a FISA warrant, that would mean law-enforcement agencies controlled by a Democratic president fed the FISA court political campaign material produced by the Democratic candidate whom the president had endorsed to succeed him. Partisan claims of egregious scheming with an adversarial foreign power would have been presented to the court with the FBI's imprimatur, as if they were drawn from refined U.S. intelligence reporting. The objective would have been to spy on the opposition Republican campaign.

(2) In June of this year, former FBI director James Comey testified that the dossier was "salacious and unverified." While still director, Comey had described the dossier the same way when he briefed President-elect Trump on it in January 2017. If the dossier was still unverified as late as mid 2017, its allegations could not possibly have been verified months earlier, in the late summer or early autumn of 2016, when it appears that the FBI and DOJ used them in an application to the FISA court.

(3) The dossier appears to contain misinformation. Knowing he was a spy-for-hire trusted by Americans, Steele's Russian-regime sources had reason to believe that misinformation could be passed into the stream of U.S. intelligence and that it would be acted on -- and leaked -- as if it were true, to America's detriment. This would sow discord in our political system. If the FBI and DOJ relied on the dossier, it likely means they were played by the Putin regime.

How Could Something Like This Happen?

We do not have public confirmation that the dossier was, in fact, used by the bureau and the Justice Department to obtain the FISA warrant. Publicly, FBI and DOJ officials have thwarted the Congress with twaddle about protecting both intelligence sources and an internal inspector-general probe. Of course, Congress, which established and funds the DOJ and FBI, has the necessary security clearances to review classified information, has jurisdiction over the secret FISA court, and has independent constitutional authority to examine the activities of legislatively created executive agencies.

In any event, important reporting by Fox News' James Rosen regarding Tuesday's hearing indicates that the FBI did, in fact, credit the contents of the dossier. It appears, however, that the bureau corroborated few of Steele's claims, and at an absurdly high level of generality -- along the lines of: You tell me person A went to place X and committed a crime; I corroborate only that A went to X and blithely assume that because you were right about the travel, you must be right about the crime.

Here, the FBI was able to verify Steele's claim that Carter Page, a very loosely connected Trump-campaign adviser, had gone to Russia. This was not exactly meticulous gumshoe corroboration: Page told many people he was going to Russia, saw many people while there, and gave a speech at a prominent Moscow venue. Having verified only the travel information, the FBI appears to have credited the claims of Steele's anonymous Russian sources that Page carried out nigh-treasonous activities while in Russia.

How could something like this happen? Well, the FBI and DOJ liked and trusted Steele, for what seem to be good reasons. As the Washington Post has reported, the former MI-6 agent's private intelligence firm, Orbis, was retained by England's main soccer federation to investigate corruption at FIFA, the international soccer organization that had snubbed British bids to host the World Cup. In 2010, Steele delivered key information to the FBI's organized-crime liaison in Europe. This helped the bureau build the Obama Justice Department's most celebrated racketeering prosecution: the indictment of numerous FIFA officials and other corporate executives. Announcing the first wave of charges in May 2015, Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a point of thanking the investigators' "international partners" for their "outstanding assistance."

At the time, Bruce Ohr was the Obama Justice Department's point man for "Transnational Organized Crime and International Affairs," having been DOJ's long-serving chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. He also wore a second, top-echelon DOJ hat: associate deputy attorney general. That made him a key adviser to the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates (who later, as acting attorney general, was fired for insubordinately refusing to enforce President Trump's so-called travel ban). In the chain of command, the FBI reports to the DAG's office.

To do the Trump-Russia research, Steele had been retained by the research firm Fusion GPS (which, to repeat, had been hired by lawyers for the Clinton campaign and the DNC). Fusion GPS was run by its founder, former Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Glenn Simpson. Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie, a Russia scholar, worked for Simpson at Fusion. The Ohrs and Simpson appear to be longtime acquaintances, dating back to when Simpson was a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. In 2010, all three participated in a two-day conference on international organized crime, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (see conference schedule and participant list, pp. 27 -- 30). In connection with the Clinton campaign's Trump-Russia project, Fusion's Nellie Ohr collaborated with Steele and Simpson, and DOJ's Bruce Ohr met personally with Steele and Simpson.

Manifestly, the DOJ and FBI were favorably disposed toward Steele and Fusion GPS. I suspect that these good, productive prior relationships with the dossier's source led the investigators to be less exacting about corroborating the dossier's claims.

But that is just the beginning of the bias story.

At a high level, the DOJ and FBI were in the tank for Hillary Clinton. In July 2016, shortly before Steele's reports started floating in, the FBI and DOJ announced that no charges would be brought against Mrs. Clinton despite damning evidence that she mishandled classified information, destroyed government files, obstructed congressional investigations, and lied to investigators. The irregularities in the Clinton-emails investigation are legion: President Obama making it clear in public statements that he did not want Clinton charged; the FBI, shortly afterwards, drafting an exoneration of Clinton months before the investigation ended and central witnesses, including Clinton herself, were interviewed; investigators failing to use the grand jury to compel the production of key evidence; the DOJ restricting FBI agents in their lines of inquiry and examination of evidence; the granting of immunity to suspects who in any other case would be pressured to plead guilty and cooperate against more-culpable suspects; the distorting of criminal statutes to avoid applying them to Clinton; the sulfurous tarmac meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Clinton shortly before Mrs. Clinton was given a peremptory interview -- right before then -- FBI director Comey announced that she would not be charged.

The blatant preference for Clinton over Trump smacked of politics and self-interest. Deputy FBI director McCabe's wife had run for the Virginia state legislature as a Democrat, and her (unsuccessful) campaign was lavishly funded by groups tied to Clinton insider Terry McAuliffe. Agent Strzok told FBI lawyer Page that Trump was an "idiot" and that "Hillary should win 100 million to 0." Page agreed that Trump was "a loathsome human." A Clinton win would likely mean Lynch -- originally raised to prominence when President Bill Clinton appointed her to a coveted U.S. attorney slot -- would remain attorney general. Yates would be waiting in the wings.

The prior relationships of trust with the source; the investment in Clinton; the certitude that Clinton would win and deserved to win, signified by the mulish determination that she not be charged in the emails investigation; the sheer contempt for Trump. This concatenation led the FBI and DOJ to believe Steele -- to want to believe his melodramatic account of Trump-Russia corruption. For the faithful, it was a story too good to check.

The DOJ and FBI, having dropped a criminal investigation that undeniably established Hillary Clinton's national-security recklessness, managed simultaneously to convince themselves that Donald Trump was too much of a national-security risk to be president.

The Timeline

As I noted in last weekend's column, reports are that the FBI and DOJ obtained a FISA warrant targeting Carter Page (no relation to Lisa Page). For a time, Page was tangentially tied to the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser -- he barely knew Trump. The warrant was reportedly obtained after the Trump campaign and Page had largely severed ties in early August 2016. We do not know exactly when the FISA warrant was granted, but the New York Times and the Washington Post have reported, citing U.S. government sources, that this occurred in September 2016 (see here, here, and here). Further, the DOJ and FBI reportedly persuaded the FISA court to extend the surveillance after the first warrant's 90-day period lapsed -- meaning the spying continued into Trump's presidency.

The FBI and DOJ would have submitted the FISA application to the court shortly before the warrant was issued. In the days-to-weeks prior to petitioning the court, the FISA application would have been subjected to internal review at the FBI -- raising the possibility that FBI lawyer Page was in the loop reviewing the investigative work of Agent Strzok, with whom she was having an extramarital affair. There would also have been review at the Justice Department -- federal law requires that the attorney general approve every application to the FISA court.

Presumably, these internal reviews would have occurred in mid-to-late August -- around the time of the meeting in McCabe's office referred to in Strzok's text. Thus, we need to understand the relevant events before and after mid-to-late August. Here is a timeline.

June 2016

In June 2016, Steele began to generate the reports that collectively are known as the "dossier."

In the initial report, dated June 20, 2016, Steele alleged that Putin's regime had been "cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years." (Steele's reports conform to the FBI and intelligence-agency reporting practice of rendering names of interest in capital letters.) The Kremlin was said to have significant blackmail material that could be used against Trump.

In mid-to-late June 2016, according to Politico, Carter Page asked J. D. Gordon, his supervisor on the Trump campaign's National Security Advisory Committee, for permission to go on a trip to Russia in early July. Gordon advised against it. Page then sent an email to Corey Lewandowski, who was Trump's campaign manager until June 20, and Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokeswoman, seeking permission to go on the trip. Word came back to Page by email that he could go, but only in his private capacity, not as a representative of the Trump campaign. Lewandowski says he has never met Carter Page.

July 2016

Page, a top-of-the-class graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with various other academic distinctions, traveled to Moscow for a three-day trip, the centerpiece of which was a July 7 commencement address at the New Economic School (the same institution at which President Obama gave a commencement address on July 7, 2009). The New York Times has reported, based on leaks from "current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials," that Page's July trip to Moscow "was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump's campaign." The Times does not say what information the FBI had received that made the Moscow trip such a "catalyst."

Was it the Steele dossier?

Well, on July 19, Steele reported that, while in Moscow, Page had held secret meetings with two top Putin confederates, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. Steele claimed to have been informed by "a Russian source close to" Sechin, the president of Russia's energy conglomerate Rosneft, that Sechin had floated to Page the possibility of "US-Russia energy co-operation" in exchange for the "lifting of western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine." Page was said to have reacted "positively" but in a manner that was "non-committal."

Another source, apparently Russian, told Steele that "an official close to" Putin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov had confided to "a compatriot" that Igor Diveykin (of the "Internal Political Department" of Putin's Presidential Administration) had also met with Page in Moscow. (Note the dizzying multiple-hearsay basis of this information.) Diveykin is said to have told Page that the regime had "a dossier of 'kompromat'" -- compromising information -- on Hillary Clinton that it would consider releasing to Trump's "campaign team." Diveykin further "hinted (or indicated more strongly) that the Russian leadership also had 'kompromat' on TRUMP which the latter should bear in mind in his dealings with them."

The hacked DNC emails were first released on July 22, shortly before the Democratic National Convention, which ran from July 25 through 28.

In "late July 2016," Steele claimed to have been told by an "ethnic Russian close associate of . . . TRUMP" that there was a "well-developed conspiracy of co-operation" between "them" (apparently meaning Trump's inner circle) and "the Russian leadership." The conspiracy was said to be "managed on the TRUMP side by the Republican candidate's campaign manager, Paul MANAFORT, who was using foreign policy adviser, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries."

The same source claimed that the Russian regime had been behind the leak of DNC emails "to the WikiLeaks platform," an operation the source maintained "had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team." As a quid pro quo, "the TRUMP team" was said to have agreed (a) "to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue," and (b) to raise the failure of NATO nations to meet their defense commitments as a distraction from Russian aggression in Ukraine, "a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject."

Late July to Early August 2016

The Washington Post has reported that Steele's reports were first transmitted "by an intermediary" to the FBI and other U.S. intelligence officials after the Democratic National Convention (which, to repeat, ended on July 28). The intermediary is not identified. We do not know if it was Fusion, though that seems likely given that Fusion shared its work with government and non-government entities. Steele himself is also said to have contacted "a friend in the FBI" about his research after the Democratic convention. As we've seen, Steele made bureau friends during the FIFA investigation.

August 2016

On August 11, as recounted in the aforementioned Wall Street Journal report, FBI agent Strzok texted the following message to FBI lawyer Page: "OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND THE PERVASIVE CONNECTIONS." The Journal does not elaborate on what "allegations" Strzok was referring to, or the source of those allegations.

On August 15, Strzok texted Page about the meeting in deputy FBI director McCabe's office at which it was discussed that the bureau "can't take that risk" of a Trump presidency and needed something akin to an "insurance policy" even though Trump's election was thought highly unlikely.

September 2016

Reporting indicates that sometime in September 2016, the DOJ and FBI applied to the FISA court for a warrant to surveil Carter Page, and that the warrant was granted.

Interestingly, on September 23, 2016, Yahoo's Michael Isikoff reported on leaks he had received that the U.S. government was conducting an intelligence investigation to determine whether Carter Page, as a Trump adviser, had opened up a private communications channel with such "senior Russian officials" as Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin to discuss lifting economic sanctions if Trump became president.

It is now known that Isikoff's main source for the story was Fusion's Glenn Simpson. Isikoff's report is rife with allegations found in the dossier, although the dossier is not referred to as such; it is described as "intelligence reports" that "U.S. officials" were actively investigating -- i.e., Steele's reports were described in a way that would lead readers to assume they were official U.S. intelligence reports. But there clearly was official American government involvement: Isikoff's story asserts that U.S. officials were briefing members of Congress about these allegations that Page was meeting with Kremlin officials on Trump's behalf. The story elaborated that "questions about Page come amid mounting concerns within the U.S. intelligence community about Russian cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee." Those would be the cyberattacks alleged -- in the dossier on which Congress was being briefed -- to be the result of a Trump-Russia conspiracy in which Page was complicit.

Isikoff obviously checked with his government sources to verify what Simpson had told him about the ongoing investigation that was based on these "intelligence reports." His story recounts that "a senior U.S. law enforcement official" confirmed that Page's alleged contacts with Russian officials were "on our radar screen. . . . It's being looked at."

Final Points to Consider

After his naval career, Page worked in investing, including several years at Merrill Lynch in Moscow. As my column last weekend detailed, he has been an apologist for the Russian regime, championing appeasement for the sake of better U.S. -- Russia relations. Page has acknowledged that, during his brief trip to Moscow in July 2016, he ran into some Russian government officials, among many old Russian friends and acquaintances. Yet he vehemently denies meeting with Sechin and Diveykin. (While Sechin's name is well known to investors in the Russian energy sector, Page says that he has never met him and that he had never even heard Diveykin's name until the Steele dossier was publicized in early 2017.)

Furthermore, Page denies even knowing Paul Manafort, much less being used by Manafort as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and Russia. Page has filed a federal defamation lawsuit against the press outlets that published the dossier, has denied the dossier allegations in FBI interviews, and has reportedly testified before the grand jury in Robert Mueller's special-counsel investigation.

Even though the FISA warrant targeting Page is classified and the FBI and DOJ have resisted informing Congress about it, some of its contents were illegally and selectively leaked to the Washington Post in April 2017 by sources described as "law enforcement and other U.S. officials." According to the Post:

The government's application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators' basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.

Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against the intelligence operative and two other Russian agents. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said.

I've emphasized that last portion because it strongly implies that the FISA application included information from the Steele dossier. That is, when the Post speaks of Page's purported "other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed," this is very likely a reference to the meetings with Sechin and Diveykin that Page denies having had -- the meetings described in the dossier. Do not be confused by the fact that, by the time of this Post report, the Steele-dossier allegations had already been disclosed to the public by BuzzFeed (in January 2017). The Post story is talking about what the DOJ and FBI put in the FISA application back in September 2016. At that time, the meetings alleged in the dossier had not been publicly disclosed.

Two final points.

Under federal surveillance law (sec. 1801 of Title 50, U.S. Code), the probable-cause showing the government must make to prove that a person is an agent of a foreign power is different for Americans than for aliens. If the alleged agent is an alien, section 1801(b)(1) applies, and this means that no crime need be established; the government need only show that the target is acting on behalf of a foreign power in the sense of abetting its clandestine anti-American activities.

By contrast, if the alleged agent is an American citizen, such as Page, section 1801(b)(2) applies: The government must show not only that the person is engaged in clandestine activities on behalf of a foreign power but also that these activities

All of these involve evidence of a crime.

The only known suspicions about Page that have potential criminal implications are the allegations in the dossier, which potentially include hacking, bribery, fraud, and racketeering -- if Russia were formally considered an enemy of the United States, they would include treason. The FBI always has information we do not know about. But given that Page has not been accused of a crime, and that the DOJ and FBI would have to have alleged some potential criminal activity to justify a FISA warrant targeting the former U.S. naval intelligence officer, it certainly seems likely that the Steele dossier was the source of this allegation.

In conclusion, while there is a dearth of evidence to date that the Trump campaign colluded in Russia's cyber -spionage attack on the 2016 election, there is abundant evidence that the Obama administration colluded with the Clinton campaign to use the Steele dossier as a vehicle for court-authorized monitoring of the Trump campaign -- and to fuel a pre-election media narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies believed Trump was scheming with Russia to lift sanctions if he were elected president. Congress should continue pressing for answers, and President Trump should order the Justice Department and FBI to cooperate rather than -- what's the word? -- resist.

NoDebt -> xrxs , Dec 24, 2017 11:40 PM

No way the "insurance policy" was this .... dossier. It had made the rounds for almost a year by then. It was a TOOL for then present-day activities (campaign propaganda and obtaining FISA warrants). Everyone knew it was floating around by then.

An insurance policy is something that activates based on a completely unexpected contingency- premature death. Does it seem to you that a bogus report that had been rattling around doing it's intended work for almost six months is that thing? Sure as shit doesn't sound like that to me.

The "insurance policy" is either an assassination plot, coup d'etat or other forcible method of removing Trump from office (25th Amendment). Period.

two hoots -> TeamDepends , Dec 24, 2017 11:06 PM

Could the FBI be that broke, that persuasive, that wreckless? I suspect it is mainly at the top politically appointed positions that take us down that road? Trouble is they take the full agency along with them. Congress has implicit responsibility here also.

This will take some serious unwinding to officially expose the truth that many know exist. Attaching names to these truths is the hard part. As painful as it may be a Watergate style investigation is in order. Justice must be served to demonstrate unacceptable, illegal, nation harming activity is not tolerated at any level. Without it we have reached moral nihilism.

Other

They must have thought Trump had a chance or why would they bother? Maybe not so sure of Hillary after all? Something don't add up with the surity of a Clinton presidency?

"On August 15, Strzok texted Page about the meeting in deputy FBI director McCabe's office at which it was discussed that the bureau "can't take that risk" of a Trump presidency ......."

At look at the late July/Aug polls: https://www.statista.com/chart/5502/trump-vs-clinton_-a-year-at-the-polls/

DeaconPews , Dec 24, 2017 10:02 PM

"At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they'd be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era's Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden."

This is the entirety of the scandal. I've been saying it all along. ...Clinton was supposed to win and all the corruption was to remain hidden. They are scambling to hide all this crap because shit is about to hit the fan.

FoggyWorld -> DeaconPews , Dec 24, 2017 10:24 PM

Think there is much more than just this one piece but yes, she and they were so arrogant they didn't bother to even try to win. They were entitled. And maybe this New Year will illustrate just how dangerously close they brought us to the edge.

We do have things to be grateful for this evening though and just ZH itself has provided us with a space to vent, to cry, to laugh and now maybe to hope.

Merry Christmas to each and every one here - unseen but cared for friends.

otschelnik -> DeaconPews , Dec 24, 2017 11:22 PM

But here's the good news: Rosenstein, Wray and reportedly McCabe have all declined to answer if the golden shower dossier was used in the FISA warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, and/or Manafort. If the dossier WAS the reason and is now discredited oppo-research, then in all likelihood we're looking at huge FBI violation of due process, and a 'fruit of the poisoned tree' instance. That means that any evidence which could be used against Trump which originated from this surveillance would be thrown out of court. The FBI must know this.

Old556 , Dec 24, 2017 10:05 PM

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

– Charles Louis de Secondat 1748

navy62802 -> Old556 , Dec 24, 2017 10:07 PM

These fucks destroyed the rule of law when they decided to selectively enforce it when politically convenient. And when they conspired to take advantage of legal processes to overthrow the elected government.

MuffDiver69 , Dec 24, 2017 10:42 PM

Reasoned article and McCarthy is a former Federal Prosecutor using what is recognized as standard operating procedures in these cases to figure this out. I've come to the same conclusion months back. He obviously has a reputation and can't just sling it... They really can't answer the question WHAT besides the Dossier could be the reason for this witch hunt. Crooked obviously knew of Dossier because in the debates she called my man " Putin's Puppet"....This is incompetency and politics that calls into question everything these people did..It's embarrasing and criminal.

enough of this , Dec 24, 2017 10:44 PM

The Federal Bureau of Indiscretion

http://investmentwatchblog.com/peter-strzok-the-fbis-forrest-gump/

[Dec 25, 2017] Newt Gingrich Says They're ALL Going To Jail

(VIDEO) There is a provable corruption at high level of FBI and group of high level official which engaged in constant and deliberate undermining the rule of law and enforce their opinion on American people.
Dec 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Newt Gingrich says they're all going to jail. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with Fox News' Sean Hannity called the spying on President Trump and the cover-up of Hillary Clinton's wrongdoing one of the worst breaches of our justice system ever

[Dec 24, 2017] Congress in Search of a Bordello by James Petras

Dec 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Presidential Leadership and Abuse in the Workplace

Several Presidents have been accused of gross sexual abuse and humiliation of office staff and interns, most ignobly William Jefferson Clinton. However, the Congressional Office of Compliance, in accord with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 does not collect statistics on presidential abuses and financial settlements. Nevertheless, we can examine the number of Congressional victims and payments during the tenures of the various Presidents during the past 20 years. This can tell us if the Presidents chose to issue any directives or exercise any leadership with regard to stopping the abuses occurring during their administrations.

Under Presidents William Clinton and Barack Obama we have data for 12 years 1997-2000, and 2009-2016. Under President George W Bush and Donald Trump we have data for 9 years 2001-2008 and 2017.

Under the two Democratic Presidents, 148 legislative employees were abused and the Treasury paid out approximately $5 million dollars and under the Republican Presidents, 116 were abused and Treasury and over $12 million dollars was paid out.

Under the Democratic Presidents, the average number of abuse victims was 12 per year; under the Republicans the average number was 13 per year. As in the case of Congressional leadership, US Presidents of both parties showed remarkable bipartisan consistency in tolerating Congressional abuse.

Congressional Abuse: The Larger Meaning

Workplace abuse by elected leaders in Washington is encouraged by Party cronyism, loyalties and shameless bootlicking. It is reinforced by the structure of power pervasive in the ruling class. Congress people exercise near total power over their employees because they are not accountable to their peers or their voters. They are protected by their financial donors, the special Congressional 'judicial' system and by the mass media with a complicity of silence.

The entire electoral system is based on a hierarchy of power, where those on the top can demand subordination and enforce their demands for sexual submission with threats of retaliation against the victim or the victim's outraged family members. This mirrors a feudal plantation system.

However, like sporadic peasant uprisings in the Middle Ages, some employees rise up, resist and demand justice. It is common to see Congressional abusers turn to their office managers, often female, to act as 'capos' to first threaten and then buy off the accuser – using US taxpayer funds. This added abuse never touches the wallet of the abuser or the office enforcer. Compensation is paid by the US Treasury. The social and financial status of the abusers and the abusers' families remain intact as they look forward to lucrative future employment as lobbyists.

This does not occur in isolation from the broader structure of class and power.

The sexual exploitation of workers in the Halls of the US Congress is part of the larger socio-economic system. Elected officials, who abuse their office employees and interns, share the same values with corporate and cultural bosses, who exploit their workers and subordinates. At an even larger level, they share the same values and culture with the ImperialState as it brutalizes and rapes independent nations and peoples.

The system of abuse and exploitation by the Congress and the corporate, cultural, academic, religious and political elite depends on complicit intermediaries who frequently come from upwardly mobile groups. The most abusive legislators will hire upwardly mobile women as public relations officers and office managers to recruit victims and, when necessary, arrange pay-offs. In the corporate sphere, CEOs frequently rely on former plant workers, trade union leaders, women and minorities to serve as 'labor relations' experts to provide a progressive façade in order to oust dissidents and enforce directives persecuting whistleblowers. On a global scale, the political warlords work hand in glove with the mass media and humanitarian interventionist NGO's to demonize independent voices and to glorify the military as they slaughter resistance fighters, while claiming to champion gender and minority rights. Thus, the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was widely propagandized and celebrated as the 'liberation of Afghan women'.

The Congressional perverts have their own private, secret mission: to abuse staff, to nurture the rich, enforce silence and approve legislation to make taxpayers pay the bill.

Let us hope that the current ' Me Too !' movement against workplace sexual abuse will grow to include a broader movement against the neo-feudalism within politics, business, and culture and lead to a political movement uniting workers in all fields.

[Dec 23, 2017] Russiagate as bait and switch maneuver

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good ..."
"... Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Masha Gessen's Warning Ignored as Dreams of Trumpeachment Dance in Our Heads

Gessen felt that the Russiagate gambit would flop, given a lack of smoking-gun evidence and sufficient public interest, particularly among Republicans.

Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good : racism, voter suppression (which may well have elected Trump , by the way), health care, plutocracy, police- and prison-state-ism, immigrant rights, economic exploitation and inequality, sexism and environmental ruination -- you know, stuff like that.

Some of the politically engaged populace noticed the problem early on. According to the Washington political journal The Hill , last summer ,

Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.

Here we are now, half a year later, careening into a dystopian holiday season. With his epically low approval rating of 32 percent , the orange-tinted bad grandpa in the Oval Office has won a viciously regressive tax bill that is widely rejected by the populace. The bill was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress whose current approval rating stands at 13 percent. It is a major legislative victory for the Republicans, a party whose approval rating fell to an all-time low of 29 percent at the end of September -- a party that tried to send a child molester to the U.S. Senate.

[Dec 23, 2017] FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee all but confirms that the only proof the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have of collusion is the discredited Trump Dossier by Tom Luongo,

This is American Maydan -- a plot to depose legitimate (albeit widely hated) government. History repeats. And Mueller is a part of the game to depose Trump for sure. As he is is supported by by powerful anti-Trump forces Trump can't simply fire him without risk of provoking political crisis. He is in Yanukovich position now and need to negotiate from the position of weakness, not strength.
Now it looks more and more plausible that Steele dossier was a joint operation of CIA and MI6 to discredit Trump: an insurance as Peter Strzok told his paramour.
Dec 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Luongo,

The desperation of U.S. liberals to find some truth in the claims that Donald Trump's campaign staff colluded with Russian state actors is approaching infinity.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee all but confirms that the only 'proof' the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have of collusion is the discredited "Trump Dossier."

This dossier was compiled by Christopher Steele and sold to the Clinton Campaign as opposition research by Fusion GPS. McCabe stonewalled the HIC on this matter but couldn't point to anything in the dossier that the FBI verified to be true other than publicly-known knowledge of Carter Page visiting Moscow in 2016.

And the last time I checked (as least for now) visiting Moscow is not a crime.

Neither is what Michael Flynn did a crime either, but let's not bring facts in to dash the hope of the terminally insane.

McCabe has to stonewall on this issue otherwise he and the rest of the FBI are guilty of acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton to assist in spying on her political opponent. Because that's where all of this leads if people would take their ideological blinders off for five seconds and look at what we actually know as opposed to what we 'just know to be true.'

Everyone involved in this sordid affair should be tried for espionage and treason.

Those prominent liberals running around protesting the mere thought of Donald Trump shutting down the Mueller investigation to 'protect the sanctity of our elections' are a bunch of simpering morons.

And I'm sick to death of the blatant and rank hypocrisy when it comes to election fraud in this country.

For this reason alone, the Mueller investigation should be shut down.

... ... ...

[Dec 23, 2017] Imperial arrogance and paranoia in full display

This is the session that happened just before appointment of the Special prosecutor. So it was a interesting moment which relael the growd work for the appointment of the Special prosecutor and the extent US Congress was involved in this activity. So a part of Congress was also active in the plot to depose Trump.
It is also interesting due to the fact that McCabe, the person at the center of Steele dossier controversy at FBI was present. As you can see everybody try to hype Russian threat for their own political gain. And McCabe clearly played into inflaming this paranoia further with his answers.
Also interesting is that while answering "yes" about Russian interference in election was the most safe answer to give, but the real question is not about Russian interference per se, but whether the level of Russian interference exceeded in scope British interference (criminal story with Stele dossier and wiretapping of Trump tower), Israel (via Israel lobbyists, NGOs, Kushner and Trump donors) and Saudi interference (donations to Clinton campaign) to name a few. If the answer is "no", then this is clearly a witch hunt.
Russia is just another neoliberal state, so why it can be a threat to the US neoliberalism unclear. It does resist enlargement of the US neoliberal empire as it has its own geopolitical interests in former USSR space. How would the US react if Russia helped to depose legitimate government in Mexico and started to supply arms in order to get back California, Texas and Florida which new government would consider were occupied by the the USA illegally? the fact that Russia does not want ot be Washington vassal is not illegal. And there is nothing criminal in attempts to resist the spread of the US neoliberal empire on xUSSR space.
Notable quotes:
"... RUBIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCabe, can you without going into the specific of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigations? ..."
"... MCCABE: As you know, Senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigation today. Quite simply put sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people, and upholding the Constitution. ..."
"... WYDEN: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. ..."
"... Gentlemen, it's fair to say I disagreed with Director Comey as much as anyone in this room but the timing of this firing is wrong to anyone with a sembl ..."
"... At our public hearing in January where he refused to discuss his investigation into connections between Russia and Trump associates I stated my fear that if the information didn't come out before inauguration day it might never come out. With all the recent talk in recent weeks about whether there is evidence of collusion, I fear some colleagues have forgotten that Donald Trump urged the Russians to hack his opponents. He also said repeatedly that he loved WikiLeaks. ..."
"... MCCABE: No, sir, that is not accurate. I can tell you, sir, that I worked very, very closely with Director Comey. From the moment he started at the FBI I was his executive assistant director of national security at that time and I worked for him running the Washington field office. And of course I've served as deputy for the last year. ..."
"... MCCABE: I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day. ..."
"... MCCABE: Sir, if you're referring to the Russia investigation, I do. I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately. If you're referring to the many constantly multiplying counter-intelligence threats that we face across the spectrum, they get bigger and more challenging every day and resources become an issue over time. ..."
"... Mr. McCabe, is the agent who is in charge of this very important investigation into Russian attempts to influence our election last fall still in charge? ..."
"... COLLINS: I want to follow up on a question of resources that Senator Heinrich asked your opinion on. Press reports yesterday indicated that Director Comey requested additional resources from the Justice Department for the bureau's ongoing investigation into Russian active measures. Are you aware that request? Can you confirm that that request was in fact made? ..."
"... MCCABE: Yes, sir. So obviously not discussing any specific investigation in detail. The -- the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. democratic process is one that causes us great concern. And quite frankly, it's something we've spent a lot of time working on over the past several months. And to reflect comments that were made in response to an earlier question that Director Coats handled, I think part of that process is to understand the inclinations of our foreign adversaries to interfere in those areas. ..."
"... LANKFORD: OK, so there's not limitations on resources, you have what you need? The -- the actions about Jim Comey and his release has not curtailed the investigation from the FBI, it's still moving forward? ..."
"... MCCABE: The investigation will move forward, absolutely. ..."
"... LANKFORD: Is it your impression at this point that the FBI is unable to complete the investigation in a fair and expeditious way because of the removal of Jim Comey? ..."
"... MANCHIN: I'm sure we'll have more questions in the closed hearing, sir but let me say to the rest of you all, we talked about Kaspersky, the lab, KL Lab. Do you all have -- has it risen to your level being the head of all of our intelligence agencies and people that mostly concerned about the security of our country of having a Russian connection in a lab as far outreaching as KL Labs? ..."
"... STEWART: We are tracking Kaspersky and their software. There is as well as I know, and I've checked this recently, no Kaspersky software on our networks. ..."
"... HARRIS: It's been widely reported, and you've mentioned this, that Director Comey asked Rosenstein for additional resources. And I understand that you're saying that you don't believe that you need any additional resources? ..."
"... MCCABE: For the Russia investigation, ma'am, I think we are adequately resourced. ..."
"... MCCABE: I don't believe there is a crisis of confidence in the leadership of the FBI. That's somewhat self-serving, and I apologize for that ..."
"... POMPEO: It's actually not a yes-or-no question, Senator. I can't answer yes or no. I regret that I'm unable to do so. You have to remember this is a counterintelligence investigation that was largely being conducted by the FBI and not by the CIA. We're a foreign intelligence organization. ..."
May 11, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

Full transcript Acting FBI director McCabe and others testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee

SEN. MARK WARNER, D-VA.: Intelligence community assessment accurately characterized the extent of Russian activities in the 2016 election and its conclusion that Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the hacking and leaking of information and using misinformation to influence our elections? Simple yes or no would suffice.

ROBERT CARDILLO, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I do. Yes, sir.

STEWART: Yes, Senator.

ROGERS: Yes I do.

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE : Yes I do.

MIKE POMPEO, DIRECTOR, CIA: Yes.

MCCABE: Yes.

WARNER: And I guess the presumption there -- or the next presumption, I won't even ask this question is consequently that committee assess -- or that community assessment was unanimous and is not a piece of fake news or evidence of some other individual or nation state other than Russia. So I appreciate that again for the record.

I warned you Mr. McCabe I was going to have to get you on the record as well on this. Mr. McCabe for as long as you are Acting FBI Director do you commit to informing this committee of any effort to interfere with the FBI's ongoing investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign?

MCCABE: I absolutely do.

WARNER: Thank you so much for that. I think in light of what's happened in the last 48 hours it's critically important that we have that assurance and I hope you'll relay, at least from me to the extraordinary people that work at the FBI that this committee supports them, supports their efforts, support their professionalism and supports their independence.

MCCABE: I will sir, thank you.

WARNER: In light of the fact that we just saw French elections where it felt like deja vu all over again in terms of the release of a series of e-mails against Mr. Macron days before the election and the fact that this committee continues to investigate the type of tactics that Russia has used.

Where do we stand, as a country, of preparation to make sure this doesn't happen again in 2018 and 2020 -- where have we moved in terms of collaboration with state voting -- voter files, in terms of working more with the tech community, particularly the platform -- platform entities in terms of how we can better assure real news versus fake news, is there some general sense -- Director Coats I know you've only been in the job for a short period of time -- of how we're going to have a strategic effort? Because while it was Russia in 2016 other nation states could -- you know -- launch similar type assaults.

COATS: Well, we are -- we will continue to use all the assets that we have in terms of collection and analysis relative to what the influence has been and potentially could be in future. Russians have spread this across the globe -- interestingly enough I met with the Prime Minister of Montenegro the latest nation to join NATO, the number 29 nation, what was the main topic?

Russian interference in their political system. And so it does -- it sweeps across Europe and other places. It's clear though, the Russians have upped their game using social media and other opportunities that we -- in ways that we haven't seen before. So it's a great threat to our -- our democratic process and our job here is to provide the best intelligence we can to the policy makers to -- as they develop a strategy in terms of how to best reflect a response to this.

WARNER: Well one of the things I'm concerned about is, we've all expressed this concern but since this doesn't fall neatly into any particular agency's jurisdiction you know, who's -- who's taking the point on interacting with the platform companies like the Google, Facebook and Twitter, who's taking the point in terms of interacting DHS image in terms of state boards of election? How are we trying to ensure that our systems more secure, and if we can get a brief answer on that because I got one last question for Admiral Rogers.

COATS: Well, I think the -- the obviously, our office tasks and takes the point, but there's contribution from agencies across the I.C. We will -- I've asked Director Pompeo to address that and others that might want to address that also. But each of us -- each of the agencies to the extent that they can and have the capacity whether its NSA though SIGINT, whether it's NSA through human or other sources will provide information to us that we want to use as a basis to provide to our -- to our policymakers.

Relative to a grand strategy, I am not aware right now of any -- I think we're still assessing the impact. We have not put a grand strategy together, which would not be our purview, we would provide the basis of intelligence that would then be the foundation for what that strategy would be.

WARNER: My hope -- my hope would be that we need to be proactive in this. We don't want to be sitting here kind of looking back at it after 2018 election cycle. Last question, very briefly, Admiral Rogers do you have any doubt that the Russians were behind the intervention in the French elections?

ROGERS: I -- let me phrase it this way, we are aware of some Russian activity directed against the Russian -- excuse me, directed against the French election process. As I previously said before Congress earlier this week, we in fact reached out to our French counterparts to say, we have become aware of this activity, we want to make you aware, what are you seeing?

I'm not in a position to have looked at the breadth of the French infrastructure. So I'm -- I'm not really in a position to make a whole simple declaratory statement.

WARNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BURR: Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCabe, can you without going into the specific of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigations?

MCCABE: As you know, Senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigation today. Quite simply put sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people, and upholding the Constitution.

RUBIO: And this is for all the members of the committee, as has been widely reported, and people know this, Kaspersky Lab software is used by not hundreds of thousands, millions of Americans. To each of our witnesses I would just ask, would any of you be comfortable with the Kaspersky Lab software on your computers?

COATS: A resounding no, from me.

POMPEO: No.

MCCABE: No, Senator.

ROGERS: No, sir.

STEWART: No, Senator.

CARDILLO: No, sir.

... ... ...

POMPEO: I'll -- I'll let Mr. McCabe make a comment as well, but yes, of course. Frankly, this is consistent with what -- right, this is the -- the -- the attempt to interfere in United States is not limited to Russia. The Cubans have deep ties, it is in their deepest tradition to take American visitors and do their best influence of the way that is in adverse to U.S. interests.

MCCABE: Yes, sir. Fully agree, we share your concerns about that issue.

RUBIO: And my final question is on -- all this focus on Russia and what's happened in the past is that the opinion of all of you -- or those of -- you certainly all have insight on this. That even as we focus on 2016 and the efforts leading up to that election, efforts to influence policy making here in the United States vis-a-vis the Russian interests are ongoing that the Russians continue to use active measures; even at this moment, even on this day.

To try, through the use of multiple different ways, to influence the political debate and the decisions made in American politics; particularly as they pertain to Russia's interests around the world. In essence, these active measures is an ongoing threat, not simply something that happened in the past.

MCCABE: Yes, sir, that's right.

POMPEO: Senator, it's right. In some sense, though, we've got to put it in context, this has been going on for a long time. There's -- there's nothing new. Only the cost has been lessened, the cost of doing it.

COATS: I -- I would just add that the use of cyber and social media has significantly increased the impact and the capabilities that -- obviously this has been done for years and years. Even decades. But the ability they have to -- to use the interconnectedness and -- and all the -- all that that provides, that didn't provide before I -- they literally upped their game to the point where it's having a significant impact.

ROGERS: From my perspective I would just highlight cyber is enabling them to access information in massive quantities that weren't quite obtainable to the same level previously and that's just another tool in their attempt to acquire information, misuse of that information, manipulation, outright lies, inaccuracies at time.

But other times, actually dumping raw data which is -- as we also saw during this last presidential election cycle for us.

... ... ...

COATS: I can't speak to how many agents of -- of the U.S. government are as cognizant as perhaps we should be but I certainly think that, given China's aggressive approach relative to information gathering and -- and all the things that you mentioned merits a -- a review of CFIUS in terms of whether or not it is -- needs to have some changes or innovations to -- to address the aggressive -- aggressive Chinese actions not just against or companies, but across the world.

They -- they clearly have a strategy through their investments, they've started a major investment bank -- you name a park of the world Chinese probably are -- are there looking to put investments in. We've seen the situation in Djibouti where they're also adding military capability to their investment, strategic area for -- on the Horn of Africa there that -- that you wouldn't necessarily expect. But they're active in Africa, Northern Africa, they're active across the world.

Their one belt, one road process opens -- opens their trade and -- and what other interest they have to the Indian Ocean in -- and a different way to address nations that they've had difficulty connecting with. So it's a -- it's clearly an issue that we ought to take a look at.

... ... ...

WYDEN: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.

Gentlemen, it's fair to say I disagreed with Director Comey as much as anyone in this room but the timing of this firing is wrong to anyone with a semblance of ethics. Director Comey should be here this morning testifying to the American people about where the investigation he's been running stands.

At our public hearing in January where he refused to discuss his investigation into connections between Russia and Trump associates I stated my fear that if the information didn't come out before inauguration day it might never come out. With all the recent talk in recent weeks about whether there is evidence of collusion, I fear some colleagues have forgotten that Donald Trump urged the Russians to hack his opponents. He also said repeatedly that he loved WikiLeaks.

So the question is not whether Donald Trump actively encouraged the Russians and WikiLeaks to attack our democracy, he did; that is an established fact. The only question is whether he or someone associated with him coordinated with the Russians.

Now, Mr. McCabe, the president's letter to Director Comey asserted that on three separate occasions the director informed him that he was not under investigations. Would it have been wrong for the director to inform him he was not under investigations? Yes or no?

MCCABE: Sir, I'm not going to comment on any conversations that the director may have had with the president...

(CROSSTALK)

WYDEN: I didn't ask that. Would it have been wrong for the director to inform him he was not under investigation? That's not about conversations, that's yes or no answer.

MCCABE: As you know, Senator. We typically do not answer that question. I will not comment on whether or not the director and the president of the United States had that conversation.

WYDEN: Will you refrain from these kinds of alleged updates to the president or anyone else in the White House on the status of the investigation?

MCCABE: I will.

WYDEN: Thank you.

Director Pompeo, one of the few key unanswered questions is why the president didn't fire Michael Flynn after Acting Attorney General Yates warned the White House that he could be blackmailed by the Russians. Director Pompeo, did you know about the acting attorney general's warnings to the White House or were you aware of the concerns behind the warning?

POMPEO: I -- I don't have any comment on that.

WYDEN: Well, were you aware of the concerns behind the warning? I mean, this is a global threat. This is a global threat question, this is a global threat hearing. Were you...

(CROSSTALK)

POMPEO: Tell me...

(CROSSTALK)

WYDEN: Were you aware?

POMPEO: Senator, tell me what global threat it is you're concerned with, please. I'm not sure I understand the question.

WYDEN: Well, the possibility of blackmail. I mean, blackmail by a influential military official, that has real ramifications for the global threat. So this is not about a policy implication, this is about the national security advisor being vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. And the American people deserve to know whether in these extraordinary circumstances the CIA kept them safe.

POMPEO: Yes, sir, the CIA's kept America safe. And...

WYDEN: So...

POMPEO: And the people at the Central Intelligence Agency are committed to that and will remain committed to that. And we will...

(CROSSTALK)

POMPEO: ... do that in the face of...

WYDEN: You won't answer the question...

POMPEO: We will do that in the face of political challenges that come from any direction, Senator.

WYDEN: But, you will not answer the question of whether or not you were aware of the concerns behind the Yates warning.

POMPEO: Sir, I don't know exactly what you're referring to with the Yates warning, I -- I -- I wasn't part of any of those conversations. I -- I... (CROSSTALK)

WYDEN: The Yates warning was...

(CROSSTALK)

POMPEO: ... I have no first hand information with respect to the warning that was given.

WYDEN: OK.

POMPEO: She didn't make that warning to me. I -- I can't -- I can't answer that question, Senator...

WYDEN: OK.

POMPEO: ... as much as I would like to.

WYDEN: OK.

Director Coats, how concerned are you that a Russian government oil company, run by a Putin crony could end up owning a significant percentage of U.S. oil refining capacity and what are you advising the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States about this?

COATS: I don't have specific information relative to that. I think that's something that potentially, we could provide intelligence on in terms of what this -- what situation might be, but...

WYDEN: I'd like you to furnace that in writing. Let me see if I can get one other question in, there have been mountains of press stories with allegations about financial connections between Russia and Trump and his associates. The matters are directly relevant to the FBI and my question is, when it comes to illicit Russian money and in particular, it's potential to be laundered on its way to the United States, what should the committee be most concerned about?

We hear stories about Deutsche Bank, Bank of Cypress, Shell companies in Moldova, the British Virgin Islands. I'd like to get your sense because I'm over my time. Director McCabe, what you we most -- be most concerned about with respect to illicit Russian money and its potential to be laundered on its way the United States?

MCCABE: Certainly sir. So as you know, I am not in the position to be able to speak about specific investigations and certainly not in this setting. However, I will confirm for you that those are issues that concern us greatly.

They have traditionally and they do even more so today, as it becomes easier to conceal the origin and the -- and the track and the destination of purpose of illicit money flows, as the exchange of information becomes more clouded in encryption and then more obtuse, it becomes harder and harder to get to the bottom of those investigations. That would shed light on those issues.

WYDEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. BURR: Senator Risch?

RISCH: Thank you very much. Gentlemen, I -- the purpose of this hearing as the chairman expressed is to give the American people some insight into what we all do, which they don't see pretty much at all. And so I think what I want to do is I want to make an observation and then I want to get your take on it, anybody who wants to volunteer. And I'm going to start with you Director Coats, to volunteer.

My -- I have been -- I've been on this committee all the time I've been here in the Senate and all through the last administration. And I have been greatly impressed by the current administrations hitting the ground running during the first hundred days, as far as their engagement on intelligence matters and their engagement with foreign countries. The national media here is focused on domestic issues which is of great interest to the American people be it healthcare, be it personnel issues in the government.

And they don't -- the -- the media isn't as focused on this administrations fast, and in my judgment, robust engagement with the intelligence communities around the world and with other governments. And my impression is that it's good and it is aggressive. And I want -- I'd like you're -- I'd like your impression of where we're going. Almost all of you had real engagement in the last administration and all the administrations are different. So Director Coats, you want to take that on to start with?

COATS: I'd be happy to start with that, I think most presidents that come into office come with an agenda in mind in terms of what issues they'd like to pursue, many of them issues that effect -- domestic issues that affect infrastructure and education and a number of things only to find that this is dangerous world, that the United States -- that the threats that exist out there need to be -- be given attention to.

This president, who I think the perception was not interested in that, I think Director Pompeo and I can certify the fact that we have spent far more hours in the Oval Office than we anticipated. The president is a voracious consumer of information and asking questions and asking us to provide intelligence. I -- we are both part of a process run through the national security council, General McMaster, all through the deputy's committees and the principal's committees consuming hours and hours of time looking at the threats, how do we address those threats, what is the intelligence that tells us -- that informs the policy makers in terms of how they put a strategy in place.

And so what I initially thought would be a one or two time a week, 10 to 15 minute quick brief, has turned into an everyday, sometimes exceeding 45 minutes to an hour or more just in briefing the president. We have -- I have brought along several of our directors to come and show the president what their agencies do and how important it is the info -- that the information they provide how that -- for the basis of making policy decisions.

I'd like to turn to my CIA colleague to get -- let him give you, and others, to give you their impression.

RISCH: I appreciate that. We're almost out of time but I did -- Director Pompeo you kind of sit in the same spot we all sit in through the last several years and I kind of like your observations along the line of Director Coats, what you feel about the matter?

POMPEO: Yeah, I think Director Coats had it right. He and I spend time with the president everyday, briefing him with the most urgent intelligence matters that are presented to us as -- in our roles. He asks good, hard questions. Make us go make sure we're doing our work in the right way.

Second, you asked about engagement in the world. This administration has reentered the battle space in places the administration -- the previous administration was completely absent. You all travel some too...

RISCH: Yes.

POMPEO: ... you will hear that when you go travel. I've now taken two trips to places and they welcome American leadership. They're not looking for American soldiers, they're not looking for American boots on the ground, they're looking for American leadership around the globe and this president has reentered that space in a way that I think will serve America's interest very well.

RISCH: Yeah I -- I couldn't agree more and we -- we deal with them not only overseas but they come here, as you know, regularly.

POMPEO: Yes sir.

RISCH: And the fact that the president has pulled the trigger twice as he has in -- in the first 100 days and -- and done it in a fashion that didn't start a world war and -- and was watched by both our friends and our enemies has made a significant and a huge difference as far as our standing in the world. My time's up. Thank you very much Mr. Chair.

WARNER: Thank you Senator.

Senator Heinrich.

HEINRICH: Director McCabe you -- you obviously have several decades of law enforcement experience, is it -- is it your experience that people who are innocent of wrong doing typically need to be reassured that they're not the subject of an investigation?

MCCABE: No sir.

HEINRICH: And I ask that because I'm still trying to make heads or tails of the dismissal letter from -- earlier this week from the president where he writes, "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation." And I'm still trying to figure out why that would even make it into a dismissal letter. But let me go to something a little more direct.

Director, has anyone in the White House spoken to you directly about the Russia investigation?

MCCABE: No, sir.

HEINRICH: Let me -- when -- when did you last meet with the president, Director McCabe?

MCCABE: I don't think I -- I'm in...

HEINRICH: Was it earlier this week?

MCCABE: ... the position to comment on that. I have met with the president this week, but I really don't want to go into the details of that.

HEINRICH: OK. But Russia did not come up?

MCCABE: That's correct, it did not.

HEINRICH: OK, thank you. We've heard in the news that -- that -- claims that Director Comey had -- had lost the confidence of rank and file FBI employees. You've been there for 21 years, in your opinion is it accurate that the rank and file no longer supported Director Comey?

MCCABE: No, sir, that is not accurate. I can tell you, sir, that I worked very, very closely with Director Comey. From the moment he started at the FBI I was his executive assistant director of national security at that time and I worked for him running the Washington field office. And of course I've served as deputy for the last year.

MCCABE: I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day.

We are a large organization, we are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. We have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority -- the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.

HEINRICH: Thank you for your candor. Do you feel like you have the adequate resources for the existing investigations that the -- that the bureau is invested in right now to -- to follow them wherever they may lead?

MCCABE: Sir, if you're referring to the Russia investigation, I do. I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately. If you're referring to the many constantly multiplying counter-intelligence threats that we face across the spectrum, they get bigger and more challenging every day and resources become an issue over time.

HEINRICH: Sure.

MCCABE: But in terms of that investigation, sir, I can -- I can assure you we are covered.

HEINRICH: Thank you.

Director Coats, welcome back. Would you agree that it is a national security risk to provide classified information to an individual who has been compromised by a foreign government as a broad matter.

COATS: As a broad matter, yes.

HEINRICH: If the attorney general came to you and said one of your employees was compromised what -- what sort of action would you take?

COATS: I would take the action as prescribed in our procedures relative to how we report this ad how it's -- how it is processed. I mean, it's a serious -- serious issue Our -- our -- I would be consulting with our legal counsel and consulting with our inspector general and others as to how -- how best to proceed with this, but obviously we will take action.

HEINRICH: Would -- would one of the options be dismissal, obviously?

COATS: Very potentially could be dismissal, yes.

HEINRICH: OK, thank you Director.

BURR: Senator Collins?

COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Vice Chairman.

Mr. McCabe, is the agent who is in charge of this very important investigation into Russian attempts to influence our election last fall still in charge?

MCCABE: I mean we have many agents involved in the investigation at many levels so I'm not who you're referring to.

COLLINS: The lead agent overseeing the investigation.

MCCABE: Certainly, almost all of the agents involved in the investigation are still in their positions.

COLLINS: So has there been any curtailment of the FBI's activities in this important investigation since Director Comey was fired?

MCCABE: Ma'am, we don't curtail our activities. As you know, has the -- are people experiencing questions and are reacting to the developments this week? Absolutely.

COLLINS: Does that get in the way of our ability to pursue this or any other investigation?

MCCABE: No ma'am, we continue to focus on our mission and get that job done.

COLLINS: I want to follow up on a question of resources that Senator Heinrich asked your opinion on. Press reports yesterday indicated that Director Comey requested additional resources from the Justice Department for the bureau's ongoing investigation into Russian active measures. Are you aware that request? Can you confirm that that request was in fact made?

MCCABE: I cannot confirm that request was made. As you know ma'am, when we need resources, we make those requests here. So I -- I don't -- I'm not aware of that request and it's not consistent with my understanding of how we request additional resources.

That said, we don't typically request resources for an individual case. And as I mentioned, I strongly believe that the Russian investigation is adequately resourced. COLLINS: You've also been asked a question about target letters. Now, it's my understanding that when an individual is the target of an investigation, at some point, a letter is sent out notifying a individual that he is a target, is that correct?

MCCABE: No ma'am, I -- I don't believe that's correct.

COLLINS: OK. So before there is going to be an indictment, there is not a target letter sent out by the Justice Department?

MCCABE: Not that I'm aware of.

COLLINS: OK that's contrary to my -- my understanding, but let me ask you the reverse.

MCCABE: Again, I'm looking at it from the perspective of the investigators. So that's not part of our normal case investigative practice.

COLLINS: That would be the Justice Department, though. The Justice Department...

MCCABE: I see, I see...

COLLINS: I'm -- I'm asking you, isn't it standard practice when someone is the target of an investigation and is perhaps on the verge of being indicted that the Justice Department sends that individual what is known as a target letter?

MCCABE: Yes, ma'am I'm going have to defer that question to the Department of Justice.

COLLINS: Well, let me ask you the -- the flip side of that and perhaps you don't know the answer to this question but is it standard practice for the FBI to inform someone that they are not a target of an investigation?

MCCABE: It is not.

COLLINS: So it would be unusual and not standard practice for there -- it -- for there to have been a notification from the FBI director to President Trump or anyone else involved in this investigation, informing him or her that that individual I not a target, is that correct?

MCCABE: Again ma'am, I'm not going to comment on what Director Comey may or may not have done.

COLLINS: I -- I'm not asking you to comment on the facts of the case, I'm just trying to figure out what's standard practice and what's not.

MCCABE: Yes ma'am. I'm not aware of that being a standard practice.

COLLINS: Admiral Rogers, I want to follow up on Senator Warner's question to you about the attempted interference in the French...

ROGERS: French.

COLLINS: ... election. Some researchers, including the cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint claim that APT28 is the group that was behind the stealing of the -- and the leaking of the information about the president elect of France, the FBI and DHS have publicly tied APT28 to Russian intelligence services in the joint analysis report last year after the group's involvement in stealing data that was leaked in the run up to the U.S. elections in November.

Is the I.C. in a position to attribute the stealing and the leaking that took place prior to the French election to be the result of activities by this group, which is linked to Russian cyber activity?

ROGERS: Again ma'am, right now I don't think I have a complete picture of all the activity associated with France but as I have said publicly, both today and previously, we are aware of specific Russian activity directed against the French election cycle in the course -- particularly in the last few weeks.

To the point where we felt it was important enough we actually reached out to our French counterparts to inform them and make sure they awareness of what we were aware of and also to ask them, is there something we are missing that you are seeing?

COLLINS: Thank you.

BURR: Senator King.

KING: Mr. McCabe, thank you for being here today under somewhat difficult circumstances, we appreciate your candor in your testimony.

On March 20th, Director Comey -- then Director Comey testified to the House of Representative, "I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russian efforts.

As with any counter intelligence investigation this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed." Is that statement still accurate?

MCCABE: Yes sir, it is.

KING: And how many agents are assigned to this project? How many -- or personnel generally with the FBI, roughly?

MCCABE: Yeah, sorry I can't really answer those sorts of questions in this forum.

KING: Well, yesterday a White House press spokesman said that this is one of the smallest things on the plate of the FBI, is that an accurate statement?

MCCABE: It is...

KING: Is this a small investigation in relation to all -- to all the other work that you're doing?

MCCABE: Sir, we consider it to be a highly significant investigation.

KING: So you would not characterize it as one of the smallest things you're engaged in?

MCCABE: I would not.

KING: Thank you.

Let me change the subject briefly. We're -- we've been talking about Russia and -- and their involvement in this election. One of the issues of concern to me, and perhaps I can direct this to -- well, I'll direct it to anybody in the panel. The allegation of Russian involvement in our electoral systems, is that an issue that is of concern and what do we know about that? And is that being up followed up on by this investigation.

Mr. McCabe, is that part of your investigation? No I'm -- I'm not talking about the presidential election, I'm talking about state level election infrastructure.

MCCABE: Yes, sir. So obviously not discussing any specific investigation in detail. The -- the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. democratic process is one that causes us great concern. And quite frankly, it's something we've spent a lot of time working on over the past several months. And to reflect comments that were made in response to an earlier question that Director Coats handled, I think part of that process is to understand the inclinations of our foreign adversaries to interfere in those areas.

So we've seen this once, we are better positioned to see it the next time. We're able to improve not only our coordination with -- primarily through the Department of Homeland -- through DHS, their -- their expansive network and to the state and local election infrastructure. But to interact with those folks to defend against ; whether it's cyber attacks or any sort of influence driven interactions.

KING: Thank you, I think that's a very important part of this issue.

Admiral Rogers, yesterday a camera crew from TAS (ph) was allowed into the Oval Office. There was not any American press allowed, was there any consultation with you with regard to that action in terms of the risk of some kind of cyber penetration or communications in that incident?

ROGERS: No.

KING: Were you -- you were -- your agency wasn't consulted in any way?

ROGERS: Not that I'm aware of. I wouldn't expect that to automatically be the case; but no, not that I'm aware of.

KING: Did it raise any concerns when you saw those pictures that those cameramen and crew were in the Oval Office without....

ROGERS: I'll be honest, I wasn't aware of where the imaged came from.

KING: All right, thank you.

Mr. Coats -- Director Coats, you're -- you're -- you lead the intelligence community. Were you consulted at all with regard to the firing of Director Comey?

COATS: I was not.

KING: So you had no -- there were no discussions with you even though the FBI's an important part of the intelligence community?

COATS: There were no discussions.

KING: Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, thank you.

BURR: Thank you Senator King.

Senator Lankford.

LANKFORD: Thank you, let me just run through some quick questions on this. Director McCabe, thanks for being here as well.

Let me hit some high points of some of the things I've heard already, just to be able to confirm. You have the resources you need for the Russia investigation, is that correct?

MCCABE: Sir, we believe it's adequately resourced...

LANKFORD: OK, so there's not limitations on resources, you have what you need? The -- the actions about Jim Comey and his release has not curtailed the investigation from the FBI, it's still moving forward?

MCCABE: The investigation will move forward, absolutely.

LANKFORD: No agents have been removed that are the ongoing career folks that are doing the investigation?

MCCABE: No, sir.

LANKFORD: Is it your impression at this point that the FBI is unable to complete the investigation in a fair and expeditious way because of the removal of Jim Comey?

MCCABE: It is my opinion and belief that the FBI will continue to pursue this investigation vigorously and completely.

LANKFORD: Do you need somebody to take this away from you and somebody else to do?

MCCABE: No sir.

L.. ... ...

MANCHIN: Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Thank all of you for being here, I really appreciate it and I know that, Mr. McCabe, you seem to be of great interest of being here. And we're going to look forward to really from hearing from all of you all in a closed hearing this afternoon which I think that we'll able to get into more detail. So I appreciate that.

I just one question for Mr. McCabe it's basically the morale of the agency, the FBI agency and the morale basically starting back from July 5th to July 7th, October 28th, November 6th and election day -- did you all ever think you'd be embroiled in an election such as this and did -- what did it do to the morale?

MCCABE: Well, I -- I don't know that anyone envisioned exactly the way these things would develop. You know, as I said earlier Senator, we are a -- a large organization. We are -- we have a lot of diversity of opinions and -- and viewpoints on things. We are also a fiercely independent group.

MANCHIN: I'm just saying that basically, before July 5th, before the first testimony that basically Director Comey got involved in, prior to that, did you see a change in the morale? Just yes or no -- yes a change or more anxious, more concern?

MCCABE: I think morale has always been good, however we had -- there were folks within our agency who were frustrated with the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case and some of those folks were very vocal about that -- those concerns.

MANCHIN: I'm sure we'll have more questions in the closed hearing, sir but let me say to the rest of you all, we talked about Kaspersky, the lab, KL Lab. Do you all have -- has it risen to your level being the head of all of our intelligence agencies and people that mostly concerned about the security of our country of having a Russian connection in a lab as far outreaching as KL Labs?

Has it come with your IT people coming to you or have you gone directly to them making sure that you have no interaction with KL or any of the contractors you do business with? Just down the line there, Mr. Cardillo?

CARDILLO: Well, we count on the expertise of Admiral Rogers and the FBI to protect our systems and so I value...

MANCHIN: ...But you have I -- you have IT people, right?

CARDILLO: Absolutely.

MANCHIN: Have you talked to the IT people? Has it come to your concern that there might be a problem?

CARDILLO: I'm aware of the Kaspersky Lab challenge and/or threat.

MANCHIN: Let me tell you, it's more of a challenge -- more than a challenge, sir and I would hope that -- I'll go down the line but I hope that all of you -- we are very much concerned about this, very much concerned about security of our country watching (ph) their involvement.

CARDILLO: We share that.

MANCHIN: General?

STEWART: We are tracking Kaspersky and their software. There is as well as I know, and I've checked this recently, no Kaspersky software on our networks.

MANCHIN: Any contractors? STEWART: Now, the contractor piece might be a little bit harder to define but at this point we see no connection to Kaspersky and contractors supporting (ph)...

MANCHIN: ...Admiral Rogers?

ROGERS: I'm personally aware and involved with the director on the national security issues and the Kaspersky Lab issue, yes sir.

COATS: It wasn't that long ago I was sitting up there talking -- raising issues about Kaspersky and its position here. And that continues in this new job.

POMPEO: It has risen to the director of the CIA as well, Senator Manchin.

MANCHIN: Great.

(UNKNOWN): He's very concerned about it, sir, and we are focused on it closely.

MANCHIN: Only thing I would ask all of you, if you can give us a report back if you've swept all of your contractors to make sure they understand the certainty you have, concern that you have about this and making sure that they can verify to you all that they're not involved whatsoever with any Kaspersky's hardware. I'm going to switch to a couple different things because of national security.

But you know, the bottom gangs that we have in the United States, and I know -- we don't talk about them much. And when you talk about you have MS-13, the Crips, you've got Hells Angels, Aryan Brotherhood, it goes on and on and on, it's quite a few. What is -- what are we doing and what is it to your level -- has it been brought to your level the concern we have with these gangs within our country, really every part of our country?

Anybody on the gangland?

MCCABE: Yes sir. So we spend a lot of time talking about that at the FBI. It's one of our highest priorities...

MANCHIN: Did the resources go out to each one of these because they're interspersed over the country?

MCCABE: We do, sir. We have been focused on the gang threat for many years. It -- like -- much like the online pharmacy threat. It continues to change and develop harried we think it's likely a -- having an impact on elevated violent crime rates across the country, so we're spending a lot of time focused on that.

... ... ..

COTTON: Inmates are running the asylum.

(LAUGHTER)

COTTON: So, I think everyone in this room and most Americans have come to appreciate the aggressiveness with which would Russia uses active measures or covert influence operations, propaganda, call them what you will, as your agencies assess they did in 2016 and in hacking into those e-mails and releasing them as news reports suggest they did. In the French election last week -- that's one reason why I sought to revive the Russian active measures working group in the FY'17 Intelligence Authorization Act.

These activities that will go far beyond elections, I think, as most of our witnesses know. former director of the CIA, Bob Gates, in his memoir "From the Shadows," detailed soviet covert influence campaigns designed to slow or thwart the U.S. development of nuclear delivery systems and warheads, missile-defense systems and employment of intermediate nuclear range systems to Europe.

Specifically on page 260 of his memoir, he writes "during the period, the soviets mounted a massive covert action operation, aimed at thwarting INF deployments by NATO. We at CIA devoted tremendous resources to an effort at the time to uncovering the soviet covert campaign. Director Casey summarized this extraordinary effort in a paper he sent to Bush, Schultz, Weinberger and Clark on January 18, 1983. We later published it and circulated it widely within the government and to the allies, and finally, provided an unclassified version of the public to use," end quote.

I'd like to thank the CIA for digging up this unclassified version of the document and providing it to the committee, Soviet Strategy to derail U.S. INF deployment. Specifically, undermining NATO's solidarity in those deployments. I have asked unanimous consent that it be included in the hearing transcript and since the inmates are running the asylum, hearing no objection, we'll include it in the transcript.

(LAUGHTER)

Director Pompeo, earlier this year, Dr. Roy Godson testified that he believed that Russia was using active measures and covert influence efforts to undermine our nuclear modernization efforts, our missile defense deployments, and the INF Treaty, in keeping with these past practices.

To the best of your ability in this setting, would you agree with the assessment that Russia is likely using such active measures to undermine U.S. nuclear modernization efforts and missile defenses?

POMPEO: Yes.

COTTON: Thank you.

As I mentioned earlier, the F.Y. '17 Intelligence Authorization Act included two unclassified provisions that I authored. One would be re-starting that old (inaudible) Measures Working Group. A second would require additional scrutiny of Russian embassy officials who travel more than the prescribed distance from their duty station, whether it's their embassy or a consulate around the United States.

In late 2016, when that bill was on the verge of passing, I personally received calls from high-ranking Obama administration officials asking me to withdraw them from the bill. I declined. The bill did not pass. It passed last week as part of the F.Y. '17 spending bill.

I did not receive any objection from Trump administration officials to include from our intelligence community.

Director Coats, are you aware of any objection that the Trump administration had to my two provisions?

COATS: No, I'm not aware of any objection.

COTTON: Director Pompeo?

POMPEO: None.

COTTON: Do you know why the Obama administration objected to those two provisions in late 2016? I would add after the 2016 presidential election.

COATS: Well, it would be pure speculation. I don't -- I couldn't read -- I wasn't able to read the president's mind then and I don't think I can read it now.

COTTON: Thank you.

I'd like to turn my attention to a very important provision of law. I know that you've discussed earlier section 702.

Director Rogers, it's my understanding that your agency is undertaking an effort to try to release some kind of unclassified estimate of the number of U.S. persons who might have been incidentally collected using 702 techniques. Is that correct?

ROGERS: Sir, we're looking to see if we can quantify something that's of value to people outside the organization.

COTTON: Would -- would that require you going in and conducting searches of incidental collection that have been previously unexamined?

ROGERS: That's part of the challenge. How do I generate insight that doesn't in the process of generating the insight violate the actual tenets that...

(CROSSTALK)

COTTON: So -- so we're -- you're trying to produce an estimate that is designed to protect privacy rights, but to produce that estimate, you're going to have to violate privacy rights?

ROGERS: That is a potential part of all of this.

COTTON: It seems hard to do.

ROGERS: Yes, sir. That's why it has taken us a period of time and that's why we're in the midst of a dialogue.

COTTON: Is it going to be possible to produce that kind of estimate without some degree of inaccuracy or misleading information, or infringing upon the privacy rights of Americans?

ROGERS: Probably not.

COTTON: If anyone in your agency, or for that matter, Director McCabe, in yours, believes that there is misconduct or privacy rights are not being protected, they could, I believe under current law, come to your inspector general; come to your general counsel. I assume you have open door policies.

ROGERS: Whistleblower protections in addition, yes, sir, and they can come to you.

COTTON: They can come to this committee.

So four -- at least four different avenues. I'm probably missing some, if they believe there are any abuses in the section 702 (inaudible).

MCCABE (?): And anyone in their chain of command.

COTTON: I would ask that we proceed with caution before producing a report that might infringe on Americans' privacy rights needlessly, and that might make it even that much harder to reauthorize a critical program, something that, Director McCabe, your predecessor last week just characterized, if I can paraphrase, as a must-have program, not a nice-to-have program.

Thank you.

BURR: Thank you, Senator Cotton.

Senator Harris?

HARRIS: Thank you.

Acting Director McCabe, welcome. I know you've been in this position for only about 48 hours, and I appreciate your candor with this committee during the course of this open hearing.

MCCABE: Yes, ma'am.

HARRIS: Until this point, what was your role in the FBI's investigation into the Russian hacking of the 2016 election?

MCCABE: I've been the deputy director since February of 2016. So I've had an oversight role over all of our FBI operational activity, including that investigation.

HARRIS: And now that you're acting director, what will your role be in the investigation?

MCCABE: Very similar, senior oversight role to understand what our folks are doing and to make sure they have the resources they need and are getting the direction and the guidance they need to go forward.

HARRIS: Do you support the idea of a special prosecutor taking over the investigation in terms of oversight of the investigation, in addition to your role?

MCCABE: Ma'am, that is a question for the Department of Justice and it wouldn't be proper for me to comment on that.

HARRIS: From your understanding, who at the Department of Justice is in charge of the investigation?

MCCABE: The deputy attorney general, who serves as acting attorney general for that investigation. He is in charge.

HARRIS: And have you had conversations with him about the investigation since you've been in this role?

MCCABE: I have. Yes, ma'am.

HARRIS: And when Director Comey was fired, my understanding is he was not present in his office. He was actually in California. So my question is: Who was in charge of securing his files and devices when that -- when that information came down that he had been fired?

MCCABE: That's our responsibility, ma'am.

HARRIS: And are you confident that his files and his devices have been secured in a way that we can maintain whatever information or evidence he has in connection with the investigation?

MCCABE: Yes, ma'am. I am.

HARRIS: It's been widely reported, and you've mentioned this, that Director Comey asked Rosenstein for additional resources. And I understand that you're saying that you don't believe that you need any additional resources?

MCCABE: For the Russia investigation, ma'am, I think we are adequately resourced.

HARRIS: And will you commit to this committee that if you do need resources, that you will come to us, understanding that we would make every effort to get you what you need?

MCCABE: I absolutely will.

HARRIS: Has -- I understand that you've said that the White House, that you have not talked with the White House about the Russia investigation. Is that correct?

MCCABE: That's correct.

HARRIS: Have you talked with Jeff Sessions about the investigation?

MCCABE: No, ma'am.

HARRIS: Have you talked with anyone other than Rod Rosenstein at the Department of Justice about the investigation?

MCCABE: I don't believe I have -- you know, not recently; obviously, not in that -- not in this position.

HARRIS: Not in the last 48 hours?

MCCABE: No, ma'am.

HARRIS: OK. What protections have been put in place to assure that the good men and women of the FBI understand that they will not be fired if they aggressively pursue this investigation?

MCCABE: Yes, ma'am. So we have very active lines of communication with the team that's -- that's working on this issue. They are -- they have some exemplary and incredibly effective leaders that they work directly for. And I am confident that those -- that they understand and are confident in their position moving forward on this investigation, as my investigators, analysts and professionals staff are in everything we do every day.

HARRIS: And I agree with you. I have no question about the commitment that the men and women of the FBI have to pursue their mission. But will you commit to me that you will directly communicate in some way now that these occurrences have happened and Director Comey has been fired? Will you commit to me that given this changed circumstance, that you will find a way to directly communicate with those men and women to assure them that they will not be fired simply for aggressively pursuing this investigation?

MCCABE: Yes, ma'am.

HARRIS: Thank you.

And how do you believe we need to handle, to the extent that it exists, any crisis of confidence in the leadership of the FBI, given the firing of Director Comey?

MCCABE: I don't believe there is a crisis of confidence in the leadership of the FBI. That's somewhat self-serving, and I apologize for that.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, it was completely within the president's authority to take the steps that he did. We all understand that. We expect that he and the Justice Department will work to find a suitable replacement and a permanent director, and we look forward to supporting whoever that person is, whether they begin as an interim director or a permanently selected director.

This -- organization in its entirety will be completely committed to helping that person get off to a great start and do what they need to do.

HARRIS: And do you believe that there will be any pause in the investigation during this interim period, where we have a number of people who are in acting positions of authority?

MCCABE: No, ma'am. That is my job right now to ensure that the men and women who work for the FBI stay focused on the threats; stay focused on the issues that are of so much importance to this country; continue to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. And I will ensure that that happens.

HARRIS: I appreciate that. Thank you.

MCCABE: Yes, ma'am.

BURR: Thank you.

Senator King?

Second round, five minutes each.

Senator Wyden?

WYDEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to go back to the question I asked you, Director Pompeo. And I went out and reviewed the response that you gave to me. And of course, what I'm concerned about is the Sally Yates warning to the White House that Michael Flynn could be blackmailed by the Russians.

And you said you didn't have any first-hand indication of it. Did you have any indication -- second-hand, any sense at all that the national security adviser might be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians? That is a yes or no question.

POMPEO: It's actually not a yes-or-no question, Senator. I can't answer yes or no. I regret that I'm unable to do so. You have to remember this is a counterintelligence investigation that was largely being conducted by the FBI and not by the CIA. We're a foreign intelligence organization.

And I'll add only this, I was not intending to be clever by using the term "first-hand." I had no second-hand or third-hand knowledge of that conversation either.

WYDEN: So with respect to the CIA, were there any discussion with General Flynn at all?

POMPEO: With respect to what sir? He was for a period of time the national security advisor.

WYDEN: Topics that could have put at risk the security and the well being of the American people. I mean I'm just finding it very hard to swallow that you all had no discussions with the national security advisor.

POMPEO: I spoke with the national security advisor. He was the national security advisor. He was present for the daily brief on many occasions and we talked about all the topics we spoke to the President about.

WYDEN: But nothing relating to matters that could have compromised the security of the United States? POMPEO: Sir I can't recall every conversation with General Flynn during that time period.

WYDEN: We're going to ask some more about it in closed session this afternoon. Admiral Rogers, let me ask you about a technical question that I think is particularly troubling and that is the S.S. 7 question in the technology threat. Last week the Department of Homeland Security published a lengthy study about the impact on the U.S. government of mobile phone security flaws. The report confirmed what I have been warning about for quite some time, which is the significance of cyber security vulnerabilities associated with a signaling system seven report says the department believes, and I quote, that all U.S. carriers are vulnerable to these exploits, resulting in risks to national security, the economy and the federal governments ability to reliably execute national security functions. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by criminals, terrorists and nation state actors and foreign intelligence organizations.

Do you all share the concerns of the Department of Human -- the Homeland Security Department about the severity of these vulnerabilities and what ought to be done right now to get the government and the private sector to be working together more clearly and in a coherent plan to deal with these monumental risks. These are risks that we're going to face with terrorists and hackers and threats. And I think the federal communications commission has been treading water on this and I'd like to see what you want to do to really take charge of this to deal what is an enormous vulnerability to the security of this country?

ROGERS: Sure. I hear the concern. It's a widely deployed technology in the mobile segment. I share the concern the Department of Homeland security in their role kind of as the lead federal agency associated with cyber and support from the federal government to the private sector as overall responsibility here.

We are trying to provide at the national security agency our expertise to help generate insights about the nature of the vulnerability, the nature of the problem. Partnering with DHS, talking to the private sector. There's a couple of specific things from a technology stand point that we're looking at in multiple forms that the government has created partnering with the private sector.

I'm not smart, I apologize about all of the specifics of the DHS effort. I can take that for the record if you'd like.

WYDEN: All right. I just want to respond before we break to Senator Cotton's comments with respect to section 702. Mr. Director, glad to see my tax reform partner back in this role. You know Mr. Director that I think it's critical the American people know how many innocent law abiding Americans are being swept up in the program. The argument that producing an estimate of the number is in itself a violation of privacy, is I think a far fetched argue has been made for years. I and others who believe that we can have security and liberty, that they're not mutually exclusive have always believed that this argument that you're going to be invading peoples privacy doesn't add up. We have to have that number. Are we going to get it? Are we going to get it in time so we can have a debate that shows that those of us who understand there are threats coming from overseas, and we support the effort to deal with those threats as part of 702. That we are not going to have American's privacy rights indiscriminately swept up.

We need that number. When will we get it?

COATS: Senator as you recall, during my confirmation hearing, we had this discussion. I promised to you that I would -- if confirmed and I was, talk (ph) to NSA indeed with Admiral Rogers, try to understand -- better understand why it was so difficult to come to a specific number. I -- I did go out to NSA. I was hosted by Admiral Rogers. We spent significant time talking about that. And I learned of the complexity of reaching that number. I think the -- the statements that had been made by Senator Cotton are very relevant statements as to that.

Clearly, what I have learned is that a breach of privacy has to be made against American people have to be made in order to determine whether or not they breached privacy. So, it -- it -- there is a anomaly there. They're -- they're -- they're issues of duplication.

I know that a -- we're underway in terms of setting up a time with this committee I believe in June -- as early as June to address -- get into that issue and to address that, and talk through the complexity of why it's so difficult to say...

WYDEN: I'm...

COATS: ...this is specifically when we can get you the -- the number and what the number is. So, I -- I believe -- I believe -- we are committed -- we are committed to a special meeting with the committee to try to go through this -- this particular issue.

But I cannot give you a date because I -- I -- and -- and a number because the -- I understand the complexity of it now and why it's so difficult for Admiral Rogers to say this specific number is the number.

WYDEN: I'm -- I'm well over my time. The point really is privacy advocates and technologists say that it's possible to get the number. If they say it, and the government is not saying it, something is really out of synch.

You've got people who want to work with you. We must get on with this and to have a real debate about 702 that ensures that security and liberty are not mutually exclusive. We have to have that number.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

... ... ...

[Dec 23, 2017] Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt.

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. ..."
"... And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. ..."
"... Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

Liverpool , December 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm GMT

I was raised by Democrats, and used to vote for them. But these days, I think heck would freeze over before I'd vote Democrat again. From my point of view, Bernie tried to pull them back to sanity. But the hard core Clinton-corporate-corrupt Democrats have declared war on any movement for reform within the Democratic Party. And there is no way that I'm voting for any of these corrupt-corporate Democrats ever again.

Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. We saw the way the corrupt-corporate Democrats colluded and rigged the last Presidential Primaries so that Corrupt-Corporate-Clinton was guaranteed the corrupt-corporate Democrat nomination. That's a loud and clear message to anyone who thinks they can achieve change within the corrupt-corporate-colluding-rigged Democratic Party.

Since I've always been anti-war, I've been forced to follow what anti-war movement there is over to the Republicans. And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. That never happened, and by 2012 I was convinced that even the fake-reformers within the corrupt-corporate Democrats were fakes who only wanted fund-raising but didn't really fight for reform.

Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live.

Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt. Someone needs to fight them. And I sure as heck won't vote for the corrupt and the crooked. Since the Democrats are doubling down on corrupt and crooked and telling such big lies that even Goebbels would blush, it doesn't look like I'll ever vote Dem0crat again.

[Dec 23, 2017] The term "democracy" was used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos by Gabriel Rockhill

Notable quotes:
"... equality before the law ..."
"... inequality before the law ..."
"... America's Deadliest Export: Democracy ..."
"... Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom ..."
"... Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Extracted from The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was

Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23). Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing." In the case of the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (AIM) -- which were both important attempts to mobilize people power to dismantle the structural oppression of white supremacy and top-down class warfare -- the FBI not only infiltrated them and launched hideous smear and destabilization campaigns against them, but they assassinated 27 Black Panthers and 69 members of AIM (and subjected countless others to the slow death of incarceration). If it be abroad or on the home front, the American secret police has been extremely proactive in beating down the movements of people rising up, thereby protecting and preserving the main pillars of white supremacist, capitalist aristocracy.

Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic. This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of "democracy" (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy). If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces -- not those that have been deployed to destroy them -- should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.

___
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/13/the-u-s-is-not-a-democracy-it-never-was/

[Dec 22, 2017] Beyond Cynicism America Fumbles Towards Kafka s Castle by James Howard Kunstler

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... With the election of 2016, symptoms of the long emergency seeped into the political system. Disinformation rules. There is no coherent consensus about what is happening and no coherent proposals to do anything about it. The two parties are mired in paralysis and dysfunction and the public's trust in them is at epic lows. Donald Trump is viewed as a sort of pirate president, a freebooting freak elected by accident, "a disrupter" of the status quo at best and at worst a dangerous incompetent playing with nuclear fire. A state of war exists between the White House, the permanent D.C. bureaucracy, and the traditional news media. Authentic leadership is otherwise AWOL. Institutions falter. The FBI and the CIA behave like enemies of the people. ..."
"... They chatter about electric driverless car fleets, home delivery drone services, and as-yet-undeveloped modes of energy production to replace problematic fossil fuels, while ignoring the self-evident resource and capital constraints now upon us and even the laws of physics -- especially entropy , the second law of thermodynamics. Their main mental block is their belief in infinite industrial growth on a finite planet, an idea so powerfully foolish that it obviates their standing as technocrats. ..."
"... The universities beget a class of what Nassim Taleb prankishly called "intellectuals-yet-idiots," hierophants trafficking in fads and falsehoods, conveyed in esoteric jargon larded with psychobabble in support of a therapeutic crypto-gnostic crusade bent on transforming human nature to fit the wished-for utopian template of a world where anything goes. In fact, they have only produced a new intellectual despotism worthy of Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. ..."
"... Until fairly recently, the Democratic Party did not roll that way. It was right-wing Republicans who tried to ban books, censor pop music, and stifle free expression. If anything, Democrats strenuously defended the First Amendment, including the principle that unpopular and discomforting ideas had to be tolerated in order to protect all speech. Back in in 1977 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march for their cause (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43). ..."
"... This is the recipe for what we call identity politics, the main thrust of which these days, the quest for "social justice," is to present a suit against white male privilege and, shall we say, the horse it rode in on: western civ. A peculiar feature of the social justice agenda is the wish to erect strict boundaries around racial identities while erasing behavioral boundaries, sexual boundaries, and ethical boundaries. Since so much of this thought-monster is actually promulgated by white college professors and administrators, and white political activists, against people like themselves, the motives in this concerted campaign might appear puzzling to the casual observer. ..."
"... The evolving matrix of rackets that prompted the 2008 debacle has only grown more elaborate and craven as the old economy of stuff dies and is replaced by a financialized economy of swindles and frauds . Almost nothing in America's financial life is on the level anymore, from the mendacious "guidance" statements of the Federal Reserve, to the official economic statistics of the federal agencies, to the manipulation of all markets, to the shenanigans on the fiscal side, to the pervasive accounting fraud that underlies it all. Ironically, the systematic chiseling of the foundering middle class is most visible in the rackets that medicine and education have become -- two activities that were formerly dedicated to doing no harm and seeking the truth ! ..."
"... Um, forgotten by Kunstler is the fact that 1965 was also the year when the USA reopened its doors to low-skilled immigrants from the Third World – who very quickly became competitors with black Americans. And then the Boom ended, and corporate American, influenced by thinking such as that displayed in Lewis Powell's (in)famous 1971 memorandum, decided to claw back the gains made by the working and middle classes in the previous 3 decades. ..."
"... "Wow – is there ever negative!" ..."
"... You also misrepresent reality to your readers. No, the black underclass is not larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated now than in the 1960's, when cities across the country burned and machine guns were stationed on the Capitol steps. The "racial divide" is not "starker now than ever"; that's just preposterous to anyone who was alive then. And nobody I've ever known felt "shame" over the "outcome of the civil rights campaign". I know nobody who seeks to "punish and humiliate" the 'privileged'. ..."
"... My impression is that what Kunstler is doing here is diagnosing the long crisis of a decadent liberal post-modernity, and his stance is not that of either of the warring sides within our divorced-from-reality political establishment, neither that of the 'right' or 'left.' Which is why, logically, he published it here. National Review would never have accepted this piece ..."
"... "Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class -- the lower-middle class -- which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor." ..."
"... Young black people are told by their elders how lucky they are to grow up today because things are much better than when grandpa was our age and we all know this history.\ ..."
"... It's clear that this part of the article was written from absolute ignorance of the actual black experience with no interest in even looking up some facts. Hell, Obama even gave a speech at Howard telling graduates how lucky they were to be young and black Today compared to even when he was their age in the 80's! ..."
"... E.g. Germany. Germany is anything but perfect and its recent government has screwed up with its immigration policies. But Germany has a high standard of living, an educated work force (including unions and skilled crafts-people), a more rational distribution of wealth and high quality universal health care that costs 47% less per capita than in the U.S. and with no intrinsic need to maraud around the planet wasting gobs of taxpayer money playing Global Cop. ..."
"... The larger subtext is that the U.S. house of cards was planned out and constructed as deliberately as the German model was. Only the objective was not to maximize the health and happiness of the citizenry, but to line the pockets of the parasitic Elites. (E.g., note that Mitch McConnell has been a government employee for 50 years but somehow acquired a net worth of over $10 Million.) ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

On America's 'long emergency' of recession, globalization, and identity politics.

Can a people recover from an excursion into unreality? The USA's sojourn into an alternative universe of the mind accelerated sharply after Wall Street nearly detonated the global financial system in 2008. That debacle was only one manifestation of an array of accumulating threats to the postmodern order, which include the burdens of empire, onerous debt, population overshoot, fracturing globalism, worries about energy, disruptive technologies, ecological havoc, and the specter of climate change.

A sense of gathering crisis, which I call the long emergency , persists. It is systemic and existential. It calls into question our ability to carry on "normal" life much farther into this century, and all the anxiety that attends it is hard for the public to process. It manifested itself first in finance because that was the most abstract and fragile of all the major activities we depend on for daily life, and therefore the one most easily tampered with and shoved into criticality by a cadre of irresponsible opportunists on Wall Street. Indeed, a lot of households were permanently wrecked after the so-called Great Financial Crisis of 2008, despite official trumpet blasts heralding "recovery" and the dishonestly engineered pump-up of capital markets since then.

With the election of 2016, symptoms of the long emergency seeped into the political system. Disinformation rules. There is no coherent consensus about what is happening and no coherent proposals to do anything about it. The two parties are mired in paralysis and dysfunction and the public's trust in them is at epic lows. Donald Trump is viewed as a sort of pirate president, a freebooting freak elected by accident, "a disrupter" of the status quo at best and at worst a dangerous incompetent playing with nuclear fire. A state of war exists between the White House, the permanent D.C. bureaucracy, and the traditional news media. Authentic leadership is otherwise AWOL. Institutions falter. The FBI and the CIA behave like enemies of the people.

Bad ideas flourish in this nutrient medium of unresolved crisis. Lately, they actually dominate the scene on every side. A species of wishful thinking that resembles a primitive cargo cult grips the technocratic class, awaiting magical rescue remedies that promise to extend the regime of Happy Motoring, consumerism, and suburbia that makes up the armature of "normal" life in the USA. They chatter about electric driverless car fleets, home delivery drone services, and as-yet-undeveloped modes of energy production to replace problematic fossil fuels, while ignoring the self-evident resource and capital constraints now upon us and even the laws of physics -- especially entropy , the second law of thermodynamics. Their main mental block is their belief in infinite industrial growth on a finite planet, an idea so powerfully foolish that it obviates their standing as technocrats.

The non-technocratic cohort of the thinking class squanders its waking hours on a quixotic campaign to destroy the remnant of an American common culture and, by extension, a reviled Western civilization they blame for the failure in our time to establish a utopia on earth. By the logic of the day, "inclusion" and "diversity" are achieved by forbidding the transmission of ideas, shutting down debate, and creating new racially segregated college dorms. Sexuality is declared to not be biologically determined, yet so-called cis-gendered persons (whose gender identity corresponds with their sex as detected at birth) are vilified by dint of not being "other-gendered" -- thereby thwarting the pursuit of happiness of persons self-identified as other-gendered. Casuistry anyone?

The universities beget a class of what Nassim Taleb prankishly called "intellectuals-yet-idiots," hierophants trafficking in fads and falsehoods, conveyed in esoteric jargon larded with psychobabble in support of a therapeutic crypto-gnostic crusade bent on transforming human nature to fit the wished-for utopian template of a world where anything goes. In fact, they have only produced a new intellectual despotism worthy of Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.

In case you haven't been paying attention to the hijinks on campus -- the attacks on reason, fairness, and common decency, the kangaroo courts, diversity tribunals, assaults on public speech and speakers themselves -- here is the key take-away: it's not about ideas or ideologies anymore; it's purely about the pleasures of coercion, of pushing other people around. Coercion is fun and exciting! In fact, it's intoxicating, and rewarded with brownie points and career advancement. It's rather perverse that this passion for tyranny is suddenly so popular on the liberal left.

Until fairly recently, the Democratic Party did not roll that way. It was right-wing Republicans who tried to ban books, censor pop music, and stifle free expression. If anything, Democrats strenuously defended the First Amendment, including the principle that unpopular and discomforting ideas had to be tolerated in order to protect all speech. Back in in 1977 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march for their cause (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43).

The new and false idea that something labeled "hate speech" -- labeled by whom? -- is equivalent to violence floated out of the graduate schools on a toxic cloud of intellectual hysteria concocted in the laboratory of so-called "post-structuralist" philosophy, where sundry body parts of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, and Gilles Deleuze were sewn onto a brain comprised of one-third each Thomas Hobbes, Saul Alinsky, and Tupac Shakur to create a perfect Frankenstein monster of thought. It all boiled down to the proposition that the will to power negated all other human drives and values, in particular the search for truth. Under this scheme, all human relations were reduced to a dramatis personae of the oppressed and their oppressors, the former generally "people of color" and women, all subjugated by whites, mostly males. Tactical moves in politics among these self-described "oppressed" and "marginalized" are based on the credo that the ends justify the means (the Alinsky model).

This is the recipe for what we call identity politics, the main thrust of which these days, the quest for "social justice," is to present a suit against white male privilege and, shall we say, the horse it rode in on: western civ. A peculiar feature of the social justice agenda is the wish to erect strict boundaries around racial identities while erasing behavioral boundaries, sexual boundaries, and ethical boundaries. Since so much of this thought-monster is actually promulgated by white college professors and administrators, and white political activists, against people like themselves, the motives in this concerted campaign might appear puzzling to the casual observer.

I would account for it as the psychological displacement among this political cohort of their shame, disappointment, and despair over the outcome of the civil rights campaign that started in the 1960s and formed the core of progressive ideology. It did not bring about the hoped-for utopia. The racial divide in America is starker now than ever, even after two terms of a black president. Today, there is more grievance and resentment, and less hope for a better future, than when Martin Luther King made the case for progress on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. The recent flash points of racial conflict -- Ferguson, the Dallas police ambush, the Charleston church massacre, et cetera -- don't have to be rehearsed in detail here to make the point that there is a great deal of ill feeling throughout the land, and quite a bit of acting out on both sides.

The black underclass is larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated than it was in the 1960s. My theory, for what it's worth, is that the civil rights legislation of 1964 and '65, which removed legal barriers to full participation in national life, induced considerable anxiety among black citizens over the new disposition of things, for one reason or another. And that is exactly why a black separatism movement arose as an alternative at the time, led initially by such charismatic figures as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Some of that was arguably a product of the same youthful energy that drove the rest of the Sixties counterculture: adolescent rebellion. But the residue of the "Black Power" movement is still present in the widespread ambivalence about making covenant with a common culture, and it has only been exacerbated by a now long-running "multiculturalism and diversity" crusade that effectively nullifies the concept of a national common culture.

What follows from these dynamics is the deflection of all ideas that don't feed a narrative of power relations between oppressors and victims, with the self-identified victims ever more eager to exercise their power to coerce, punish, and humiliate their self-identified oppressors, the "privileged," who condescend to be abused to a shockingly masochistic degree. Nobody stands up to this organized ceremonial nonsense. The punishments are too severe, including the loss of livelihood, status, and reputation, especially in the university. Once branded a "racist," you're done. And venturing to join the oft-called-for "honest conversation about race" is certain to invite that fate.

Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class -- the lower-middle class -- which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor. Hung out to dry economically, this class of whites fell into many of the same behaviors as the poor blacks before them: absent fathers, out-of-wedlock births, drug abuse. Then the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 wiped up the floor with the middle-middle class above them, foreclosing on their homes and futures, and in their desperation many of these people became Trump voters -- though I doubt that Trump himself truly understood how this all worked exactly. However, he did see that the white middle class had come to identify as yet another victim group, allowing him to pose as their champion.

The evolving matrix of rackets that prompted the 2008 debacle has only grown more elaborate and craven as the old economy of stuff dies and is replaced by a financialized economy of swindles and frauds . Almost nothing in America's financial life is on the level anymore, from the mendacious "guidance" statements of the Federal Reserve, to the official economic statistics of the federal agencies, to the manipulation of all markets, to the shenanigans on the fiscal side, to the pervasive accounting fraud that underlies it all. Ironically, the systematic chiseling of the foundering middle class is most visible in the rackets that medicine and education have become -- two activities that were formerly dedicated to doing no harm and seeking the truth !

Life in this milieu of immersive dishonesty drives citizens beyond cynicism to an even more desperate state of mind. The suffering public ends up having no idea what is really going on, what is actually happening. The toolkit of the Enlightenment -- reason, empiricism -- doesn't work very well in this socioeconomic hall of mirrors, so all that baggage is discarded for the idea that reality is just a social construct, just whatever story you feel like telling about it. On the right, Karl Rove expressed this point of view some years ago when he bragged, of the Bush II White House, that "we make our own reality." The left says nearly the same thing in the post-structuralist malarkey of academia: "you make your own reality." In the end, both sides are left with a lot of bad feelings and the belief that only raw power has meaning.

Erasing psychological boundaries is a dangerous thing. When the rackets finally come to grief -- as they must because their operations don't add up -- and the reckoning with true price discovery commences at the macro scale, the American people will find themselves in even more distress than they've endured so far. This will be the moment when either nobody has any money, or there is plenty of worthless money for everyone. Either way, the functional bankruptcy of the nation will be complete, and nothing will work anymore, including getting enough to eat. That is exactly the moment when Americans on all sides will beg someone to step up and push them around to get their world working again. And even that may not avail.

James Howard Kunstler's many books include The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation , and the World Made by Hand novel series. He blogs on Mondays and Fridays at Kunstler.com .

Whine Merchant December 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Wow – is there ever negative!
Celery , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm
I think I need to go listen to an old-fashioned Christmas song now.

The ability to be financially, or at least resource, sustaining is the goal of many I know since we share a lack of confidence in any of our institutions. We can only hope that God might look down with compassion on us, but He's not in the practical plan of how to feed and sustain ourselves when things play out to their inevitable end. Having come from a better time, we joke about our dystopian preparations, self-conscious about our "overreaction," but preparing all the same.

Merry Christmas!

Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:55 pm
Look at it this way: Germany had to be leveled and its citizens reduced to abject penury, before Volkswagen could become the world's biggest car company, and autobahns built throughout the world. It will be darkest before the dawn, and hopefully, that light that comes after, won't be the miniature sunrise of a nuclear conflagration.
KD , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:02 am
Eat, Drink, and be Merry, you can charge it on your credit card!
Rock Stehdy , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:38 am
Hard words, but true. Kunstler is always worth reading for his common-sense wisdom.
Helmut , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:04 am
An excellent summary and bleak reminder of what our so-called civilization has become. How do we extricate ourselves from this strange death spiral?
I have long suspected that we humans are creatures of our own personal/group/tribal/national/global fables and mythologies. We are compelled by our genes, marrow, and blood to tell ourselves stories of our purpose and who we are. It is time for new mythologies and stories of "who we are". This bizarre hyper-techno all-for-profit world needs a new story.
Liam , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:38 am
"The black underclass is larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated than it was in the 1960s. My theory, for what it's worth, is that the civil rights legislation of 1964 and '65, which removed legal barriers to full participation in national life, induced considerable anxiety among black citizens over the new disposition of things, for one reason or another."

Um, forgotten by Kunstler is the fact that 1965 was also the year when the USA reopened its doors to low-skilled immigrants from the Third World – who very quickly became competitors with black Americans. And then the Boom ended, and corporate American, influenced by thinking such as that displayed in Lewis Powell's (in)famous 1971 memorandum, decided to claw back the gains made by the working and middle classes in the previous 3 decades.

Peter , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:34 am
I have some faith that the American people can recover from an excursion into unreality. I base it on my own survival to the end of this silly rant.
SteveM , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:08 am
Re: Whine Merchant, "Wow – is there ever negative!"

Can't argue with the facts

P.S. Merry Christmas.

Dave Wright , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:22 am
Hey Jim, I know you love to blame Wall Street and the Republicans for the GFC. I remember back in '08 you were urging Democrats to blame it all on Republicans to help Obama win. But I have news for you. It wasn't Wall Street that caused the GFC. The crisis actually had its roots in the Clinton Administration's use of the Community Reinvestment Act to pressure banks to relax mortgage underwriting standards. This was done at the behest of left wing activists who claimed (without evidence, of course) that the standards discriminated against minorities. The result was an effective repeal of all underwriting standards and an explosion of real estate speculation with borrowed money. Speculation with borrowed money never ends well.

I have to laugh, too, when you say that it's perverse that the passion for tyranny is popular on the left. Have you ever heard of the French Revolution? How about the USSR? Communist China? North Korea? Et cetera.

Leftism is leftism. Call it Marxism, Communism, socialism, liberalism, progressivism, or what have you. The ideology is the same. Only the tactics and methods change. Destroy the evil institutions of marriage, family, and religion, and Man's innate goodness will shine forth, and the glorious Godless utopia will naturally result.

Of course, the father of lies is ultimately behind it all. "He was a liar and a murderer from the beginning."

When man turns his back on God, nothing good happens. That's the most fundamental problem in Western society today. Not to say that there aren't other issues, but until we return to God, there's not much hope for improvement.

NoahK , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:15 am
It's like somebody just got a bunch of right-wing talking points and mashed them together into one incohesive whole. This is just lazy.
Andrew Imlay , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:36 am
Hmm. I just wandered over here by accident. Being a construction contractor, I don't know enough about globalization, academia, or finance to evaluate your assertions about those realms. But being in a biracial family, and having lived, worked, and worshiped equally in white and black communities, I can evaluate your statements about social justice, race, and civil rights. Long story short, you pick out fringe liberal ideas, misrepresent them as mainstream among liberals, and shoot them down. Casuistry, anyone?

You also misrepresent reality to your readers. No, the black underclass is not larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated now than in the 1960's, when cities across the country burned and machine guns were stationed on the Capitol steps. The "racial divide" is not "starker now than ever"; that's just preposterous to anyone who was alive then. And nobody I've ever known felt "shame" over the "outcome of the civil rights campaign". I know nobody who seeks to "punish and humiliate" the 'privileged'.

I get that this column is a quick toss-off before the holiday, and that your strength is supposed to be in your presentation, not your ideas. For me, it's a helpful way to rehearse debunking common tropes that I'll encounter elsewhere.

But, really, your readers deserve better, and so do the people you misrepresent. We need bad liberal ideas to be critiqued while they're still on the fringe. But by calling fringe ideas mainstream, you discredit yourself, misinform your readers, and contribute to stereotypes both of liberals and of conservatives. I'm looking for serious conservative critiques that help me take a second look at familiar ideas. I won't be back.

peter in boston , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:48 am
Love Kunstler -- and love reading him here -- but he needs a strong editor to get him to turn a formless harangue into clear essay.
Someone in the crowd , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:07 am
I disagree, NoahK, that the whole is incohesive, and I also disagree that these are right-wing talking points.

The theme of this piece is the long crisis in the US, its nature and causes. At no point does this essay, despite it stream of consciousness style, veer away from that theme. Hence it is cohesive.

As for the right wing charge, though it is true, to be sure, that Kunstler's position is in many respects classically conservative -- he believes for example that there should be a national consensus on certain fundamentals, such as whether or not there are two sexes (for the most part), or, instead, an infinite variety of sexes chosen day by day at whim -- you must have noticed that he condemned both the voluntarism of Karl Rove AND the voluntarism of the post-structuralist crowd.

My impression is that what Kunstler is doing here is diagnosing the long crisis of a decadent liberal post-modernity, and his stance is not that of either of the warring sides within our divorced-from-reality political establishment, neither that of the 'right' or 'left.' Which is why, logically, he published it here. National Review would never have accepted this piece. QED.

Jon , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:10 am
This malaise is rooted in human consciousness that when reflecting on itself celebrating its capacity for apperception suffers from the tension that such an inquiry, such an inward glance produces. In a word, the capacity for the human being to be aware of his or herself as an intelligent being capable of reflecting on aspects of reality through the artful manipulation of symbols engenders this tension, this angst.

Some will attempt to extinguish this inner tension through intoxication while others through the thrill of war, and it has been played out since the dawn of man and well documented when the written word emerged.

The malaise which Mr. Kunstler addresses as the problem of our times is rooted in our existence from time immemorial. But the problem is not only existential but ontological. It is rooted in our being as self-aware creatures. Thus no solution avails itself as humanity in and of itself is the problem. Each side (both right and left) seeks its own anodyne whether through profligacy or intolerance, and each side mans the barricades to clash experiencing the adrenaline rush that arises from the perpetual call to arms.

Joe the Plutocrat , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:27 am
"Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class -- the lower-middle class -- which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor."

And to whom do we hand the tab for this? Globalization is a word. It is a concept, a talking point. Globalization is oligarchy by another name. Unfortunately, under-educated, deplorable, Americans; regardless of party affiliation/ideology have embraced. And the most ironic part?

Russia and China (the eventual surviving oligarchies) will eventually have to duke it out to decide which superpower gets to make the USA it's b*tch (excuse prison reference, but that's where we're headed folks).

And one more irony. Only in American, could Christianity, which was grew from concepts like compassion, generosity, humility, and benevolence; be re-branded and 'weaponized' to further greed, bigotry, misogyny, intolerance, and violence/war. Americans fiddled (over same sex marriage, abortion, who has to bake wedding cakes, and who gets to use which public restroom), while the oligarchs burned the last resources (natural, financial, and even legal).

The scientist 880 , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:48 am
"Today, there is more grievance and resentment, and less hope for a better future, than when Martin Luther King made the case for progress on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963."

Spoken like a white guy who has zero contact with black people. I mean, even a little bit of research and familiarity would give lie to the idea that blacks are more pessimistic about life today than in the 1960's.

Black millenials are the most optimistic group of Americans about the future. Anyone who has spent any significant time around older black people will notice that you don't hear the rose colored memories of the past. Black people don't miss the 1980's, much less the 1950's. Young black people are told by their elders how lucky they are to grow up today because things are much better than when grandpa was our age and we all know this history.\

It's clear that this part of the article was written from absolute ignorance of the actual black experience with no interest in even looking up some facts. Hell, Obama even gave a speech at Howard telling graduates how lucky they were to be young and black Today compared to even when he was their age in the 80's!

Here is the direct quote;

"In my inaugural address, I remarked that just 60 years earlier, my father might not have been served in a D.C. restaurant -- at least not certain of them. There were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Very few black judges. Shoot, as Larry Wilmore pointed out last week, a lot of folks didn't even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback. Today, former Bull Michael Jordan isn't just the greatest basketball player of all time -- he owns the team. (Laughter.) When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. (Laughter.) Rap and hip hop were counterculture, underground. Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night, and Beyoncé runs the world. (Laughter.) We're no longer only entertainers, we're producers, studio executives. No longer small business owners -- we're CEOs, we're mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States. (Applause.)

I am not saying gaps do not persist. Obviously, they do. Racism persists. Inequality persists. Don't worry -- I'm going to get to that. But I wanted to start, Class of 2016, by opening your eyes to the moment that you are in. If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn't know ahead of time who you were going to be -- what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you'd be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you'd be born into -- you wouldn't choose 100 years ago. You wouldn't choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies. You'd choose right now. If you had to choose a time to be, in the words of Lorraine Hansberry, "young, gifted, and black" in America, you would choose right now. (Applause.)"

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/obamas-howard-commencement-transcript-222931

https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58cf1d9ae4b0ec9d29dcf283/amp

Adam , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:57 am
I love reading about how the Community Reinvestment Act was the catalyst of all that is wrong in the world. As someone in the industry the issue was actually twofold. The Commodities Futures Modernization Act turned the mortgage securities market into a casino with the underlying actual debt instruments multiplied through the use of additional debt instruments tied to the performance but with no actual underlying value. These securities were then sold around the world essentially infecting the entire market. In order that feed the beast, these NON GOVERNMENT loans had their underwriting standards lowered to rediculous levels. If you run out of qualified customers, just lower the qualifications. Government loans such as FHA, VA, and USDA were avoided because it was easier to qualify people with the new stuff. And get paid. The short version is all of the incentives that were in place at the time, starting with the Futures Act, directly led to the actions that culminated in the Crash. So yes, it was the government, just a different piece of legislation.
SteveM , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm
Kunstler itemizing the social and economic pathologies in the United States is not enough. Because there are other models that demonstrate it didn't have to be this way.

E.g. Germany. Germany is anything but perfect and its recent government has screwed up with its immigration policies. But Germany has a high standard of living, an educated work force (including unions and skilled crafts-people), a more rational distribution of wealth and high quality universal health care that costs 47% less per capita than in the U.S. and with no intrinsic need to maraud around the planet wasting gobs of taxpayer money playing Global Cop.

The larger subtext is that the U.S. house of cards was planned out and constructed as deliberately as the German model was. Only the objective was not to maximize the health and happiness of the citizenry, but to line the pockets of the parasitic Elites. (E.g., note that Mitch McConnell has been a government employee for 50 years but somehow acquired a net worth of over $10 Million.)

P.S. About the notionally high U.S. GDP. Factor out the TRILLIONS inexplicably hoovered up by the pathological health care system, the metastasized and sanctified National Security State (with its Global Cop shenanigans) and the cronied-up Ponzi scheme of electron-churn financialization ginned up by Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Banksters, and then see how much GDP that reflects the actual wealth of the middle class is left over.

One Guy , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:10 pm
Right-Wing Dittoheads and Fox Watchers love to blame the Community Reinvestment Act. It allows them to blame both poor black people AND the government. The truth is that many parties were to blame.
LouB , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm
One of the things I love about this rag is that almost all of the comments are included. You may be sure that similar commenting privilege doesn't exist most anywhere else.

Any disfavor regarding the supposed bleakness with the weak hearted souls aside, Mr K's broadside seems pretty spot on to me.

tzx4 , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm
I think the author overlooks the fact that government over the past 30 to 40 years has been tilting the playing field ever more towards the uppermost classes and against the middle class. The evisceration of the middle class is plain to see.

If the the common man had more money and security, lots of our current intrasocial conflicts would be far less intense.

Jeeves , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm
Andrew Imlay: You provide a thoughtful corrective to one of Kunstler's more hyperbolic claims. And you should know that his jeremiad doesn't represent usual fare at TAC. So do come back.

Whether or not every one of Kunstler's assertions can withstand a rigorous fact-check, he is a formidable rhetorician. A generous serving of Weltschmerz is just what the season calls for.

Wezz , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm
America is stupefied from propaganda on steroids for, largely from the right wing, 25? years of Limbaugh, Fox, etc etc etc Clinton hate x 10, "weapons of mass destruction", "they hate us because we are free", birtherism, death panels, Jade Helm, pedophile pizza, and more Clinton hate porn.

Americans have been taught to worship the wealthy regardless of how they got there. Americans have been taught they are "Exceptional" (better, smarter, more godly than every one else) in spite of outward appearances. Americans are under educated and encouraged to make decisions based on emotion from constant barrage of extra loud advertising from birth selling illusion.

Americans brain chemistry is most likely as messed up as the rest of their bodies from junk or molested food. Are they even capable of normal thought?

Donald Trump has convinced at least a third of Americans that only he, Fox, Breitbart and one or two other sources are telling the Truth, every one else is lying and that he is their friend.

Is it possible we are just plane doomed and there's no way out?

John Blade Wiederspan , says: December 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm
I loathe the cotton candy clown and his Quislings; however, I must admit, his presence as President of the United States has forced everyone (left, right, religious, non-religious) to look behind the curtain. He has done more to dis-spell the idealism of both liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, rich and poor, than any other elected official in history. The sheer amount of mind-numbing absurdity resulting from a publicity stunt that got out of control ..I am 70 and I have seen a lot. This is beyond anything I could ever imagine. America is not going to improve or even remain the same. It is in a 4 year march into worse, three years to go.
EarlyBird , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Sheesh. Should I shoot myself now, or wait until I get home?
dvxprime , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm
Mr. Kuntzler has an honest and fairly accurate assessment of the situation. And as usual, the liberal audience that TAC is trying so hard to reach, is tossing out their usual talking points whilst being in denial of the situation.

The Holy Bible teaches us that repentance is the first crucial step on the path towards salvation. Until the progressives, from their alleged "elite" down the rank and file at Kos, HuffPo, whatever, take a good, long, hard look at the current national dumpster fire and start claiming some responsibility, America has no chance of solving problems or fixing anything.

Slooch , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:03 pm
Kunstler must have had a good time writing this, and I had a good time reading it. Skewed perspective, wild overstatement, and obsessive cherry-picking of the rare checkable facts are mixed with a little eye of newt and toe of frog and smothered in a oar and roll of rhetoric that was thrilling to be immersed in. Good work!
jp , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm
aah, same old Kunstler, slightly retailored for the Trump years.

for those of you familiar with him, remember his "peak oil" mania from the late 00s and early 2010s? every blog post was about it. every new year was going to be IT: the long emergency would start, people would be Mad Maxing over oil supplies cos prices at the pump would be $10 a gallon or somesuch.

in this new rant, i did a control-F for "peak oil" and hey, not a mention. I guess even cranks like Kunstler know when to give a tired horse a rest.

c.meyer , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm
So what else is new. Too 'clever', overwritten, no new ideas. Can't anyone move beyond clichés?
Active investor , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:35 am
Kunstler once again waxes eloquent on the American body politic. Every word rings true, except when it doesn't. At times poetic, at other times paranoid, Kunstler does us a great service by pointing a finger at the deepest pain points in America, any one of which could be the geyser that brings on catastrophic failure.

However, as has been pointed out, he definitely does not hang out with black people. For example, the statement:

But the residue of the "Black Power" movement is still present in the widespread ambivalence about making covenant with a common culture, and it has only been exacerbated by a now long-running "multiculturalism and diversity" crusade that effectively nullifies the concept of a national common culture.

The notion of a 'national common culture' is interesting but pretty much a fantasy that never existed, save colonial times.

Yet Kunstler's voice is one that must be heard, even if he is mostly tuning in to the widespread radicalism on both ends of the spectrum, albeit in relatively small numbers. Let's face it, people are in the streets marching, yelling, and hating and mass murders keep happening, with the regularity of Old Faithful. And he makes a good point about academia loosing touch with reality much of the time. He's spot on about the false expectations of what technology can do for the economy, which is inflated with fiat currency and God knows how many charlatans and hucksters. And yes, the white working class is feeling increasingly like a 'victim group.'

While Kunstler may be more a poet than a lawyer, more songwriter than historian, my gut feeling is that America had better take notice of him, as The American ship of state is being swept by a ferocious tide and the helmsman is high on Fentanyl (made in China).

JonF , says: December 22, 2017 at 9:52 am
Re: The crisis actually had its roots in the Clinton Administration's use of the Community Reinvestment Act

Here we go again with this rotting zombie which rises from its grave no matter how many times it has been debunked by statisticians and reputable economists (and no, not just those on the left– the ranks include Bruce Bartlett for example, a solid Reaganist). To reiterate again : the CRA played no role in the mortgage boom and bust. Among other facts in the way of that hypothesis is the fact that riskiest loans were being made by non-bank lenders (Countrywide) who were not covered by the CRA which only applied to actual banks– and the banks did not really get into the game full tilt, lowering their lending standards, until late in the game, c. 2005, in response to their loss of business to the non-bank lenders. Ditto for the GSEs, which did not lower their standards until 2005 and even then relied on wall Street to vet the subprime loans they were buying.

To be sure, blaming Wall Street for everything is also wrong-headed, though wall Street certainly did some stupid, greedy and shady things (No, I am not letting them off the hook!) But the cast of miscreants is numbered in the millions and it stretches around the planet. Everyone (for example) who got into the get-rich-quick Ponzi scheme of house flipping, especially if they lied about their income to do so. And everyone who took out a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) and foolishly charged it up on a consumption binge. And shall we talk about the mortgage brokers who coached people into lying, the loan officers who steered customers into the riskiest (and highest earning) loans they could, the sellers who asked palace-prices for crackerbox hovels, the appraisers who rubber-stamped such prices, the regulators who turned a blind eye to all the fraud and malfeasance, the ratings agencies who handed out AAA ratings to securities full of junk, the politicians who rejoiced over the apparent "Bush Boom" well, I could continue, but you get the picture.

We have met the enemy and he was us.

kevin on the left , says: December 22, 2017 at 10:49 am
"The Holy Bible teaches us that repentance is the first crucial step on the path towards salvation. Until the progressives, from their alleged "elite" down the rank and file at Kos, HuffPo, whatever, take a good, long, hard look at the current national dumpster fire and start claiming some responsibility, America has no chance of solving problems or fixing anything."

Pretty sure that calling other people to repent of their sin of disagreeing with you is not quite what the Holy Bible intended.

[Dec 22, 2017] Rosenstein knew that he is authorizing a fishing expedition against Trump, so he is a part of the cabal

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient ..."
"... While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient reason to appoint a Special Counsel. The threshold for making such an appointment should have been probable cause, that is, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should have shown why he thought there was 'reasonable basis to believe that a crime had been committed.' That's what's required under the Fourth Amendment, and that's the standard that should have been met. But Rosenstein ignored that rule because it improved the Special Counsel's chances of netting indictments ..."
"... the loosey-goosy standard Rosenstein has applied is an invitation for an open ended fishing expedition aimed at derailing the political agenda of the elected government. This puts too much power in the hands of unelected agents in the bureaucracy who may be influenced by powerbrokers operating behind the scenes who want to disrupt, obstruct, or paralyze the government. And this, in fact, is exactly what is taking place presently. ..."
"... Naturally, a broad-ranging mandate like Rosenstein's will result in excesses, and it has. Of the four people who have been caught up in Mueller's expansive dragnet, exactly zero have been indicted on charges even remotely connected to the original allegation of "collusion with Russia to sway the presidential election in Trump's favor." Clearly, people's civil liberties are being violated to conduct a political jihad on an unpopular president and his aids. ..."
"... The daily blather in the media does not meet that standard nor does the much ballyhooed Intelligence Community Assessment that was supposed to provide ironclad proof of Russian meddling in the elections. The ICA even offered this sweeping disclaimer at the beginning of the report which admits that the intelligence gathered therein should not in any way be construed to represent solid evidence of anything. ..."
"... Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents ..."
"... The fact is, Mueller is no elder statesman or paragon of virtue. He's a political assassin whose task is to take down Trump at all cost. Unfortunately for Mueller, the credibility of his investigation is beginning to wane as conflicts of interest mount and public confidence dwindles. After 18 months of relentless propaganda and political skullduggery, the Russia-gate fiction is beginning to unravel ..."
"... The skepticism about Mueller probably has less to do with the man, than it does with Washington in general ..."
"... That may be the case among those who have never bothered to look past the mainstream TV news for information about Mueller. Those who have kept up with his career in the swamp have been skeptical (to say the least) about Mueller's appointment because he's so obviously a criminal himself ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient

While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient reason to appoint a Special Counsel. The threshold for making such an appointment should have been probable cause, that is, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should have shown why he thought there was 'reasonable basis to believe that a crime had been committed.' That's what's required under the Fourth Amendment, and that's the standard that should have been met. But Rosenstein ignored that rule because it improved the Special Counsel's chances of netting indictments

Even so, there's no evidence that a crime has been committed. None. And that's been the main criticism of the investigation from the get go. It's fine for the New York Times and the Washington Post to reiterate the same tedious, unsubstantiated claims over and over again ad nauseam. Their right to fabricate news is guaranteed under the First Amendment and they take full advantage of that privilege. But it's different for professional attorney operating at the highest level of the Justice Department to appoint a Special Counsel to rummage through all manner of private or privileged documents, transcripts, tax returns, private conversations, intercepted phone calls and emails -- of the democratically-elected president -- based on nothing more than the spurious and politically-motivated allegations made in the nation's elite media or by flagrantly-partisan actors operating in the Intelligence Community or law enforcement.

Can you see the problem here? This is not just an attack on Trump (whose immigration, environmental, health care, tax and foreign policies I personally despise.) It is an attempt to roll back the results of the election by bogging him down in legal proceedings making it impossible for him to govern. These attacks are not just on Trump, they're on the legitimate authority of the people to choose their own leaders in democratic elections. That's what's at stake. And that's why there must be a high threshold for launching an investigation like this.

Consider this: On May 17, 2017, when Rosenstein announced his decision to appoint a Special Counsel he said the following:

"In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command." Rosenstein wrote that his responsibility is to ensure a "full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election." As special counsel, Mueller is charged with investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump."

That's not good enough. There's no evidence that "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" were improper, unethical or illegal. Nor do any such presumed "links and/or coordination" imply a crime was committed. Rather, the loosey-goosy standard Rosenstein has applied is an invitation for an open ended fishing expedition aimed at derailing the political agenda of the elected government. This puts too much power in the hands of unelected agents in the bureaucracy who may be influenced by powerbrokers operating behind the scenes who want to disrupt, obstruct, or paralyze the government. And this, in fact, is exactly what is taking place presently.

Naturally, a broad-ranging mandate like Rosenstein's will result in excesses, and it has. Of the four people who have been caught up in Mueller's expansive dragnet, exactly zero have been indicted on charges even remotely connected to the original allegation of "collusion with Russia to sway the presidential election in Trump's favor." Clearly, people's civil liberties are being violated to conduct a political jihad on an unpopular president and his aids.

So, how does one establish whether there's a reasonable basis to believe that a crime has been committed?

The daily blather in the media does not meet that standard nor does the much ballyhooed Intelligence Community Assessment that was supposed to provide ironclad proof of Russian meddling in the elections. The ICA even offered this sweeping disclaimer at the beginning of the report which admits that the intelligence gathered therein should not in any way be construed to represent solid evidence of anything.
Here's the from the report:

"Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents."

... ... ...

The fact is, Mueller is no elder statesman or paragon of virtue. He's a political assassin whose task is to take down Trump at all cost. Unfortunately for Mueller, the credibility of his investigation is beginning to wane as conflicts of interest mount and public confidence dwindles. After 18 months of relentless propaganda and political skullduggery, the Russia-gate fiction is beginning to unravel.

Twodees Partain , December 22, 2017 at 11:59 am GMT

"The skepticism about Mueller probably has less to do with the man, than it does with Washington in general."

That may be the case among those who have never bothered to look past the mainstream TV news for information about Mueller. Those who have kept up with his career in the swamp have been skeptical (to say the least) about Mueller's appointment because he's so obviously a criminal himself.

That segment of the general public, as it were, have been opposed to the establishment of the investigation itself from the first day it was proposed.

[Dec 22, 2017] House Republicans Secretly Gathering Evidence To Launch Case Against DOJ and FBI Report

Dec 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

According to Politico , a group of frustrated Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee led by Devin Nunes (R-CA) have been gathering in secret for several weeks to build a case against senior leaders of the Justice Department and the FBI for what they say is "improper" and perhaps criminal mishandling of the salacious and unproven 34-page Trump-Russia dossier, according to four sources familiar with their plans.

Devin Nunes (R-CA)

A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee's high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. [ ]

The people familiar with Nunes' plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence. - Politico

When pressed for details, Reps Mike Conway (R-TX) and Peter King (R-NY) were mum, with Conway telling POLITICO, "I don't want talk about what we do behind closed doors."

Nunes' has gone on record several times to discuss his feelings over the government law enforcement, telling Fox News "I hate to use the word corrupt, but they've become at least so dirty that who's watching the watchmen? Who's investigating these people?" adding "There is no one."

House and Senate Republicans have joined countless voices, including President Trump's outside counsel, Jay Sekulow , to launch a second Special Counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department to find out what role the salacious dossier played in the Trump-Russia investigation, as well as a trove of anti-Trump text messages sent between lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his FBI attorney mistress Lisa Page while the two of them were working together on both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation.

Republicans in the Nunes-led group suspect the FBI and DOJ have worked either to hurt Trump or aid his former campaign rival Hillary Clinton, a sense that has pervaded parts of the president's inner circle. Trump has long called the investigations into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election a "witch hunt," and on Tuesday, his son Donald Trump Jr. told a crowd in Florida the probes were part of a "rigged system" by "people at the highest levels of government" who were working to hurt the president.

House Intel Committee member Jim Jordan (R-OH) told Fox News yesterday that they are now considering contempt of the FBI and DOJ leadership and subpoenas over anti-Trump bias:

I think they were putting together a plan to stop Donald Trump from being the next president of the United States. I think it's amazing in spite of the fact that the Democrats were against him, the Republican establishment was against him, the mainstream press was against him. and now I believe the FBI and the Justice Department were against him , the American people still said that's the guy we want to be the next president.

" I believe that fake dossier was used as the basis to get Warren to now what we learn about Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr and the FBI and the Justice Department ," said Jordan, adding, " Everything points to the fact that there was an orchestrated plan to try to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the President of the United States ."

Meanwhile, Trey Gowdy - who notably chose not to call on key witness Peter Strzok or demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr for testimony - is apparently not included in the group seeking to build a case. As POLITICO reports, "A congressional aide with knowledge of the meetings said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was not among the participants. " While he does believe the FBI and DOJ have recently made decisions worth looking into, he is and will always be a defender of the FBI, DOJ and the special counsel ," the aide said.

Implied Violins -> NoDebt , Dec 22, 2017 8:26 PM

I think he's intimating that she would have been responded to with extreme violence from the 'deplorables'. Gotta admit: had she gotten in, we may have already had a revolution. Instead, we get this slow death by a thousand cuts. I'm not sure what is worse.

VideoEng_NC , Dec 22, 2017 7:38 PM

At this point I would not trust Mr Gowdy, in fact it's my hope his time with the state of SC ends soon. He's simply shown an extreme level in lacking execution. After what happened this week with McCabe's closed door testimony, it's clear Gowdy isn't on the side of the American people. It's called being able to close & he doesn't have it or is holding something back.

Promethus , Dec 22, 2017 8:09 PM

The corruption in the FBI is too broad and too deep. This organization is a nest of traitorous vipers who actively worked to overthrow a constitutionally elected president.

The organisation must be gutted and it's mission absorbed by other agencies. The current FBI management should water the tree of liberty.

johnnycanuck , Dec 22, 2017 8:11 PM

South side mob vs. the East side mob.

Are you not entertained ?

[Dec 21, 2017] The RussiaGate Witch-Hunt Stockman Names Names In The Deep State's Insurance Policy by David Stockman

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Needless to say, the Never Trumpers were eminently correct in their worry that Trump would sully, degrade and weaken the Imperial Presidency. That he has done in spades with his endless tweet storms that consist mainly of petty score settling, self-justification, unseemly boasting and shrill partisanship; and on top of that you can pile his impetuous attacks on friend, foe and bystanders (e.g. NFL kneelers) alike. ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Deep State's "Insurance Policy" Tyler Durden Dec 18, 2017 11:05 PM 0 SHARES Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

There was a sinister plot to meddle in the 2016 election, after all. But it was not orchestrated from the Kremlin; it was an entirely homegrown affair conducted from the inner sanctums---the White House, DOJ, the Hoover Building and Langley----of the Imperial City.

Likewise, the perpetrators didn't speak Russian or write in the Cyrillic script. In fact, they were lifetime beltway insiders occupying the highest positions of power in the US government.

Here are the names and rank of the principal conspirators:

To a person, the participants in this illicit cabal shared the core trait that made Obama such a blight on the nation's well-being. To wit, he never held an honest job outside the halls of government in his entire adult life; and as a careerist agent of the state and practitioner of its purported goods works, he exuded a sanctimonious disdain for everyday citizens who make their living along the capitalist highways and by-ways of America.

The above cast of election-meddlers, of course, comes from the same mold. If Wikipedia is roughly correct, just these 10 named perpetrators have punched in about 300 years of post-graduate employment---and 260 of those years (87%) were on government payrolls or government contractor jobs.

As to whether they shared Obama's political class arrogance, Peter Strzok left nothing to the imagination in his now celebrated texts to his gal-pal, Lisa Page:

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support......I LOATHE congress....And F Trump."

You really didn't need the ALL CAPS to get the gist. In a word, the anti-Trump cabal is comprised of creatures of the state.

Their now obvious effort to alter the outcome of the 2016 election was nothing less than the Imperial City's immune system attacking an alien threat, which embodied the very opposite trait: That is, the Donald had never spent one moment on the state's payroll, had been elected to no government office and displayed a spirited contempt for the groupthink and verities of officialdom in the Imperial City.

But it is the vehemence and flagrant transparency of this conspiracy to prevent Trump's ascension to the Oval Office that reveals the profound threat to capitalism and democracy posed by the Deep State and its prosperous elites and fellow travelers domiciled in the Imperial City.

That is to say, Donald Trump was no kind of anti-statist and only a skin-deep populist, at best. His signature anti-immigrant meme was apparently discovered by accident when in the early days of the campaign he went off on Mexican thugs, rapists and murderers----only to find that it resonated strongly among a certain element of the GOP grass roots.

But a harsh line on immigrants, refugees and Muslims would not have incited the Deep State into an attempted coup d'état; it wouldn't have mobilized so overtly against Ted Cruz, for example, whose positions on the ballyhooed terrorist/immigrant threat were not much different.

No, what sent the Imperial City establishment into a fit of apoplexy was exactly two things that struck at the core of its raison d' etre.

First was Trump's stated intentions to seek rapprochement with Putin's Russia and his sensible embrace of a non-interventionist "America First" view of Washington's role in the world. And secondly, and even more importantly, was his very persona.

That is to say, the role of today's president is to function as the suave, reliable maître d' of the Imperial City and the lead spokesman for Washington's purported good works at home and abroad. And for that role the slovenly, loud-mouthed, narcissistic, bombastic, ill-informed and crudely-mannered Donald Trump was utterly unqualified.

Stated differently, welfare statism and warfare statism is the secular religion of the Imperial City and its collaborators in the mainstream media; and the Oval Office is the bully pulpit from which its catechisms, bromides and self-justifications are propagandized to the unwashed masses---the tax-and-debt-slaves of Flyover America who bear the burden of its continuation.

Needless to say, the Never Trumpers were eminently correct in their worry that Trump would sully, degrade and weaken the Imperial Presidency. That he has done in spades with his endless tweet storms that consist mainly of petty score settling, self-justification, unseemly boasting and shrill partisanship; and on top of that you can pile his impetuous attacks on friend, foe and bystanders (e.g. NFL kneelers) alike.

Yet that is exactly what has the Deep State and its media collaborators running scared. To wit, Trump's entire modus operandi is not about governing or a serious policy agenda---and most certainly not about Making America's Economy Great Again. (MAEGA)

By appointing a passel of Keynesian monetary central planners to the Fed and launching an orgy of fiscal recklessness via his massive defense spending and tax-cutting initiatives, the Donald has more than sealed his own doom: There will unavoidably be a massive financial and economic crisis in the years just ahead and the rulers of the Imperial City will most certainly heap the blame upon him with malice aforethought.

In the interim, however, what the Donald is actually doing is sharply polarizing the country and using the Bully Pulpit for the very opposite function assigned to it by Washington's permanent political class. Namely, to discredit and vilify the ruling elites of government and the media and thereby undermine the docility and acquiescence of the unwashed masses upon which the Imperial City's rule and hideous prosperity depend.

It is no wonder, then, that the inner circle of the Obama Administration plotted an "insurance policy". They saw it coming-----that is, an offensive rogue disrupter who was soft on Russia, to boot--- and out of that alarm the entire hoax of RussiaGate was born.

As is now well known from the recent dump of 375 Strzok/Gates text messages, there occurred on August 15, 2016 a meeting in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who is still there) to kick off the RussiaGate campaign. As Strzok later wrote to Page, who was also at the meeting:

" I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk......It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you're 40."

They will try to spin this money quote seven-ways to Sunday, but in the context of everything else now known there is only one possible meaning: The national security and law enforcement machinery of Imperial Washington was being activated then and there in behalf of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Indeed, the trail of proof is quite clear. At the very time of this August meeting, the FBI was already being fed the initial elements of the Steele dossier, and the latter had nothing to do with any kind of national security investigation.

For crying out loud, it was plain old "oppo research" paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. And the only way that it bore on Russian involvement in the US election was that virtually all of the salacious material and false narratives about Trump emissaries meeting with high level Russian officials was disinformation sourced in Moscow, and was completely untrue.

As former senior FBI official, Andrew McCarthy, neatly summarized the sequence of action recently:

The Clinton campaign generated the Steele dossier through lawyers who retained Fusion GPS. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele, a former British intelligence agent who had FBI contacts from prior collaborative investigations. The dossier was steered into the FBI's hands as it began to be compiled in the summer of 2016. A Fusion Russia expert, Nellie Ohr, worked with Steele on Fusion's anti-Trump research. She is the wife of Bruce Ohr, then the deputy associate attorney general -- the top subordinate of Sally Yates, then Obama's deputy attorney general (later acting AG). Ohr was a direct pipeline to Yates.....

Based on the publication this week of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair, we have learned of a meeting convened in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe...... right around the time the Page FISA warrant was obtained......

Bruce Ohr met personally with Steele. And after Trump was elected, according to Fusion founder Glenn Simpson, he requested and got a meeting with Simpson to, as Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee, "discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election."

This, of course, was the precise time Democrats began peddling the public narrative of Trump-Russia collusion. It is the time frame during which Ohr's boss, Yates, was pushing an absurd Logan Act investigation of Trump transition official Michael Flynn (then slotted to become Trump's national-security adviser) over Flynn's meetings with the Russian ambassador.

Here's the thing. There is almost nothing in the Steele dossiers which is true. At the same time, there is no real alternative evidence based on hard NSA intercepts that show Russian government agents were behind the only two acts----the leaks of the DNC emails and the Podesta emails----that were of even minimal import to the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign.

As to the veracity of the dossier, the raving anti-Trumper and former CIA interim chief, Michael Morrell, settled the matter. If you are paying ex-FSA agents for information on the back streets of Moscow, the more you pay, the more "information" you will get:

Then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you're paying somebody, particularly former [Russian Federal Security Service] officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they're going to call you up and say, 'Hey, let's have another meeting, I have more information for you,' because they want to get paid some more,' Morrell said.

Far from being "verified," the dossier is best described as a pack of lies, gossip, innuendo and irrelevancies. Take, for example, the claim that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met with Russian Federation Council foreign affairs head Konstantin Kosachev in Prague during August 2016. That claim is verifiably false as proven by Cohen's own passport.

Likewise, the dossier 's claim that Carter Page was offered a giant bribe by the head of Rosneft, the Russian state energy company, in return for lifting the sanctions is downright laughable. That's because Carter Page never had any serious role in the Trump campaign and was one of hundreds of unpaid informal advisors who hung around the basket hoping for some role in a future Trump government.

Like the hapless George Papadopoulos, in fact, Page apparently never met Trump, had no foreign policy credentials and had been drafted onto the campaign's so-called foreign policy advisory committee out of sheer desperation.

That is, because the mainstream GOP foreign policy establishment had so completely boycotted the Trump campaign, the latter was forced to fill its advisory committee essentially from the phone book; and that desperation move in March 2016, in turn, had been undertaken in order to damp-down the media uproar over the Donald's assertion that he got his foreign policy advise from watching TV!

The truth of the matter is that Page was a former Merrill Lynch stockbrokers who had plied his trade in Russia several years earlier. He had gone to Moscow in July 2016 on his own dime and without any mandate from the Trump campaign; and his "meeting" with Rosneft actually consisted of drinks with an old buddy from his broker days who had become head of investor relations at Rosneft.

Nevertheless, it is pretty evident that the Steele dossier's tale about Page's alleged bribery scheme was the basis for the FISA warrant that resulted in wiretaps on Page and other officials in Trump Tower during September and October.

And that's your insurance policy at work: The Deep State and its allies in the Obama administration were desperately looking for dirt with which to crucify the Donald, and thereby insure that the establishment's anointed candidate would not fail at the polls.

So the question recurs as to why did the conspirators resort to the outlandish and even cartoonish disinformation contained in the Steele dossier?

The answer to that question cuts to the quick of the entire RussiaGate hoax. To wit, that's all they had!

Notwithstanding the massive machinery and communications vacuum cleaners operated by the $75 billion US intelligence communities and its vaunted 17 agencies, there are no digital intercepts proving that Russian state operatives hacked the DNC and Podesta emails. Period.

Yet when it comes to anything that even remotely smacks of "meddling" in the US election campaign, that's all she wrote.

There is nothing else of moment, and most especially not the alleged phishing expeditions directed at 20 or so state election boards. Most of these have been discredited, denied by local officials or were simply the work of everyday hackers looking for voter registration lists that could be sold.

The patently obvious point here is that in America there is no on-line network of voting machines on either an intra-state or interstate basis. And that fact renders the whole election machinery hacking meme null and void. Not even the treacherous Russians are stupid enough to waste their time trying to hack that which is unhackable.

In that vein, the Facebook ad buying scheme is even more ridiculous. In the context of an election campaign in which upwards of $7 billion of spending was reported by candidates and their committees to the FEC, and during which easily double that amount was spent by independent committees and issue campaigns, the notion that just $44,000 of Facebook ads made any difference to anything is not worthy of adult thought.

And, yes, out of the ballyhooed $100,000 of Facebook ads, the majority occurred after the election was over and none of them named candidates, anyway. The ads consisted of issue messages that reflected all points on the political spectrum from pro-choice to anti-gun control.

And even this so-called effort at "polarizing" the American electorate was "discovered" only after Facebook failed to find any "Russian-linked" ads during its first two searches. Instead, this complete drivel was detected only after the Senate's modern day Joseph McCarthy, Sen. Mark Warner, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a leading legislator on Internet regulation, showed up on Mark Zuckerberg's doorstep at Facebook headquarters.

In any event, we can be sure there are no NSA intercepts proving that the Russians hacked the Dem emails for one simple reason: They would have been leaked long ago by the vast network of Imperial City operatives plotting to bring the Donald down.

Moreover, the original architect and godfather of NSA's vast spying apparatus, William Binney, has essentially proved that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider who downloaded them on a memory stick. By conducting his own experiments, he showed that the known download speed of one batch of DNC emails could not have occurred over the Internet from a remote location in Russia or anywhere else on the planet, and actually matched what was possible only via a local USB-connected thumb drive.

So the real meaning of the Strzok/Gates text messages is straight foreword. There was a conspiracy to prevent Trump's election, and then after the shocking results of November 8, this campaign morphed into an intensified effort to discredit the winner.

For instance, Susan Rice got Obama to lower the classification level of the information obtained from the Trump campaign intercepts and other dirt-gathering actions by the Intelligence Community (IC)--- so that it could be disseminated more readily to all Washington intelligence agencies.

In short order, of course, the IC was leaking like a sieve, thereby paving the way for the post-election hysteria and the implication that any contact with a Russian--even one living in Brooklyn-- must be collusion. And that included calls to the Russian ambassador by the president-elect's own national security advisor designate.

Should there by any surprise, therefore, that it turns out the Andrew McCabe bushwhacked General Flynn on January 24 when he called to say that FBI agents were on the way to the White House for what Flynn presumed to be more security clearance work with his incipient staff.

No at all. The FBI team was there to interrogate Flynn about the transcripts of his perfectly appropriate and legal conversations with Ambassador Kislyak about two matters of state----the UN resolution on Israel and the spiteful new sanctions on certain Russian citizens that Obama announced on December 28 in a fit of pique over the Dems election loss.

And that insidious team of FBI gotcha cops was led by none other than......Peter Strzok!

But after all the recent leaks---and these text messages are just the tip of the iceberg-----the die is now cast. Either the Deep State and its minions and collaborators in the media and the Republican party, too, will soon succeed in putting Mike Pence into the Oval Office, or the Imperial City is about ready to break-out in vicious partisan warfare like never before.

Either way, economic and fiscal governance is about ready to collapse entirely, making the tax bill a kind of last hurrah before they mayhem really begins.

In that context, selling the rip may become one of the most profitable speculations ever imagined.

CuttingEdge -> The_Juggernaut , Dec 19, 2017 2:05 AM

Not sure why Stockman went off on a tangent about Trump's innumerate economic strategy - kinda dilutes from an otherwise informative piece for anyone who hasn't a handle on the underhand shit that's been hitting the fan in recent months. Its like he has to have a go about it no matter what the main theme. Like PCR and "insouciance". And then there's the texting...

Clue yourself in, David.

A very small percentage of the public are actually informed about what is really going down. Those that visit ZH or your website. Fox is the only pro-Trump mainstream TV news outlet, and as to the NYT, WP et al? The media disinformation complex keep the rest in the matrix, and it has been very easy to see in action over the last year or so because it has been so well co-ordinated (and totally fabricated).

Given the blatant and contemptous avoidance of the truth by the MSM (the current litany of seditious/treasonous actions being a case in point), it is fair to say that Trump's tweets provide a very real public service - focussing the (otherwise ignorant) public's attention on many things the aforementioned cunts (I'll include Google and FaecesBook) divert from like the plague (and making them look utter slime in the process).

Don't knock it

A Sentinel -> BennyBoy , Dec 19, 2017 2:23 AM

I do respect stockman but here's bullshit-call #1: he says that the deep state doesn't like the divisiveness he causes: bush certainly did that and Obama' did so at an order of magnitude higher. I don't believe that the left is more upset by trump than we were by Barry- we're just not a bunch of sniveling, narcissistic babies like they are.

redmudhooch -> BennyBoy , Dec 19, 2017 1:14 PM

Hondurans accuse US of election meddling

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/hondurans-accuse-election-meddling...

The US embassy in Honduras has been surrounded by protesters infuriated by the three-week-wait for the definitive result of the presidential election.

Demonstrators accuse the US of meddling in last month's vote which both candidates say they won.

Wage Slave 927 -> shitshitshit , Dec 19, 2017 1:45 AM

When the details of the FISA warrant application are revealed, it will be like a megaton-class munition detonating, and the Deep State will bear the brunt of destruction.

enough of this , Dec 18, 2017 11:19 PM

The Comey - Strzok Duet satire:

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-comey-strzok-duet-on-the-eve-of-the-c...

SheHunter , Dec 18, 2017 11:25 PM

For those of you who have not yet discovered it Mr. Stockman's Contra Corner is a hands-down great blog well worth a nightly read.

zagzigga -> Mini-Me , Dec 18, 2017 11:48 PM

Similar mass deception was in play to start the Iraq war as well. Constant bombardment led to public consensus and even the liberal New York Times endorsed the war. Whenever we see mass hysteria about something new, we should just go with the flow and not ask any questions at all. It is best for retaining sanity in this dumbed down and getting more dumber world.

Anunnaki , Dec 18, 2017 11:31 PM

Susan Rice and Obama should be indicted for illegally wiretapping Trump Towers for the express purpose of finding oppo research to help Hellary's late term abortiion of a campaign

Tapeworm -> Anunnaki , Dec 19, 2017 8:25 AM

This one is deeper but well laid out. Comey & Mueller Ignored McCabe's Ties to Russian Crime Figures & His Reported Tampering in Russian FBI Cases, Files

https://truepundit.com/comey-mueller-ignored-mccabes-ties-to-russian-cri...

I damned near insist that y'all read this one. Please???

Cardinal Fang , Dec 18, 2017 11:40 PM

Great read, loved the 'Imperial City's immune system' analogy...

I disagree about the economy though.

It feels strange to me that the architect of the Reagan Revolution is unable to see the makings of another revolution, the Trump Revolution.

We have had 10-20 years of pent up demand in the economy and instead of electing another neo-Marxist Alynski acolyte, the American people elected a hard charging anti-establishment bull in a China shop.

Surely Dave can see the potential.

It kills me when people are surprised by a 12 month, 5000 point run up on Wall Street.

For God's sake the United States was run by a fucking commie for 8 years, what the fuck did you think was gonna happen?

Jeez

GoldHermit , Dec 18, 2017 11:58 PM

America is divided and will remain divided. I think it will last at least for the next 50 years, maybe longer. The best way out is to limit the federal government and give each state more responsibility. States can succeed or fail on their own. People will be free to move where they want.

Not My Real Name -> GoldHermit , Dec 19, 2017 1:21 AM

"The best way out is to limit the federal government and give each state more responsibility."

Oh, you mean follow the Constitution as it was written. Good one, Hermit!

bh2 , Dec 19, 2017 12:01 AM

Somewhere there is a FISA judge who should be defrocked and exposed as a fraud. No sober judge would accept such evidence for any purpose, much less authorizing government snooping on a major party candidate for president.

MrSteve -> bh2 , Dec 19, 2017 12:29 AM

This makes FISA a totalitarian joke and that should be investigated.

RonBananas , Dec 19, 2017 4:51 AM

The CIA holds all the videos from Jeff Epstein's Island (20 documented trips by Bill, 6 documented trips by Hillary), I'm sure Bill doing a 12 year old, Hillary and Huma doing an 8 year old girl together, etc. So what are they willing to do for the CIA? Anything at any cost, getting caught red handed with a dossier is chump change when you look at the big picture..they don't care and will do anything...ANYTHING to get rid of Trump.

This is the only reason they are so frantic. There is absolutely no other reason they would play at this level.

Pol Pot -> RonBananas , Dec 19, 2017 4:57 AM

Correct on all except it's the Mossad and not the CIA who ran flight Epstein.

shutterbug , Dec 19, 2017 5:47 AM

Trump is gone in a few months or the DoJ, FBI and all others connected to FBI-gate are prosecuted...

Session's (in-)action will be crucial to one of these paths...

Stud Duck , Dec 19, 2017 6:42 AM

As always, Dave puts it all into prospective for even the brain dead. Ya think Joe and his gang will be talking about this article on their morning talk show today?? I wonder how Brezenski's daughter is going to tell daddy that the gig is up and they may want to look into packing a boogie bag just to play it safe?

David Stockman is a flame of hope in a world of dark machievellian thought!

Occams_Razor_Trader , Dec 19, 2017 7:25 AM

Why did the alt media and the msm all stop reportinmg that McCabe's wife recieved 700 thousand dollars from Terry McAulife (former Clinton campaign manager times 2!) for a Virginia State Senate run? Quid pro quo? Oh no, never the up and up DemonRats.

So when I hear that the conversation was held in McCabe's office- I want to puke first then start building the gallows.

MATA HAIRY , Dec 19, 2017 7:34 AM

fucken brilliant article!! There is a lot I don't like about trump (some of which stockman discusses above), but as a retired govt worker, I can tell you that he right about what he is saying here.

insanelysane , Dec 19, 2017 8:14 AM

One little tidbit that has been lost in all of this:

If the FBI was willing to use their power to back Hillary and defeat Trump at the national level, what did they try to do in McCabe's wife's state senate campaign? She is a pediatrician and she ran for state senate. ??? WTF is that about? She's not only a doctor but a doctor for children. Those people are usually wired to help people. Yet she was going to for-go being a doctor for a state senate position. ??? And the DNC forked over $700,000 to put her on the map.

I'm sure the people meeting daily in Andy's office were not pleased with the voter resistance to his wife and to Hillary. The FBI needs to be shut down. They have become an opposition research firm for the DNC. Even if they can't find dirt on candidates using the NSA database, they are able to tap that database to find out political strategies in real time on opposition The fish is rotten from the head down to the tail.

unklemunky , Dec 19, 2017 8:20 AM

No matter what article you read here, and don't get me wrong, I love the insight, but every fucking article is "it's all over. America is doomed, the petro dollar days are over, China China China. It's getting a bit old. The charts and graphs about stock market collapse......it becoming an old record that needs changed. If I say it's going to rain every fucking day, at some point I will be right. That doesn't make me a genius....it makes me persistent.

insanelysane , Dec 19, 2017 8:24 AM

It's a Deep State mess and Sessions is trying his best as he cowers in a corner sucking his thumb.

If they continue to go after Trump, the FBI is going to be found guilty of violating the Hatch Act by exonerating Hillary. See burner phones. See writing the conclusion in May when the investigation supposedly ended with Hillary's interview on July 3rd. The FBI will also be exposed for sedition as they then carried out the phony Russiagate investigation as their "insurance policy."

However, they have created an expectation with the left that Trump and his minions will be brought to "justice." If we thought the Left didn't handle losing the election well, they will not be pleased at losing Russiagate.

MrBoompi , Dec 19, 2017 4:25 PM

How dare anyone contradict or go against the wishes of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC? Don't you know they understand what's best for us?

[Dec 19, 2017] Do not Underestimate the Power of Microfoundations

Highly recommended!
Nice illustration of ideologically based ostrakism as practiced in Academia: "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."
Notable quotes:
"... A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned. ..."
"... The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for ..."
"... Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR. With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities. ..."
"... To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell. ..."
"... Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys. ..."
"... "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders." ..."
Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View

Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...

At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?

IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.

A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.

Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...

There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.

A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.

Richard H. Serlin

Consistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?

Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.

But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.

You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer ( http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html ).

Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.

Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.

dilbert dogbert

As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.

But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.

Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.

RGC -> dilbert dogbert...

Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.

Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...

"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."

[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.

YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.

With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.

Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.

The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....

unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.

[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.

THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.

For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]

likbez -> Syaloch...

I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.

That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.

Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.

To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.

Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.

But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.

likbez -> likbez...

Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:

"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."

Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

Syaloch -> likbez...

Yeah, case in point.

[Dec 19, 2017] DOJ Discovers Robert Mueller Had Ties To Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort Prior To Probe

Important conflict of interests that Mueller interviewed for the position of the head of FBI and was rejected by Trump.
Dec 19, 2017 | www.dcstatesman.com
he Department of Justice is refusing to release details of the process that led to FBI Director Robert Mueller being granted an ethics waiver to be able to serve as special counsel investigating Trump's campaign involvement with Russia during the 2016 election.

On Friday, the agency released a one-sentence memo that confirmed Mueller was granted a conflict-of-interest waiver to serve in the position.

The waiver is believed to be related to Mueller's previous work as a partner at WilmerHale law firm, which is also the firm that represented former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and White House adviser Jared Kushner. However, documents signed by the Justice's top career official, Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott School, provide no evidence as to the grounds for the waiver. It's actually so vague that it doesn't even state why Mueller would need the release.

"'Pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.502(d), I hereby authorize Robert Mueller's participation in the investigation into Russia's role in the presidential campaign of 2016 and all matters arising from the investigation,' Schools wrote in the 'authorization' signed on May 18, one day after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein formally appointed Mueller to the position ."

The Justice Management Division of the agency found a two-page "recommendation memorandum" per POLITICO's request, but declined releasing it because it would interfere with the "deliberative process inside the department."

The secrecy revolving the situation could result in some Republican lawmakers and Trump allies to raise doubts about the impartiality of the Mueller investigation. Experts are troubled that the Justice Department hasn't been more open about the information of Mueller's waiver.

"'I think it's sloppy,' said Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. 'The conspiratorial side of me thinks somebody at Justice is not giving you the explanation for the waiver because they want to create the impression that Robert Mueller has a problem when Robert Mueller doesn't have a problem. This is going to lead to Fox News conspiracy talk.'"

[Dec 18, 2017] Moon of Alabama -- Crooked Timber

Dec 18, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

Sandwichman 12.16.17 at 6:56 pm (no link)

Who is this "left" that "can't let go of the voters who remain committed to Trump_vs_deep_state"? Sounds like something one might read in the New York Times (if one still read the New York Times ).

Electoral "victories" don't mean a thing if they are not backed up with direct action -- the readiness and willingness to exercise extra-parliamentary power. The only decisive power that "the left" could have is the withholding of labour power. As long as the political discourse is confined to palaver about popularity polls, there can be no challenge to a status quo that only progressively gets worse.

What people who want positive change need to realize is that a GENERAL STRIKE doesn't need to be "won" like a voting contest to have leverage. All that is needed is a demonstration of a credible threat to the uninterrupted accumulation of surplus value.

Why have "social democratic" governments been such shit for the last 40 years or so? Because finance has threatened them with the withdrawal of credit. Withholding capital is the substantive power of the political right; withholding labour power is the substantive power of the political left. Voting is only meaningful to the extent it represents something substantive. Otherwise it is a hollow symbol.

Omega Centauri 12.16.17 at 8:29 pm ( 3 )
My understanding is that there wasn't much change in voter turnout by group, but roughly 20% of white voters who normally vote Republican voted against Moore.
At least that was my takeaway from this:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/12/alabamas-white-voters-abandoned-roy-moore-in-large-numbers/

So rather than 10%ish of whites voting D, we had roughly 30%, a pretty substantial swing.

Layman 12.16.17 at 9:17 pm ( 4 )
"My understanding is that there wasn't much change in voter turnout by group "

Voter turnout was dramatically different when you compare with the last year there was no President on the ballot, e.g. 2014. Turnout in the cities was up 31%, turnout in white suburbs was up 18%, and turnout in college towns up 24%. Turnout in white rural counties was down 5%, while turnout in black rural counties was up 10%.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/13/us/politics/alabama-senate-election-roy-moore.html

Heliopause 12.16.17 at 9:56 pm ( 5 )
"On election day, the left needs to convince the right – not through voter suppression or intimidation but through rhetoric and speech – that their movement is going nowhere, so they shouldn't either."

Thing is, crabby old conservative white people are the most reliable voting bloc.

"That's exactly what happened in Alabama"

What happened in Alabama was a sustained, weeks-long campaign of negative publicity, virtually 100% directed at Moore (who by the way was an extremely controversial character long before these sex allegations), which was unprecedented in scope for a Senate race. Even so he just barely lost. If you think you can replicate this hundreds of times over across the country, hey, go for it.

More realistically, what the left needs to do is give the tens of millions of non-voters something to vote FOR, rather than praying that all your opponents will be extremist theocrat sex fiends.

ph 12.16.17 at 10:38 pm ( 6 )
Interesting. Moore's primary win was itself a rejection of GOP cronyism. The president and the national party supported the candidate of the establishment. Moore's victory then was touted as a 'defeat' for Trump, and now his 'defeat' is also a 'defeat' for Trump. The GOP establishment rejected Trump and Moore, so if it was a victory for anybody I'd say they have grounds for celebration. Moore added nothing for Trump other than headaches, so I'm certain he's utterly indifferent to the success, or failure, of anyone but himself.

Yes, GOP voters stayed home, as you point out in the article, but offer scant evidence that they did because they are 'dis-spirited' or see their ideas 'going nowhere.' GOP voters are winning across the board with the tax cut of their dreams arriving in time to celebrate Christmas. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, climate change is no longer a national threat, and the better informed understand that the GOP is remaking the judiciary.

Congress has never been popular among GOP voters and it's probably a mistake to read too much into one atypical election. I do think that there's a good chance that GOP success and loathing of the president and the congress, combined, could depress turnout in 2018.

alfredlordbleep 12.16.17 at 11:13 pm ( 7 )
ph@6: GOP voters are winning across the board with the tax cut of their dreams arriving in time to celebrate Christmas. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, climate change is no longer a national threat, and the better informed understand that the GOP is remaking the judiciary.

Omits the savaging of healthcare of the neediest*. It's amazing that the no. 1 issue for Va voters (exit? poll) was healthcare, but reporters/analysts rather write about anything else.
Rightwing fell a vote short of cutting Medicaid by $800B/10yrs, but they get an estimate of, say, $300B/10yrs for tax cut numbers game by killing ACA's mandate, eh?

*Oh, yes, ask the White Christians' Party how they square it. . . Once again, it's a White Christmas.

John Quiggin 12.17.17 at 2:40 am ( 8 )
There was a big shift among non-evangelical white voters. Self-described evangelicals had slightly lower turnout but voted 80 per cent for Moore when they turned out. The response to the outcome certainly seems to have included a shift towards a much more negative treatment of evangelicals as a group. Most notably, it's now being routinely observed that, for white people, evangelicalism isn't Christian at all, but a cultural label attached to a mixture of white nationalism and the prosperity gospel. This piece in the NY Times hits most of the main points.
rogergathmann 12.17.17 at 9:20 am (no link)
2. Sandwichman, you are so right!

However, to go out of the question of political power for a moment, I don't see the question about Trump voters as one of "how can we convert them." Rather, the question is about the existential conditions in the U.S. that have not only produced this reactionary class, but endowed it with such enormous power. Personally, I would say that their power stems from the enormous failure of American liberalism to pursue, after the 60s, its promises – a failure that can be measured by the enormous disparity between white and black household wealth, the destruction of unions, the advent of law and order policies that were thinly disguised apartheid gestures, and the takeover of the two parties by a managerial class completely connected to the patterns in capitalism traced by Piketty and Saenz – a class that has succeeded in creating the acceptance of corporations as vessels for looting by upper management, with all its consequences. To my mind, these are all consequences of the way mid-century American liberalism fell victim to its own contradictions, and its collapse has left a vast vacuum.

Heliopause 12.17.17 at 5:44 pm ( 13 )
@11
"If we could replicate that, across the country, the Republican Party would be wiped off the electoral map."

Let's do it. I look forward to every election henceforth being decided on the basis of whether one of the candidates groped teenagers or not. Might want to mix in some different sex acts, though, just to keep people from getting bored.

bruce wilder 12.17.17 at 7:32 pm ( 14 )
I read your Guardian piece, again and backwards or from the bottom up -- a method consonant with its themes -- and liked it better.

That "addled white upper-middle class", self-satisfied that racism is something impolite and unattractive that other people do, obsessed with CNN's daily attempts to rhyme russiagate with Watergate and Mueller with Starr, stumbles on in its media-driven fog. The mercenary consultants who have the apparatus of the Democratic Party firmly in their neoliberal deathgrip will read the exit polls and send silent lovenotes to the suburban white Republican women voters, not desperately poor blacks (who mostly do not vote and have nothing to gain from voting). I cannot say I feel "the left" won; it looks like the Right won, in an intramural tussle in which "the left" participated only in cheering from the bleachers, not playing on the field. The "mild centrist" will go to Washington and do as he is bid, when the bid is high enough.

The Marshall Project dutifully tends to my cognitive dissonance, assuring me Doug Jones's election is a victory for sentencing reform. The waiter is assuring me that the dish being served was a great choice from a menu written by people completely disinterested in my views, tastes or welfare.

Who is rightly convinced here that his cause is a loser?

The targets are many and multifarious. The poor blacks? I suspect the hopelessness of democracy in Alabama from their viewpoint remains undisturbed. (At least they got thank you's on Facebook!)

The ones I would like to convince of the hopelessness of politics are not the rebellious populists in the Republican electorate who rejected Luther Strange, but the ones who proposed Luther Strange. Or, who put forward Doug Jones, "mild centrist". Neither group is likely to read reasons to give up into these results. And both constitute "the Right" in a practical, pro-plutocracy sense.

Pessimism on the left has many flavors, but seems to me to be appropriate to the political climate. Doug Jones's election is evidence that "the system works" -- at least it can be interpreted that way by people who really need to be disabused of their complacency that the system is working and their conviction that the only people who think otherwise are either irredeemable racists and fools or silly impractical idealistic socialists.

The American political drama takes place on a stage, where the abundant evidence that the political system as a whole is failing to properly govern or enable fundamental reform is ignored. The outcries of those alarmed are ignored and muffled, channeled away from anything to do with electoral politics. The echo chamber of the Media silences with its noise.

I get the reasons why the impulse among the authoritarian followers of the Right to see demolition done is alarming. Also, why handing the nitro to Trump, Bannon or Moore might compound the reasons for alarm. But, the Right figuring out how to handle this rebellion does not help "our" rebellion on the left.

Pavel A 12.17.17 at 10:08 pm ( 15 )
Doug Jones, while being a decent, boring guy, is not in any way representative of the kinds of races that are going to be run in 2018. Most GOPers know how to dog whistle and keep their dicks in their pants. Meanwhile, Jones is already listing slowly to the right, with his bullshit overtures to bipartisanship, voting in line with the senate Republicans and putting all that sexual harassment stuff behind us (also see Northam in VA). The corporate Dems' new holy incantation is "Ich bin ein centrist!" and it's not likely to get them a lot of wins against racists and kleptocapitalist looters, particularly in states with a lower proportion of PoC voters.

[Dec 18, 2017] Russia-Gate Is State-Sponsored Paranoia by Gilbert Doctorow

It's pretty interesting fact: "Even today more than half of the US Senators do not possess passports, meaning they have never been abroad, barring possible trips to Canada using their driver's licenses as ID."
While you can't exclude that Russia favored Trump over Clinton and might be provided some token of support, you can't compare Russia and Israel as for influence on the US domestic and foreign policy. And GB also have a say and connections (GB supported Hillary and MI6 probably used dirty methods). KSA provided money to Hillary. Still there is multiple investigations of Russia influence and none for those two players. That makes the current Russiagate current witch hunt is really scary.
The main theme of American political life right now is McCarthyism and anti-Russian hysteria
Notable quotes:
"... The American public is now experiencing mass paranoia that is called Russia-gate. Obnoxious and dangerous as this officially encouraged madness may be, it is, alas, nothing new. As from 9/11, the same kind of group hypnosis was administered from the Nation's Capital on the body politic to serve the then agenda of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, turning back civil liberties that had accrued over generations without so much as a whimper from Congress, our political elites and the country at large. ..."
"... Foreign policy issues are instrumentalized for domestic political objectives. In 2001 it was the threat of Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world attacking the American homeland. Today it is the alleged manipulation of our open political system by our enemies in the Kremlin. ..."
"... There is in the United States a significant minority of journalists and experts who have been setting out the facts on why the Russia-gate story is deeply flawed if not a fabrication from the get-go. In this small but authoritative and responsible field, Consortium News stands out for its courage and dogged fact-checking and logic-checks. Others on the side of the angels include TruthDig.com and Antiwar.com . ..."
"... Perhaps the most significant challenge to the official US intelligence story of Russian hacking released on January 6, 2017 was the forensic evidence assembled by a group of former intelligence officers with relevant technical expertise known as VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). Their work, arguing that the attack on the DNC computers was an inside job by someone with access to the hardware rather than a remote operation by persons outside the Democratic Party hierarchy and possibly outside the United States, was published in Consortium News ("Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence") on July 24, 2017. ..."
"... The final word on Russia's electoral preferences during the October 20 show was given by the moderator, Vladimir Soloviev: "There can be no illusions. Both Trump and Clinton have a very bad attitude to Russia. What Trump said about us and Syria was no compliment at all. The main theme of American political life right now is McCarthyism and anti-Russian hysteria." ..."
"... "America is a very complex country. It does not pay to demonize it. We have to understand precisely what we like and do not like. On this planet there is no way to avoid them. Whoever becomes president of the USA, the nuclear parity forces us to negotiate and reach agreement." ..."
"... "The US has opened its doors to the most intelligent people of the world, made it attractive for them. Of course, this builds their exceptionalism. All directors, engineers, composers head there. Our problem is that we got rid of our tsar, our commissars but people are still hired hands. The top people go to the States because the pay is higher." ..."
"... How are we to understand the discrepancy between the very low marks the panelists gave the US presidential race and their favorable marks for the US as an economic and military powerhouse. It appears to result from their understanding that there is a disconnect between Washington, the presidency and what makes the economy turn over. The panelists concluded that the USA has a political leadership at the national level that is unworthy and inappropriate to its position in the world. On this point, I expect that many American readers of this essay will concur. ..."
"... Even today more than half of the US Senators do not possess passports, meaning they have never been abroad, barring possible trips to Canada using their driver's licenses as ID. ..."
"... And for those Americans who do travel abroad, the world outside US borders is all too often just an object of prestige tourism, a divertissement, where the lives of local people, their concerns and their interests do not exist on the same high plateau as American lives, concerns and interests. It is not that we are all Ugly Americans, but we are too well insulated from the travails of others and too puffed up with our own exceptionalism. ..."
"... It is not surprising that in the US foreign policy is not a self-standing intellectual pursuit on a chessboard of its own but is strictly a subset of domestic policy calculations, and in particular of partisan electoral considerations. ..."
"... As regards the Russian Federation, the ongoing hysteria over Russia-gate in particular, and over the perceived threat Russia poses to US national interests in general, risks tilting the world into nuclear war. ..."
"... JFK murder was about replacing the president elected by the people. Russia-gate has the same goal. ..."
"... As shown in this article, the American media has a long track record of misreporting key news items: ..."
"... The current cycle of fake news about Russia is definitely not a new phenomenon in the United States. ..."
"... Can someone tell the big fat cowards exercising around North Korea to please shut the hell up? Cowards make a lot of noise. When Libya was invaded there were no exercises, when Iraq was invaded there were no exercises...... when Vietnam was invaded there were no exercises.... ..."
"... It is obvious to the world that the fat cowards cannot attack a nuclear armed country. They are too yellow bellied to do anything but beat their chest like some stupid gorilla in an African jungle ..."
"... All the while the real diplomacy is going on between South Korea and China with North Korea paying close attention, I am sure. The Russian / Chinese proposal of a rail system from South Korea through North Korea and into China connecting to the connection grid of all of Asia is a far greater prospect for the peace initiative than the saber rattling presently outwardly being displayed. ..."
"... They keep raising the ante, and the North Koreans keep calling their bluff. They are made to look ridiculous as they don't have a winnable hand and the North Koreans know it. ..."
"... "American media simply were not interested in knowing what Russians were thinking since that might get in the way of their construction of what Russians should be thinking". ..."
"... Reminds me of the classic American boss's remark: "Any time I want your opinion, I'll tell you it". ..."
"... This is actually quite a neat and elegant example of the kind of deceptive language routinely used by politicians and the media. It is, of course, entirely true that no conclusive proof has surfaced. Indeed, that must follow from the equally true and indisputable fact that no proof of any kind has surfaced. Actually, nothing even vaguely resembling proof has surfaced. There is no evidence at all - not the slightest scrap. ..."
"... But by slipping in that little adjective "conclusive" the journalist manages to convey quite a strong impression that there is proof - only not quite conclusive proof. ..."
"... It is just as dishonest and cynical as Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign remark, "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience". ..."
"... Russiangate is concocted BS, to keep the ignorant American sheep , from understanding Israel picked the "president of the USA". ..."
"... I think at times the CIA is actually assisting the Russian security services with terror operations. I realize it doesn't make sense with Langley assisting ISIS in Syria, but that's the world we appear to have: selective cooperation. ..."
"... After Uranium One, it would make sense to assume Russia would have preferred Hitlery in the White House ..."
"... Of course they also know Hitlery is a massive warmongering Nazi terrorist, but then again, looks like Trump doesn't differ very much from her on that. ..."
"... Funny how the CIA has better intel on terrorism in Russia than the Russians do, even stranger than the RF leadership doesn't seem to question the situation what so ever. ..."
"... Got to hand it to the Americans, a couple of months ago Putin joked about RF "cells" in the USA and now the CIA hands the RF a real cell all ready to go murder some Russians. ..."
"... "German media reported on Saturday that BND covertly provided a number of journalists with information containing criticism of Russia before the data were disclosed by the agency." ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | russia-insider.com

"The two (Trump and Clinton) cannot greet one another on stage, cannot say goodbye to one another at the end. They barely can get out the texts that have been prepared for them by their respective staffs. Repeating on stage what one may have said in the locker room."

"Billions of people around the world conclude with one word: Disgrace!"

- Vladimir Zhirinovsky - prominent Russian politician, leader of a major party in parliament.

The American public is now experiencing mass paranoia that is called Russia-gate. Obnoxious and dangerous as this officially encouraged madness may be, it is, alas, nothing new. As from 9/11, the same kind of group hypnosis was administered from the Nation's Capital on the body politic to serve the then agenda of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, turning back civil liberties that had accrued over generations without so much as a whimper from Congress, our political elites and the country at large.

This time the generalized paranoia started under the nominally left of center administration of Barack Obama in the closing months of his presidency. It has been fanned ever since by the centrists in both Democratic and Republican parties who want to either remove from office or politically cripple Donald Trump and his administration, that is to say, to overturn the results at the ballot box on November 8, 2016.

Foreign policy issues are instrumentalized for domestic political objectives. In 2001 it was the threat of Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world attacking the American homeland. Today it is the alleged manipulation of our open political system by our enemies in the Kremlin.

Americans are wont to forget that there is a world outside the borders of the USA and that others follow closely what is said and written in our media, especially by our political leadership and policy elites. They forget or do not care how the accusations and threats we direct at other countries in our domestic political squabbling, and still more the sanctions we impose on our ever changing list of authoritarians and other real or imagined enemies abroad might be interpreted there and what preparations or actions might be taken by those same enemies in self-defense, threatening not merely American interests but America's physical survival.

In no case is this more relevant than with respect to Russia, which, I remind readers, is the only country on earth capable of turning the entire Continental United States into ashes within a day. In point of fact, if Russia has prepared itself for war, as the latest issue of Newsweek magazine tells us, we have no one but our political leadership to blame for that state of affairs. They are tone deaf to what is said in Russia. We have no concern for Russian national interests and "red lines" as the Russians themselves define them. Our Senators and Congressmen listen only to what our home grown pundits and academics think the Russian interests should be if they are to fit in a world run by us. That is why the Senate can vote 98-2 in favor of making the sanctions against Russia laid down by executive order of Barack Obama into sanctions under federal legislation as happened this past summer.

There is in the United States a significant minority of journalists and experts who have been setting out the facts on why the Russia-gate story is deeply flawed if not a fabrication from the get-go. In this small but authoritative and responsible field, Consortium News stands out for its courage and dogged fact-checking and logic-checks. Others on the side of the angels include TruthDig.com and Antiwar.com .

The Russia-gate story has permutated over time as one or another element of the investigation into Donald Trump's alleged collusion with the Kremlin has become more or less promising. But the core issue has always been the allegation of Russian hacking of DNC computers on July 5, 2016 and the hand-over of thousands of compromising documents to Wikileaks for the purpose of discrediting putative Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and throwing the election to Donald Trump, who had at that time nearly clinched the Republican nomination.

Perhaps the most significant challenge to the official US intelligence story of Russian hacking released on January 6, 2017 was the forensic evidence assembled by a group of former intelligence officers with relevant technical expertise known as VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). Their work, arguing that the attack on the DNC computers was an inside job by someone with access to the hardware rather than a remote operation by persons outside the Democratic Party hierarchy and possibly outside the United States, was published in Consortium News ("Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence") on July 24, 2017.

The VIPS material was largely ignored by mainstream media, as might be expected. An editorial entitled "The unchecked threat from Russia" published by The Washington Post yesterday is a prime example of how our media bosses continue to whip up public fury against collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin even when, by their own admission, "no conclusive proof has surfaced."

The VIPS piece last July was based on the laws of physics, demonstrating that speed limitations on transfer of data over the internet at the time when the crime is alleged to have taken place rendered impossible the CIA, NSA and FBI scenario of Russian hacking In what follows, I will introduce a very different type of evidence challenging the official US intelligence story of Russian hacking and meddling in general, what I would call circumstantial evidence that goes to the core issue of what the Kremlin really wanted. Let us consider whether Mr. Putin had a motive to put his thumb on the scales in the American presidential election.

In the U.S., that is a slam-dunk question. But that comes from our talking to ourselves in the mirror. My evidence comes precisely from the other side of the issue: what the Kremlin elites were saying about the US elections and their preferred candidate to win while the campaign was still going on. I present it on a privileged basis because it is what I gathered on my several visits to Moscow and talks with a variety of insiders close to Vladimir Putin from September through the start of November, 2016. Moreover, there is no tampering with this evidence on my part, because the key elements were published at the time I gathered them, well before the US election. They appeared as incidental observations in lengthy essays dealing with a number of subjects and would not have attracted the attention they merit today.

* * * *

Political talk shows are a very popular component of Russian television programming on all channels, both state-run and commercial channels. They are mostly carried on prime time in the evening but also are showing in mid-afternoon, where they have displaced soap operas and cooking lessons as entertainment for housewives and pensioners. They are broadcast live either to the Moscow time zone or to the Far East time zone. Given the fact that Russia extends over 9 time zones, they are also video recorded and reshown locally at prime time. In the case of the highest quality and most watched programs produced by Vesti 24 for the Rossiya One channel, they also are posted in their entirety and in the original Russian on youtube, and they are accessible worldwide by anyone with a computer or tablet phone using a downloadable free app.

I underline the importance of accessibility of these programs globally via live streaming or podcasts on simple handheld gadgets. Russian speaking professionals in the States had every opportunity to observe much of what I report below, except, of course, for my private conversations with producers and panelists. But the gist of the mood in Moscow with respect to the US elections was accessible to anyone with an interest. As you know, no one reported on it at the time. American media simply were not interested in knowing what Russians were thinking since that might get in the way of their construction of what Russians should be thinking.

The panelists appearing on these different channels come from a rather small pool of Russian legislators, including chairmen of the relevant committees of the Duma (lower house) and Federation Council (upper house), leading journalists, think tank professors, retired military brass. The politicians are drawn from among the most visible and colorful personalities in the Duma parties, but also extend to Liberal parties such as Yabloko, which failed to cross the threshold of 5% in legislative elections and received no seats in parliament.

Then there are very often a number of foreigners among panelists. In the past and at the present, they are typically known for anti-Kremlin positions and so give the predominantly patriotic Russian panelists an opportunity to cross swords, send off sparks and keep the audience awake. These hostile foreigners coming from Ukraine or Poland are Russian speakers from their childhood. The Americans or Israelis who appear are generally former Soviet citizens who emigrated, whether before or after the fall of Communism, and speak native Russian.

"Freshness" is an especially valued commodity in this case, because there is a considerable overlap in the names and faces appearing on these talks whatever the channel. For this there is an objective reason: nearly all the Russian and even foreign guests live in Moscow and are available to be invited or disinvited on short notice given that these talk programs can change their programming if there is breaking news about which their audiences will want to hear commentary. In my own case, I was flown in especially by the various channels who paid airfare and hotel accommodation in Moscow as necessary on the condition that I appear only on their shows during my stay in the city. That is to say, my expenses were covered but there was no honorarium. I make this explicit to rebut in advance any notion that I/we outside panelists were in any way "paid by the Kremlin" or restricted in our freedom of speech on air.

During the period under review, I appeared on both state channels, Rossiya-1 and Pervy Kanal, as well as on the major commercial television channel, NTV. The dates and venues of my participation in these talk shows are as follows:

For purposes of this essay, the pertinent appearances were on September 11 and 26. To this I add the Sixty Minutes show of October 20 which I watched on television but which aired content that I believe is important to this discussion.

My debut on the number one talk show in Russia, Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, on September 11 was invaluable not so much for what was said on air but for the exchange I had with the program's host, Vladimir Soloviev, in a five minute tête-à-tête in the guests' lounge before the program went on air.

Soloviev obviously had not yet read his guest list, did not know who I am and stood ready to respond to me when I walked up to him and unceremoniously put to him the question that interested me the most: whom did he want to see win the US presidential election. He did not hesitate, told me in no uncertain terms that he did not want to see Trump win because the man is volatile, unpredictable and weak. Soloviev added that he and others do not expect anything good in relations with the United States in general whoever won. He rejected the notion that Trump's turning the Neocons out of government would be a great thing in and of itself.

As I now understand, Soloviev's resistance to the idea that Trump could be a good thing was not just an example of Russians' prioritizing stability, the principle "better the devil you know," meaning Hillary. During a recent chat with a Russian ambassador, someone also close to power, I heard the conviction that the United States is like a big steamship which has its own inertia and cannot be turned around, that presidents come and go but American foreign policy remains the same. This view may be called cynical or realistic, depending on your taste, but it is reflective of the thinking that comes out from many of the panelists in the talk shows as you will find below in my quotations from the to-and-fro on air. It may also explain Soloviev's negativism.

To appreciate what weight the opinions of Vladimir Soloviev carry, you have to consider just who he is. That his talk show is the most professional from among numerous rival shows, that it attracts the most important politicians and expert guests is only part of the story. What is more to the point is that he is as close to Vladimir Putin as journalists can get.

In April, 2015 Vladimir Soloviev conducted a two hour interview with Putin that was aired on Rossiya 1 under the title "The President." In early January 2016, the television documentary "World Order," co-written and directed by Soloviev, set out in forceful terms Vladimir Putin's views on American and Western attempts to stamp out Russian sovereignty that first were spoken at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007 and have evolved and become ever more frank since.

Soloviev has a Ph.D. in economics from the Institute of World Economics and International Relations of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was an active entrepreneur in the 1990s and spent some time back then in the USA, where his activities included teaching economics at the University of Alabama. He is fluent in English and has been an unofficial emissary of the Kremlin to the USA at various times.

For all of these reasons, I believe it is safe to say that Vladimir Soloviev represents the thinking of Russian elites close to their president, if not the views of Putin himself.

On September 27 , I took part in the Sixty Minutes talk show that was presented as a post mortem of the first Trump-Clinton debate the day before. I direct attention to this show because it demonstrates the sophistication and discernment of commentary about the United States and its electoral process. All of this runs against the "slam-dunk" scenario based on a cartoon-like representation of Russia and its decision makers.

The show's hosts tried hard to convey the essence of American political culture to their audience and they did some effective research to this end. Whereas French and other Western media devoted coverage on the day after the debates to the appearance of the American presidential candidates and especially to Hillary (what else attracts comment from the male world of journalism if not a lady's hair styling and sartorial choices), 'Sixty Minutes' tweaked this aspect of the debates to find politically relevant commentary.

To make their point, presenter Yevgeny Popov came on stage in a blue suit and blue tie very similar in coloring to Trump's, while his wife and co-presenter Olga Skabeyeva was wearing a garment in the same red hue as Hillary. They proceeded to note that these color choices of the candidates represented an inversion of the traditional colors of the Democratic and Republican parties in American political tradition. And they took this a step further by declaring it to be in line with the inversion of policies in the electoral platforms of the candidates. Hillary had taken over the hawkish foreign policy positions of the Republicans and their Neoconservative wing. Donald had taken over the dovish foreign policy positions normally associated with Democrats. Moreover, Donald also had gone up against the free trade policies that were an engrained part of Republican ideology up until now and were often rejected by Democrats with their traditional financial backers from among labor unions. All of these observations were essentially correct and astute as far as the campaigns went. It is curious to hear them coming from precisely Russian journalists, when they were largely missed by West European and American commentators.

As mentioned above, foreigners are often important to the Russian talk shows to add pepper and salt. In this case, we were largely decorative. The lion's share of the program was shared between the Russian politicians and journalists on the panel who very ably demonstrated in their own persona that Russian elites were split down the middle on whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton was their preferred next occupant of the Oval Office

The reasons given were not what you heard within the USA: that Trump is vulgar, that Trump is a bigot and misogynist. Instead the Russian Trump-skeptics were saying that he is impulsive and cannot be trusted to act with prudence if there is some mishap, some accidental event occurring between US and Russian forces in the field, for example. They gave expression to the cynical view that the positions occupied by Trump in the pre-election period are purely tactical, to differentiate himself from all competitors first in his own party during the primaries and now from Hillary. Thus, Trump could turn out to be no friend of Russia on the day after the elections.

A direct answer to these changes came from the pro-Trump members of the panel. It was best enunciated by the senior politician in the room, Vyacheslav Nikonov. Nikonov is a Duma member from Putin's United Russia party, the chair of the Education Committee in the 6th Duma. He is also chair of a government sponsored organization of Russian civil society, Russian World, which looks after the interests of Russians and Russian culture in the diaspora abroad.

Nikonov pointed to Trump's courage and determination which scarcely suggest merely tactical considerations driving his campaign. Said Nikonov, Trump had gone up against the entire US political establishment, against the whole of corporate mainstream media and was winning. Nikonov pointed to the surge in Trump poll statistics in the couple of weeks preceding the debate. And he ticked off the 4 swing states which Trump needed to win and where his fortunes were rising fast. Clearly his presentation was carefully prepared, not something casual and off-the-cuff.

During the exchange of doubters and backers of Trump among the Russians, one doubter spoke of Trump as a "non-systemic" politician. This may be loosely interpreted a meaning he is anti-establishment. But in the Russian context it had an odious connotation, being applied to Alexei Navalny and certain members of the American- and EU-backed Parnas political movement, and suggesting seditious intent.

In this connection, Nikonov put an entirely different spin on who Trump is and what he represents as an anti-establishment figure. But then again, maybe such partiality runs in the family. Nikonov is the grandson of Molotov, one of the leading figures who staged the Russian Revolution and governed the young Soviet state.

Who won the first Trump-Clinton debate? Here the producers of Sixty Minutes gave the final verdict to a Vesti news analyst from a remote location whose image was projected on a wall-sized screen. We were told that the debate was a draw: Trump had to demonstrate that he is presidential, which he did. Clinton had to demonstrate she had the stamina to resist the onslaught of 90 minutes with Trump and she also succeeded.

The October 20 program Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, which I watched on television from abroad, was devoted to the third Clinton-Trump debate. My single most important conclusion from the show was that, notwithstanding the very diverse panel, there was a bemused unanimity among them regarding the US presidential electoral campaign: that it was deplorable. They found both candidates to be disgraceful due to their flagrant weaknesses of character and/or records in office, but they were also disturbed by the whole political culture. Particular attention was devoted to the very one-sided position of the American mass media and the centrist establishments of both parties in favor of one candidate, Hillary Clinton. When Russians and former Russians use the terms "McCarthyism" and "managed democracy" to describe the American political process as they did on the show, they know acutely well whereof they speak.

Though flamboyant in his language the nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the LDPR Party, touched on a number of core concerns that bear repeating extensively, if not in full:

"The debates were weak. The two cannot greet one another on stage, cannot say goodbye to one another at the end. They barely can get out the texts that have been prepared for them by their respective staffs. Repeating on stage what one may have said in the locker room.

Billions of people around the world conclude with one word: disgrace! This is the worst electoral campaign ever. And mostly what we see is the style of the campaign. However much people criticize the USSR – the old fogies who ran it, one and the same, supposedly the conscience of the world.

Now we see the same thing in the USA: the exceptional country – the country that has bases everywhere, soldiers everywhere, is bombing everywhere in some city or other. They are making their 'experiments.' The next experiment is to have a woman in the White House. It will end badly.

Hillary has some kind of dependency. A passion for power – and that is dangerous for the person who will have her finger on the nuclear button. If she wins, on November 9th the world will be at the brink of a big war "

Zhirinovsky made no secret of his partiality for Trump, calling him "clean" and "a good man" whereas Hillary has "blood on her hands" for the deaths of hundreds of thousands due to her policies as Secretary of State. But then again, Zhirinovsky has made his political career over more than 30 years precisely by making outrageous statements that run up against what the Russian political establishment says aloud. Before Trump came along, Zhirinovsky had been the loudest voice in Russian politics in favor of Turkey and its president Erdogan, a position which he came to regret when the Turks shot down a Russian jet at the Syrian border, causing a great rupture in bilateral relations.

The final word on Russia's electoral preferences during the October 20 show was given by the moderator, Vladimir Soloviev: "There can be no illusions. Both Trump and Clinton have a very bad attitude to Russia. What Trump said about us and Syria was no compliment at all. The main theme of American political life right now is McCarthyism and anti-Russian hysteria."

This being Russia, one might assume that the deeply negative views of the ongoing presidential election reflected a general hostility to the USA on the part of the presenter and panelists. But nothing of the sort came out from their discussion. To be sure, there was the odd outburst from Zhirinovsky, who repeated a catchy line that he has delivered at other talk shows: essentially that the USA is eating Russia and the world's lunch given that it consumes the best 40% of what the world produces while it itself accounts for just 20% of world GDP. But otherwise the panelists, including Zhirinovsky, displayed informed respect and even admiration for what the United States has achieved and represents.

The following snippets of their conversation convey this very well and do not require attribution to one or another participant:

"America has the strongest economy, which is why people want to go there and there is a lot for us to borrow from it. We have to learn from them, and not be shy about it."

"Yes, they created the conditions for business. In the morning you file your application. After lunch you can open your business."

"America is a very complex country. It does not pay to demonize it. We have to understand precisely what we like and do not like. On this planet there is no way to avoid them. Whoever becomes president of the USA, the nuclear parity forces us to negotiate and reach agreement."

"The US has opened its doors to the most intelligent people of the world, made it attractive for them. Of course, this builds their exceptionalism. All directors, engineers, composers head there. Our problem is that we got rid of our tsar, our commissars but people are still hired hands. The top people go to the States because the pay is higher."

How are we to understand the discrepancy between the very low marks the panelists gave the US presidential race and their favorable marks for the US as an economic and military powerhouse. It appears to result from their understanding that there is a disconnect between Washington, the presidency and what makes the economy turn over. The panelists concluded that the USA has a political leadership at the national level that is unworthy and inappropriate to its position in the world. On this point, I expect that many American readers of this essay will concur.

* * * *

Ever since his candidacy took off in the spring of 2016, both Liberal Interventionists and Neoconservatives have been warning that a Donald Trump presidency would mean abandonment of US global leadership. They equated Donald's "America First" with isolationism. After all, it was in the openly "isolationist period" of American political history just before the outbreak of WWII that the original America First slogan first appeared.

However, isolationism never left us, even as the United States became engaged in and eventually dominated the world after the end of the Cold War. Even today more than half of the US Senators do not possess passports, meaning they have never been abroad, barring possible trips to Canada using their driver's licenses as ID.

And for those Americans who do travel abroad, the world outside US borders is all too often just an object of prestige tourism, a divertissement, where the lives of local people, their concerns and their interests do not exist on the same high plateau as American lives, concerns and interests. It is not that we are all Ugly Americans, but we are too well insulated from the travails of others and too puffed up with our own exceptionalism.

It is not surprising that in the US foreign policy is not a self-standing intellectual pursuit on a chessboard of its own but is strictly a subset of domestic policy calculations, and in particular of partisan electoral considerations. Indeed, that is very often the case in other countries, as well. The distinction is that the US footprint in the world is vastly greater than that of other countries and policy decisions taken in Washington, especially in the past 20 years of militarized foreign-policy making, spell war or peace, order or chaos in the territories under consideration.

As regards the Russian Federation, the ongoing hysteria over Russia-gate in particular, and over the perceived threat Russia poses to US national interests in general, risks tilting the world into nuclear war.

It is a luxury we manifestly cannot afford to indulge ourselves.

TONY LANE , December 17, 2017 9:59 AM

But we all have to agree that the USA is the more infantile of all The Nations, and since the end of the last war they have made no effort to grow up. They have created RussiaGate where no other nation would dream up such Trivia.

Kjell Hasthi -> TONY LANE , December 17, 2017 1:50 PM

JFK murder was about replacing the president elected by the people. Russia-gate has the same goal. When the American president is enemy, you are not American

Jimmy Robertson , December 17, 2017 9:22 AM

As shown in this article, the American media has a long track record of misreporting key news items:

https://viableopposition.bl...

The current cycle of fake news about Russia is definitely not a new phenomenon in the United States.

tom -> Jimmy Robertson , December 17, 2017 9:23 AM

"Remember the Maine!"

GKW -> tom , December 17, 2017 2:13 PM

Don't forget the Turner Joy and the gulf of Tonkin.

John Tosh , December 17, 2017 9:47 AM

Can someone tell the big fat cowards exercising around North Korea to please shut the hell up? Cowards make a lot of noise. When Libya was invaded there were no exercises, when Iraq was invaded there were no exercises...... when Vietnam was invaded there were no exercises....

It is obvious to the world that the fat cowards cannot attack a nuclear armed country. They are too yellow bellied to do anything but beat their chest like some stupid gorilla in an African jungle.

Please cut out the announcements of exercises after exercises, it is clogging the airwaves. We are all tired of your stupid exercises... if you want to attack go ahead and get your fat asses whipped like a slave running away from its masters.

Shameless cowards are now becoming highly annoying... it can be called Propaganda terrorism. Cut that nonsense out. You cannot beat North Korea, you know it, the rest of the world knows it. You cannot fight China or Russia, the rest of the world knows it ... so please shut up once and for all.

You are terrorizing the airwaves with your exercise after exercise after exercise. Practice control of the ships that are becoming a maritime hazzard to commercial ships. That is what you need to practice.

Nobody is impressed with your over-bloated expensive war equipment which fail under war conditions. Cut out the exercises before we start turning off our ears for your propaganda.

YELLOW BELIED COWARDS!!!!! Go poison an innocent person or kill a child....it may make you feel better... Big fat cowards.!

Guy -> John Tosh , December 17, 2017 1:16 PM

I am also very tired of the bluster . They flap their gums and taunt. Enough already . You have made fools of yourselves in the eyes of the world .

All the while the real diplomacy is going on between South Korea and China with North Korea paying close attention, I am sure. The Russian / Chinese proposal of a rail system from South Korea through North Korea and into China connecting to the connection grid of all of Asia is a far greater prospect for the peace initiative than the saber rattling presently outwardly being displayed.

ALTERNATE HISTORY -> John Tosh , December 17, 2017 6:15 PM

They keep raising the ante, and the North Koreans keep calling their bluff. They are made to look ridiculous as they don't have a winnable hand and the North Koreans know it.

tom , December 17, 2017 9:39 AM

"American media simply were not interested in knowing what Russians were thinking since that might get in the way of their construction of what Russians should be thinking".

Reminds me of the classic American boss's remark: "Any time I want your opinion, I'll tell you it".

Emmet Sweeney , December 17, 2017 4:31 PM

The whole thing is orchestrated by the Zionist state within a state which controls not only America but most of the West - and own the entire mainstream media. They cannot forgive Trump for wanting to make peace with Russia. Their hatred of Christian Russia is visceral and unhinged.

tom , December 17, 2017 9:20 AM

'...by their own admission, "no conclusive proof has surfaced."'

This is actually quite a neat and elegant example of the kind of deceptive language routinely used by politicians and the media. It is, of course, entirely true that no conclusive proof has surfaced. Indeed, that must follow from the equally true and indisputable fact that no proof of any kind has surfaced. Actually, nothing even vaguely resembling proof has surfaced. There is no evidence at all - not the slightest scrap.

But by slipping in that little adjective "conclusive" the journalist manages to convey quite a strong impression that there is proof - only not quite conclusive proof.

It is just as dishonest and cynical as Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign remark, "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience".

CaperAsh -> tom , December 17, 2017 4:17 PM

Yes, but R's comment was delightfully witty, and a great 'high ground manoeuvre.'

John C Carleton , December 17, 2017 7:20 AM

Russiangate is concocted BS, to keep the ignorant American sheep , from understanding Israel picked the "president of the USA".

That American children are murdering innocent children in foreign lands, for the benefit of, not Israel, it is just a figment of the imagination, as the USSR was, and the USA is, but the owners of Israel, City of London, Usury bankers.
Pedophile scum!

Kjell Hasthi -> John C Carleton , December 17, 2017 1:43 PM

- understanding Israel picked the "president of the USA".

The fraud is in every election district. Israel cannot afford the bussing of Liberals. This is too large for some poor nation like Israel. You are making up "Israel", just like Gordon Duff. It tells me you are the same as Gordon Duff.

rosemerry , December 17, 2017 3:29 PM

What an excellent article. If only people who have a very small knowledge of Russia/USA relations would bother to read this and reflect upon it, a lot of misconceptions could be cleared up if goodwill is part of the picture.

thomas malthaus -> Nationalist Globalist Oligarch , December 17, 2017 4:08 PM

I think at times the CIA is actually assisting the Russian security services with terror operations. I realize it doesn't make sense with Langley assisting ISIS in Syria, but that's the world we appear to have: selective cooperation.

I don't know if the FSB has the levels of electronics signals intelligence the US has, I do know the US and Russia may have cooperated in raids resulting in deaths of two Caucaus Emirates leaders in 2014-2015. I believe that group has since disbanded and members probably blended into other terror groups.

rosewood11 , December 17, 2017 2:03 PM

The thing that is absolutely ridiculous is that the American media and Deep State are what is causing this trouble. I don't know why they want to have a World War so badly, but the only thing keeping our two countries from destruction is Vladimir Putin's hard work and good nature, and Trump's defiance of his "staff."

These Deep State actors in the US have hidey-holes they can run to in case of the unthinkable, but they couldn't care less about the people of the US -- let alone Russia. Their day is coming, and they'll be praying for their mountains to fall on them when it does.

Anyone in the US that's paying any attention at all knows the real story on this, and none of those who do are blaming anyone in Russia. If the day ever comes that the US Deep State takes to their bunkers, they better be prepared to stay in there--Balrogs or no Balrogs--because those of us who manage to survive above will be looking for their sorry azzes when they come out!!!

You can call me Al -> rosewood11 , December 17, 2017 5:59 PM

I think that is a great comment.

Just to take your comment a little further ;- get to know every plumber and builder in your area as I am, get on a friendly basis and ask about these "Deep State actors in the US have hidey-holes" over a pint or two.

Then I am starting a crowdfunding fund to bring in "hundreds of thousands" to pay them to screw up their sewage facilities in their hidey-holes SO THEY CAN down in their own BS.

Stop Bush and Clinton , December 17, 2017 8:41 PM

After Uranium One, it would make sense to assume Russia would have preferred Hitlery in the White House - Uranium One gives Russia something they know all the details of and something they know the US public won't take lightly, so they could easily have blackmailed Hitlery with leaking those details.

Of course they also know Hitlery is a massive warmongering Nazi terrorist, but then again, looks like Trump doesn't differ very much from her on that.

Nationalist Globalist Oligarch , December 17, 2017 2:54 PM

No need for paranoia, it is a veritable American love fest at the Kremlin, RIA, etc., ever since the CIA informed Moscow that they had "information" on an imminent attack in Russia.

Funny how the CIA has better intel on terrorism in Russia than the Russians do, even stranger than the RF leadership doesn't seem to question the situation what so ever.

Got to hand it to the Americans, a couple of months ago Putin joked about RF "cells" in the USA and now the CIA hands the RF a real cell all ready to go murder some Russians.

Some people talk a good game while some people actually take action.

Guy , December 17, 2017 1:07 PM

For those of you that have some video viewing time available , you will probably enjoy the lecture at the National Press Club , not nearly well attended I might add for this quality venue, of Gilbert Doctoro.

http://www.informationclear...

I would highly recommend his latest book also .I am approx half way already and well worth the read.

Superior Europe , December 17, 2017 11:12 AM

New legatum prosperity index is up: Europeans enjoy the greatest quality of life worldwide, Russians fall into more impoverishment and low quality of life. Its no secret that, for the past 150 years, Russian's wealth, quality of life and life expectancy is unacceptably low for European standards).

Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark occupying the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 7th and 8th places respectively.

Kjell Hasthi -> Superior Europe , December 17, 2017 1:37 PM

- low for European standards ... ) .... Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden Netherlands and Denmark

When you do copyworks, include your source. RI is not for illiterate globalist bots who cannot read an answer. The quality of trolls is now too low. The globalists are now hiring junk?

"German media reported on Saturday that BND covertly provided a number of journalists with information containing criticism of Russia before the data were disclosed by the agency."

Superior Europe is employed by Zionist BND?

[Dec 17, 2017] Dr. Stephen Cohen on Tucker Carlson: Empty Accusations of Russian Meddling Have Become Grave National Security Threat

Notable quotes:
"... Cohen, who has been quite vocal against the Russophobic witch hunt gripping the nation , believes that this falsified 35 page report is part of an "endgame" to mortally wound Trump before he even sets foot in the White House, by grasping at straws to paint him as a puppet of the Kremlin. The purpose of these overt attempts to cripple Trump, which have relied on ham-handed intelligence reports that, according to Cohen "even the New York Times referred to as lacking any evidence whatsoever," is to stop any kind of détente or cooperation with Russia. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

With eyebrows suspiciously furrowed, Tucker Carlson sat down tonight with NYU Professor of Russian Studies and contributor to The Nation , Stephen Cohen, to discuss the 35 page #FakeNews dossier which has gripped the nation with nightmares of golden showers and other perverted conduct which was to be used by Russia to keep Trump on a leash.

The left leaning Cohen, who holds a Ph.D. in government and Russian studies from Columbia, taught at Princeton for 30 years before moving to NYU. He has spent a lifetime deeply immersed in US-Russian relations, having been both a long standing friend of Mikhail Gorbachev and an advisor to President George H.W. Bush. His wife is also the editor of uber liberal " The Nation," so it's safe to assume he's not shilling for Trump - and Tucker was right to go in with eyebrows guarded against such a heavyweight.

Cohen, who has been quite vocal against the Russophobic witch hunt gripping the nation , believes that this falsified 35 page report is part of an "endgame" to mortally wound Trump before he even sets foot in the White House, by grasping at straws to paint him as a puppet of the Kremlin. The purpose of these overt attempts to cripple Trump, which have relied on ham-handed intelligence reports that, according to Cohen "even the New York Times referred to as lacking any evidence whatsoever," is to stop any kind of détente or cooperation with Russia.

Cohen believes that these dangerous accusations attempting to brand a US President as a puppet of a foreign government constitute a "grave American national security threat."

At the very end of the interview, Tucker's very un-furrowed eyebrows agreed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtwFEA4dM18

Content originally generated at iBankCoin.com

[Dec 17, 2017] Obama Encouraged 'Deep State' 'De Facto Coup' Against Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Here you had Obama's people using the NSA to spy on his adversaries, and apparently include the CIA, the FBI, and members of the Department of Justice in that loop, in a manner that was not approved of by any court, that was not approved by even a FISA court – the special court that monitors certain kinds of surveillance," he said. ..."
"... "Just because a conversation involves a foreign official doesn't allow you to illegally tape it, illegally monitor it, or illegally record it when a U.S. citizen is on there, particularly when it's your political adversary," Barnes explained. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

"Yes, there is," Barnes replied. "In fact, it's one of the directions that a future investigation can take. A future investigation doesn't have to focus on whatever it is the Democrats or liberals want. It can focus on the illegal leaks that took place."

"As I mentioned the other day to a liberal lawyer friend of mine, the worst thing ever accused concerning Nixon was about using private resources to try to illegally spy on people. Here you had Obama's people using the NSA to spy on his adversaries, and apparently include the CIA, the FBI, and members of the Department of Justice in that loop, in a manner that was not approved of by any court, that was not approved by even a FISA court – the special court that monitors certain kinds of surveillance," he said.

"Just because a conversation involves a foreign official doesn't allow you to illegally tape it, illegally monitor it, or illegally record it when a U.S. citizen is on there, particularly when it's your political adversary," Barnes explained.

"I'm sure the liberals would go nuts if Trump tomorrow started listening in on every conversation Obama had with anybody that's foreign, or that Bill Clinton had with anybody that's foreign, or that Hillary Clinton had with anybody that's foreign. So it's a dangerous, precarious path that Obama has opened up, and hopefully there is a full investigation into that activity," he said.

"You clearly also have lots of illegal leaks going on, particularly as it related to the recent Yemen issue involving the widow of the Navy SEAL who passed way, that became a big issue at the State of the Union. There you had people reporting that no intelligence was gathered. Well, that's an illegal leak. It turns out that they're wrong, they were lying about what intelligence developed or the fact that intelligence did develop, but they shouldn't have been out there saying anything like that," he noted.

"There are people willing to leak the most sensitive national security secrets about any particular matter, solely to have a one-day political hit story on Trump. These are people who are violating their oath, and violating the law. Hopefully there is ultimately criminal punishment," Barnes urged.

"This is far worse than the Plame matter that got all that attention, that got a special prosecutor in W's reign. This is far, far worse than any of that. This is putting national security at risk. This is an effective de facto coup attempt by elements of the deep state. So hopefully there's a meaningful investigation and a meaningful prosecution of these people who have engaged in reckless criminal acts for their personal political partisan purposes," he said.

[Dec 17, 2017] Matt Bruenig What Actually Happened in Alabama

In no way this victory means endocement of clinton wing of DemoRats.
Dec 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , December 16, 2017 at 5:27 am

My own personal take, from 16,000 kilometers away, is not that it was a matter of black and white voters or rich and poor voters but something that is a bit more simpler and it is this. If you stand a reasonable, moderate candidate against a raging nut job, then the majority of the times the moderate will win. If you stand a vile, corrupt candidate up against a raging nut job, then there is an even chance that the raging nut job will win. Alabama is an example of the former and the US itself in 2016 an example of the later.

WobblyTelomeres , December 16, 2017 at 7:10 am

You are too kind. Truthfully, if Roy Moore hadn't (allegedly) molested underage girls, he would have won. He would still be a raging nut job (or as Lambert describes him, a swivel-eyed loon).

I think that the future of Alabama politics is controlled by white millennials, though. I certainly would like to see how Moore fared among that segment. From conversations with my sons and their friends, it appears the Republican party is widely recognized as a confederacy of contemptible dunces.

digi_owl , December 16, 2017 at 9:47 am

While i am glad to see sanity prevail, it worries me that allegations of a sexual nature is what it takes to get people to sit up and take notice.

Even worse in that we are talking allegations, not a court delivered verdict of guilt.

All this suggests that witch hunts still work in the modern day.

Samuel Conner , December 16, 2017 at 7:35 am

A sad irony is that in 2016, many establishment Ds, including IIRC the Clintons themselves, were hoping for a DJT primary win on the theory that they would get the kind of result that Jones

mpalomar , December 16, 2017 at 8:38 am

Yes that sums it up. There is not much consolation in Moore's narrow loss for those hoping the deep south in particular but the country in general might having shaken off its hallucinatory vision of what American governance should look like.

How would a regional Bernie Sanders type candidate have done in Alabama in a general election against Moore? The NPR barber interview linked a few days ago raises the question by suggesting Jones was largely silent on the issues that mattered (to that man) and therefore how a more vocal advocate for the poor, public education, universal health care would have fared against Moore.

MDS , December 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

I'm not sure if that's entirely fair, he was very vocal on access to healthcare (especially for lower income citizens) and made it really the core policy piece of his campaign. One of his other major policy pieces (job retraining) also for into that mold pretty nicely. He didn't frame things as starkly as rich v poor, but had a pretty traditional (I.e., not neoliberal) democratic message.

mpalomar , December 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm

That's interesting and hopeful that a candidate might even try to push issues like single payer, pro union, anti right-to-work, $15 minimum wage and do even better against Moore.

The NC story on Jones' win put it this way, "Admittedly, this was more a vote against the horrorshow of Roy Moore than a strong endorsement for Jones, who didn't stand for much beyond being the other guy."
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/12/doug-jones-scores-upset-alabama-senate-race.html

I am likely unfairly judging Alabama and the deep south from another country and without the context of cable news and the MSM reporting, just assuming the standard Democratic Party line of saying little concrete on issues while inflating a giant, empty promise balloon of hope and change.

Potato Guy , December 16, 2017 at 8:44 am

Rev Kev: is your information about the "nut job" solely based on the reports from the media? Or have you met the man, lived in Alabama, experienced the culture or measured the degree of commitment to their cultural beliefs?

Having run for state level office, I understand the vitriol of the opposition. And having lived in Alabama, I understand the culture.

Consider that a politician is a slippery character trying to appease many sides and influences. Whereas a fundamentalist Christian stands for something specific and that belief system is attacked.

Perhaps the white voters didn't want Alabama to be judged by the media and they chose the easiest path.

The Rev Kev , December 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

Hi. Even in the Antipodes we get news reports from places like Alabama as that election was so newsworthy. My take is what I have personally seen of clips of this bloke in action and most people here were singularly unimpressed. That man should really swap that pony he rides on for a thoroughbred or something that size by the way. And yes, I have horses here.
And if an Aussie politician pulled out a gun in the middle of a rally here like More did there, the cops would probably arrest him after crash-tackling him. Granted politicians can take on the style of the people that they want to serve but I am willing to bet that the bulk majority of Alabamans are decent people that have never been accused of dealings with underage girls to the point that they have found themselves banned from a shopping mall. Alabama deserves better. Your Republicans there should have gone with a better candidate who would have almost certainly won that election in your state IMHO.

FluffytheObeseCat , December 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

And then there is Moore's "charitable foundation", through which he has been paying himself and family a decent salary for a few years, courtesy of politically like-minded donors. Most of whom are from Alabama, and who don't themselves have anywhere near such nice salaries.

Even by the standards of Deep South politics, the man is a skank, and many down there know it. The chickenhawk allegations were the cherry on top.

John Zelnicker , December 16, 2017 at 9:27 am

@Nick – Rumors of Roy Moore's peccadilloes have been floating around for years, but none of the women were ready or willing to speak out. The #MeToo movement, I think, has allowed many women, all over the country, to finally feel that they might get a fair shake from speaking out, rather than being put through the wringer of disbelief and further harassment. It was only with the victim's disclosures that this story could be exposed.

Biph , December 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I have a couple of takeaways, first Moore was running well behind a typical Republican before the sexual misconduct allegations 6-10% ahead of Jones rather than the 15-20% one would expect. Second that this really does show a path for Dems to be competitive and even win in the deep south by carrying 1/4-1/3 of the white vote and holding on to 90% plus of the AA vote. A pro-life (with a sane position on birth control), pro-gun (though not necessarily pro-NRA) economic leftest could rack up a lot of votes in places like MS, AL, LA and SC. I doubt the DNC are smart enough to see this or even want to if they did, but maybe some qualified people with such a belief set will see it and run in Dem primaries for local, State and Federal offices.

Mattski , December 16, 2017 at 11:23 pm

This, like the Clinton loss, is perhaps too close an election to lay to any single factor. So while I find this analysis salutary, I don't necessarily buy it as THE answer. Two others that I would suggest are crucial: the degree of the white vote that was dampened by the ugly news about a candidate it might otherwise have turned out for; and Shelby's call for write-in. As I went to bed on the night, the number of write-in votes outweighed Jones's margin.

A side note: this article suggests that Moore's church, and a number of Baptist churches, urge older men to cultivate very young brides: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-brightbill-roy-moore-evangelical-culture-20171110-story.html

Altandmain , December 17, 2017 at 11:44 am

The key takeaways are:

1. Had the GOP elected someone slightly less awful, they would have defeated Doug Jones – the vote the GOP was reliant on usually simply stayed home
2. The Democrats are taking the wrong lessons from this
3. They may very well end up dangerously complacent in 2018 for the midterms and perhaps in 2020 as well
4. The GOP never truly backed Moore at all – they were hesitant to do so
5. Unless they deliver tangible economic benefits for white and black Alabama residents alike, the Democrats have little to offer
6. There seems to be frustration and well justified anger, in my opinion, at both parties
7. The mainstream media will spin this the way the plutocrats want
8. It's likely the Democrats will double down on identity politics as it is what what their donors want them to do

It"s a sad situation. I think NC posted a few days ago the appalling situation African Americans faced.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/05/hookworm-lowndes-county-alabama-water-waste-treatment-poverty
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/many-areas-appalachia-mississippi-delta-lower-life-expectancy-bangladesh.html

It's hard not to compare the politics of America to the corruption that exists in much of the developing world, the massive inequality, the failing infrastructure, and the brutal police forces. Sadly both parties are in bed with the plutocracy and will make it all worse.

Most people are taking the wrong lessons from this. Moore was barely defeated despite everything. It's sad and infuriating because all of this corrupt politics has a dramatic impact on the living standards of society.

Paul Hirschman , December 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm

So voters in Alabama have given the hapless Dems another chance to say–may even do– something meaningful. Any betting folks on this website?

[Dec 17, 2017] Identity politic is and attempt to swipe under the carpet contradictions based on money and economics power issues and replace them with something else like race, gender, age, etc.

Dec 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JBird , December 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Yes, it can be used for that , but often the goal is to channel, and contain the thinking from or to whatever, not degrade. Using modern neoliberal economics as an example. The older 19th and early 20th century mainstream political economy were deeper, more comprehensive, and often better at explaining economics. It was also called political economy, and not just economics for that reason.

There was a real financed campaign to narrow the focus on what we call economics today. Part of that effort was to label people very narrowly as just economic beings, which is what libertarianism is, and to label economic thought outside of it as socialism/communism, which is Stalinism, which is the gulag, which is bad thought. The economists studying this were just as intelligent, thoughtful, and incisive, but the idea, the worm of people=money=economics created a thought stop, or an an un-acknowledgment of anything else, the inability to even see anything else.

I sometimes think some are against the masses getting any higher education because one is exposed to other ways of thinking, and believing. A student might never change their beliefs, but the mind is expanded for considering the possibilities and at looking at where others are coming from. Those mindworms are also more obvious, and less useful.

So you could be ninety year blockhead, but if you are willing to listen, to think on what you are exposed to in college, your mind is expanded and strengthen. Which is perhaps the main goal of a liberal arts education. Even a very hard college education will still have some of the same effect.

Plenue , December 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

"The economists studying this were just as intelligent, thoughtful, and incisive, but the idea, the worm of people=money=economics created a thought stop, or an an un-acknowledgment of anything else, the inability to even see anything else."

So would you say identity politics is the same thing in reverse? Intelligent people looking at issues from every perspective but that of money and economics?

JBird , December 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Yes, as it is used now. It can be very important, but what I have against identity politics as it is done today is that it is the first and last answer to everything. Many people can see, they just think one's identity is paramount. MLK said it best when he talked about being judged for the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Please keep in mind that the identity being used could anything. Your sex, gender, orientation, age, class, religion, anything.

Today it's skin color, tomorrow?

[Dec 17, 2017] Rosenstein watches as Mueller's witch hunt veers out of control by Sean Hannity

Dec 17, 2017 | www.foxnews.com

The Russia investigation being overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is beyond corrupt, beyond political and has now turned into an open-ended fishing expedition.

Rosenstein, who like Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has glaring, inexcusable conflicts of interest in the case, insisted to Fox News' Chris Wallace that he will keep Mueller from expanding his s not on a witch hunt.

"If he finds evidence of a crime that's within in the scope of what Director Mueller and I have agreed is the appropriate scope of this investigation, then he can," Rosenstein said on "Fox News Sunday." "If it's something outside that scope, he needs to come to the acting attorney general, at this time me, for permission to expand his investigation."

Rosenstein says he won't let the special counsel turn into a fishing expedition? It already has. The whole investigation was supposed to be about President Trump's campaign supposedly colluding with the Russians. This has gone on 11 months, no smoking gun proving it ever surfaced.

Yet, instead of ending it there, Mueller is reportedly now looking into the finances of President Trump and the Trump Organization and associates of President Trump. He has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C., where the president got a little over four percent of the vote.

What Rosenstein really said was that he has now given Mueller the green light to do whatever he wants. Even respected legal scholar Jonathan Turley, a Democrat, has said Rosenstein needs to recuse himself.

After all, Rosenstein is likely going to be a witness in the investigation that he himself caused because he took the lead in writing the letter to President Trump on why former FBI Director James Comey should be fired. Mueller reportedly regards that as possible obstruction of justice.

Rosenstein is also the guy who appointed Robert Mueller and apparently either didn't know or didn't care about the fact that the day before he was named special counsel, Mueller interviewed with President Trump for the FBI director's job. You can't make this up.

Rosenstein has sat by while Mueller, with an unlimited budget, has assembled a team of 16 lawyers. Half have made political donations, shockingly, all to Democrats. How is that OK? If the tables were turned, would a Democrat allow a special counsel to only appoint Republican donors?

It all comes down to this: Does Rod Rosenstein know what is going to happen if Mueller's mission creep continues to go unchecked? How does he think voters are going to feel? How many Trump supporters will feel robbed of their right and their vote in the free election of the president of the United States?

That would be bad for the country. It would be bad for the system of justice. And it would be bad for anyone who believes in a constitutional republic.

Adapted from Sean Hannity's monologue on "Hannity," Aug. 7, 2017

Sean Hannity currently serves as host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) Hannity (weekdays 9-10PM/ET) . He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Sean

[Dec 16, 2017] The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was by Gabriel Rockhill

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. ..."
"... Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics. ..."
"... When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. ..."
"... It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy." ..."
"... When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare. ..."
"... In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. ..."
"... To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. ..."
"... It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via Counterpunch.org,

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions . The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth -- a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short -- has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present ).

To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the "new world," with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning "the people," was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics.

When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President.

It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy."

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of "Indian killer" Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a 'democrat,' he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.

However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected.

It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23).

Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing."

... ... ...

[Dec 16, 2017] Surveillance Confirmed Of President Trump. Obama spied on Trump. where is the arrest

Notable quotes:
"... Scared and panicking Evelyn Farkas spilled the beans. By saying "I became very worried..." she's obviously trying to justify her behavior in case a legal bomb is dropped on her. This is a side effect of Nunes' dramatized little trip to the White House intelligence secure facilities: as long as they don't know Nunes and Trump's hands, panic will bring more people to come forward and look for some kind of justification and/or protection. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.youtube.com

buzzkillean , 8 months ago

Obama and Clinton thought they had the election in the bag. They broke surveillance laws thinking that Clinton would be in the Whitehouse to cover it anyway. Imagine their shock on election day when they realized how many felonies would be exposed when Trump took over.........cover-up.

meconnectesimplement , 8 months ago

Look at her face at 2:06 ... Scared and panicking Evelyn Farkas spilled the beans. By saying "I became very worried..." she's obviously trying to justify her behavior in case a legal bomb is dropped on her. This is a side effect of Nunes' dramatized little trip to the White House intelligence secure facilities: as long as they don't know Nunes and Trump's hands, panic will bring more people to come forward and look for some kind of justification and/or protection.

[Dec 16, 2017] Former CIA director speaks out against Russia-gate conspiracy

Notable quotes:
"... Morell is "priming" the public, cushioning the landing as it were, for the eventual revelation that the Russian collusion narrative has been entirely fabricated. ..."
"... He's not doing it out of the goodness of his heart, but in an attempt to minimize the intelligence community's inevitable, and i might add deserved, loss of credibility over the fiasco. ..."
"... That guy wanted to "kill Russians" and "kill Iranians". He's not a good guy by any stretch of the imagination. ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Former CIA Director Michael Morell said in an interview that he thought if there was evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, special prosecutor Robert Mueller would have found it already and that the evidence would've been leaked by now. RT America's Anya Parampil has more.

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John B. , 4 days ago

Psychopath.

JoJo Mama , 4 days ago

all roads seem to go in the direction of TelAviv...

Michael Maxfield , 4 days ago

Morell is "priming" the public, cushioning the landing as it were, for the eventual revelation that the Russian collusion narrative has been entirely fabricated.

He's not doing it out of the goodness of his heart, but in an attempt to minimize the intelligence community's inevitable, and i might add deserved, loss of credibility over the fiasco.

What boggles the mind is there are 3 or 4 solid ways to go after Trump that don't involve Russia, but the media doesn't seem to be interested in those.

That is because a) it doesn't exonerate the DNC over it's shitty performance in 2016, and b) it doesn't push the new cold war (which in turn boosts arms sales, and gives the elite a way to terrify and therefore control the populace). They thought it was going to work, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that the Nothingburger is about to be exposed for what it is.

Kunal Sharma , 4 days ago

That guy wanted to "kill Russians" and "kill Iranians". He's not a good guy by any stretch of the imagination.

Bella , 4 days ago

What a dufus.....just now figuring that out after destroying people's lives?

Corona zerone , 4 days ago

Fake News.

Mark Redmond , 4 days ago

American politics is a clown show and it's actually embarrassing to watch, the world is laughing at America because it's like a badly written soap opera live on TV.

davidmcccsf , 3 days ago

Michael Morell is a psychopath and the kind of guy who'd usually be pushing the Russia narrative. If he is saying this - well that's a mind blowing death blow to the big lie. Amazing. For once in his pathetic life he actually makes a correct analysis. Fuck me.

Sandor Daroci , 4 days ago

another scum. damn swamp.

carole carroll , 4 days ago

Israelgate is the collusion between trump and Netanyahu. They care not going to tell you. Israel used DNC to divide democrats.

Buddy Floyd , 3 days ago

The Russophobes need to be put up against the Wall and Shot.

T Sun , 3 days ago

CIA INFILTRATED TOP LEVEL OFFICIALS OF THE FBI. CIA MUST BE BLOWN TO PIECES LIKE PRESIDENT KENNEDY SAID. IF THE CIA WOULD STICK TO THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION, THE UNITED STATES WOULD NOT BE IN THE MESS IT IS IN NOW.

Richard Llewellyn , 3 days ago

Yes the MSM dont question the Intelligence Agencies and now 8 million murdered based on lies later you wonder why.

PHIL BURTOFT , 4 days ago

Morell didn't think through the implications of his actions! If that's the case it would be the first move in his life he hadn't thought through. These people think we are cabbages and believe anything, whether its Comey schoolboy act or Morell lack of foresight, we are expected to suck it up, its just plain insulting they don't even try and mask their deceit anymore