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US Presidential Elections of 2016:

Transitional period as a fight between Trump and the attempts of Deep State to enslave him (and remind him about JFK destiny)  

Neocons want to counterattack and possibly enslave Trump by promoting birds of a feather for key Trump administration positions

Version 5.2 (Nov 25, 2016)

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Hillary Clinton email scandal New American Militarism Anti-Russian hysteria Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy
Donald Trump Trump foreign policy platform DNC emails leak Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist, who betrayed his voters US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections: from primaries to election day Is Hillary Clinton a war criminal, the killer of women and children in Syria and Libya? Trump vs. Deep State The Deep State
Bill sexapades and Hillary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Hillary wet kiss with neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary role in Libya disaster Questions about Huma Abedin email forwarding Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary health issues
Monday morning quarterbacking Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Hillary as a pathological liar Lock her up movement Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Non-Interventionism Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Trump economic platform
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism Demonization of Putin  American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Perjury Investigation of Hillary Clinton
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Pluralism as a myth Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme   Trump on immigration
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Predator state Machiavellism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Betrayal by Bernie Sanders of his supporters Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Note: due to the size introduction was moved to a separate page November 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization

This election is about the backlash against neoliberalism that became the dominant ideology of the ruling elite in the USA since 1980th. At this point blue color workers became sick of Demorats (aka Neoliberal Democrats) who are betraying them after each elections ("Change we can believe in" in worlds of the king of "bait and switch" Obama) and expecting still they will vote for Democratic as they have nowhere to go (Clinton strategy). They want to show middle finger to Clinton and other neoliberal criminals who deprived them of work, of dignity, of health (heroine epidemic is hitting the USA really hard). It's a class war all over again. Note how neoliberal media tried to misrepresent it accusing Trump supporters of racism, bigotry, and all other sins to mask anti-neoliberal backlash of the US population, and the revolutionary situation in the county, when the elite lost the control of the population. Which really somewhat reminds me the last days of the USSR when communist propaganda stopped working and people start seeing the "Politburo" as "naked king" -- a bunch of corrupt priests of obscure religion, who do not believe in the ideology they promote for "shmucks", only with their own and their families well-being. that their sons and daughters attend Western universities and their wives are shopping in Paris.

It is not an exaggeration to see in 2016 Presidential election as a referendum on neoliberal globalization. But the political power still belongs to  Neoliberals, which dominates both the government and the economy (transnationals are the cornerstone of neoliberal world order). It's a big question if the American people will be able to change neoliberal dogma, the official civil religion of the USA without a violent revolution...

The great Trump political breakthrough was consolidating the white working class and white middle class vote. At last "clintonization" (sellout of the Party to Wall Street whichwas initialed by Bill Clinton, converting it into the party of "soft neoliberalism" which at times was undistinguishable from "hard neoliberalism" )  of Democratic Party backfired.  Demexit -- abandoning of Demorats by white working and middle class is now a reality.

Writing in Politico, Georgetown political scientist Joshua Mitchell has a long, important take on the deep meaning of Trump — and it’s probably not what you think:

If you listen closely to Trump, you’ll hear a direct repudiation of the system of globalization and identity politics that has defined the world order since the Cold War. There are, in fact, six specific ideas that he has either blurted out or thinly buried in his rhetoric: (1) borders matter; (2) immigration policy matters; (3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter; (4) entrepreneurship matters; (5) decentralization matters; (6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated.

These six ideas together point to an end to the unstable experiment with supra- and sub-national sovereignty that many of our elites have guided us toward, siren-like, since 1989.

 That is what the Trump campaign, ghastly though it may at times be, leads us toward: A future where states matter. A future where people are citizens, working together toward (bourgeois) improvement of their lot. His ideas do not yet fully cohere. They are a bit too much like mental dust that has yet to come together. But they can come together. And Trump is the first American candidate to bring some coherence to them, however raucous his formulations have been.

This is a clear repudiation of neoliberalism (aka "casino capitalism" or  Trotskyism for the rich) -- the secular religion to both Republican and Democratic parties adhere (while the term is prohibited from mass media -- can you imagine the Communist Party of the USSR would prohibit its members under the threat of purge to utter the word "communism" or call themselves "communists").  And that means that Trump is a threat to Washington neoliberal elite, the threat to neoliberal  Washington_Consensus, which  since 1980 (or even earlier) rules the place. That's why they fight and demonization of Trump is conducted by neoliberal media with such a fierce determination. That's why such a tremendous efforts and money are spend on propelling sick and unprincipled establishment candidate -- Hillary Clinton. A warmonger neoconservative, who is a staunch neoliberal (like her husband Bill Clinton).

The US neoliberal elite ("creator class" or "Masters of the Universe" in neoliberal jargon) have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power put by "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal, and for 36 years managed to redistribute wealth up to the level that has no historical presidents. As a result social stability is in danger and "the rest" (or Untermensch, or "takers"/"welfare queen" in neoliberal jargon) are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be an outsider. (Romney-Ryan 'makers vs. takers' rhetoric helped spawn Donald Trump Washington Examiner)

This idea of low-income "takers" lay beneath Mitt Romney's view that the 47 percent of adults in the U.S. who owed no federal income tax were therefore "dependent upon government" and "who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them…."

...

But "taker" is a slur also when aimed at recipients of government benefits. Millions of "takers" are people who work 40 hours, but at low wages, and thus receive the earned-income tax credit. Will you blame their low wages on them? Perhaps they got horrible education thanks to incompetent government, or were just never blessed with marketable skills.

Some percentage of the 47 percent are World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans, who after serving their country, put in decades of work, and now live off the Social Security they paid into, without earning enough to owe federal income tax.

The "takers" include widows receiving food stamps, the ill being kept alive by Medicaid, and people drawing on unemployment because their employer got up and moved to Mexico.

More importantly, many of those on welfare or disability hate that they are dependent. They want to be working.

Are there "welfare queens," lazy able-bodied moochers, and people scamming disability? Yes. But lumping in 47 percent of the country with these scoundrels is as illegitimate lumping all businessmen in with the failed bankers who depend on bailouts.

This wasn't just Ryan's mistake. Conservatives broadly have equated low income with dependency. The conservative belief that the market tends to reward skill and diligence often mutates into a belief that poverty reflects some sort of turpitude.

That view helped give birth to Donald Trump, who has tapped into the working class that Ryan and Romney had pushed away.

Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they were  culprits for major  shocks — like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic, manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.

Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trumpism in the United States are seen as symbols of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and Israel.

According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.

All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to evaporate. And the fight against neoliberal globalization is not easy and it is not accidentally Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee and neoliberal MSM unlashed unprecedented campaign of blackmail against Trump.  The fact is, Sheldon Wolin not accidentally calls neoliberalism "inverted totalitarianism" . It's a system where corporate power has seized all of political  levers of control. In fact, under neoliberalism, there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We also have lost our privacy. And under Obama, an assault against civil liberties has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out.

This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it (neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:

  1. High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity). "Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
  2. "Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed as a firm. "Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own present and future market value.
  3. Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
  4. The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
  5. Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class (0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was in the USSR.
  6. "Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that previously were prerogative of the state.

So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum, as ith the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.

The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the USSR) and far right ideologies.

It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time. Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and, specifically, the neoliberal globalization.

This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'้tat in slow motion, and it's over.

Neoliberal poison destroys a society and lifts the politicians with nationalistic bend like Trump. First, neoliberalism dislocated the working class, de-industrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system.

I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind Trump. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative neoliberal MSM want us to focus on.

 We've got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party.

We need to be aware of neoliberal brainwashing. I mean, this whole debate over the DNC WikiLeaks emails disclosure is insane. The key question here is not who leaked emails, but whether they are authentic or not. They are. As well as DNC dirty laundry exposed those long emails -- you should read them. They're really appalling, and exposes the way the Democratic primaries were rigged. Tricks used included the mechanism of the superdelegates (which unlawfully declared their allegiance very early creating pro-Clinton pressure of voters) , the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, and the huge amounts of corporate money and money of super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. This faux feminism on which Hillary Clinton based her campaign is another propaganda trick. She si hostile to both women and children. Cold like any sociopath.  The fact is, Clinton has a track record of hurting US children: she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70% of the original recipients were children.

If is important to understand that the rise of nationalism, the phenomenal success of Trump is just a form of backlash against neoliberalism. 

Continued...


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US Presidential Elections of 2016 from primaries to election day US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections of 2016: 2015 part of the campaign US Presidential Elections of 2012

[Mar 25, 2017] Every time the ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California opens his mouth to propagate unsubstantiated allegations against Russia and Russian influence on the last US elections, he makes a reminder, inadvertently, of the First Husband (the philanderer) taking $500.000 from Russians.

Notable quotes:
"... Another official US moron has blamed Russia, this time for "supplying Taliban" in Afghanistan. US Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti announced that "it was conceivable that Russia was providing supplies to the Afghan Taliban". ..."
"... It appears that absolutely any personal or group failure by any US official gets automatically converted into "Russia did it". Little kids are more creative when they say "the dog ate my homework". ..."
"... He showed the two political parties as 'two wings of the same bird of prey" ..."
"... 69 percent of the [US] people have been taken in with the Russia bashing ..."
"... I would trace the transition of the Democrats to a war party, not to the fear of being labeled disloyal after Iraq War 1, but to their being taken over by the zionists. The top ten "donors" to Clinton (Kleinberg) were Jewish, every single one of them! Over $100 million. Obama got over $100 million from a single Jewish "donor." They want those Mideast wars because they are religious fanatics and thieves. Those are the facts of the Democrats. They are owned by zionist traitors. They are Ziocrats. ..."
"... The simplistic notion that the Democrats have been "taken over by the zionists" is a dangerous illusion that needs debunking. While there is no doubt that Natanyahu's Israel supports a policy in sync with that of neo-con objectives, it is beyond a stretch to attribute that policy to that Israel's exaggerated influence in the US. ..."
"... Rather, Israel, as well as Israel's Saudi allies, are both instruments of British Empire policy, sometimes called "globalism," which was adopted and embraced by what can be called the Obama faction of the Democratic Party and its backers in the Republican right. ..."
"... US policy, especially in the post-Soviet era has been determined by a failing attempt to maintain a "unipolar" world that no longer exists and should never have been. The freak-out over Trump's exposure of British Intelligence's GCHQ, heralding a possible rupture in Britain's "special relationship" is an indication of the fear gripping the Anglo-American financial oligarchy that their control over the US is slip-sliding away and that the US will pursue its political and economic self-interest by establishing new relationships to true world powers Russia, China, India and Japan. ..."
"... The simplistic notion that the Democrats have been "taken over by the zionists" is a dangerous illusion that needs debunking. ..."
"... Can you share with readers why you used the term "dangerous illusion" and why it needs debunking? According to William Binney, Obama's use of GCHQ was nothing more than standard operating procedure, an everyday mode of business, to avoid breaking American laws – nothing new, so therefore presenting no threat of rupturing U.S.-British "special relationship". ..."
"... The top ten "donors" to Clinton (Kleinberg) were Jewish, every single one of them! Over $100 million. Obama got over $100 million from a single Jewish "donor." ..."
"... I can tell you that the atmosphere is such on campus that a social science faculty member needs to be very careful not to be taken for having "sympathies" for either Russia or China. I repeatedly hear comments that are chilling, and just nod and get away. ..."
"... When did the Democratic Party turn into the post-war war party? At the Democratic convention in 1944 when the establishment did a coup against FDR's right hand man, ..."
Mar 25, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Anna , March 23, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Every time the ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California opens his mouth to propagate unsubstantiated allegations against Russia and Russian influence on the last US elections, he makes a reminder, inadvertently, of the First Husband (the philanderer) taking $500.000 from Russians. The money was a bribe intended to make a right impression on Mrs. Clinton. Keep going Mr. Schiff. There were also tens of millions of $US dollars delivered to Clintons Foundation by the major sponsors of terrorism. These tens of millions of dollars from Saudis, Qatari, and Moroccans constitute bribing of a State Department official. As a result of these bribes, the US government has violated the US Constitution by supplying the US-made weaponry to the Middle Eastern warmongering despots/sponsors of terrorism. That is indeed a treason. Let Mr. Schiff talk. He has been making a nice rope for his own hanging.

Skip Scott , March 24, 2017 at 8:02 am

Great post Anna.

Kiza , March 24, 2017 at 8:06 am

Another official US moron has blamed Russia, this time for "supplying Taliban" in Afghanistan. US Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti announced that "it was conceivable that Russia was providing supplies to the Afghan Taliban".

It appears that absolutely any personal or group failure by any US official gets automatically converted into "Russia did it". Little kids are more creative when they say "the dog ate my homework".

But what this sick and unintelligent bull does to Russia? It appears that the US coup in Ukraine and its support for Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria have solidified Putin's popularity rating at around an unimaginable 85%. All this in the middle of a fairly serious economic crisis in Russia. There is and there has been no major country in the World where the leader has had such approval rating, for so long and despite the economy in a bad shape. Read all about it: http://johnhelmer.net/the-us-war-has-been-good-for-president-vladimir-putin-and-the-russian-economy-looks-stable-through-the-presidential-election-so-if-you-are-a-us-warfighter-what-is-the-regime-change-opportunity-no/#more-17368

Therefore, all these US Demopublicans, generals and other assorted officials are obviously all on Putin's payroll, because they keep working to increase his popularity.

Bill Bodden , March 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Democrats. Republicans. Same old, same old.

In 1904 Upton Sinclair wrote in The Jungle :

"The original edition of the novel concluded with its proletarian protagonist attending a mass rally addressed by the American Socialist Party's mesmerizing presidential candidate – Sinclair's fictional representation of Eugene Debs. The candidate, Sinclair wrote:

"was a man of electric presence, tall and gaunt, with a face worn think by struggle and suffering. The fury of outraged manhood gleamed in him – and the tears of suffering. When he spoke he paced the stage restlessly; he was lithe and eager, like a panther. He leaned over, reaching out for his audience; he pointed into their souls with an insistent finger. His voice was husky from much speaking, but the hall was still as death, and everyone heard him. He spoke the language of workingmen – he pointed them the way. He showed the two political parties as 'two wings of the same bird of prey" [emphasis added]. The people were allowed to choose between their candidates, and both of them were controlled, and all their nominations were dictated by, the same [money] power."

In a number of essays Walter Karp made similar points backed up by lots of evidence.

Accidental , March 23, 2017 at 8:04 pm

That book should be required reading in this country. I suspect most people have never even heard of it despite the fact that it was undoubtedly one of the most influential books of the early 20th century.

D5-5 , March 23, 2017 at 1:34 pm

The time is extraordinary in the reckless and naked way the PTB (i.e. the two major parties) are exposing themselves as to NOT serving the people. I was disappointed today to read on RT that 69 percent of the [US] people have been taken in with the Russia bashing (showing I've been wrong lately on my estimates), but I'm hopeful that will not last. More important, Robert's article shows us the dedication of the parties to their deeper playbook, which is obviously controlled by financial interests, not the people's interests. The nakedness of this exposure today is unusual in my experience of watching Washington.

Recommended: a look at what could be a companion piece to Robert's article from Mike Whitney in today's counterpunch, titled "Will Washington risk WWIII to block an emerging EU-Russia super-state":

From that article:

"For the last 70 years the imperial strategy has worked without a hitch, but now Russia's resurgence and China's explosive growth are threatening to break free from Washington's stranglehold. The Asian allies have begun to crisscross Central Europe and Asis with pipelines and high-speed rail that will gather together the far-flung statelets scattered across the steppe, draw them into a Eurasian Economic Union, and link them to an expansive and thriving superstate, the epicenter of global commerce and industry."

BannanaBoat , March 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Neither the proud Russians nor Chinese will diminish their nation and culture. BRICS is the level of unity they will accept.

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm

I would trace the transition of the Democrats to a war party, not to the fear of being labeled disloyal after Iraq War 1, but to their being taken over by the zionists. The top ten "donors" to Clinton (Kleinberg) were Jewish, every single one of them! Over $100 million. Obama got over $100 million from a single Jewish "donor." They want those Mideast wars because they are religious fanatics and thieves. Those are the facts of the Democrats. They are owned by zionist traitors. They are Ziocrats.

J. D. , March 23, 2017 at 2:02 pm

The simplistic notion that the Democrats have been "taken over by the zionists" is a dangerous illusion that needs debunking. While there is no doubt that Natanyahu's Israel supports a policy in sync with that of neo-con objectives, it is beyond a stretch to attribute that policy to that Israel's exaggerated influence in the US.

Rather, Israel, as well as Israel's Saudi allies, are both instruments of British Empire policy, sometimes called "globalism," which was adopted and embraced by what can be called the Obama faction of the Democratic Party and its backers in the Republican right.

US policy, especially in the post-Soviet era has been determined by a failing attempt to maintain a "unipolar" world that no longer exists and should never have been. The freak-out over Trump's exposure of British Intelligence's GCHQ, heralding a possible rupture in Britain's "special relationship" is an indication of the fear gripping the Anglo-American financial oligarchy that their control over the US is slip-sliding away and that the US will pursue its political and economic self-interest by establishing new relationships to true world powers Russia, China, India and Japan.

Brad Owen , March 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Well said. It's also time to get rid of the phony "Special Relationship" (between 1%er oligarchs of The City and The Street), to replace it with the actual Special Relationship, so as to ease UK's transition into the New multi-polar Era dawning: this is tribal, in that dear old "Mother Country" need not worry that Her "Four Children" (Australia, Canada, N.Z., USA) will leave Her out in the cold. THAT is the TRUE special relationship; the far-flung, English-speaking Tribe will see to the General Welfare of ALL of its' members, but without degrading the well-being of the rest of the World. War is obsolete, not conducive to anyone's well-being, Geopolitics & divide & conquer is over, finished.

Brad Owen , March 23, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Zionism is a product of Cecil Rhodes' RoundTable Group, which, in concert with the Synarchist Movement for Empire, concerned how to manage African and Middle East colonies and assets belonging mainly to British and French Empires (which also explains WHY the Brits dawdled in North Africa during WWII, much to the chagrin of Stalin and Gen Marshall, who wanted to open up the Western Front ASAP).

They found the perfect opportunity to implement the strategy post-WWII, and suckered USA, via The City's Wall Street Tories, into guaranteeing the existence of Israel. End of story.

Check out the tons of articles on the subject at the EIR website. Tarpley covers it well also. Argue your case with them, F Sam. Good luck. You'll need lots of it.

rosemerry , March 23, 2017 at 4:49 pm

All the talk of "Russian interference" takes over the media, but the ever-present Israeli connection is just accepted as normal. Saudi Arabia, too, is allowed plenty of influence while Iran is demonized.

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Yes, Brad, I agree that Cecil Rhodes and others were involved with the zionists fairly early, although perhaps the greatest British interest was in the Suez canal. Also agree that the US was fooled into taking over the Suez protection and pressuring the UN to create Israel. No doubt there was Wall St interest, although I gather that zionists made direct "donations" to Truman's campaign for the UN pressure.

No doubt there were British zionists involved. But I think that JD's theory that Brits control US policy in the Mideast is a diversion from the obvious zionist control, whether he knows it or not. I will look again at your EIR website. Did not mean to offend.

Brad Owen , March 24, 2017 at 4:27 am

Sam, we just disagree on the location of the REAL enemy. The zionistas are indeed real, and a threat, a real enemy to the USA, but I maintain they are just a weapon wielded by our traditional enemy who has always fought to undermine us here in America; the British Empire (an entity distinct from the Anglo-Celtic people living on the British Isles who are our tribal mates and suffering under the same yoke of Empire as are we).

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Completely wrong: it is an obvious fact that the Democrats have been taken over by the zionists. Obama got over $100 million from a single Jewish "donor." Hillary's major campaign sponsors are all Jewish.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/033116/top-10-corporate-contributors-clinton-campaign.asp
The top 10 contributors to HRCs Superpac were as follows:
1. Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna: $35 million
2. Donald Sussman, Paloma Partners: $21,100,000
3. Jay Robert Pritzker (Mary), Pritzker Group and Foundation: $12,600,000
4. Haim Saban and Cheryl Saban, Saban Capital Group: $10,000,000
5. George Soros (Schwartz): $9,525,000 (changed name from Schwartz)
6. S. Daniel Abraham, SDA Enterprises: $9,000,000
7. Fred Eychaner (Eichner), Newsweb Corporation: $8,005,400
8. James Simons (Shimon), Euclidean Capital: $7,000,000
9. Henry Laufer and Marsha Laufer, Renaissance Technologies: $5,500,000
10. Laure Woods (Wald), Laurel Foundation: $5 million

Your suggestion that this is "British empire" policy is way beyond the ridiculous, it is zionist propaganda. The entire UK economy is a small fraction of that of the US, and there is little financial connection.

I challenge you to deny these facts, or to substantiate the absurd theory of British control. US mass media.

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm

To continue, the US mass media are also controlled by Jews, presumably zionists. About 40-60 percent of US newspapers are controlled by persons of identifiable Jewish surnames, while less than half of Jewish people can be so identified. Most of the rest are indirectly controlled by Jews.

No further explanation is needed of the mass media craze for Hillary Clinton (Kleinberg). The DNC emails show that she talks to no one but Jews about Mideast policy.

No further proof is needed of the origins of Democrat policy in the Mideast. It may play to the interests of the MIC and oil companies sometimes, but not in Syria/Libya/Egypt. And we got no special deals on Iraqi oil anyway, and had no reason to expect them.

Your move.

JWalters , March 23, 2017 at 8:33 pm

In support of your points, here is an excellent article at a Jewish-run, anti-Zionist website that points out the huge known influence of Israel on American politics that is being ignored amidst all the speculation about possible Russian influence, "Let's talk about Russian influence"
http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/about-russian-influence/

Mondoweiss is a site of news and analysis with high journalistic standards. Like Consortium News it has also been attacked by the Deep State for its honesty.

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Thank you; it is very appropriate to note that many Jewish people are strong critics of zionism and Israeli policies. There is some hope that they will assist in liberating Jews as well as Palestinians from the racism of the zionists, as many whites assisted in greatly reducing racism among whites in the US against African-Americans.

Bill Bodden , March 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

The simplistic notion that the Democrats have been "taken over by the zionists" is a dangerous illusion that needs debunking.

There were references in an earlier post quoting two former Israeli prime ministers saying, in effect, they could take care of U.S. politicians to ensure they would do Israel's bidding. I recall Yitzhak Shamir was one of them. The spectacle of Netanyahu showing contempt for Obama in the way he addressed Congress and the standing ovations Netanyahu got from the senators and Congresspersons who sold their souls to the Israel lobby kind of supports the proposition that "the Democrats have been "taken over by the zionists"" Same thing goes for the Republicans.

Anna , March 23, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Have you heard about PNAC? Have you heard about the Lobby?
http://www.oldamericancentury.org/pnac.htm
http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/neocons-as-a-figment-of-imagination/#comment-1810991

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 9:55 pm

Thanks for the links. PNAC founders Kristol and Kagan helped harness forces for zionist goals. PNAC signers W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz were principal promoters of Iraq War II, as Wolfowitz installed Israeli spy operatives Perl, Feith, and Wurmser at CIA/DIA/NSA offices to select known-bad "intelligence" to incite the war.

Jerry Alatalo , March 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm

J. D.,

"The simplistic notion that the Democrats have been "taken over by the zionists" is a dangerous illusion that needs debunking."

Can you share with readers why you used the term "dangerous illusion" and why it needs debunking? According to William Binney, Obama's use of GCHQ was nothing more than standard operating procedure, an everyday mode of business, to avoid breaking American laws – nothing new, so therefore presenting no threat of rupturing U.S.-British "special relationship".

Can you share the names of major influential figures composing what you describe as the "Anglo-American financial oligarchy" for the benefit of others who pass this way?

It's hard to explain away Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and so many other U.S. politicians fighting each other to get to the head of the pack in supporting Israel. Bernie Sanders only mentioned that Palestinians suffer human and civil rights deficiencies and the world shook, despite it being only a very minor, tiny critique of Israel. Can we imagine what would have happened – the titanic reaction – had Mr. Sanders blurted out during one of the debates with Ms, Clinton the same conclusion that Professor Virginia Tilley and Professor Richard Falk's report arrived at very recently – that the State of Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid?

Years ago while Mr. Sanders appeared weekly with Thom Hartmann on "Brunch With Bernie" we redialed the call-in program until finally getting through and asking two questions. The first was a request for a response from Senator Sanders on the trillion-dollar / year global tax haven-evasion industry facilitated by the world's most powerful accounting, legal and banking firms. The second requested response on the suggestion that it was time to "nationalize the privately-owned Federal Reserve". Mr. Sanders responded to the 1st, then suddenly the show went to music and a break – then after the break until show's end nothing about the Federal Reserve.

My guess is that Mr. Sanders and Mr. Hartmann were aware of a "panic button to break" to be triggered when the live call-in topics became, let's say, "unmanageable". That is just a guess,but another guess is that Mr. Sanders was the recipient of, how shall we put it, very "risky" news during his campaign for president when running against Ms. Clinton. So, long story short, Sanders capitulated because he's fully aware of what happened to JFK, MLK and RFK, Clinton became spoiled goods and unacceptable as America's new CEO, and Donald Trump was selected. Trump's long-time friends include "Lucky" Larry Silverstein, who just happened to avoid being in his Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, breaking his religiously kept routine of breakfast every morning in a restaurant located in the top floors of one of the towers – because his wife fortunately convinced him to keep an appointment with his dermatologist.

Donald Trump, "Lucky Larry" and Benjamin Netanyahu are long-time friends.

***

Men and women wishing to read, copy, save and disseminate the report on Israel apartheid by Professor Tilley and Professor Falk can find it online at the co-author's internet platform, available at:

https://richardfalk.wordpress.com

Bill Bodden , March 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm

The top ten "donors" to Clinton (Kleinberg) were Jewish, every single one of them! Over $100 million. Obama got over $100 million from a single Jewish "donor."

In exchange Israel got a $38 BILLION package of US aid. What a deal!! Presumably, the Israel lobby will show its appreciation to Obama with donations to his presidential library probably making that library the most expensive ever.

Sam F , March 23, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Yes, there can be little doubt that the zionist campaign money comes at least indirectly from US aid to Israel, and that the aid is intended substantially for that purpose. Investigation of such cashflows might turn up evidence, although there is a quid pro quo economy on both sides that could easily obscure the feedback.

You may well be right in suggesting that the vast aid flows simply make campaign donations a great investment for those who would otherwise have invested in Israel. But the Dems and Reps know that this aid to Israel is for campaign bribes, pure and simple.

JWalters , March 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm

In addition to the carrot bribes, there are also the blackmail sticks. This possibility is consistent with the following segment of a 1998 interview with Kay Griggs, former wife of the U.S. Army's director of assassination training.

Kay Griggs: "Even when he [General Al Gray] was General he ran an intelligence operation which was a contract organization trying to hook politicians, and get them. What is the word? In other words "

Interviewer: "In compromising situations?"

Kay Griggs: "Yes, yes. He had and still has an organization which brings in whores, prostitutes, whatever you want to say, who will compromise politicians so they can be used."

The above is in Part 2 of the whole interview, starting at 48:00 in the video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-SEA9W6pmA

In Part 1 of the interview she explains the motives behind this.

Kay Griggs: "I'm talking about the Brooklyn-New Jersey mob. My husband, Al Gray, Sheehan, they're all Brooklyn. Cap Weinberger. Heinz Kissinger – there's the Boston mob, which was shipping weapons back and forth to Northern Ireland. And I don't want to get too deeply involved in that, but it goes – Israel – some of the Zionists who came over from Germany, according to my husband, were – he works with those people – they do a lot of money laundering in the banks, cash transactions for the drugs they're bringing over, through Latin America, the Southern Mafia, the Dixie Mafia, which now my husband's involved with in Miami. The military are all involved once they retire. They're – you know, they go into this drug and secondary weapon sales."

The above starts soon after 18:00 in the video at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQNitCNycKQ
(Part 1 of interview)

Further on the following exchange occurs.

Interviewer: "And directly under whose instructions to sell these weapons, do you know that?"

Kay Griggs: "Yeah."

Interviewer: "Okay, who would that be?"

Kay Griggs: "Well, uh, [pause] it's the Israeli-Zionist group in New York."

The above starts at 1:06:45 in the same video at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQNitCNycKQ

Shortly afterward in the same segment is this exchange.

Kay Griggs: "It's kind of like Monica and Bill. I think they put Monica in there to have something on Bill. That's my own feeling. Sarah McClendon feels the same way. Because "

Interviewer: "And Linda Tripp was there to guide the situation."

Kay Griggs: "Absolutely, of course. Linda Tripp was Delta Force. Linda Tripp was trained by Carl Steiner, who's in the diary [her husband's] with my husband. And he [Steiner] tried to trip up Schwarzkopf. I mean, he was trying to take, to take the whole Iraqi thing over because they had been baiting, you know using the Israeli rogues in Turkey. They were having little zig-zag wars. It's all to sell weapons. It's all about weapons sales, it's all about drugs, it's all about funny money."

A blackmail factor, combined with financial carrots, and especially if backed up with a death threat, could easily explain why a reasonably intelligent and educated person would act uninformed and irrational. The surface inconsistency becomes easy to understand. A strategic system of blackmail of the sort Kay Griggs described could easily explain a phalanx of politicians lying in lockstep to American voters, and voting against America's best interests.

backwardsevolution , March 24, 2017 at 12:19 am

JWalters – fascinating! Thanks for posting. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Sam f , March 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

That is fascinating. There must be material on the linkages of secret agencies, ex-military staff, political gangsters, and money-laundering banksters to the drugs and weapons trade. They would be useful tools for false-flag incidents and to supply terror groups.

Those with connections should contact independent news reporters, who could perhaps train journalism students to investigate further. There may be material in the Wikileaks Vault-7 dump of CIA docs.

Pablo Diablo , March 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm

A military buildup=an empire in decline.

chuck b , March 23, 2017 at 2:25 pm

before they let their hegemony over humanity collapse, they blow up the planet.

what's remarkable, for me as an outsider at least, how many insane people are running the show and that's not exclusive to the psychotic right. seeing the mad general at hillary's DNC coronation and the "U!S!A!" chants from the crowd, i'm under the impression that the majority of Americans, that has not yet been marginalized and impoverished, is as deranged as ecstatic Germans cheering on Goebbels and his total war.

Accidental , March 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Actually what's happening now in the US is more like France in 1848

Pauline Saxon , March 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

I have supported you from the beginning. I would like to understand why you seem to be protecting Trump

D5-5 , March 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm

I don't believe Robert Parry or this site are protecting Trump. Questioning the demonizing and slandering of Trump, and efforts to remove him, also do not constitute "protecting."

Trump was elected legitimately to be the president for better or worse. An assessment means looking at both sides of whatever it is. Trump is obviously not doing well and getting negative evaluations, but some of his views (for one example) that promise toward d้tente or acceptance of a multi-polar world are worth considering.

Is he genuinely moving in this direction, or faking for some hidden reason? The jury is still considering. So investigating an attack on Trump that is primarily bogus and motivated as a smoke screen to demonize Russia, and prepare the nation for war, is not protecting Trump, but trying to get at the underbrush of what's really going on behind the headlines.

Perhaps you could give us some idea of what you see as protecting Trump?

For myself I'm very critical of Trump. At this time he seems bent on building up ground troops in Syria, but with ISIS already being subdued without this action, we should question why. What's going on. Is he seeking a Ronald Reagan/George W. type of glory moment as One Tough Supreme Commander? Is he now falling in to the neocon overview of controlling the middle east? It's more foolishness in my view, that will not settle the problems and what W uncorked with his phony Iraq war. But this kind of considering doesn't take the heat off the DEM Party for its unconscionable manipulations with Trump and Russia bashing at this time.

Hayden Head , March 23, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Well said! You are spot on in your defense of Parry, who has consistently shown himself to be committed to the truth, regardless of whom he is defending or the consequences of his position. Many of us are waiting to see if Trump might, just might, lead us away from endless war to something approaching a rational foreign policy. Is such hope foolishness? Well, hope usually is.

Bill Bodden , March 23, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Unfortunately, this site is afflicted with the utterances of sloppy readers who are triggered to hit their keyboard when some sentence gets their attention and causes them to ignore other contradictory commentary.

Jake G , March 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

What are you talking about? There are as many Trump-critic articles from him.

JWalters , March 23, 2017 at 8:49 pm

It seems to me Parry is not so much protecting Trump as trying to protect America from another needless war manufactured by the Deep State, e.g. "War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror"
http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

Gina , March 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Excellent article. I am pretty horrified at the direction of the Dems which has become Rethuglican-lite.

LJ , March 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

The Democrats abandoned their core constituency , LABOR, when Clinton got the 1992 nomination promising to sign NAFTA a short time after having been pictured attending a Bilderberg Beer fest, Since then by jumping further under the sheets with High Finance and Tech Billionaires they have continuously bled votes everywhere except the West Coast. Recent Polling you may have noticed has the Democrats declining in favorability even more since the election. Strange Days have found us haven't they?. .when all else fails we can whip the horses eyes and make them sleep and cry .. I say for starters we separate the words Military and Intelligence forever with a Constitutional Amendment .. How then will Senators McCain and Feinstein react? What will they do for God's sake? The rest of the Two Party infrastructure will quickly implode. Sorry. Thank God and the ACA,, the Amazon Drone has just delivered my prescription meds.. Peace in our time.

chuck b , March 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm

i think it's safe to say that the democrats have been equally adept at waging war since the nutcase LBJ didn't know if they were shooting at whales in the bay of tomkin and started the American holocaust. obama let his darling Hillary run amok which resulted in a rise of refugees and idp by 50% to over 60 million, in just his first term. you actually live in a country run by Nazis for a very long time. from Kissinger to McCain, they are people in power who have collaborated with Nazis (phoenix, condor) and continue to do so in Ukraine or with Islamic extremists in syria. the prospect of McCain anywhere near the state dept must be avoided by an means necessary.

Tristan , March 23, 2017 at 2:22 pm

"[B]ut what good that would do for the American people and the world is hard to fathom." That's it Mr. Parry. That is the key that we need to understand. It is not, not, a priority of either political half of the Republican/Democratic dynamic, to do good for the American people. We are being subjected to the policies which previously were our export, the evisceration of nation(s) to benefit private capital.

I had previously wondered, back in the 90's when Russia was being subjected to neo liberal economic intervention, why these vultures hadn't descended upon the United States, being the feted calf that it were. But I was blind, they were already descending, it only has take some time and a couple of "opportunities", such as 9/11, the Katrina hurricane, to implement those same measures here.

We need to understand that our current political structure is indifferent to the well being of the majority of the "citizens" ie; what are now more commonly called consumers. If the prisons stay full and the indebtedness mounts that is part of the program. Stop thinking that our present system is offering anything that would be recognized by a rational and moral human being as something even close to "a government of the People, by the People, for the People; [or] Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

ltr , March 23, 2017 at 2:22 pm

I can tell you that the atmosphere is such on campus that a social science faculty member needs to be very careful not to be taken for having "sympathies" for either Russia or China. I repeatedly hear comments that are chilling, and just nod and get away.

Tristan , March 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm

It is nearly impossible to engage with someone in a political context and advocate for a least a fair mind, some neutrality in examining the domestic political situation and relations with Russia. I have to mute myself unless I am willing to engage in a long and tiring argument/discussion in which my point is lost and I have to defend simple ideas of statesmanship and diplomacy.

Sheryl , March 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

I can relate. The frustrating part is that they think I'm a nut wearing a tinfoil hat.

Realist , March 23, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Would you go so far as to say that most such discussions now take place on terrain far removed from the real world? And, if you insist on sticking to facts rather than fantasy, are you immediately branded an enemy of the state, an intellectual exile without friends or influence, and probably someone marked for extinction, at least on the professional level, if this country must repeat the greatest mistakes of the 1930's and 40's, as it seems headed? So glad I am retired, and I worked in the natural sciences, not the more volatile and political social sciences. Now their only leverage against me is my state pension and health benefits, which many do want to make into a political football.

Tristan , March 23, 2017 at 7:31 pm

The distinction between the real and the ideological has been blurred in accordance with the principles of public opinion management, ie; propaganda. The prevailing mania, contextualized via the dynamic of globalized free market capitalism masquerading as the promotion of freedom and democracy, is where one finds that the seeds of "treason" are sown wider and wider against heretics.

Kiza , March 24, 2017 at 8:35 am

Just reading what all of you guys have written about the prevailing atmosphere in the so called intellectual community, which is much more serious than the atmosphere in the nutty MSM, makes me think of the Decline of the Roman Empire. Many people here are leftists, therefore they will disagree with me, but I see absolutely solid parallels between Russia-hate and AGW. Both have become religion for the vast majority of the Western intellectual class, devoid of the principal tool of the intellectuals – rationality. If you are a doubter, you will be ostracized .

Enquiring Mind , March 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm

They have no decency, sir.
At least McCarthy was right on the commie threat, even though his methods and execution were unsound.

Miranda Keefe , March 23, 2017 at 3:59 pm

"At least McCarthy was right on the commie threat."

The US was the aggressor in the Cold War. The Soviet Union, after the war, wanted to continue to co-exist under the spheres of influence agreed on by the US at Yalta.

When did the Democratic Party turn into the post-war war party? At the Democratic convention in 1944 when the establishment did a coup against FDR's right hand man, his VP, his chosen future VP and successor, the great Henry Wallace.

Gregory Herr , March 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Wallace instead of Truman? One of the big "what might have been" turns of history.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14297-henry-wallace-americas-forgotten-visionary

[Mar 24, 2017] Democrats Trade Places on War and McCarthyism – Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... At such a point, that might put the Democrats and Republicans in sync as two equally warmongering parties, but what good that would do for the American people and the world is hard to fathom. ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
Mar 24, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: The anti-Russia hysteria gripping the Democratic Party marks a "trading places" moment as the Democrats embrace the New Cold War and the New McCarthyism, flipping the script on Republicans, writes Robert Parry.

Caught up in the frenzy to delegitimize Donald Trump by blaming his victory on Russian meddling, national Democrats are finishing the transformation of their party from one that was relatively supportive of peace to one pushing for war, including a confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

This "trading places" moment was obvious in watching the belligerent tone of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Monday as they impugned the patriotism of any Trump adviser who may have communicated with anyone connected to Russia.

Ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, acknowledged that there was no hard evidence of any Trump-Russia cabal, but he pressed ahead with what he called "circumstantial evidence of collusion," a kind of guilt-by-association conspiracy theory that made him look like a mild-mannered version of Joe McCarthy.

Schiff cited by name a number of Trump's aides and associates who – as The New York Times reported – were "believed to have some kind of contact or communications with Russians." These Americans, whose patriotism was being questioned, included foreign policy adviser Carter Page, Trump's second campaign manager Paul Manafort, political adviser Roger Stone and Trump's first national security adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

In a 15-minute opening statement, Schiff summed up his circumstantial case by asking: "Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated."

As an investigative journalist who has covered (and uncovered) national security scandals for several decades, I would never accuse people of something as serious as betraying their country based on nothing more than coincidences that, who knows, might not be coincidental.

Before we published anything on such topics, the news organizations that I worked for required multiple layers of information from a variety of sources including insiders who could describe what had happened and why. Such stories included Nicaraguan Contra cocaine smuggling, Oliver North's secret Contra supply operation, and the Reagan campaign's undermining of President Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations in 1980.

For breaking those stories, we still took enormous heat from Republicans, some Democrats who wanted to show how bipartisan they were, and many establishment-protecting journalists, but the stories contained strong evidence that misconduct occurred – and we were highly circumspect in how the allegations were framed.

Going Whole-Hog

By contrast, national Democrats, some super-hawk Republicans and the establishment media are going whole-hog on these vague suspicions of contacts between some Russians and some Americans who have provided some help or advice to Trump.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo] Given the paucity of evidence – both regarding the claims that Russia hacked Democratic emails and slipped them to WikiLeaks, and the allegations that somehow Trump's advisers colluded in that process – it would appear that what is happening is a political maneuver to damage Trump politically and possibly remove him from office.

But those machinations require the Democratic Party's continued demonization of Russia and implicitly put the Democrats on the side of escalating New Cold War tensions, such as military support for the fiercely anti-Russian regime in Ukraine which seized power in a 2014 U.S.-backed putsch overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

One of the attack lines that Democrats have used against Trump is that his people toned down language in the Republican platform about shipping arms to the Ukrainian military, which includes battalions of neo-Nazi fighters and has killed thousands of ethnic Russian Ukrainians in the east in what is officially called an Anti-Terrorism Operation (or ATO).

The Democratic Party leaders have fully bought into the slanted Western narrative justifying the violent overthrow of Yanukovych. They also have ignored the human rights of Ukraine's ethnic Russian minorities, which voted overwhelmingly in Crimea and the Donbass to secede from post-coup Ukraine. The more complex reality is simply summed up as a "Russian invasion."

Key Democrats also have pressed for escalation of the U.S. military attacks inside Syria to force "regime change" on Bashar al-Assad's secular government even if that risks another military confrontation with Russia and a victory by Al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists.

In short, the national Democratic Party is turning itself into the more extreme war party. It's not that the Republicans have become all that dovish; it's just that the Democrats have become all that hawkish. The significance of this change can hardly be overstated.

Questioning War

Since late in the Vietnam War, the Democrats have acted as the more restrained of the two major parties on issues of war, with the Republicans associated with tough-guy rhetoric and higher military spending. By contrast, Democrats generally were more hesitant to rush into foreign wars and confrontations (although they were far from pacifists).

Daniel Ellsberg on the cover of Time after leaking the Pentagon Papers

Especially after the revelations of the Pentagon Papers in the 1971 revealing the government deceptions used to pull the American people into the Vietnam War, Democrats questioned shady rationalizations for other wars.

Some Democratic skepticism continued into the 1980s as President Ronald Reagan was modernizing U.S. propaganda techniques to whitewash the gross human rights crimes of right-wing regimes in Central America and to blacken the reputations of Nicaragua's Sandinistas and other leftists.

The Democratic resolve against war propaganda began to crack by the mid-to-late 1980s – around Reagan's Grenada invasion and George H.W. Bush's attack on Panama. By then, the Republicans had enjoyed nearly two decades of bashing the Democrats as "weak on defense" – from George McGovern to Jimmy Carter to Walter Mondale to Michael Dukakis.

But the Democratic Party's resistance to dubious war rationalizations collapsed in 1991 over George H.W. Bush's Persian Gulf War, in which the President rebuffed less violent solutions (even ones favored by the U.S. military) to assure a dramatic ground-war victory after which Bush declared, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all."

Fearful of being labeled disloyal to "the troops" and "weak," national Democrats scrambled to show their readiness to kill. In 1992, Gov. Bill Clinton left the campaign trail to return to Arkansas to oversee the execution of the mentally impaired Ricky Ray Rector.

During his presidency, Clinton deployed so-called "smart power" aggressively, including maintaining harsh sanctions on Iraq even as they led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. He also intervened in the Yugoslavian civil war by bombing civilian targets in Belgrade including the lethal destruction of the Serb TV station for the supposed offense of broadcasting "propaganda."

After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, many leading congressional Democrats – including presidential hopefuls John Kerry, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton – voted to authorize President George W. Bush to invade Iraq. Though they offered various excuses (especially after the Iraq War went badly), the obvious real reason was their fear of being labeled "soft" in Republican attack ads.

The American public's revulsion over the Iraq War and the resulting casualties contributed to Barack Obama's election. But he, too, moved to protect his political flanks by staffing his young administration with hawks, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. (and later CIA Director) David Petraeus. Despite receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama also became comfortable with continuing Bush's wars and starting some of his own, such as the bombing war against Libya and the violent subversion of Syria.

By nominating Hillary Clinton in 2016, the Democratic Party completed its transformation into the Party of War. Clinton not only ran as an unapologetic hawk in the Democratic primaries against Sen. Bernie Sanders – urging, for instance, a direct U.S. military invasion of Syria to create "no fly zones" – but positioned herself as a harsh critic of Trump's hopes to reduce hostilities with Russia, deeming the Republican nominee Vladimir Putin's "puppet."

Ironically, Trump's shocking victory served to solidify the Democratic Party's interest in pushing for a military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. After all, baiting Trump over his alleged "softness" toward Russia has become the centerpiece of Democratic hopes for somehow ousting Trump or at least crippling his presidency. Any efforts by Trump to ease those tensions will be cited as prima facie evidence that he is Putin's "Manchurian candidate."

Being Joe McCarthy

National Democrats and their media supporters don't even seem troubled by the parallels between their smears of Americans for alleged contacts with Russians and Sen. Joe McCarthy's guilt-by-association hearings of the early Cold War. Every link to Russia – no matter how tenuous or disconnected from Trump's election – is trumpeted by Democrats and across the mainstream news media.

Lawyer Roy Cohn (right) with Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

But it's not even clear that this promotion of the New Cold War and the New McCarthyism will redound to the Democrats' political advantage. Clinton apparently thought that her embrace of a neoconservative foreign policy would bring in many "moderate" Republicans opposed to Trump's criticism of the Bush-Obama wars, but exit polls showed Republicans largely rallying to their party's nominee.

Meanwhile, there were many anti-war Democrats who have become deeply uncomfortable with the party's new hawkish persona. In the 2016 election, some peace Democrats voted for third parties or didn't vote at all for president, although it's difficult to assess how instrumental those defections were in costing Clinton the key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

More broadly, the Democratic obsession with Russia and the hopes for somehow exploiting those investigations in order to oust Trump have distracted the party from a necessary autopsy into why the Democrats have lost so much ground over the past decade.

While many Democratic leaders and activists are sliding into full-scale conspiracy-mode over the Russia-Trump story, they are not looking at the party's many mistakes and failings, such as:

Yet, rather than come up with new strategies to address the future, Democratic leaders would rather pretend that Putin is at fault for the Trump presidency and hope that the U.S. intelligence community – with its fearsome surveillance powers – can come up with enough evidence to justify Trump's impeachment.

Then, of course, the Democrats would be stuck with President Mike Pence, a more traditional Religious Right Republican whose first step on foreign policy would be to turn it over to neocon Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, a move that would likely mean a new wave of "regime change" wars.

At such a point, that might put the Democrats and Republicans in sync as two equally warmongering parties, but what good that would do for the American people and the world is hard to fathom.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com's " Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon " and " Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party .]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

[Mar 24, 2017] Surveillance State Goes After Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Democrats are so eager to take down President Trump that they are joining forces with the Surveillance State to trample the privacy rights of people close to Trump, ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley tells Dennis J Bernstein. ..."
"... 'Red Scare' fear of Communism" famously associated with legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who collaborated with Sen. Joe McCarthy's hunt for disloyal Americans in the late 1940s and early 1950s. ..."
Mar 24, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Democrats are so eager to take down President Trump that they are joining forces with the Surveillance State to trample the privacy rights of people close to Trump, ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley tells Dennis J Bernstein.

Since Donald Trump's election, former Special FBI Agent Coleen Rowley has been alarmed over how Democratic hawks, neocons and other associates in the "deep state" have obsessed over "resurrecting the ghost of Joseph McCarthy" and have built political support for a permanent war policy around hatred of Russia.

Rowley, whose 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI's pre-9/11failures, compared the current anti-Russia hysteria to "the

'Red Scare' fear of Communism" famously associated with legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who collaborated with Sen. Joe McCarthy's hunt for disloyal Americans in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In an interview, Rowley told me that while Trump was wrong about his claim that President Obama ordered a surveillance "tapp" of Trump Tower, the broader point may have been correct as explained by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, who described how U.S. intelligence apparently picked up conversations by Trump associates while monitoring other targets.

Dennis Bernstein: A former high-level FBI whistleblower says Trump is vindicated on his claims of being surveilled by the previous administration. Joining us to take a close look at what's been going on, what's been unfolding in Washington, D.C. is Coleen Rowley. She's a former FBI special agent and division council. She wrote a May 2002 memo to the FBI director that exposed some of the FBI's pre-9/11 failures, major failures. She was Time magazine's person of the year in 2002. Help us explain what chairman Nunes reported in terms of the collecting process and Trumps innocence or guilt?

... ... ...

CR: Well, I don't think there has and it's not just myself, it's really most of our veteran intelligence professionals, retired CIA, retired NSA, we've all been conferring for a while on this. And we have asked, we actually put out a memo asking for evidence. Because it's just been assertions and innuendoes, and demonization

We see a lot of demonization of the Russian T.V. channel. But we have not seen any actual evidence of Russians and there's a lot of reasons to think that this would be illogical. Even if, and I would grant that Comey mentioned this in his testimony, that Putin and other top Russians hated Hillary Clinton. Well, even if you assume that, that they didn't like Hillary Clinton, as much as Donald Trump. They considered Donald Trump their lesser evil, or whatever. Even if you think that, why would they take the risk? Because, at the time Hillary Clinton surprised everyone by everyone thought she was going to win. So it would have been completely illogical for them to have done these things, to take that kind of a risk, when it was presumed that she was going to be the next president. There's just so many things here that don't add up, and don't make sense.

FBI Director James Comey

And yet, and yet, because our mainstream media is owned by what? half a dozen big conglomerates, all connected to the military industrial complex, they continue with the scenario of that old movie the Russians are coming! the Russians are coming! And unfortunately the Democrat Party has become the war party, very clearly. They're the ones that don't see the dangers in ginning up this very dangerous narrative of going after Russia, as meddling, or whatever. And they should ask for, we all should ask for the full evidence of this. If this is case, then we deserve to know the truth about it. And, so far, we haven't seen anything. Look at that report. There's nothing in it.

DB: And, this is the same media who for the last ever since Trump claimed that he was wiretapped using the wrong terminology, these

journalists they couldn't stop saying "if he did lie, this is a felony. He did lie. He did accuse the former president of the United States " So, you're saying, based on your long experience and information this was just a confusion of a term of art, and the idea of the possibility of Trump Towers being under investigation, this was all incredibly not strange, not crazy, and totally normal in the context of an investigation.

CR: Yes, and I again, there could be grounds for legitimate investigation of the periphery of the Trump campaign, certain staffers. And you know what, corruption in Washington, D.C. is quite rampant. And I think many, many of the politicians if they actually put them under the microscope they could find just as you look at foreign leaders, Netanyahu was indicted for corruption, whatever. It's not uncommon to have conflicts of interests, and under the table deals. That's very possible.

So, that's not what our news is saying. Our mainstream news is saying that, what you said at the beginning, the Russians own Trump, and basically that this has undermined our democracy and our electoral process. That part of it we have seen no evidence of. And, Trump is partially vindicated, because obviously whether he was personally targeted, his campaign at least seems to have been monitored, at least in part.

DB: Were you amazed that, for instance, the FBI director raised the issue of the Clinton investigation, but not the Trump investigation?

CR: Well, I've been trying to figure that out. Because back, during when he went public, he was put into the spot because Loretta Lynch should have been the one to be public on these things. But she was tainted because of having met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac. And so my explanation was that that Comey shouldered the burden from Loretta Lynch. He was doing her a favor in a way because he thought it would look like this is more independent and more professional coming from the FBI. Because at the time Loretta Lynch was under a cloud. And I think that is the explanation for why he was so public at the time.

And, of course, things have developed the summer, if any investigation started during the summer, again, it was not known. It was probably legitimate if they got some information in about some act of corruption, or whatever, it was certainly legitimate. But since this summer what has happened is this whole narrative has just gone on steroids, because of the leaks about the Russians, etc. And the fact that they put out this report, the FBI, the NSA, and the director of National Intelligence. And I think that that's the problem right now is the public just is so confused because there has been so much wrong information out there in the media. And no one knows what to believe.

Actually, to Comey's credit he did say this a couple of times that these media accounts are not accurate. And, I think that, again, we there's been a lot of "sources" anonymous sources which I do not think are whistleblowers. But these anonymous sources seem to have come from political operatives, and even higher level people. I'm guessing some of this came from the Obama administration appointees, not Obama, of course, personally.

And, who knows if he knew anything about this, but some of those prior appointees, I think, when all is said and done will be seen as the ones, if they can ever uncover this. It's hard with anonymous sources. But I think they were probably the ones leading this. And maybe over time we can get back to some sanity here without so much of this planted information, and wrongful leaks. And I, again, I'm all for whistle blowing. But, I don't agree with leaks like Scooter Libby's where they were actually using the media to plant false info.

[Mar 24, 2017] Whether the Soviet union exists or not has nothing to do with it. USA MUST always have an enemy to divert the sheeples attention that their so called American dream is really a nightmare

Mar 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
hoyeru , Mar 24, 2017 9:17 PM

Whether the Soviet union exists or not has nothing to do with it. USA MUST always have an enemy to divert the sheeple's attention that their so called American dream is really a nightmare. Besides, USA's empire is failing and Russia is getting stronger. of course USA will be pissed off about it.

daveO -> hoyeru , Mar 24, 2017 9:34 PM

"Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia." I'm glad to have lived to see them almost fail. When I first read this in 1984, by coincidence, there seemed to be no end in sight. As soon as the USSR failed they replaced it with terrorism(Eastasia)....

lester1 , Mar 24, 2017 9:21 PM

Help out of you can. Seth Rich was exposing corruption with the DNC against Bernie Sanders. He was mysteriously shot in the back last summer, but his wallet and watch weren't taken.

https://www.gofundme.com/SethRich

xrxs , Mar 24, 2017 9:36 PM

I still can't figure this Russiophobia out. We went from a path to mutual arms reduction and normalizing relations to the shitstorm in Ukraine and Syria. I think I know who started that whole mess, but I still haven't figured out why other than maintaining friendly control of European petrochemicals.

We went from Bush II and Vlad fishing and hanging out at the ranch to where we are today. WTF happened?

HRH Feant -> xrxs , Mar 24, 2017 9:58 PM

Same here. This new obsession is complete and utter insanity.

The leftists in the US remind me of the revolutionaries in Bolshevik Russia. They want a revolution and dream of communal living.

Communal living is my worst nightmare! Anyone that has shared a house with roomies soon understands that one person pays the bills while another eats all the food and one person cleans the toilet while everyone else makes a mess of the entire place. Communal living sounds great, in theory. In practice? It doesn't work.

shovelhead , Mar 24, 2017 9:39 PM

Nobodies "Russo-phobic". That's the story they're trying to sell the world.

That's just a convenient excuse for retaliating on Ukraine, Syria and now Trump. Russia and Putin have become like Mr. Clean in the household.

Good for every mess you make.

Cabreado , Mar 24, 2017 9:49 PM

"This is an American implosion. An historic Made-in-America meltdown. And Russophobia is but a symptom of the internal decay at the heart of US politics."

More importantly, it is a decay in the electorate and how it relates to the elected (isn't that the real heart of US politics?)

And so the elected, naturally, have become a corrupt mass of opportunists.

This is why they ("We") invented Rule of Law. We just have to give a damn like We mean it.

[Mar 24, 2017] The main story is the incompetence and corruption of the neoliberal leadership of the Democratic Party

Notable quotes:
"... Why should anyone in the working or middle class believe that voting for a Democrat is in their interest given the way in which the Democratic Party has been co-opted by the neoliberal ideology that brought us the draconian social welfare and irresponsible financial deregulatory legislation of the 1990s that led to the Crash of 2008? ..."
"... Why would they rally around a candidate who had lost the 2008 primary and who could barely win in 2016 without the party's rigging the primaries in her favor? ..."
"... Why would their candidate refuse to offer any kind of coherent message around the issue that propelled her two Democratic predecessors into office--it's the economy, stupid? ..."
"... As Blackford says, "the main story is the incompetence of the Democrats." The only question is whether their incompetence is willful or not. ..."
"... Wall Street supplied the money. ..."
"... LOL! A centrist party that has been triangulating -- chasing oligarch tail -- for decades. The 2018 election is going to provide me some excellent schadenfreude. ..."
Mar 24, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
George H. Blackford : March 24, 2017 at 02:54 AM , 2017 at 02:54 AM
False symmetry may be a part of the story, but the main story is the incompetence of the Democrats. There was a 20 percentage point shift away from Democrats in Michigan from 2008 to 2016, a14 pp shift in Pennsylvania, a 24 pp shift in Iowa, a 15 pp shift in Ohio, and a 24 pp shift in Indiana.

Does anyone really believe these kinds of shifts from Obama to Trump and third party candidates can be explained in terms of racism and bigotry or voters failing to understand that they were voting against their own interests because of Republican flimflam?

The real question is: Why should those who shifted from Obama to Trump and third parties have believed it would have been in their interest to vote for Hillary given her ties to Wall Street and the way in which the Democrats abandoned home owners and bailed out Wall Street during the crisis?

Why should anyone in the working or middle class believe that voting for a Democrat is in their interest given the way in which the Democratic Party has been co-opted by the neoliberal ideology that brought us the draconian social welfare and irresponsible financial deregulatory legislation of the 1990s that led to the Crash of 2008?

Democrats have been running on a "lesser of two evils platform" for 30 years now. Why would anyone be surprised that a significant portion of their base grasped at a straw when given the chance? http://www.rweconomics.com/Deficit.htm, http://www.rweconomics.com/htm/Ch_1.htm , and http://www.rweconomics.com/IVR.htm

George H. Blackford -> mulp... , March 24, 2017 at 03:50 AM
Re: "Do you think Clinton is more Wall Street than Trump?" It's not about what I think. It's about what the voters think. For what it's worth, I think it is quite clear that those voters who voted for Obama in 2008 and switched to Trump in 2016 are grasping at straws, and they did that because they saw no hope in voting for the Democratic Party.

As for: "Clinton staved off a crash in the 90s by high taxes." I think you are a bit confused on this. Not only was the deregulation signed into law by Clinton responsible for the Crash in 2008, his appointment of Greenspan facilitated the dotcom and telecom bubbles of the 1990s, the bursting of which led to the 2001 recession: http://www.rweconomics.com/htm/Ch_1.htm

The real question is why do "voters want the free lunch of tax cuts"? The reason is that Democratic Party, starting with the Clintons, bought into the neoliberal ideology championed by the Democratic Leadership Council and have refused to challenge the Republican's free lunch arguments and tell the voters that government programs are essential to our economic, social, and political wellbeing and that they have to be payid for. I believe that I have explained this quit well in: http://www.rweconomics.com/Deficit.htm

George H. Blackford -> jonny bakho... , March 24, 2017 at 05:26 AM
You'r wasting your time trying to convince me of this? I know what the Clintons did for the banks in the 1990s: http://www.rweconomics.com/htm/Ch_1.htm

And you are not going to be able to convince those who voted for Obama in 2008 and switched to Trump in 2016 either.

Paine -> George H. Blackford ... , March 24, 2017 at 05:51 AM
Blackie I love your stuff

The main line power core Democrats have layed their horrible liberal supporters and their minority bases like side walk gulls

And he gulls ...god bless em ... just can't believe they've backed the sunny side of all street all these past 25 plus years

Bernie tried to blow the whistle Ralph Nader tried to blow the whistle

JohnH -> George H. Blackford ... , March 24, 2017 at 07:14 AM
You really have to wonder if Democrats are trying to lose.

Why else would the party's elite rally around a candidate who had huge negatives and try to block anyone else from running?

Why would they rally around a candidate who had lost the 2008 primary and who could barely win in 2016 without the party's rigging the primaries in her favor?

Why would they refuse to sack an inept congressional leadership that had lost three straight elections?

Why would their candidate refuse to offer any kind of coherent message around the issue that propelled her two Democratic predecessors into office--it's the economy, stupid?

Why would the pigheadedly refuse to do a post mortem of their failure and insist on blaming Putin instead?

As Blackford says, "the main story is the incompetence of the Democrats." The only question is whether their incompetence is willful or not.

JohnH -> EMichael... , March 24, 2017 at 07:59 AM
"Other than a insignificant number of insane people, no one voted fro Obama and then voted for Trump"

LOL!!! According to EMichael, lots of Rust Belt voters must be insane...exactly the kind of disdain and disparagement that made them switch their vote in the first place.

EMichael, ever the partisan hack, still can't come to terms with the fact that Obama and Hillary ignored the concerns working class voters...the real reason they voted for Trump.

Could EMichael's delusional denial be characterized as insanity? Or just a partisan hack ineptly doing his job?

RGC -> jonny bakho... , March 24, 2017 at 06:49 AM
"Wall Street has little to do with it"

Wall Street supplied the money.

Tom aka Rusty -> RGC... , March 24, 2017 at 07:43 AM
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/3/4/1496194/-Complete-List-of-All-91-of-Hillary-s-Corporate-Speeches-and-Speaking-Fees
George H. Blackford -> kthomas... , March 24, 2017 at 06:05 AM
The reason I post all this BS is that as far as I can see, the only hope for the country is for the DAs in the Democratic Party to wake up and face reality.

I fear that if Democrats' do not wake up and they continue down the same neoliberal path they have been traveling since Carter--a path that led directly to Trump--even if we survive Trump and Democrats do regain power again, the demigod that follows the disaster that results is going to be even worse than Trump: http://www.rweconomics.com/LTLGAD.htm

George H. Blackford -> kthomas... , March 24, 2017 at 06:37 AM
"There is no fun in being in the middle, yet that is where the ability to wield power and effectively governing resides: in the middle. It's not pretty. it's not graceful. America exists as it does today only because we have been able to compromise for a long time. It's that ability to comprise that has been lost in great volume."

You seem to be missing my point: TRUMP IS PRESIDENT!

The things we are taking from the right DON'T WORK!

They are a disaster: http://www.rweconomics.com/htm/Ch_1.htm

http://www.rweconomics.com/LTLGAD.htm

yuan -> kthomas... , March 24, 2017 at 07:22 AM
LOL! A centrist party that has been triangulating -- chasing oligarch tail -- for decades. The 2018 election is going to provide me some excellent schadenfreude.
JohnH -> George H. Blackford ... , March 24, 2017 at 07:38 AM
Not exactly: "even if we survive Trump and Democrats do regain power again, the demigod that follows the disaster that results is going to be even worse than Trump."

If a Democrat follows Trump, his/her job will be to normalize and put a bipartisan imprimatur on what Trump did. That was Obama's role on many issues, including torture, Guantanamo, and NSA spying.

George H. Blackford -> JohnH... , March 24, 2017 at 07:55 AM
I think you may be missing my point.

Getting along is exactly what Bill Clinton did and it led to 2008. It's also what Pelosi and Obama did and it led to the loss of congress. It's also what more-of-the-same Hillary promised to do, and it led to Trump.( http://www.rweconomics.com/blame.htm )

The so-called center today is neoliberal nonsense that leads to disaster. If we can survive the current disaster, the only hope to avoid another disaster in the future is for the Democrats to move the center back to a point where it is possible avoid an even worse disaster:
http://www.rweconomics.com/htm/Ch_1.htm
http://www.rweconomics.com/Deficit.htm
http://www.rweconomics.com/blame.htm
http://www.rweconomics.com/LTLGAD.htm

JohnH -> George H. Blackford ... , March 24, 2017 at 08:04 AM
Fat chance! "the only hope to avoid another disaster in the future is for the Democrats to move the center back to a point where it is possible avoid an even worse disaster."

The DNC is adamant about NOT learning any lessons from their election debacle. But they are counting on Republicans to screw up so that they can have their turn in power.

[Mar 24, 2017] Russophobia - Symptom Of US Implosion

Notable quotes:
"... However, the power of the Russophobia propaganda technique over the wider population seems to have greatly diminished from its Cold War heyday. This is partly due to more diverse global communications which challenge the previous Western monopoly for controlling narrative and perception. Contemporary Russophobia – demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin or Russian military forces – does not have the same potency for scaring the Western public. Indeed, due to greater diversity in global news media sources, it is fair to say that "official" Western depictions of Russia as an enemy, for example allegedly about to invade Europe or allegedly interfering in electoral politics, are met with a healthy skepticism – if not ridicule by many Western citizens. ..."
"... What is increasingly apparent here is a gaping chasm between the political class and the wider public on the matter of Russophobia. This is true for Western countries generally, but especially in the US. The political class – the lawmakers in Washington and the mainstream news media – are frenzied by claims that Russia interfered in the US presidential elections and that Russia has some kind of sinister leverage on the presidency of Donald Trump. ..."
"... Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week dismissed the Congressional hearings into alleged Russian interference in US politics. He aptly said that US lawmakers and the corporate media have become "entangled" in their own fabrications. "They are trying to find evidence for conclusions that they have already made", said Peskov. ..."
"... There seems to be a collective delusional mindset. ..."
"... the ruling class have fabricated their own excuse for demise by blaming it all on Russia. ..."
"... The American ruling class cannot accept, or come to terms, with the fact of systemic failure in their own political system. The election of Trump is a symptom of this failure and the widespread disillusionment among voters towards the two-party train wreck of Republicans and Democrats. That is why the specter of Russian interference in the US political system had to be conjured up, by necessity, as a way of "explaining" the abject failure and the ensuing popular revolt. ..."
"... Russophobia was rehabilitated from the Cold War closet by the American political establishment to distract from the glaring internal collapse of American politics ..."
"... The toxic political atmosphere of Russophobia in Washington is unprecedented. The Trump administration is being crippled at every turn from conducting normal political business under a toxic cloud of suspicion that it is guilty of treason from colluding with Russia. ..."
"... When Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was reported to be skipping a NATO summit next month but was planning to visit Moscow later in the same month, the itinerary was interpreted as a sign of untoward Russian influence. ..."
"... What makes the spectacle of political infighting so unprecedented is that there is such little evidence to back up allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. It is preponderantly based on innuendo and anonymous leaks to the media, which are then recycled as "evidence". ..."
"... Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said earlier this week that he has seen no actual evidence among classified documents indicating any collusion between the Trump campaign team and the Russian government. ..."
"... Yet, FBI chief James Comey told Congress that his agency was pursuing a potentially criminal investigation into the Trump administration, while at the same time not confirming or denying the existence of any evidence. ..."
"... And, as already noted, this declaration of open-ended snooping by Comey on the White House was met with avid approval by political opponents of Trump, both on Capitol Hill and in the corporate media. ..."
"... Let's just assume for a moment that the whole Trump-Russia collusion story is indeed fake. That it is groundless, a figment of imagination. There are solid reasons to believe that is the case. But let's just assume here that it is fake for the sake of argument. ..."
"... This is an American implosion. An historic Made-in-America meltdown. And Russophobia is but a symptom of the internal decay at the heart of US politics. ..."
Mar 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
There was a time when Russophobia served as an effective form of population control – used by the American ruling class in particular to command the general US population into patriotic loyalty. Not any longer. Now, Russophobia is a sign of weakness, of desperate implosion among the US ruling class from their own rotten, internal decay.

This propaganda technique worked adequately well during the Cold War decades when the former Soviet Union could be easily demonized as "godless communism" and an "evil empire". Such stereotypes, no matter how false, could be sustained largely because of the monopoly control of Western media by governments and official regulators.

The Soviet Union passed away more than a quarter of a century ago, but Russophobia among the US political class is more virulent than ever.

This week it was evident from Congressional hearings in Washington into alleged Russian interference in US politics that large sections of American government and establishment media are fixated by Russophobia and a belief that Russia is a malign foreign adversary.

However, the power of the Russophobia propaganda technique over the wider population seems to have greatly diminished from its Cold War heyday. This is partly due to more diverse global communications which challenge the previous Western monopoly for controlling narrative and perception. Contemporary Russophobia – demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin or Russian military forces – does not have the same potency for scaring the Western public. Indeed, due to greater diversity in global news media sources, it is fair to say that "official" Western depictions of Russia as an enemy, for example allegedly about to invade Europe or allegedly interfering in electoral politics, are met with a healthy skepticism – if not ridicule by many Western citizens.

What is increasingly apparent here is a gaping chasm between the political class and the wider public on the matter of Russophobia. This is true for Western countries generally, but especially in the US. The political class – the lawmakers in Washington and the mainstream news media – are frenzied by claims that Russia interfered in the US presidential elections and that Russia has some kind of sinister leverage on the presidency of Donald Trump.

But this frenzy of Russophobia is not reflected among the wider public of ordinary American citizens. Rabid accusations that Russia hacked the computers of Trump's Democrat rival Hillary Clinton to spread damaging information about her; that this alleged sabotage of American democracy was an "act of war"; that President Trump is guilty of "treason" by "colluding" with a "Russian influence campaign" – all of these sensational claims seem to be only a preoccupation of the privileged political class . Most ordinary Americans, concerned about making a living in a crumbling society, either don't buy the claims or view them as idle chatter.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week dismissed the Congressional hearings into alleged Russian interference in US politics. He aptly said that US lawmakers and the corporate media have become "entangled" in their own fabrications. "They are trying to find evidence for conclusions that they have already made", said Peskov.

Other suitable imagery is that the US political class are tilting at windmills, chasing their own tails, or running from their own shadows. There seems to be a collective delusional mindset.

Unable to accept the reality that the governing structure of the US has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people, that the people rebelled by electing an outsider in the form of business mogul-turned-politician Donald Trump, that the collapse of American traditional politics is due to the atrophy of its bankrupt capitalist economy over several decades – the ruling class have fabricated their own excuse for demise by blaming it all on Russia.

The American ruling class cannot accept, or come to terms, with the fact of systemic failure in their own political system. The election of Trump is a symptom of this failure and the widespread disillusionment among voters towards the two-party train wreck of Republicans and Democrats. That is why the specter of Russian interference in the US political system had to be conjured up, by necessity, as a way of "explaining" the abject failure and the ensuing popular revolt.

Russophobia was rehabilitated from the Cold War closet by the American political establishment to distract from the glaring internal collapse of American politics.

The corrosive, self-destruction seems to know no bounds. James Comey, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told Congress this week that the White House is being probed for illicit contacts with Russia. This dramatic notice served by Comey was greeted with general approval by political opponents of the Trump administration, as well as by news media outlets.

The New York Times said the FBI was in effect holding a "criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House".

Other news outlets are openly airing discussions on the probability of President Trump being impeached from office.

The toxic political atmosphere of Russophobia in Washington is unprecedented. The Trump administration is being crippled at every turn from conducting normal political business under a toxic cloud of suspicion that it is guilty of treason from colluding with Russia.

President Trump has run afoul with Republicans in Congress over his planned healthcare reforms because many Republicans are taking issue instead over the vaunted Russian probe.

When Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was reported to be skipping a NATO summit next month but was planning to visit Moscow later in the same month, the itinerary was interpreted as a sign of untoward Russian influence.

What makes the spectacle of political infighting so unprecedented is that there is such little evidence to back up allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. It is preponderantly based on innuendo and anonymous leaks to the media, which are then recycled as "evidence".

Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said earlier this week that he has seen no actual evidence among classified documents indicating any collusion between the Trump campaign team and the Russian government.

Even former senior intelligence officials, James Clapper and Michael Morell who are no friends of Trump, have lately admitted in media interviews that there is no such evidence.

Yet, FBI chief James Comey told Congress that his agency was pursuing a potentially criminal investigation into the Trump administration, while at the same time not confirming or denying the existence of any evidence.

And, as already noted, this declaration of open-ended snooping by Comey on the White House was met with avid approval by political opponents of Trump, both on Capitol Hill and in the corporate media.

Let's just assume for a moment that the whole Trump-Russia collusion story is indeed fake. That it is groundless, a figment of imagination. There are solid reasons to believe that is the case. But let's just assume here that it is fake for the sake of argument.

That then means that the Washington seat of government and the US presidency are tearing themselves apart in a futile civil war.

The real war here is a power struggle within the US in the context of ruling parties no longer having legitimacy to govern.

This is an American implosion. An historic Made-in-America meltdown. And Russophobia is but a symptom of the internal decay at the heart of US politics.

[Mar 23, 2017] NSA To Provide Smoking Gun Proof Obama Spied On Trump Zero Hedge

Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
NSA To Provide "Smoking Gun" Proof Obama Spied On Trump InjectTheVenom -> hedgeless_horseman , Mar 23, 2017 6:56 PM

Mr Nunes should probably stay away from Texas hunting lodges and high balconies...

just sayin' .

DRAIN THE SWAMP.

Chupacabra-322 -> InjectTheVenom , Mar 23, 2017 7:23 PM

Who ever makes "Obama For Prison 2017" T-Shrits is goi g to make a killing.

johngaltfla -> Manthong , Mar 23, 2017 7:46 PM

Expect some variation of this story below to come from the upcomine revelations. Trump and Nunes want to not only demonstrate that Obama was scum, but put a major wedge between the DNC and Jews and Israel:

BOMBSHELL: Trump Surveillance Data Captured Due to Obama Spying on Israel, not Russia

knukles -> Mano-A-Mano , Mar 23, 2017 7:57 PM

So many crimes, so few diversions

Rubicon727 -> wee-weed up , Mar 23, 2017 7:44 PM

Firstly, there would have to be sufficient information showing Obama initiated the spying. Unless Obama has political knives out after him, these facts won't come out until 2030.

Secondly, the media, and other powers-that-be would muddy the water. We'll never know *who* and *why* of the story.

Thirdly, if the NSA comes out with genuine evidence, then we may be able to assume there IS a conflict between the FBI, the CIA vs the NSA. That, in itself, would be very relevant news.

Growing conflicts in any large government are not conducive to a smooth-operating empire.

BarkingCat -> Rubicon727 , Mar 23, 2017 8:13 PM

More likely conflicts within each organization.

Or maybe you are right and the NSA are the good guys. Maybe Snowden did what he did because the NSA itself is not happy about what they are told to do. Snowden did not go rogue but is following orders from within NSA.

It could also be that the NSA dropped vault 7 onto WikiLeaks as well as the various Hillary leaks during the campaign.

Whoa Dammit -> InjectTheVenom , Mar 23, 2017 7:28 PM

McCain is alledgedly the White House leaker

http://redstatewatcher.com/article.asp?id=69677

And NYPD says Hillary knew that Wiener was sexing underage girl & did not report it to authorities. The NYPD was prevented from pursuing charges against her.

http://redstatewatcher.com/article.asp?id=69678

[Mar 23, 2017] It seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring politicians and public than Al queda.

Notable quotes:
"... Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more. ..."
"... The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc. ..."
"... This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from. ..."
"... AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card. ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | href="Was%20Obama%20behind%20it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable. But it seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring repubs than Al queda.">
  • fresno dan March 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    So I see where Nunes in a ZeroHedge posting says that there might have been "incidental surveillance" of "Trump" (?Trump associates? ?Trump tower? ?Trump campaign?)
    Now to the average NC reader, it kinda goes without saying. But I don't think Trump understands the scope of US government "surveillance" and I don't think the average citizen, certainly not the average Trump supporter, does either – the nuances and subtleties of it – the supposed "safeguards".

    I can understand the rationale for it .but this goes to show that when you give people an opportunity to use secret information for their own purposes .they will use secret information for their own purposes.

    And at some point, the fact of the matter that the law regarding the "incidental" leaking appears to have been broken, and that this leaking IMHO was purposefully broken for political purposes .is going to come to the fore. Like bringing up "fake news" – some of these people on the anti Trump side seem not just incapable of playing 11th dimensional chess, they seem incapable of winning tic tac toe .

    Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable. But it seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring repubs than Al queda. Now maybe repubs are worse than Al queda – I think its time we have a real debate instead of the pseudo debates and start asking how useful the CIA is REALLY. (and we can ask how useful repubs and dems are too)

    Reply
    1. craazyboy March 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      If Obama taped the information, stuffed the tape in one of Michelle's shoeboxes, then hid the shoebox in the Whitehouse basement, he could be in trouble. Ivanka is sure to search any shoeboxes she finds.

      Reply
    2. Irredeemable Deplorable March 23, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Oh the Trump supporters are all over this, don't worry. There are many more levels to what is going on than what is reported in the fakenews MSM.

      Adm Roger of NSA made his November visit to Trump Tower, after a SCIF was installed there, to .be interviewed for a job uh-huh yeah.

      Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more.

      The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc.

      You all should be happy, because although Pres Trump has been vindicated here on all counts, the more important story for you is that the old line Democratic Party looks about to sink under the wieght of thier own lies and illegalities. This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from.

      AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author March 23, 2017 at 5:12 am

        I'm not seeing any links here.

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author March 23, 2017 at 4:08 am

      > Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable

      I think he knew about it. After fulminating about weedy technicalities, let me just say that Obama's EO12333 expansion made sure that whatever anti-Trump information got picked up by the intelligence community could be spread widely, and would be hard to trace back to an individual source .

      Reply
  • [Mar 23, 2017] March 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Notable quotes:
    "... Revealing this is treason. ..."
    "... People will die. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    There's also this showing evidence that Trump Tower was specifically monitored during the Obama administration, although the probe was targeting Russian mafia and not Trump and was done well before he declared his candidacy.

    The FBI did wiretap Trump Tower to monitor Russian activity, but it had nothing to do with the 2016 Presidential election, it has been reported.

    Between 2011 and 2013 the Bureau had a warrant to spy on a high-level criminal Russian money-laundering ring, which operated in unit 63A of the iconic skyscraper - three floors below Mr Trump's penthouse.

    Not exactly a confirmation of Trump's rather wild claims, but something.

    Still waiting for any evidence to appear that Russians interfered with the elections or colluded with Trump.

    uncle tungsten , March 22, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Ok, so they were just after the Russian mafia, phew I feel better already. So they got the felons and they are all arrested?

    What utter BS! Why is Semion Mogilevitch still at large in Hungary and no extradition process? What about Felix Sater and Steve Wynn and on and on. Why are they incapable of prosecuting mafia mobsters and instead chasing politicians?

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 22, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    That said, it was what happening potentially to all citizens, not just Donald Trump. I dislike this intensely, but why should Trump get special dispensation over other citizens? Would like to know the reason for that.

    Like Watergate, it's really about the denial or the lying.

    "When did you know about the, er, collecting?"

    For how many days have we ridiculed Trump for his alternative universe imagination?

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:25 am

    > He can join the other 310 million of us who can be "incidentally collected".

    Didn't your mother tell you that 310 million wrongs don't make a right?

    Neither party establishment cares about that quaint concept, civil liberties. If Obama's flip flip on FISA reform in July 2008, giving the telcos retroactive immunity for Bush's warrantless surveillance, didn't convince you, then his 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy should have.

    fritter , March 23, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Not to mention monitoring a politician opens up a whole new can of worms. I'm convinced Trump must pretty clean relatively because the IC hasn't gotten rid of him yet and you know they have all of his communications.
    I'm with Lambert on neither party caring. I knew all I needed to when Obama voted for FISA and the following years just reinforced how corrupt the Dems were. There is an import point here though. I don't think Trump would have thought that all of the surveillance would be applied to him personally. It was just about other people. It was probably a legitimate eye opener. Now Trump is at the head of the surveillance apparatus. Instead of asking wikileaks to release all of clintons emails, he should just do it himself. The Dems who were all for collecting on everyone can't (non-hypocritically) complain about Trump having all that now. I mean, we can never know how far the extremest have penetrated into our government unless we trace where all that Saudi money terrorist influence goes.

    Code Name D , March 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Not just incedently, in concreshional hearings, Comie flat out says that Trump and his team were investigated for Rushan connections, and that none were found. The question now is was the investigations properly secured or not. Something completly in the air.

    But team dem is still playing the "wire tap" canad.

    Randy , March 22, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    The surveillance state bites the politicians that created it in the ass. I love that. They are not happy, I love that too.

    allan , March 22, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    This is now turning into high comedy low farce:

    Devin Nunes Commits "Felonious Leaking" [Emptywheel]

    and @mkraju:

    WYDEN, member of Senate Intel, says Nunes' statements "would appear to reveal classified information, which is a serious concern."

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    It was already a farce when McCain went after Paul.

    Though it was, before that, a horror film, with the 'ways the intelligence community can get you.'

    polecat , March 22, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    they're going all Fellini on us now !

    wilroncanada , March 22, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    And here I thought they were only looking through a glass, darkly.

    fresno dan , March 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef
    March 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    It is a satire, wrapped in a parody, hidden in slapstick, on top of a farce, buried in a bro-mance between a man with a tower and another man riding a horse without a shirt (and the man isn't wearing a shirt either .)

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:31 am

    And scripted by Cersei Lannister

    allan , March 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Also, this kind of incidental collection has been known about for years.
    Here's a Barton Gellman, Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani article (linked to by Emptywheel)
    from the WaPo in 2014 and based on the Snowden documents:

    In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are
    [WaPo]

    Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.

    Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

    And what was the reaction of many Congresspersons
    (including many Dems, and all of the GOP except maybe Rand Paul and Justin Amash)?
    Revealing this is treason. People will die.
    And Trump's CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, has called for Snowden's execution.

    fresno dan , March 22, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    allan
    March 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Sorry allan – I got all excited at seeing a Nunes article in ZeroHedge and posted a comment – your article is better and it makes for more coherent comment threads to keep them together – I should have looked before I leaped (posted).

    Nunes: "I recently confirmed that, on numerous occasions, the Intelligence Community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.
    Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration-details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value-were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.
    I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked.
    To be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or any investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team."

    ==============================================
    So the worm turns. The hypocrisy espoused by all sides is ..well, 11th dimensional.

    3.14e-9 , March 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    fresno dan, this was a major topic of discussion during the committee hearing with Comey and Rogers on Monday. I listened to the whole thing – all five hours and 18 minutes' worth – because I suspected that the corporate media would omit important details or spin it beyond recognition. And so they did.

    The bipartisan divide is being portrayed as Democrats wanting to get to the truth of Russian efforts to snuff out Democracy, and Republicans wanting to "plug leaks" (see Lambert's RCP except above), with some reports suggesting the Rs are advocating stifling free speech, prosecuting reporters for publishing classified information, and the like.

    Republican committee members were indeed focused on the leaks, and there was talk about how to prevent them, but their concern – at least as they expressed publicly on Monday – was specifically related to whether all those current and former officials, senior officials, etc., quoted anonymously in the NYT and WaPo (the infamous "nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies") violated FISA provisions protecting information about U.S. persons collected incidentally in surveillance of foreign actors.

    Sure, they're playing their own game, and it could be a ruse to divert attention from the Trump campaign's alleged Russian ties or simply to have ammo against the Ds. Even so, after listening to all their arguments, I believe they are on more solid ground than all the Dem hysteria about Russian aggression and Trump camp treason.

    I don't think I'll ever get Trey Gowdy's cringe-worthy performance during the Benghazi hearings out of my head, but he made some pretty good points on Monday, one of which was that investigating Russian interference and possible ties between Trump advisers and Russia is all well and good, but there may or may not have been any laws broken; whereas leaking classified information about U.S. citizens collected incidentally under FISA is clearly a felony with up to 10 years. Comey confirmed that by saying that ALL information collected under FISA is classified.

    And then he repeatedly refused to say whether he thought any classified information had been leaked or existed at all (I counted more than 100 "no comment" answers from Comey, who astonishingly managed to find 50 different ways to say it).

    My beef isn't so much the leak of classified information, but the gross dereliction of duty – if not outright abuse of First Amendment powers – by reporters who collaborate with intelligence agencies and then quote them anonymously, giving everyone cover to say or write whatever they want with zero accountability.

    In fact, there were some interesting comments in Monday's hearing about the possibility that some of what has been reported was fabricated. Then, you might expect Comey to say something like that. For all his talk about not tolerating leaks from his agency, blahblah, it was clear that he'll provide his own people with cover, if necessary. I think that's what Gowdy and a couple other Republicans were getting at.

    It goes without saying, but I'll add that the Dems were hardly even trying to disguise their real goal, which isn't protecting the American Peopleฎ from the evil Russkies, but taking down Trump.

    fresno dan , March 22, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    3.14e-9
    March 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks for watching the whole thing – the nation owes you a debt of gratitude.

    "My beef isn't so much the leak of classified information, but the gross dereliction of duty – if not outright abuse of First Amendment powers – by reporters who collaborate with intelligence agencies and then quote them anonymously, giving everyone cover to say or write whatever they want with zero accountability."

    First, I a squillion percent agree with you. This is a big, bit deal because essentially the military/IC/neocons is trying to wrest control of the civilian government – the idea that the CIA is some noble institution that wants the best for all Americans is preposterous, yet accepted by the media, which proves how much propaganda we are fed. The sheep like following, the mandatory use of the adjective "murderous thug" before the name of "Putin" just shows that most of the media has been bought off or has lost all their critical thinking faculties.

    But I also don't want to be a hypocrite so I will explain that I don't have too much of a problem with leaks. WHAT I do have a problem with is the purposeful naivete or ignorance of the media that the CIA and/or facets of the Obama administration is trying to thwart rapprochement with Russia. Administrations BEFORE they are sworn in talk to foreign governments – the sheer HYSTERIA, the CRIME of talking to a Russian is beyond absurd. We are being indoctrinated to believe all Russia, all bad

    There is a ton of information about Podesta and the Clintons dealing with Russia for money. If Flynn and whatshisname are just grifting that is pedestrian stuff and everybody in Washington does it (I thing they call it "lobbying"). If there is REAL treason something should have come out by now.

    3.14e-9 , March 23, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Thanks, fd.

    I began covering congressional hearings while I was still in j-school and sat though many like this during my years as a reporter in D.C. Even though I haven't worked as a full-time journalist for many years, I still prefer original sources and am willing to take the time to dig for them or, in this case, to sit through a hearing as though I were covering it as a member of the press – especially when I don't even have to wash my hair or get dressed!

    I didn't mean to imply that I have a problem with leaks. I certainly encouraged enough of them in my time, and I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with publishing leaked material, even certain kinds of classified information. It depends.

    There's the kind of "classified" information that is restricted expressly to keep the public from knowing something they have a right to know, and there's information that's classified to protect individual privacy. The first kind should be leaked early and often. The second kind, close to never (and off the top of my head I can't think of an instance when it would be OK).

    Even though journalists aren't (and shouldn't be) held liable for publishing classified information given to them by a third party, they need to be scrupulous in their decisions to do so. Is it in the public interest? Who or what might be harmed? Would sitting on the information cause more harm than publicizing it? Does it violate someone's constitutional rights?

    These questions can get tricky with someone like Flynn, who's clearly a public figure and thus mostly fair game. However, if I had been reporting that story, I think I would have sat on it until I had more information, even at the risk of getting scooped – unless, of course, I was in cahoots with the leakers and out to get him and his boss.

    At that point, I am no longer an objective journalist committed to fair and accurate reporting, but a participant in a political cause. Although newspapers throughout history have taken sides, and pure "fact-based" journalism is a myth, there's a big difference between having an editorial slant and being an active participant in the story. Evidently, BezPo has decided that the latter is not only acceptable, but advantageous.

    Sorry, didn't mean to ramble on when I'm likely preaching to the converted. I feel very strongly about this issue, and it's disconcerting to me, as a lifelong Democrat, that I agreed more with the Republicans in that hearing. At the same time, the D's propaganda machine is pumping out so much toxic fog that it's shaking my faith in unfettered freedom of the press.

    Exactly what Putin wants, right?

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:46 am

    > I began covering congressional hearings while I was still in j-school and sat though many like this during my years as a reporter in D.C. Even though I haven't worked as a full-time journalist for many years, I still prefer original sources and am willing to take the time to dig for them

    Hmm. NC needs an in-house emptywheel

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:41 am

    You did this so we didn't have to. Thanks!

    * * *

    This:

    In fact, there were some interesting comments in Monday's hearing about the possibility that some of what has been reported was fabricated.

    I mean, it's not like we don't have several major players with the expertise and the institutional mandate to fake evidence. Waiting for a shoe to drop on this. Call me foily .

    * * *

    And this:

    My beef isn't so much the leak of classified information, but the gross dereliction of duty – if not outright abuse of First Amendment powers – by reporters who collaborate with intelligence agencies and then quote them anonymously, giving everyone cover to say or write whatever they want with zero accountability.

    For this, we have the First Amendment? Really?

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I agree that everybody is surveilled all the time, especially in the Beltway, where probably there are multiple simultaneous operations run against . well, everybody.

    It doesn't, er, bug me that 70-year-old Beltway neophyte Trump used sloppy language - "wiretap" - to describe this state of affairs. (I don't expect any kind of language from Trump but sloppy.) All are, therefore one is. It does bug me that the whole discussion gets dragged off into legal technicalities about what legal regimen is appropriate for which form of Fourth Amendment-destruction (emptywheel does this a lot). The rules are insanely complicated, and it's fun to figure them out, rather like taking the cover off the back of a Swiss watch and examining all the moving parts. But the assumption is that people follow the rules, and especially that high-level people (like, say, Comey, or Clapper, or Morrel, or Obama) follow the complicated rules. That assumes facts not in evidence.

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Incidental collection was always a likely scenario.

    We've also seen statements from people like GHCQ that clains they surveilled Trump at Obama's behest were "absurd," but those are non-denial denials. I can't recall a denial denial. Am I missing something?

    [Mar 23, 2017] Nunes Confirms There Was Incidental Surveillance Of Trump During Obama Administration, Seems To Be Inappropriate Zero Hed

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Update : House Intel Chairman Nunes spoke to reporters when he left the briefing at The White House and had some more stunning things to say:
  • *NUNES: BRIEFED PRESIDENT ON CONCERNS OVER INCIDENTAL COLLECTION
  • *NUNES: `PRESIDENT NEEDS TO KNOW' THESE INTEL REPORTS EXIST
  • *NUNES: SOME OF WHAT I'VE SEEN SEEMS TO BE `INAPPROPRIATE'
  • *NUNES: TRUMP, OTHERS IN TRANSITION PUT INTO INTELLIGENCE REPORT
  • *NUNES: QUESTION IS IF TRUMP SHOULD BE IN THESE `NORMAL' REPORTS
  • And the punchline: there are "multiple FISA warrants outstanding against Trump" Nunes also told reporters:

    Wow - Nunes just said there are "multiple FISA warrants out there" involving Trump.

    - Tom Watson (@tomwatson) March 22, 2017

    * * *

    As we detailed earlier, it appears Trump may have been right, again.

    Two days after FBI director Comey shot down Trump's allegation that Trump was being wiretapped by president Obama before the election, it appears that president Trump may have been on to something because moments ago, the House Intelligence Chairman, Devin Nunes, told reporters that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of President Trump's transition team, possibly including Trump himself, and the information was "widely disseminated" in intelligence reports.

    As AP adds , Nunes said that President Donald Trump's communications may have been "monitored" during the transition period as part of an "incidental collection."

    Nunes told a news conference Wednesday that the communications appear to be picked up through "incidental collection" and do not appear to be related to the ongoing FBI investigation into Trump associates' contacts with Russia. He says he believes the intelligence collections were done legally , although in light of the dramatic change in the plotline it may be prudent to reserve judgment on how "incidental" it was.

    "I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community collected information on U.S. individuals involved in the Trump transition," Nunes told reporters.

    "Details about U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports."

    The information was "legally brought to him by sources who thought we should know it," Nunes said, though he provided little detail on the source.

    BREAKING!!! Rep Devin Nunes (Intel Cmte Chmn): There was "Incidental collection" of @realDonaldTrump thru IC surveillance <- BOMBSHELL

    - Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) March 22, 2017

    Nunes also said that "additional names" of Trump transition officials had been unmasked in the intelligence reports. He indicated that Trump's communications may have been swept up.

    The House Intel Chair said he had viewed dozens of documents showing that the information had been incidentally collected. He said that he believes the information was legally collected. Nunes said that the intelligence has nothing to do with Russia and that the collection occurred after the presidential election.

    Nunes said he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on the revelation and will inform the White House later today. Nunes' statement comes after he and other congressional leaders pushed back on Trump's claims that former President Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower ahead of the election.

    Nunes said Wednesday that it was unclear whether the information incidentally collected originated in Trump Tower.

    The revelation comes in the wake of the committee's explosive hearing on Monday, at which FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau has been investigating Russia's election hacking since July, which includes probing possible coordination between members of Trump's presidential campaign and Moscow.

    The meeting represented the panel's first open hearing on its investigation into Russia's election meddling and also featured testimony from NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers.

    Nunes says the communications of Trump associates were also picked up, but he did not name those associates. He says the monitoring mostly occurred in November, December and January. He added that he learned of the collection through "sources" but did not specify those source

    Politico adds that Nunes is going to the White House later Wednesday to brief the Trump administration on what he has learned, which he said came from "sources."

    Nunes says he is "bothered" by this. Won't say whether or not intel community spied on Trump et. al. But says he is "concerned."

    - David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 22, 2017

    While there are no further details, we look forward to how the media narrative will change as a result of today's latest dramatic development.

    froze25 , Mar 22, 2017 1:38 PM

    Trump wouldn't of tweeted what he did unless he knew something. He doesn't make blind bets, he only moves on things he knows he can win. Not to mention he has shown that he can bait, watch the other side respond and deny and then present his case to show them as the liars they are.

    Looney -> LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD , Mar 22, 2017 1:40 PM

    James Comey said that there were no LEGAL wiretaps.

    Who would admit to ILLEGALLY wiretapping a campaign?

    I am not a crook I am not a crook ;-)

    Looney

    Chupacabra-322 -> ghengis86 , Mar 22, 2017 1:44 PM

    Bush and Obama both illegally tapped trumps 30+ offices, residences, cell ph since 2004.

    There's a New Snowden - 600M docs Leaked Including Trump Wire Taps on 30+ Phones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFJ34OAmzP8

    Documents Show Obama Surveilled Entire Trump Family For 8 Years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTT5FVyGMUU

    New NSA Whistblower Goes Public About Trump Surveillance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq2SaRu9emY

    NSA DOCUMENTS PROVE SURVEILLANCE OF DONALD TRUMP AND ALEX JONES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lntc9No2vzE

    Joe Davola -> froze25 , Mar 22, 2017 1:49 PM

    By "incidental monitoring" does he mean "gathering everything they can just like they do to everyone else"

    Chupacabra-322 -> Joe Davola , Mar 22, 2017 1:56 PM

    @ Joe,

    "Incidental" is code for "Vault 7." Someone should make T-Shirts.

    Gaius Frakkin' ... -> FrozenGoodz , Mar 22, 2017 2:17 PM

    "incidental surveillance"

    LOL...

    Something like Clapper's "not wittingly" I'm sure...

    While we're at it, let's debate the meaning of "is"...

    remain calm -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar , Mar 22, 2017 2:29 PM

    "Incidental surveilance" WTF

    That is like being a little gay...

    greenskeeper carl -> remain calm , Mar 22, 2017 2:50 PM

    How all these people still let trump bait them like this is hilarious. How many times has he said something that seemed baseless and everyone was sure would sink him, and then he is vindicated? And they still fucking fall for it.

    And yes, incidental surveillance is a funny term. As in you swept all his up the same way they listen to all of us all the time? Maybe this will piss trump off enough to end this shit. I doubt it though.

    j0nx -> greenskeeper carl , Mar 22, 2017 4:21 PM

    Indeed. Everyone knows Obama and hildabeast were 'tapping his lines' illegally via fake 'legal' methods...

    wildbad -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar , Mar 22, 2017 3:55 PM

    we've got to start fucking these liberals up.

    the NSA , the CIA, The FBI et al. are watching all of us all the time period.

    we have to beat these motherfuckers back until there is no one willing to fill those illegal and unconstitutional posts.

    the terrorists are in washington and we need to dissemble their illegally constructed fortress.

    Dear donald..attack them now. jail them. hang them.

    Sam.Spade -> FrozenGoodz , Mar 22, 2017 6:16 PM

    Here is what Trump may have known:

    The NSA 'wiretaps' EVERYONE. All of what you say on your phone, on-line, and in any other form of electronic communications is Hoovered up and dumped in their mass storage facilities in Utah and elsewhere. The system is set up to get it all AUTOMATICALLY. In fact, they would have had to go to great efforts to NOT record what Trump and his associates said electronically. Or searched for. Or visited on the web. Or even visited in person if he/she carried a cell phone with when going about.

    Because it is all recorded for ALL OF US! Standard, all the time, no warrant required.

    Of course, if there were FISA warrants issued, then the opposition did more than that, because no warrant is required for any of the above. So they must have also done some non-standard dirty. Like placing recording malware on the relevant cell phones to record conversations, take pictures, upload stored files, and even take video. Or sift through his financial records.

    OK, so why should you care? I don't mean about Trump, although you should care there as well, but about your privacy. You may not be getting the full Monte he did, by everything you do in the first paragraph now rests with the NSA.

    For an answer, consider this conversation between one of the uber-wealthy and a Federal Prosecutor:

    *****

    "With enough data, my lawyers can always find a crime. They'll prosecute. Bury anyone under legal motions, make his life miserable. Maybe even send him up for some felony."

    "Even if he didn't do anything?"

    "Of course he did something. We got 100,000 laws on the books, twice that in regs. Somewhere, sometime, by accident or intentionally, he broke one. We get a moving x-ray of his life, all we have to do is find it."

    *****

    It's called the power of selective prosecution. With enough data, what used to be just an annoyance becomes an unstoppable control technique. Someday, when the deep state wants you cooperation, they will drill down through their Utah stash for your name. Then they will call you in for a little chat.

    Not willing to spy on your best friend or wife? You may change you mind after their little chat.

    So how to avoid this trap? How do you avoid becoming a data serf?

    Learn to hide your data so it can't be hovered in the first place. I suggest you start with www.privacytools.io and work your way up from there.

    And do it now. Because protecting your privacy is like quitting smoking. It doesn't matter how long you have been engaged in unclean behavior, it's never too late to start living right.

    The quote above, by the way, was from Thieves Emporium by Max Hernandez. It's a primer on the ways TPTB control us in the new world of fiat money and ubiquitous surveillance and what we can do to prevent it. I strongly recommend you at least investigate getting a copy.

    The editors of The Daily Bell must agree as they ran it as a serial which you can still read for free at http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/max-hernandez-introducing-thieves...

    Or you can buy a copy from Amazon (rated 4.6 in 118 reviews), Nook (same rating, not so many reviews), Smashwords (ditto), or iBooks.

    https://www.amazon.com/Thieves-Emporium-Max-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00CWWWRK0

    Belrev -> Chupacabra-322 , Mar 22, 2017 2:22 PM

    Statement by Devin Nunes on discovery of Trump team surveillance by Obama

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

    CuttingEdge -> Chupacabra-322 , Mar 22, 2017 2:28 PM

    There is a simple method for Trump to "drain the swamp". Fucked if I know why he hasn't, given how much butt-hurt they are dishing out to him.

    An Executive Order giving immunity and witness protection (and even a fucking Presidential Medal of Freedom, if you ask me) to all whistleblowers who reveal unconstitutional malfeasance within both overt and covert .gov departments. Because these are the true patriots, and all that is stopping them shining a fucking huge spotlight on this bucket of scumfuck is persecution from the swamp dwellers who control all the levers of power.

    Maybe with a (secure) hotline/email direct to the White House, just to bypass Comey and all the other cunts installed by Obama. Or probably better, directly to a morally rock solid independent Special Prosecutor who is prepared to get down and seriously dirty with the insidious morally bereft creatures infesting DC. A Trey Gowdy-type of bloke. Because , as far as relying on the FBI et al is concerned, Trump was fucked before he started.

    Chupacabra-322 -> CuttingEdge , Mar 22, 2017 2:45 PM

    @ Cutting,

    A typewriter can get it done. Hear they're Hot sellers in Germany again.

    What people don't understand is, that the Russian PsyOp / False Narrative Script by the Deep State & Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Psychopath Hillary Clinton Globalist was the game plan all long.

    Win, stolen or lost. They were going & are going "all in" with the PsyOp, Scripted False Narrative of Russia hacking the Elections / Russia / Putin / Trump Propaganda gone full retard via the Deep States Opeatives in the Presstitute Media.

    Plausible Deniability is the name of the game. If the Deep State could of pulled off the False Narrative PsyOp of Russia influencing our Elections the Deep State could & will hack into Russia's National Elections next March. Call it pay back.

    The Deep State's destabilization campaign in Ukraine especially Crimea was part of the ZioNeoConFascist Agenda to destabilize Russia during their upcoming g elections.

    Putin countered by expelling all Geroge Sorros NGO's from Russia. However, rest assured those destabilization cells are in place to ready to be activated come Russia's next election cycle.

    The future meeting between the Two Super Powers will be Epic. The Diplomacy which will Prevail out of those meetings will be a fresh breath of air to the World.

    And, final Death Blows to the Pure Evil Criminal Deep State Elite Compartmentalized Hierarchy.

    vq1 -> Chupacabra-322 , Mar 22, 2017 3:45 PM

    I assume you brought up typewriter because it is "unhackable" and allows people to leak without potentially being linked?

    As we all know the wikileaks revelations show that almost no device is safe from CIA (typewriter obviously is safe).

    That does not mean however that anonymity is unachievable.

    Someone can feel free to point out any hole in my instructions:

    1) purchase an older laptop (no camera or microphone) with cash from a "local" computer store (not a Dell or Microsoft branded business).

    3) run OS from an external CD drive (NO USB). Recommend linux distro, like tails.

    2) https://privacytoolsio.github.io/privacytools.io/ for software recommendations (tor, VPN, protonmail/tutanota, keepass, etc)

    3) All accounts disassociated with you personally - fake names, no phone numbers, do not link to any personal accounts, make no comments, do not message your contacts.

    4) never use your own wifi.

    5) never use your own bank account or credit cards, use crypto currency to pay for VPN, etc.

    This setup, as I understand it, would keep you completely anon with the exception of cameras at the store you purchase laptop at or cameras at the cafe you are using wifi. You can now leak without it being linked to you.

    Not to say that this setup is immune from CIA. In fact the idea is that you know that the CIA is looking, its just important that they do not know WHO they are looking at (identity).

    forexskin -> vq1 , Mar 22, 2017 6:20 PM

    typewriter may be safe.

    my russian compatriot Vlad told me when he was a kid, every typewriter in USSR was cataloged with samples of its output. By microscopic analysis, they could tell which typewriter was responsible for any typed document.

    every computer printer made also has the same kind of ID backdoor - it will print a specific identifier (like a MAC address) somewhere on the page - except for the old dot matrix and early inkjet. Defeat that by running it thru a low res copier a few round trips.

    Jim in MN -> forexskin , Mar 22, 2017 7:22 PM

    East German Stasi, same deal. All typewriters registered and tracked. Such amazing depth of the deep state crap. Coming soon to a ruined Republic near you...unless......we stop it.

    Victory_Garden -> CuttingEdge , Mar 22, 2017 4:09 PM

    "An Executive Order giving immunity and witness protection (and even a fucking Presidential Medal of Freedom, if you ask me) to all whistleblowers who reveal unconstitutional malfeasance within both overt and covert .gov departments. Because these are the true patriots, and all that is stopping them shining a fucking huge spotlight on this bucket of scumfuck is persecution from the swamp dwellers who control all the levers of power.

    Maybe with a (secure) hotline/email direct to the White House, just to bypass Comey and all the other cunts installed by Obama. Or probably better, directly to a morally rock solid independent Special Prosecutor who is prepared to get down and seriously dirty with the insidious morally bereft creatures infesting DC. A Trey Gowdy-type of bloke. Because , as far as relying on the FBI et al is concerned, Trump was fucked before he started."

    [Mar 23, 2017] Embattled Trump Reneges on Health Vow

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Washington Post ..."
    "... The Washington Post ..."
    "... Moyers & Company ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
    Embattled Trump Reneges on Health Vow March 21, 2017

    President Trump promised health insurance for all, but – now dependent on the political protection of House Speaker Paul Ryan – he is supporting a plan that will push millions outside the system, writes Michael Winship.

    By Michael Winship

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump still insists he's going to Make America Great Again! Mind you, it won't be a healthy or vigorous America - in fact, it will be coughing and wheezing to the grave, but boy, will it be great!

    If you ever needed further evidence that Trump doesn't give a single good goddamn about the people who elected him, just look at his treacherous turnabout on health care. This Republican "repeal and replace" bill stinks on so many levels I'm tempted to say it should be taken far out to sea and dumped into the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench but I have too much regard for marine life, even the kind with the big googly eyes and the really scary teeth.

    Remember that Trump was the carnival barker who declared during the campaign , "I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now." And right before his inauguration he told The Washington Post , "We're going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us."

    Then along comes the proposed Republican bill, which over a decade, according to the now-famous report from the Congressional Budget Office , would see 24 million fewer Americans with coverage, doubling the number of uninsured. Trump's own supporters would take it on the chin for what he tweeted is "our wonderful new health care bill."

    According to John McCormick at Bloomberg News : "Counties that backed him would get less than a third of the relief that would go to counties where Hillary Clinton won. The two individual tax cuts contained in the Republican plan to replace Obamacare apply only to high-earning workers and investors, roughly those with incomes of at least $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples."

    And remember all that nonsense about Obamacare's "death panels," a falsehood so rotten to the core it was declared PolitiFact's 2009 Lie of the Year ? Well, this Republican bill actually would kill people. Those older would pay more than the young, it would strip Planned Parenthood of funding and Medicaid programs would be slashed. It would eliminate money for the Prevention and Public Health Fund , which provides epidemiology, immunization and health-screening programs. And there would be no mandate that employers with 50 employees or more provide coverage.

    Julia Belluz at Vox reports on:"[V]ery high-quality studies on the impacts of health insurance on mortality, which come to some pretty clear estimates. This research suggests that we would see more than 24,000 extra deaths per year in the US if 20 million people lost their coverage. Again, 20 million is less than the 24 million the CBO thinks will lose insurance by 2026. So the death toll from an Obamacare repeal and replacement could be even higher."

    Ignoring the Needy

    Notice that Trump has barely lifted a finger to assist those who need genuine reform that would bring quality care to all, the kind of help he promised as a candidate. Instead, he has directed his energies at helping Speaker Paul Ryan win over right-wing House members by promising to make the bill even crueler to those who need health care the most.

    Take a look at this statement issued by tea partier and Alabama Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt after meeting with Trump on Friday, a statement so mind-boggling it's worth quoting in full :

    "President Trump called me to the Oval Office this morning to discuss the American Healthcare Act, because of his understanding that I could not support the current language of the bill. I expressed to the president my concern around the treatment of older, poorer Americans in states like Alabama. I reminded him that he received overwhelming support from Alabama's voters.

    "The president listened to the fact that a 64-year-old person living near the poverty line was going to see their insurance premiums go up from $1,700 to $14,600 per year. The president looked me in the eye and said, 'These are my people and I will not let them down. We will fix this for them.'

    "I also asked the president point blank if this House bill was the one that he supported. He told me he supports it '1,000 percent.' After receiving the president's word that these concerns will be addressed, I changed my vote to yes."

    Can you believe it? Trump's behind the bill 1,000 percent, the President claims, but don't worry, we'll fix it. It's hard to decide which of the two men is behaving more hypocritically: Trump saying he won't let the people down or Aderholt claiming to believe the President actually will keep his word. Each is endorsing a cutthroat scheme that will bring nothing but grief to the people but hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the wealthy and vast profits to the insurance industry.

    According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities : "The top 400 highest-income taxpayers - whose annual incomes average more than $300 million apiece - each would receive an average annual tax cut of about $7 million , we estimate from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data."

    Andy Slavitt, who was President Obama's acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told The Washington Post , "This is a massive tax cut for unpopular industries and wealthy individuals. It is about cutting care for lower-income people, seniors, people with disabilities and kids to pay for the tax cut."

    This is, in the words of Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, "a dumpster fire of a bill that was written on the back of a napkin behind closed doors because Republicans know this is a disaster." But thanks to ineptitude and an inchoate, ill-planned rush to pass the legislation, it looks as if the current Republican bill may be on its way to failure, if not in the House then in the Senate.

    Lucky us - for now. But if the GOP and Trump White House do manage to force on us anything short of what's really needed – single-payer, universal health care - we're doomed to live in a nation the motto of which may no longer be "In God We Trust" but instead, "Die young and leave a good-looking corpse."

    Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship . [This article first appeared at http://billmoyers.com/story/trump-gop-prescription-america-dont-get-sick/ ]

    [Mar 23, 2017] James Clapper resigns as US director of national intelligence

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

    Nov 17, 2016

    ...Clapper in 2014 played a leading role in firing Flynn from the directorship of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn, a retired US army lieutenant general, became one of the only national security officials of any note to back Trump, and is expected to take a leading role in Trump's administration, reportedly national security adviser.

    ... ... ...

    In March 2013, months before Snowden provided the Guardian and the Washington Post with voluminous NSA data documenting sweeping domestic and international communications dragnets, Clapper had a public colloquy with Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee.

    Wyden asked Clapper: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?"

    Clapper replied, untruthfully: "No sir," rubbing his head. "Not wittingly."

    After Snowden revealed otherwise, Clapper offered a shifting series of explanations for his publicly uttered falsehood. He first said it was the " least untruthful " answer he could provide in an unclassified hearing. Later he said he misunderstood which particular communications collection program Wyden was asking about – despite Wyden's staff alerting Clapper's before the hearing as to the question – and apologized to the committee.

    Later still, his lawyer, Robert Litt, would deny that Clapper lied and said the director simply forgot . Litt would also say that Clapper finds open intelligence-committee hearings, a requirement of congressional oversight, as annoying as folding fitted sheets.

    Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, called on Clapper to resign for lying to Congress. It was not the first such call: GOP senator Lindsey Graham wanted Clapper's resignation in 2011 after Clapper forecast that the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi would " prevail " over his opposition.

    But Obama stuck by his appointee, who struck a highly combative tone over the Snowden disclosures, even implying that journalists publishing them were " accomplices " to Snowden, who has been charged under the Espionage Act. During the departure ceremony for NSA director Keith Alexander in 2014, Clapper mocked "Eddie Snowden" and his admirers.

    A just-published profile in Wired magazine will serve as Clapper's final explanation of the episode while in office.

    "The popular narrative is that I lied, but I just didn't think of it. Yes, I made a mistake, but I didn't lie. There's a big difference," Clapper told Wired .

    "I'm quite sure that will be the first line of my Washington Post obituary. But that's life in the big city."

    For years before their famous exchange, Wyden had written numerous letters to Clapper seeking additional disclosure of widespread surveillance, particularly those programs with a domestic reach. He pointed to their history in reacting to Clapper's resignation.

    "During Director Clapper's tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in an deception spree regarding mass surveillance. Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them," Wyden said.

    [Mar 23, 2017] Trump and National Neoliberalism By Sasha Breger Bush Common Dreams

    Notable quotes:
    "... Democracy, Inc. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.commondreams.org
    Many writers and pundits are currently framing Trump's election in terms of a dispossessed and disenfranchised white, male working class, unsatisfied with neoliberal globalization and the insecurity and hardship it has unleashed-particularly across regions of the United States that were formerly manufacturing powerhouses (like the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, four states believed to have cost Hillary Clinton the election). While there is much truth to this perspective and substantial empirical evidence to support it, it would be a mistake to see Trump's election wholly in these terms.

    "What Trump's election has accomplished is an unmasking of the corporate state."

    Trump's election is in some ways a neoliberal apex, an event that portends the completion of the U.S. government's capture by wealthy corporate interests. While in my opinion Trump's election does not signal the beginning of a rapid descent into European-style fascism, it appears to be a key stage in the ongoing process of American democratic disintegration. American democracy has been under attack from large and wealthy corporate interests for a long time, with this process accelerating and gaining strength over the period of neoliberal globalization (roughly the early 1970s to the present). This time period is associated with the rise of powerful multinational corporations with economic and political might that rivals that of many national governments.

    In terms of the political consequences of these trends in the U.S., certain thinkers have argued that the U.S. political system is not democratic at all, but rather an "inverted totalitarian" system. Political commentator Chris Hedges notes: "Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state." Citing the American political theorist Sheldon Wolin, Hedges continues, "Unlike the Nazis, who made life uncertain for the wealthy and privileged while providing social programs for the working class and poor, inverted totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers." Our inverted totalitarian system is one that retains the trappings of a democratic system-e.g. it retains the appearance of loyalty to "the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, [and] the independence of the judiciary"-all the while undermining the capacity of citizens to substantively participate and exert power over the system.

    In my view, what Trump's election has accomplished is an unmasking of the corporate state. Trump gives inverted totalitarianism a persona and a face, and perhaps marks the beginning of a transformation from inverted totalitarianism to totalitarianism proper. In spite of this, it makes no sense to me to call the system toward which we are heading (that is, if we do not stand up and resist with all our might right this second) "fascism" or to make too close comparisons to the Nazis. Whatever totalitarian nightmare is on our horizon, it will be uniquely American. And it will bear a striking resemblance to the corporate oriented system we've been living in for decades. Indeed, if the pre-Trump system of inverted totalitarianism solidified in the context of global neoliberalism, the period we are entering now seems likely to be one characterized by what I call "national neoliberalism."

    Trump's Election Doesn't Mean the End of Neoliberalism

    Trump's election represents a triumph of neoliberal thinking and values. Perhaps most importantly, we should all keep in mind the fact that Americans just elected a businessman to the presidency. In spite of his Wall Street background and billionaire status, Trump successfully cast himself as the "anti-establishment" candidate. This configuration-in which a top-one-percenter real estate tycoon is accepted as a political "outsider"-is a hallmark of neoliberal thinking. The fundamental opposition between market and government is a central dichotomy in the neoliberal narrative. In electing Trump, American voters are reproducing this narrative, creating an ideological cover for the closer connections between business and the state that are in store moving forward (indeed, Trump is already using the apparatus of the U.S. federal government to promote his own business interests). As states and markets further fuse in coming years, this representation of Trump and his administration-as being anti-government-will help immunize his administration from accusations of too-cozy relationships with big business. Trump's attempts to "drain the swamp" by imposing Congressional term limits and constraints on lobbying activities by former political officials will also help to hide this relationship. (Has anyone else noticed that Trump only addresses half of the "revolving door," i.e., he plans to limit the lobbying of former politicians, but not the political roles of businessmen?)

    "Whatever totalitarian nightmare is on our horizon, it will be uniquely American."

    Trump's Contract with the American Voter, his plan for the first 100 days in office, discusses policies and programs many of which are consistent with neoliberal thinking. (I understand the term "neoliberalism" to emphasize at its core the importance of private property rights, market-based social organization, and the dangers of government intervention in the economy.) Trump's plan redirects the activities of the U.S. government along the lines touted by neoliberal "market fundamentalists" like Milton Friedman, who advocate limiting government's role to market-supportive functions like national defense (defense stocks are doing very well since the election) and domestic law and order (Trump's proposals have a lot to do with altering immigration policy to "restore security"). Trump also plans to use government monies to revitalize physical infrastructure and create jobs. Other government functions, for example, health care provision and education as well as protecting the environment and public lands, are open for privatization and defunding in Trump's agenda. Under Trump, the scope of federal government activities will narrow, likely to infrastructure, national defense, and domestic policing and surveillance, even if overall government spending increases (as bond markets are predicting).

    Trump also seems content to take neoliberal advice in regard to business regulation (less is best) and the role of the private sector in regulating itself (industry insiders understand regulatory needs better than public officials). Trump's plan for the first 100 days specifies "a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated." As of the time of this writing, his selection of cabinet appointees illustrate a broad willingness to appoint businesspeople to government posts. As of mid-December 2016, a Goldman Sachs veteran, Steven Mnuchin, has been appointed Secretary of the Treasury; billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been appointed Secretary of Commerce; fossil fuel industry supporter and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been appointed as EPA administrator; and fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder has been appointed as Secretary of Labor. Trump's business council is staffed by the CEOs of major U.S. corporations including JP Morgan Chase, IBM and General Motors. To be fair, the "revolving door" between government and industry has been perpetuated by many of Trump's predecessors, with Trump poised to continue the tradition. But this is not to say that neoliberalism will continue going in a "business as usual" fashion. The world is about to get much more dangerous, and this has serious implications for patterns of global trade and investment.

    Trump's Election Does Mean the End of Globalism

    The nationalism, xenophobia, isolationism, and paranoia of Donald Trump are about to replace the significantly more cosmopolitan outlook of his post-WWII predecessors. While Trump is decidedly pro-business and pro-market, he most certainly does not see himself as a global citizen. Nor does he intend to maintain the United States' extensive global footprint or its relatively open trading network. In other words, while neoliberalism is not dead, it is being transformed into a geographically more fragmented and localized system (this is not only about the US election, but also about rising levels of global protectionism and Brexit, among other anti-globalization trends around the world). I expect that the geographic extent of the US economy in the coming years will coincide with the new landscape of U.S. allies and enemies, as defined by Donald Trump and his administration.

    Trump's Contract with the American Voter outlines several policies that will make it more expensive and riskier to do business abroad. All of these need not occur; I think that even one or two of these changes will be sufficient to alter expectations in business communities about the benefits of certain cross-border economic relationships. Pulling the United States out of the TPP, along with threats to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and attempts to renegotiate NAFTA, is already signaling to other countries that we are not interested in international cooperation and collaboration. A crackdown on foreign trading abuses will prompt retaliation. Labelling China a currency manipulator will sour relations between the two countries and prompt retaliation by China. As Trump goes forward with his anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, he will alienate the United States' traditional allies in Europe (at least until Europe elects its own nationalist and xenophobic leaders) and communities across the Global South. The U.S. election has already undermined performance in emerging markets, and bigoted rhetoric and policy will only increase anti-American sentiment in struggling economies populated largely by people of color. Add to this the risk of conflict posed by any number of the following: his antagonizing China, allying with Russia, deploying ground troops to stop ISIS, and pulling out of the Korean DMZ, among other initiatives that seem likely to contribute to a more confrontational and violent international arena. All of this is to say that Trump will not have to intervene directly in the affairs of business in order to nationalize it. The new global landscape of conflict and risk, combined with elevated domestic spending on infrastructure and security, will bring U.S. business and investment back home nonetheless.

    National Neoliberalism and State-Market Relations

    Fascist states are corporatist in nature, a state of affairs marked by a fusion of state and business functions and interests, with an often significant role for labor interests as well. In the fascist states on the European continent in the 1930s and 1940s-systems that fall under the umbrella of "national socialism"-the overwhelming power of the state characterized this tripartite relationship. Political theorist Sheldon Wolin writes in Democracy, Inc. in regard to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (as well as Stalinist Russia), "The state was conceived as the main center of power, providing the leverage necessary for the mobilization and reconstruction of society".

    By contrast, in Trump's America-where an emergent "national neoliberalism" may be gradually guiding us to a more overt and obvious totalitarian politics-we can expect a similar fusion of state and market interests, but one in which the marketplace and big business have almost total power and freedom of movement (I think that labor will do poorly in this configuration). State and market in the U.S. will fuse further together in the coming years, leading some to make close parallels with European fascism. But it will do so not because of heavy handed government dictates and interventions, but rather because domestic privatization initiatives, appointments of businessmen to government posts, fiscal stimulus and the business community's need for protection abroad will bring them closer. Corporate interests will merge with state interests not because corporations are commanded to, but rather because the landscape of risk and reward will shift and redirect investment patterns to a similar effect. This may be where a budding U.S. totalitarianism differs most starkly from its European cousins.

    Of course it helps that much of the fusion of state and market in the United States is already complete, what with decades of revolving doors and privatization initiatives spanning the military, police, prison, healthcare and educational sectors, among others. It will not take much to further cement the relationship.

    [Mar 23, 2017] Houston, we have a problem

    Notable quotes:
    "... Now we have "synthetic" surveillance. You don't even need a court order. Now all incidental communication intercepts can be unmasked. One can search their huge databases for all the incidental communications of someone of interest, then collect all of the unmasked incidental communications that involve that person and put them together in one handy dandy report. Viola! You can keep tabs on them every time they end up being incidentally collected. ..."
    "... You ever went to an embassy party? Talked to a drug dealer or mafia guy without being aware of it? Correspond overseas? Your communications have been "incidentally" collected too. There is so much surveillance out there we have probably all bounced off various targets over the last several years. ..."
    "... This is what police states do. In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag. ..."
    "... Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. ..."
    "... The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc? ..."
    "... But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely. ..."
    "... It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    TeethVillage88s , Mar 23, 2017 6:54 PM

    Yes, they have your Apples too:

    Crash Overide -> aloha_snakbar , Mar 23, 2017 7:39 PM

    Maxine Waters: 'Obama Has Put In Place' Secret Database With 'Everything On Everyone'

    Vilfredo Pareto , Mar 23, 2017 7:01 PM

    The rank and file of the IC are not involved in this. So let's not tar everyone with the same brush, but Obama revised executive order 12333 so that communication intercepts incidentally collected dont have to be masked and may be shared freely in the IC.

    Now we have "synthetic" surveillance. You don't even need a court order. Now all incidental communication intercepts can be unmasked. One can search their huge databases for all the incidental communications of someone of interest, then collect all of the unmasked incidental communications that involve that person and put them together in one handy dandy report. Viola! You can keep tabs on them every time they end up being incidentally collected.

    You ever went to an embassy party? Talked to a drug dealer or mafia guy without being aware of it? Correspond overseas? Your communications have been "incidentally" collected too. There is so much surveillance out there we have probably all bounced off various targets over the last several years.

    What might your "synthetic" surveillance report look like?

    Chupacabra-322 , Mar 23, 2017 7:04 PM

    It's worth repeating.

    There's way more going on here then first alleged. From Bloomberg, not my choice for news, but There is another component to this story as well -- as Trump himself just tweeted.

    It's very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

    Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity.

    This is what police states do. In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

    Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. "There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration," he said. "From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern."

    @?realDonaldTrump?

    The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

    President Trump was roundly mocked among liberals for that tweet. But he is, in many ways, correct. These leaks are an enormous problem. And in a less polarized context, they would be recognized immediately for what they clearly are: an effort to manipulate public opinion for the sake of achieving a desired political outcome. It's weaponized spin.............

    But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely.

    It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.. ..... But the answer isn't to counter it with equally irregular acts of sabotage - or with a disinformation campaign waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in the surveillance state.....

    [Mar 23, 2017] Anti-russian hysteria became a witch hunt which is by-and-large out of control of Democratic leadership, and they feel that they became hostages of it

    Notable quotes:
    "... " The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know "for sure" whether President Donald Trump or members of his transition team were even on the phone calls or other communications now being cited as partial vindication for the president's wiretapping claims against the Obama administration, according to a spokesperson. ..."
    "... I think im1dc along with a couple of other commenters here symbolize perfectly well the problem Democratic leadership got on themselves. ..."
    "... He got the taste of sniffing Russian pants and now he can't stop, despite the fact that all his knowledge of Russia came from US media. Kind of political graphomania, of some sort. Or, incontinence, if you wish. ..."
    "... In other words now in the USA hysteria became detached from the facts and has now its own life. Obtained classic witch hunt dynamics. ..."
    "... "The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies - just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected - that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. ..."
    "... And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed. ..."
    "... Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    im1dc : Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 04:32 PM
    Devin Nunes is unfit to be Intel Chair of the House Committee

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2017/03/23/nunes-now-unsure-if-trump-team-was-surveilled.html

    "Intel chair Devin Nunes unsure if Trump associates were directly surveilled"

    By Mike Levine...Mar 23, 2017...5:24 PM ET

    " The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know "for sure" whether President Donald Trump or members of his transition team were even on the phone calls or other communications now being cited as partial vindication for the president's wiretapping claims against the Obama administration, according to a spokesperson.

    "He said he'll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure," a spokesperson for Nunes said Thursday..."

    libezkova -> im1dc..., March 23, 2017 at 07:04 PM

    I think im1dc along with a couple of other commenters here symbolize perfectly well the problem Democratic leadership got on themselves.

    He got the taste of sniffing Russian pants and now he can't stop, despite the fact that all his knowledge of Russia came from US media. Kind of political graphomania, of some sort. Or, incontinence, if you wish.

    In other words now in the USA hysteria became detached from the facts and has now its own life. Obtained classic witch hunt dynamics.

    It became by-and-large out of control of Democratic leadership, and they feel that they became hostages of it. But they can't call the dogs back.

    It was a dirty but effective trick to avoid sacking Democratic Party failed, corrupt neoliberal leadership (Clinton wing of the party). It worked, but it come with a price.

    As Glenn Greenwald noted.

    "The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies - just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected - that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence.

    And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

    Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

    The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama's former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton's most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

    But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to "cast doubt" on "allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia." "On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all," he said, adding, "There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark. And there's a lot of people looking for it."

    https://theintercept.com/2017/03/16/key-democratic-officials-now-warning-base-not-to-expect-evidence-of-trumprussia-collusion/

    [Mar 23, 2017] The Russian Hacking Story Changes Again Zero Hedge

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    "Obama's "Russia Hacked The Election" is CODE for "Trump Stole The Election." Any "provable" instance of Russian hacking might also be a false flag operation to justify new round of sanctions. That make Obama to look especially bad as he asked CA to investigate this case, while t might well be that CIA is the agency that needs to be investigated. They now have a lot of friends n Baltic republics and Ukrane to stage also false flag operation attributable to Russia, they wish. Remeber Oswald and JFK assassination.

    Shemp 4 Victory -> Wow72 , Jan 5, 2017 7:46 AM

    In keeping with the theme of providing no proof to the general public, the officials declined to describe the intelligence obtained about the involvement of a third-party in passing on leaked material to WikiLeaks, saying they did not want to reveal how the U.S. government had obtained the information . So just trust them, please.

    Good thing we can completely trust the integrity of 17 Intelligence Agencies ฎ because this explanation is exactly what a corrupt and politicized institution would use to try to pass off a completely fabricated story as legitimate.

    Tarzan -> Shemp 4 Victory , Jan 5, 2017 8:03 AM

    Would this third party happen to be a disgruntled DNC insider named seth rich?

    MalteseFalcon -> Tarzan , Jan 5, 2017 8:23 AM

    It's like arguing with a teenager.

    You catch them in a lie, and debunk it.

    The teenager processes the debunking and alters the lie to conform with the "new truth".

    The iterations continue until you give up or simply "ground" the punk.

    And who are these 17 intelligence agencies?

    Will they all be called to "Songbird" McCains hearing?

    Will the hearing end before Songbird keels over from old age?

    CuttingEdge -> MalteseFalcon , Jan 5, 2017 8:31 AM

    "Dissolve the CIA"

    The Langley gym swimming pool filled with hydrochloric acid, maybe?

    Works for me, as long as that evil cunt Morell is first in.

    CuttingEdge -> CuttingEdge , Jan 5, 2017 8:41 AM

    Just imagine Friday's meeting if Trump actually knows who lifted the DNC files?

    Only, judging by the way he is playing this thus far in being openly dismissive of anything put forward, that may very well be the case.

    To have the entire combined intel machine by the balls without them knowing, as they project their politicised billion dollar bullshit...now that would be a beautiful thing to behold.

    Joe Davola -> CuttingEdge , Jan 5, 2017 9:03 AM

    Looking at some of the 'information' from previous hacks

    1. Sony - claimed to be North Korea

    2. DNC/Clinton email - claimed to be Russia

    3. Various - claimed to be China

    4. Iranian centrifuges - no claims, but pretty good indication it was CIA/NSA/Israel

    Now, who from that list didn't want HRC to be president. One could make a compelling case that #4, particularly Israel, would go this route and have the wherewithall/foresight to make it look like #2 - and Obama/Kerry allowing the UN vote to go through as punishment. Or, we can believe #2 was sloppy (or intentionally sloppy to send a message/rub our noses in it). Or, it was some 14 year old operating from their parents basement - nah, no 14 year old would think of covering their tracks to make it look like someone else.

    jeff montanye -> Manthong , Jan 5, 2017 3:49 PM

    thought crimes are where you find them, ask the catholic church.

    seriously though, john mccain is an asset of the mossad. no other formation does it justice:

    "We will obviously be talking about the hacking, but the main thing is the whole issue of cybersecurity," the committee's Republican chairman, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said ahead of the hearing. "Right now we have no policy, no strategy to counter cyberattacks."

    check this shit out (my bold): Guilt By Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War

    By Jeff Gates, State Street Publications, 2008, paperback, 320 pp. List: $27.95; AET: $18 (if you really want to understand why this is going on, read.on; others be assured it is true.).

    In his chapter on "John McCain and the Financial Frauds," Gates reviews McCain's unsavory role in the "Keating Five" scandal. The following chapter recounts the shameful role of McCain's father in helping to cover up Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War in which 34 of the crew were killed and 294 wounded . "From a game theory perspective," Gates explains, "by covering up the murder of Americans aboard the USS Liberty, a U.S. president (with the aid of Admiral John McCain, Jr. ) confirmed that Israeli extremists could murder Americans without endangering U.S. support."

    Reviewed by Andrew I. Killgore

    Books

    GUILT BY Association is an initially confusing masterpiece almost too stuffed with evidence to concentrate on making clear its basic theme. But author Jeff Gates did so in a recent letter to a distinguished retired American diplomat: "The research pivoted off the firsthand experience of "˜John Doe' whose experience spans 56 years of dealing with a transnational criminal syndicate whose senior operatives share a common ideology in fundamental Judaism and a skill set experienced in displacing facts with beliefs. Thus the common source of the fixed intelligence that took us to war in Iraq. And, thus the same network now being employed to expand this war to Iran."

    From 1980 to 1987 Gates served as counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, working with Sen. Russell Long of Louisiana, son of the state's former Gov. Huey Long, who was assassinated at age 42 as he was preparing a presidential campaign. James Farley, postmaster general under President Franklin Roosevelt, had run a "penny postcard" poll confirming that if Huey Long actually ran for president, Roosevelt could not be re-elected. Fifty years later Russell Long remained convinced that Roosevelt's people had killed his father.

    At a 2002 speech Gates gave in London, he met "John Doe," related to one of the well-known people who had endorsed two of Gates' earlier books. Soon afterward, Doe assured him that if Gates undertook the research and analysis the results of which appear in Guilt, the evidence would identify who killed Huey Long, and why. The facts Gates assembled point not to Roosevelt's people but to the syndicate identified in Guilt.

    The brilliantly provocative Guilt by Association consists of nine chapters: "Game Theory and the Mass Murder of 9/11"; "Organized Crime in Arizona"; "John McCain and Financial Frauds"; "McCain Family Secret: The Cover-Up"; "The Presidency and Russian Organized Crime"; "Money, Democracy and the Great Divide"; "The New Anti-Semitism"; "Would Obama Be Better?"; and "The Way Forward."

    In the first chapter Gates illustrates the intergenerational sophistication with which neoconservatives "prepared the minds" of the American public to invade Iraq in response to 9/11. Academics and think tanks pushed Samuel Huntington's 1996 Clash of Civilizations to promote a "clash consensus"-five years before 9/11. That same year Richard Perle along with other neocons such as Douglas Feith wrote "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This helped lay more "mental threads" for removing Saddam Hussain. Then Senators McCain, Joe Lieberman, a Jewish Zionist from Connecticut, and Jon Kyl, a Christian Zionist from Arizona, co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Distracted by the Monica Lewinsky affair, President Bill Clinton signed it.

    Four days after the destruction of the World Trade Towers, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was urging President George W. Bush to invade Iraq. Not only was there was no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but there was no real connection between Saddam's secular regime and the deeply religious al-Qaeda. At the same time, other Zionists from the U.S. Defense Department under Wolfowitz and, not so coincidentally, Feith were feeding false intelligence to the White House. The war would not be costly, according to Wolfowitz, and the entirely unnecessary and illegal war was launched.

    In the chapter on "The Presidency and Russian Organized Crime," Gates describes a John McCain who was either "ignorant about-or complicit in" Russian organized crime. During Boris Yeltsin's first term as president of Russia, a handful of "oligarchs' financially pillaged Russia. Six of the "Big Seven" oligarchs, whom Gates terms Ashkenazis, qualify for Israeli citizenship.

    McCain described Mikhail Khodorovsky, the most infamous of Russia's corrupt oil oligarchs, as a "political prisoner." Notes Gates: "To claim Khodorovsky as a "˜political prisoner' requires a closer look at how, at 32 years of age, a single Russian-Ashkenazi citizen amassed state-owned assets worth more than $30 billion." Gates goes on to document the widespread criminality involved in Khodorovsky's billions.

    "To solve this systemic criminality," Gates explains, "requires that a broad base of Americans understand how this "˜fields-within-fields' modus operandi operates unseen yet in plain sight, and how its operations progress working through people whose profiled needs become the means for influencing their behavior."

    Guilt describes how Americans were induced to freely choose the very forces that endanger their freedom. Thus the role of those masterful at waging "war by deception" (the motto of the Israeli Mossad) by displacing facts with what the "mark" (i.e., the U.S.) could be deceived to believe: for example, that Iraq had nuclear weapons and mobile biological weapons laboratories and that the secular Saddam Hussain had ties with the fundamentalists of al-Qaeda.

    Crafted as a wake-up call, the author documents how Tel Aviv wields control over U.S. foreign policy in an environment where lawmakers have been intimidated by the Israel lobby. "U.S. national security," Gates writes, "requires a rejection of the self-deception that Israel operates as a trustworthy ally in an unstable region while ignoring its multi-decade role in provoking and sustaining instability."

    As Gates points out, the charge of anti-Semitism is used to misdirect and intimidate. As the criminality he documents becomes transparent, moderate Jews in fact are emerging as allies. The Zionist component-which Gates convincingly portrays as ideology in the service of criminality -has as its goal an extensive, Jews-only realm in an oil-rich region.

    The facts confirm that Tel Aviv will never agree to peace with the Palestinians, as that would preclude their expansionist agenda for a Greater Israel. An oft-employed "entropy strategy" remains Israel's means to preclude settlement of the conflict. Indeed, Huntington's Clash of Civilizations is revealed as only the latest in a long series of manipulations-each of which is designed to ensure a plausible evildoer. Meanwhile, fundamentalist Jews catalyze serial conflicts of opposites, while this transnational criminal syndicate profits off the misery of both.

    Andrew I. Killgore is publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

    America's Defense Line: The Justice Department's Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government

    By Grant F. Smith, Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), 2008, paperback, 340 pp. List: $14.95; AET: $11.

    Reviewed by Delinda C. Hanley

    Books

    The declassification on June 10, 2008 of long-secret Department of Justice (DOJ) documents is the springboard for Grant F. Smith's latest book revealing the inner workings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This ground-breaking study spotlights the Israel lobby's key architect, Isaiah L. Kenen, and uncovers how he and subsequent Israel-firsters morphed from being openly registered as foreign agents, who should have remained employees of the Israeli Embassy's Office of Information, into "American" domestic lobbyists for Israel, a far more benign, if dishonest, nomenclature.

    Smith's very readable book reproduces and analyzes the highly deceptive Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings Kenen made while he was still an employee of the Israeli government in New York. It proceeds on to the American Zionist Council (ACZ), the precursor organization where AIPAC gestated. Referencing internal DOJ records, the book painstakingly documents previously undisclosed attempts by the Justice Department and dissenting Jewish groups, including the American Council for Judaism, to close down Kenen's Israeli-financed political propaganda operation-or to at least make it openly register and disclose its activities under FARA.

    Thanks to Kenen's efforts, AIPAC's Zionist financial backers succeeded in laundering money, purchasing arms, smuggling stolen U.S. military hardware, and launching Israel's nuclear and military weapons industries. They paid for some of it with tax-exempt "charitable" donations, though a far larger percentage came from U.S. tax-dollars-without ever having to come out of the shadows.

    Coming 20 years after Kenen's death, Smith's book is a powerful reminder to readers about the effectiveness of stealth public relations and the importance of framing stories for the mainstream media. (Kenen also launched the Near East Report, AIPAC's biweekly flagship publication, which is still a vital public relations tool for Israel.) This close examination of AIPAC's birth and struggle for power is a valuable lesson about nascent foreign interest lobbies, prosecutorial discretion, and the subversion of the rule of law by political elites.

    America's Defense Line reads like a fascinating spy thriller or "who done it" that is hard to put down-until, that is, one remembers that AIPAC and its supporters are still at it-and, usually, getting away with it. (Stay tuned for the espionage trial of former AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman.)

    Readers of Smith's book, perhaps alongside Jeff Gates' Guilt By Association, will have all the history and information necessary to loosen AIPAC's grip upon our nation once and for all-but only if we all insist that the rule of law once again become the law of the land.

    Delinda C. Hanley is news editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

    y3maxx -> CuttingEdge , Jan 5, 2017 11:10 AM

    -Clapper is a lying felon.

    DjangoCat -> cali , Jan 5, 2017 10:36 AM

    I call you on the statement "Assange even stated that he received the DNC material from Seth Rich!"

    Wikileaks is dogmatic on the protection of sources. Wikileaks did provide a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Seth Rich's murderer, however.

    MrBoompi -> DjangoCat , Jan 5, 2017 10:50 AM

    You're correct, but Assange did offer $20,000 for information on Rich's murder. One could infer this was Assange's way of telling us his murder is related to the leaked emails without technically divulging his source.

    cali -> DjangoCat , Jan 5, 2017 1:07 PM

    Your question is absolutely valid! Assange said that the first batch of documents he published were given to him by a 'democratic staffer from the DNC'. After Seth was murdered - he offered the monies to find the murderer. I should have stated it that way in my comment. Be as it may Assange connected the dots for me when using the verbiage 'democratic staffer - DNC - Seth Rich - murdered. My bad!

    Krungle -> cali , Jan 5, 2017 11:09 AM

    You don't have to wonder since Craig Murray has said the source was domestic. That is the absurdity of this entire affair--we have the intermediary on record, a career diplomat, and no one has publicly questioned him. This whole thing is akin to the cops catching a white guy leaving a house with stolen goods, then they go into the house to investigate and find a dead body and there is another guy standing there with a smoking gun and then they decide not only to ignore the murder, they put out a warrant for a black guy who was nowhere near the crime, letting the original burgler off the hook too. That's how idiotic and off the trail of the important crimes these guys are. I mean why the hell are we not talking about the legit classified docs that Hillary allowed to be pilfered by multiple foreign (and probably domestic) sources anymore? Seems to me that is the actual crime.

    Parrotile -> 847328_3527 , Jan 5, 2017 3:56 PM

    > How about we send Congressional children and cia children first into battle against the Russians if they feel so strongly about it. <

    Well, "someone's children" are already being sent to what could easily be the "Front Line" in a land battle against Mother Russia, and you can safely bet that none of these cannon-fodder will have families "with connections". THEIR children are all assured comfortable office jobs in the Pentagon, or similar.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-05/us-has-begun-amassing-troops-ru...

    ChanceIs -> NoDebt , Jan 5, 2017 9:07 AM

    California just hired Eric "Too Big To Jail" Holder as its point man against Trump deporting the illegals. I am dumbfounded. He is obviously such a whore and incompetent/unethical attorney. I figured he would be smart and stay on the gold course. Shows you how stupid and blindly partisan Californians are.

    Add Holder to the list of those who have lied so much that nobody believes jack shit from them. Dems don't get it. The Clintonistas have gone back to the well about one thousand times too many. They are sooooo old and worn. Incapable of flexing with the wind and forming new ideas.

    Nancy Pelosi is starting to look her age all of the sudden. Put on about ten pounds. And wrinkles and saggy jowels.

    BTW: We don't need new ideas, just the Constitution.

    Krungle -> ChanceIs , Jan 5, 2017 11:20 AM

    This cracked me up since Holder is probably going to spend the next four years defending himself against crimes he committed while in office.

    scrappy -> NoDebt , Jan 5, 2017 12:11 PM

    Alternate - Alternate narrative.

    The Grizzly Steepe report is a mishmash.

    http://www.robertmlee.org/critiques-of-the-dhsfbis-grizzly-steppe-report/

    This instance (DNC Wiki) may have been an insider leak. We need more info to be sure.

    That said, we should not be so niave to think that russia does not ever hack us, of course they do.

    We hack them too.

    That is why we need to be careful about attribution .

    https://www.tenable.com/blog/attribution-is-hard-part-1

    https://www.tenable.com/blog/attribution-is-hard-part-2

    [Mar 23, 2017] The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies

    Mar 23, 2017 | onclick="TPConnect.blogside.reply('6a00d83451b33869e201b8d26ddde2970c'); return false;" href="javascript:void 0">

    JohnH said in reply to Anachronism ... Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 08:38 AM

    Where's the collusion? Even former DNI Director Clapper said there is no evidence.

    Glenn Greenwald explains: "The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies - just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected - that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

    Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

    The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama's former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton's most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

    But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to "cast doubt" on "allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia." "On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all," he said, adding, "There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark. And there's a lot of people looking for it."
    https://theintercept.com/2017/03/16/key-democratic-officials-now-warning-base-not-to-expect-evidence-of-trumprussia-collusion/

    Democrats will do just about anything to avoid sacking their failed, corrupt, sclerotic leadership.

    Anachronism said in reply to JohnH... ◾The White House also tweeted that former intelligence director James Clapper was "right" to say there was "no evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump Campaign." But Clapper said he had no such information "at the time," meaning before he left office in January.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2017/03/spinning-the-intel-hearing/

    It further says:

    'No Evidence of Collusion'

    The White House, in a tweet, and Spicer, in his daily press briefing, attempted to dismiss the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials by citing comments made by intelligence leaders in the Obama administration, as well as by Democratic and Republican leaders who have been briefed on the investigation to date.

    But the White House misrepresented the comments of those officials.

    As the attached video shows, the White House tweet left out an important qualifier. Comey said Clapper was "right" to say that there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign contained in the declassified report released Jan. 6 on Russian activities during the 2016 presidential election.

    Clapper made his remarks about the report in a "Meet the Press" interview on March 5, when he was asked whether there were "improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials."

    "We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, 'our,' that's NSA, FBI and CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians," Clapper said. "There was no evidence of that included in our report."

    Clapper went on to say "at the time, we had no evidence of such collusion." But he added, "This could have unfolded or become available in the time since I left the government."

    Clapper also said, "I do think, though, it is in everyone's interest, in the current president's interests, in the Democrats' interests, in the Republican interest, in the country's interest, to get to the bottom of all this."

    "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked, "You admit your report that you released in January doesn't get to the bottom of this?"

    "It did - well, it got to the bottom of the evidence to the extent of the evidence we had at the time," Clapper said. "Whether there is more evidence that's become available since then, whether ongoing investigations will be revelatory, I don't know."

    Asked what the Senate intelligence committee could learn through an investigation that Clapper's agency could not, Clapper replied, "Well, I think they can look at this from a broader context than we could."

    So Clapper did not say there was no collusion. He said there was no evidence of collusion "at the time" he left office in January. And he went on to say that he believed a Senate investigation was warranted to clear the air.

    Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 09:56 AM Anachronism said in reply to Anachronism ... And of course, there's this:

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/key-dem-points-evidence-collusion-between-russia-team-trump/amp

    Key Dem points to evidence of collusion between Russia, Team Trump

    03/23/17 08:00AM - Updated 03/23/17 01:37PM

    By Steve Benen

    . . .

    But on MSNBC yesterday afternoon, the California Democrat again talked to Chuck Todd, and this time he took another step forward when describing the nature of the evidence.


    TODD: But you admit, all you have right now is a circumstantial case?
    SCHIFF: Actually, no, Chuck. I can tell you that the case is more than that. And I can't go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now. So, again, I think -

    TODD: You have seen direct evidence of collusion?

    SCHIFF: I don't to want go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial, and it very much worthy of investigation. So, that is what we ought to do.

    When we contacted the congressman's office, asking if Schiff may have misspoken, and giving him a chance to walk this back, his office said Schiff meant what he said. . . .

    There's some fire along with all the smoke being generated.

    Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 11:12 AM RGC said in reply to Anachronism ... " Info suggests"

    " may have coordinated"

    "possibly coordinate"

    "FBI is investigating"

    "according to one source"

    "now reviewing that information"

    "according to those U.S. officials"

    "raising the suspicions"

    " may have taken place'

    "officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive"

    "investigation is ongoing"

    " began looking into possible coordination"

    "a credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe"

    "One law enforcement official said the information in hand suggests"

    " it appeared"

    "it's premature to draw that inference"

    " it's largely circumstantial"

    "cannot yet prove that collusion took place"

    "CNN has not confirmed"

    " according to U.S. intelligence agencies"

    " investigations are notoriously lengthy"

    "can make it difficult for investigators to bring criminal charges"

    "Investigators continue to analyze"

    "unverified information"

    "suggested coordination"

    Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 08:43 AM Gerald said in reply to RGC... And what did you expect at this point? A little investigative realism, please. Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 11:33 AM Paine said in reply to Anachronism ... Assume you are a business man looking for experts on Russia tht share your
    Dovish views and your business posture and view point

    Surely you'll scoop up Russian tools and mercenaries etc

    My guess these guys operated beyond trumps awareness and control
    in as Much as they were Russian state contract drones etc

    Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 11:39 AM Paine said in reply to Paine... Trump likes doing business with out castes marginal in the shadows players
    Dark operatives etc

    Criminal corrupt co opted ..whatever

    Why ?


    THEY PAY BETTER THEN MNC outfits

    He instinctively sees
    Opportunities in Russia Iran and china

    Rule one

    Wave a carrot or threaten to kick them in the cubes

    Reply Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    [Mar 23, 2017] CNN doubles down on Russia threat hysteria

    Mar 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Anachronism : March 23, 2017 at 04:41 AM , 2017 at 04:41 AM
    The story is starting to get interesting:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/22/politics/us-officials-info-suggests-trump-associates-may-have-coordinated-with-russians/index.html

    US officials: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians

    By Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Jim Sciutto, CNN

    US officials: Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians 14:11

    Washington (CNN) - The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN.

    This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source.

    The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.

    In his statement on Monday Comey said the FBI began looking into possible coordination between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives because the bureau had gathered "a credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe an American may be acting as an agent of a foreign power."

    The White House did not comment and the FBI declined to comment.

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer maintained Monday after Comey's testimony that there was no evidence to suggest any collusion took place.

    "Investigating it and having proof of it are two different things," Spicer said.

    One law enforcement official said the information in hand suggests "people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready." But other U.S. officials who spoke to CNN say it's premature to draw that inference from the information gathered so far since it's largely circumstantial.

    The FBI cannot yet prove that collusion took place, but the information suggesting collusion is now a large focus of the investigation, the officials said.

    The FBI has already been investigating four former Trump campaign associates -- Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page -- for contacts with Russians known to US intelligence. All four have denied improper contacts and CNN has not confirmed any of them are the subjects of the information the FBI is reviewing.

    One of the obstacles the sources say the FBI now faces in finding conclusive intelligence is that communications between Trump's associates and Russians have ceased in recent months given the public focus on Russia's alleged ties to the Trump campaign. Some Russian officials have also changed their methods of communications, making monitoring more difficult, the officials said.

    Last July, Russian intelligence agencies began orchestrating the release of hacked emails stolen in a breach of the Democratic National Committee and associated organizations, as well as email accounts belonging to Clinton campaign officials, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

    The Russian operation was also in part focused on the publication of so-called "fake news" stories aimed at undermining Hillary Clinton's campaign. But FBI investigators say they are less focused on the coordination and publication of those "fake news" stories, in part because those publications are generally protected free speech.

    The release of the stolen emails, meanwhile, transformed an ordinary cyber-intrusion investigation into a much bigger case handled by the FBI's counterintelligence division.

    FBI counterintelligence investigations are notoriously lengthy and often involve some of the U.S. government's most highly classified programs, such as those focused on intelligence-gathering, which can make it difficult for investigators to bring criminal charges without exposing those programs.

    Investigators continue to analyze the material and information from multiple sources for any possible indications of coordination, according to US officials. Director Comey in Monday's hearing refused to reveal what specifically the FBI was looking for or who they're focusing on.

    US officials said the information was not drawn from the leaked dossier of unverified information compiled by a former British intelligence official compiled for Trump's political opponents, though the dossier also suggested coordination between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives.

    kthomas -> Anachronism ... , March 23, 2017 at 04:51 AM
    He's probably bangin' his daughter.
    anne -> kthomas... , March 23, 2017 at 05:54 AM
    He's probably ------- his --------.

    [ This person is continually obscene. This person is continually trying to terrorize and destroy. ]

    kthomas -> anne... , March 23, 2017 at 06:40 AM
    Piss off. Nobody elected you to blog sheriff, you hypocrite.
    Peter K. -> kthomas... , March 23, 2017 at 07:06 AM
    troll.
    anne -> kthomas... , March 23, 2017 at 07:21 AM
    He's probably ------- his --------.

    ---- off.

    Oh look, a new ------- ----------.

    [ This person is continually obscene. This person is continually trying to terrorize and destroy. This person continually threatens others.

    I am afraid of this person. ]

    Gerald -> Anachronism ... , March 23, 2017 at 06:24 AM
    "The story is starting to get interesting."

    There's little doubt in my mind that Trump's team did in fact collude with the Russians, and that the investigation will ultimately come to the same conclusion. That's when the fun begins, if impeachment proceedings can be called fun. Trump will deny, deny, deny that he had any knowledge of the collusion; the fact that he's a serial liar won't prevent most Republicans from voting against his impeachment. Only Trump can save us by doing a Nixon and resigning. He won't though, and we'll be right back where we are, with one huge exception: we'll have a proven traitor sitting in the White House, kept there by a spineless GOP.

    Anachronism -> Gerald... , March 23, 2017 at 06:41 AM
    Agreed. If in fact the FBI can prove substantial ties between the Russians and the Trump team co-ordinating the Wikileak email dump, that has to qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors".

    And given that, at this point, President Cheeto is so unpopular, plus the FBI's evidence (yet to be proven), they would almost have to vote for impeachment or risk losing re-election in their home districts.

    Go make some popcorn, grab your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy the sound of them imploding.

    Gerald -> Anachronism ... , March 23, 2017 at 07:18 AM
    "...and enjoy the sound of them imploding." Can't wait to hear it. :)
    JohnH -> Anachronism ... , March 23, 2017 at 07:15 AM
    Like Whitewater, this investigation will take years and may well come up empty.

    Meanwhile, Democrats can obsess about how unfair the election was, deny any notion that Hillary was a lousy candidate, and refuse to figure out how to talk to working people or come up with any kind of coherent economic message.

    Trump-Putin shows that they are willing to do most any distraction to keep from having to keep their eye on the ball!

    As a result, Democrats will mostly likely circle the wagons to foist another mealy mouthed neoliberal on the electorate in 2020 in the tradition of Gore, Kerry, and Hillary, a candidate who will almost certainly assure Trump a second term.

    Despite a string of congressional losses, the sclerotic, corrupt leadership refuses get rid of their losing leadership. It would appear that Democrats have grown to love playing Washington Generals to Republicans' Harlem Globetrotters.

    The current requirement for a duopoly assures that there is always a place for losers.

    JohnH -> Anachronism ... , March 23, 2017 at 08:02 AM
    Mark my words: "The Trump-Putin investigation [will take] years because [investigators can't] find any wrongdoing from [Trump-Putin] and so then continued looking into [Trump-Putin] whenever they could, simply to keep the witch hunt going."

    If they had any evidence beyond innuendo and hearsay, we would have seen some of it by now.

    Trump-Putin has become an elaborate distraction to keep Democrats from looking honestly at their failure, and to keep the American public entertained as Trump guts the remnants of their safety net.

    [Mar 23, 2017] Trump and the Neo-Con National Security General Flynn

    Notable quotes:
    "... Last Edit: Today at 02:32:13 PM by King Wenceslas ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.suscipedomine.com
    Topic: Trump and the Neo-Con National Security General Flynn (Read 43 times)
    Offline King Wenceslas
    • Wachtmeister
    • * * *
    • Posts: 790
    • Thanked: 261 times
    • Religion: Catholic
    Trump and the Neo-Con National Security General Flynn
    " on: Today at 01:43:58 PM " The more it changes the more it stays the same:

    Quote

    Michael Flynn was just nominated by Trump to head National Security. Who is Michael Flynn?

    The American Conservative Magazine on Gen. Michael Flynn:

    "Flynn's specific recommendations seem to involve endless warfare against what he calls the "the terror armies, above all in the Middle East and Libya," which would commit the U.S. to an unknown number of conflicts for the foreseeable future that would only be concluded when we "win." In other words, Flynn offers a recipe for perpetual war in predominantly Muslim countries, and if we take his rhetoric about the "enemy coalition" seriously he may be talking about waging wars in other parts of the world as well. His willingness to blur distinctions between disparate and mutually hostile groups suggests that the U.S. would find itself fighting multiple enemies at the same time. Flynn also thinks that the U.S. should "clearly and forcefully attack their crazy doctrines," which credits our government with a degree of competence and cultural understanding that it has not demonstrated in decades. The U.S. could denounce various foreign leaders as "false prophets," as Flynn suggests, but why would anyone inclined to listen to these "false prophets" care what Washington said about them? Likewise, "insisting on the superiority of our own political vision" is all very well, but it would achieve nothing except to intensify resentment against the U.S. "


    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/flynns-warped-worldview/

    Quote

    Flynn has pushed back against calls for the United States to lower its footprint in the Middle East or to disengage from other parts of the world. "The U.S. must put the Middle East at the forefront of its foreign policy or this will unravel quickly," he said in a September 2015 interview.[17] In January 2015 he said: "Retreat, retrenchment and disarmament are historically a recipe for disaster."[18]

    Flynn has also stated that U.S. "unwillingness to fight" creates more danger for the United States than the "arrogance of American power." He told the Daily Beast in January 2015: " The dangers to the U.S. do not arise from the arrogance of American power, but from unpreparedness or an excessive unwillingness to fight when fighting is necessary (ed. which is continuously necessary because there are always monsters to be slain). "


    http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/flynn_michael/


    So much for a NEW foreign policy of disengagement. This is going to be a short honeymoon.

    Drain the swamp like h*ll. Trump looks like he is making it bigger and deeper.

    Looks like I will have to go back to planning and building a bunker.

    War forever until we are destroyed. This is nothing more than a random walk towards Armageddon.

    " Last Edit: Today at 02:32:13 PM by King Wenceslas " Logged


    Offline Prayerful
    • St. Joseph's Workbench
    • Feldwebel
    • * * *
    • Posts: 3962
    • Thanked: 1260 times
    Re: Trump and the Neo-Con National Security General Flynn
    " Reply #1 on: Today at 03:39:47 PM " We will see. Just as long as Pres-elect Trump abandons the tomfoolery of contronting Russia in the Ukraine and Syria (largely through indirect aid to agents of chaos like Islamic State and supporting Turkey in its neo-Ottoman ambitions, together with its auxiliaries like the Islamist FSA) the world will be a much better place. The Military Industrial Complex (first named by President Eishenhower) has a hunger for foes. It is very negative in a way, but Gen Flynn is likelier to opt for easier, less risky, targets.

    [Mar 22, 2017] BOMBSHELL CIA Whistleblower Leaked Proof Trump Under Systematic Illegal Surveillance Over Two Years Ago FBI Sat On It

    Mar 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Common_Cents22 , Mar 22, 2017 11:38 PM

    Is this the same Dennis Montgomery who had some fraud in his past? or was that disinfo to discredit him then as well?

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/reno-casino-conman-pulled-greatest-h...

    horseman , Mar 22, 2017 11:22 PM

    This is probably why Nunes went public today. What a shame. If not for Klayman, Nunes would have gone along with the committee.

    AKKadian , Mar 22, 2017 11:21 PM

    They are spying on everyone. Pelosi, Schumer, Waters Judges. You name it, they are spying on everyone. No exceptions.!!!

    wcole225 , Mar 22, 2017 11:21 PM

    And the plot thickens. Whoever said may you live in interesting times......had no idea. Can you feel the desperation from the filthy corrupt democrats? The demonic spirits that reside in them are going berserk. The light is starting to shine on them and their evil deeds are more transparent than ever. It's only gonna get better

    deoxy , Mar 22, 2017 11:15 PM

    Fox better rehire Napolitano before it is too late. But it is too late for the Wall Street Journal comparing Trump to 'a drunk' clinging to 'an empty gin bottle' in scathing editorial.

    Not Too Important , Mar 22, 2017 11:06 PM

    Nunes saw what he saw, got scared to death, and went directly to the President of the United States, because he can't trust anyone else, anywhere.

    He is now facing ruthless fuckers that will kill and kill and kill some more to protect themselves and their masters.

    He's thinking he's in waay over his head with this, and there's no way out.

    This is a fight between kiddie fuckers that worship Satan, the people that work for them, and the people that don't.

    Buckle up, folks, there's no putting this genie back in the bottle.

    JamesBond , Mar 22, 2017 11:01 PM

    We incidentally lied to some folks.

    techpriest -> JamesBond , Mar 22, 2017 11:05 PM

    The best thing about this presidency so far, is that everything is being laid out on the table. Soon it will be impossible to hide the swamp.

    hustler etiquette -> techpriest , Mar 22, 2017 11:17 PM

    it's better than homeland X game of thrones.

    [Mar 22, 2017] Reply

    Mar 22, 2017 | onclick="TPConnect.blogside.reply('6a00d83451b33869e201b8d26d71b7970c'); return false;" href="javascript:void 0">
    Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 06:10 AM https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/844247162817003520

    Ben Norton @BenjaminNorton

    6 years after catastrophic regime change in Libya, read the UK Parliament report on how NATO's war was based on lies

    http://www.salon.com/2016/09/16/u-k-parliament-report-details-how-natos-2011-war-in-libya-was-based-on-lies/

    U.K. Parliament report details how NATO's 2011 war in Libya was based on lies

    British investigation: Gaddafi was not going to massacre civilians; Western bombing made Islamist extremism worse

    10:59 AM - 21 Mar 2017

    anne said in reply to anne... https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/world/africa/libya-isis.html

    March 20, 2017

    Warnings of a 'Powder Keg' in Libya as ISIS Regroups
    By ERIC SCHMITT

    Punishing strikes in December and January hurt the terrorist group, but it is exploiting the chaos and political vacuum gripping the country, American and allied officials say. Reply Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 06:11 AM

    [Mar 22, 2017] The Men Who Stole the World

    Notable quotes:
    "... History will look back at us with the same wonder that we look back on the mad excesses of certain nations founded in devotion to extreme, almost other-worldly, ideologies of the last century. ..."
    "... Apparently the slashing of health benefits for the unfortunate is not severe enough in the proposed Trump/Ryan plan. Our GOP house neo-liberals are enthusiastic to unleash the wonders of the cure-all deregulated market on the American public, again. Like a dog returns to its vomit. ..."
    Mar 22, 2017 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
    "The problem of the last three decades is not the 'vicissitudes of the marketplace,' but rather deliberate actions by the government to redistribute income from the rest of us to the one percent. This pattern of government action shows up in all areas of government policy."

    Dean Baker

    "When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise - to deny the political character of the modern corporation - is not merely to avoid the reality.

    It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error."

    John Kenneth Galbraith

    And unfortunately the working class victims of that disguise are going to be receiving the consequences of their folly, and then some.

    Secure in their monopolies and key positions with regard to reform and the law, the corporations are further acquiring access to the protections of the rights of individuals as well, it appears, at least according to Citizens United .

    Maybe our leaders and their self-proclaimed technocrats will finally do the right thing. I personally doubt it, except that if they do it will probably be by accident.

    More likely, the right thing will eventually come about the old-fashioned way- under the duress of a crisis, and the growing protests of the much neglected and long suffering.

    History will look back at us with the same wonder that we look back on the mad excesses of certain nations founded in devotion to extreme, almost other-worldly, ideologies of the last century.

    ... ... ...

    Apparently the slashing of health benefits for the unfortunate is not severe enough in the proposed Trump/Ryan plan. Our GOP house neo-liberals are enthusiastic to unleash the wonders of the cure-all deregulated market on the American public, again. Like a dog returns to its vomit.

    Better if they start breaking up corporate health monopolies and embrace real reform at the sources of the soaring costs. The US pays far, far too much for drugs and healthcare, and deregulating the markets is not the solution. We do have the example of the rest of the developed world for what to do about this. It is called 'single payer.'

    But players keep on playing. And politicians and their enablers in the professions will not see what their big money donors do not wish them to see. And that is one of their few bipartisan efforts.

    Might one suggest that our political animals stop trying to do all the reforming and cost controls bottom up, while applying the stimulus top down? That approach they have been flogging to no avail for about thirty years is a recipe for a dying middle class.

    Here is a short video from the Bernie Sanders WV town hall that shows The Face of American Desperation. By the way, the governor of West Virginia is a Democrat. He wasn't there.

    ...

    [Mar 22, 2017] Notes From the House Select Intelligence Hearing on Russia

    Mar 22, 2017 | www.rollingstone.com

    10:05 a.m. It's a small issue in the grand scheme of things, but the effort to describe the Russia Today network as diabolical propaganda without mentioning Voice of America and Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe continues to amaze. Apparently Russia is the only country that funds a media network intended to influence foreign audiences.

    Nunes in his opening statement characterizes RT as a disinformation effort that "traffics in anti-American conspiracies," rivaling Soviet propaganda. Here it is hard not to think of the joint intel report that cited the network's reporting on Occupy Wall Street, "corporate greed" and fracking as evidence of its anti-American nature. It also decried the network's use of the term "surveillance state" to describe the U.S., which will be pretty ironic considering the content of today's hearing.

    Again, it's a small point, but by these standards pretty much any alternative media outlet is "anti-American," and it's alarming to hear Democrats later ape this language in reference to RT.

    10:20 a.m. Schiff delivers a long speech that essentially lays out the Trump-Russia conspiracy. Twitter seems to be unanimous that it's a powerful piece of rhetoric.

    Among other things, he unblinkingly cites the Christopher Steele's "golden showers" dossier as a source. This seems like a pretty intense political calculation given that Michael Morell, who would have been Hillary Clinton's CIA director, basically called the dossier useless just last week. The dossier "doesn't take you anywhere, I think," Morell said. But it's all over this hearing, with multiple Democratic members citing it. What that means, who knows, but it's interesting to see that level of commitment from the Democrats.

    10:32 a.m. Comey creates the big headline of the day by saying, "I have been authorized ... to confirm that the FBI is investigating" the Russia story.

    This both is and isn't big news. Although it's the first time it's been stated publicly, the existence of this investigation has been common knowledge for a long time. Most of the leaked reports on the topic have included this information.

    For instance, The New York Times story from February 14th, about Trump officials having had "contact" with Russian intelligence, spoke definitively of an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Putin government.

    Still, that doesn't mean Comey had to do what he did today. Is this payback to Trump for accusing the FBI of illegally wiretapping him? Is it a good-faith effort to square the ledger in terms of his previous highly controversial decision to out the Clinton email investigation? It's curious and bold either way. One wonders if Trump might fire him.

    The true newsworthy detail, of course, isn't that Comey disclosed the existence of an FBI investigation into Trump – as Democrats should know better than anyone, that doesn't necessarily mean anything – but that Comey is doing this now and didn't do so earlier, before the election. Obviously, he made a different choice with regard to the Clinton email story, and the Democrats rightfully should be furious about that.

    10:36 a.m. Nunes asks Rogers if Russians hacked vote tallies in Michigan. Rogers answers no, noting that the NSA doesn't do domestic surveillance. Nunes goes on to ask about Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin, knowing Rogers won't answer. It's a totally meaningless exchange, but instantly becomes Twitter fodder:

    This is what these hearings are for, primarily. Except for very rare occasions when mega-careful witnesses like Comey and Rogers decide to give up tidbits, for the most part these hearings are held so that House members can ping-pong talking points off witnesses, and then circulate clips of themselves asking questions to which they already know the answers.

    10:39 a.m. Florida Republican Tom Rooney asks Rogers about incidental collection of data about "U.S. persons" under the Section 702 program. Admiral Rogers' explanation for how they use that data, and how they protect the rights of U.S. companies and citizens – redacting or "masking" identities, for instance – is almost comically non-reassuring.

    Reading between the lines, the NSA seems to have basically unrestricted ability to snoop on foreigners. When their targets are speaking to American persons or communicating with American companies, the agency also seems to have an absurdly permissive mandate to listen to whatever they want to listen to. Only later, it seems, do they figure out how to justify it legally.

    This is an example of how the hyper-partisan nature of these hearings spoils American politics. Liberals especially should be seriously concerned about such surveillance overreach by the intelligence agencies, and also about leaks directed against individuals by intelligence officials. Similarly, conservatives should be mortified by the possibility of foreign interference in our electoral process.

    But because both of these issues are tied in highly specific ways to the political fortunes of Donald Trump, each issue will be ignored by one side and thundered over by the other.

    11:03 a.m. Schiff asks both men if Obama wiretapped Trump as Trump claimed. "I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey says. Asked if he engages in McCarthyism, Comey says he tries "not to engage in any isms of any kind, including McCarthyism." He gets laughs. Comey is a very, very slick witness, difficult to read.

    An interesting development in this hearing is that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are treating these witnesses as hostile. And both Comey and Rogers are in their own ways giving both Nunes and Schiff what they want so far. They're allowing members of both parties to make speeches and ask their suggestive questions, while giving them next to nothing.

    11:19 a.m. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, last seen spending two expensive years stepping on his weenie in a pathetic effort to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton through the Benghazi probe, comes on to the delight of, well, nobody. Gowdy is the first to cross over into open unfriendliness. Ominously, he starts trying to get Comey to say reporters could be held criminally liable for disclosing secret information.

    Gowdy later scores a point by getting Comey to explain a hypothetical: how he would go about investigating the leak of a U.S. citizen's name that appears in a newspaper. (He's clearly talking about Flynn.)

    Comey, with the caveat that he's not talking about anyone specific, lays out how he would do that, talking about identifying the "universe" of people with access to that information and then using investigative techniques to further narrow the field. Indirectly, Comey confirms Gowdy's interpretation of a "felonious" disclosure to a newspaper that must be prosecuted. It sets up a demand that Comey investigate and prosecute that leak.

    Gowdy does in fact go on to make such a demand. But Comey cockblocks Gowdy and says he "can't" promise that he will investigate the leaks.

    Gowdy looks like someone just stole his box of Mike and Ikes. He seems surprised, like he didn't expect Comey's answer. Comey smiles and glares at Gowdy like the third-rater he is.

    11:43 a.m. Jim Himes asks Comey if Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union. Comey says yes. Glad we cleared that up.

    11:52 a.m. Mike Conaway of Texas points out that determining the source of a hacking campaign is a forensic enterprise, but asks how they determine intent. In the process, he pins down Rogers as saying he had a "lower level" of confidence in the idea that the Russians preferred Trump to Clinton.

    Conaway then plunges into a bizarre metaphor about how his wife went to Texas Tech, so he roots for the Red Raiders and dislikes the Longhorns, or something. Conaway seemed to want to ask if it is possible to root against Texas without liking the Red Raiders, or the opposite, but pretty much everyone watching instantly loses track of whether Hillary Clinton is Texas or Texas Tech in the metaphor.

    Comey confidently goes with it. "Wherever the Red Raiders are playing, you want them to win and their opposition to lose," he says. He goes on to elaborate on the metaphor, talking about how the Russians later in the year knew the Red Raiders were going to lose, "so you hope key people on the other team get hurt so they are not as tough an opponent down the road."

    The substantively interesting thing here is Comey's sly disclosure that the Russians late in the game expected Trump to lose the election. But his deft handling of Conaway's bumbling hypothetical overshadows the answer.

    12:21 p.m. Nunes tries on a new rhetorical line: It's absurd to say Russians prefer Republicans, because Reagan!

    This is silly, of course, because Trump is a different animal from Reagan, but then Comey and Rogers do something equally silly. On the question of whether the Russians preferred Romney or McCain over Obama, they both look at each other like it's crazy to suggest they ever considered the question. Isn't it their job to know things like that? They're clearly dissembling.

    12:25 p.m. Peter King, the most mumbly member on the panel, asks about the report that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told Reince Priebus that one of the New York Times stories on Russia was "BS."

    "Is there any way you can comment on whether or not Mr. McCabe told that to Mr. Priebus?" King asks.

    Comey gives a classically Comeyish answer:

    "I can't, Mr. King, but I can agree with your general premise. Leaks have always been a problem. I read over the weekend [about] George Washington and Abraham Lincoln complaining about them. But I do agree in the last six weeks and months there apparently have been a lot of instances of conversations appearing in the media, and a lot of it is dead wrong. Which is one of the challenges, because we don't correct it. It's made it difficult because people are talking, or at least reporters are saying people are talking, in ways that have struck me as being unusually active."

    Translation: blow me, I'm not telling you what McCabe said to Priebus. King basically thanks them both and retreats. King will spend much of the day apologizing for asking perfectly legitimate questions.

    Although the hearing has generated tons of headlines before it hits the halfway mark, it's really a giant tease.

    Both Comey and Rogers indicated from the start that they will reserve their more candid testimony for a later classified hearing with these same members. For the public, this means one thing: we'll continue to get no real answers, and a heavily partisan and politicized version of events, no matter what happens. So long as the investigations aren't closed, and the real information is kept behind closed doors, both parties can pursue their rhetorical campaigns unchecked. And the testimony of people like Comey and Rogers will be useful only for driving interest in the reading of tea leaves.

    There should probably be three entirely separate investigations. One should concern the question of whether, or to what extent, the Russians interfered with the election. That's a non-partisan question, really, one everyone should care about, but Republicans won't do anything about it because they will perceive the entire issue as a partisan attack on Trump.

    A second inquiry could deal with the question of illegal/politicized leaks of secret surveillance data coming from the "IC." Again, in reality this is a non-partisan concern. Were congressional Democrats really interested in getting at whatever the intelligence community has on Trump, a bipartisan inquiry of this nature would be an excellent pressure point.

    Lastly, you could have a completely separate set of hearings into the question of whether or not the Trump campaign engaged in anything untoward in its dealings with Russians last year. If there's anything to this, the public needs to hear it, and it all needs to be public.

    But don't expect answers anytime soon. Hearings like today's only add to the frustrating strangeness of this scandal, and it looks like this will continue for quite some time.

    [Mar 22, 2017] A Breach in the Anti-Putin Groupthink

    Anti-Russian campaign is too profitable to be affected by minor setbacks.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Does Russia Have a Future? ..."
    Mar 21, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

    The mainstream U.S. media has virtually banned any commentary that doesn't treat Russian President Putin as the devil, but a surprising breach in the groupthink has occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine, reports Gilbert Doctorow.

    Realistically, no major change in U.S. foreign and defense policy is possible without substantial support from the U.S. political class, but a problem occurs when only one side of a debate gets a fair hearing and the other side gets ignored or marginalized. That is the current situation regarding U.S. policy toward Russia.

    For the past couple of decades, only the neoconservatives and their close allies, the liberal interventionists, have been allowed into the ring to raise their gloves in celebration of an uncontested victory over policy. On the very rare occasion when a "realist" or a critic of "regime change" wars somehow manages to sneak into the ring, they find both arms tied behind them and receive the predictable pounding.

    While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraine's eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion.

    But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard – and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed – is the one that blames everything on "Russian aggression." Those who try to express dissenting opinions – noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovych's government – have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals.

    When a handful of independent news sites (including Consortiumnews.com) tried to report on the other side of the story, they were denounced as "Russian propagandists" and ended up on "blacklists" promoted by The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

    An Encouraging Sign

    That is why it is encouraging that Foreign Affairs magazine, the preeminent professional journal of American diplomacy, took the extraordinary step (extraordinary at least in the current environment) of publishing Robert English's article , entitled "Russia, Trump, and a new D้tente," that challenges the prevailing groupthink and does so with careful scholarship.

    A wintery scene in Moscow, near Red Square. (Photo by Robert Parry)

    In effect, English's article trashes the positions of all Foreign Affairs' featured contributors for the past several years. But it must be stressed that there are no new discoveries of fact or new insights that make English's essay particularly valuable. What he has done is to bring together the chief points of the counter-current and set them out with extraordinary writing skills, efficiency and persuasiveness of argumentation. Even more important, he has been uncompromising.

    The facts laid out by English could have been set out by one of several experienced and informed professors or practitioners of international relations. But English had the courage to follow the facts where they lead and the skill to convince the Foreign Affairs editors to take the chance on allowing readers to see some unpopular truths even though the editors now will probably come under attack themselves as "Kremlin stooges."

    The overriding thesis is summed up at the start of the essay: "For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesn't get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does."

    English's article goes back to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and explains why and how U.S. policy toward Russia was wrong and wrong again. He debunks the notion that Boris Yeltsin brought in a democratic age, which Vladimir Putin undid after coming to power.

    English explains how the U.S. meddled in Russian domestic politics in the mid-1990s to falsify election results and ensure Yeltsin's continuation in office despite his unpopularity for bringing on an economic Depression that average Russians remember bitterly to this day. That was a time when the vast majority of Russians equated democracy with "shitocracy."

    English describes how the Russian economic and political collapse in the 1990s was exploited by the Clinton administration. He tells why currently fashionable U.S. critics of Putin are dead wrong when they fail to acknowledge Putin's achievements in restructuring the economy, tax collection, governance, improvements in public health and more which account for his spectacular popularity ratings today.

    English details all the errors and stupidities of the Obama administration in its handling of Russia and Putin, faulting President Obama and Secretary of State (and later presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton for all of their provocative and insensitive words and deeds. What we see in U.S. policy, as described by English, is the application of double standards, a prosecutorial stance towards Russia, and outrageous lies about the country and its leadership foisted on the American public.

    Then English takes on directly all of the paranoia over Russia's alleged challenge to Western democratic processes. He calls attention instead to how U.S. foreign policy and the European Union's own policies in the new Member States and candidate Member States have created all the conditions for a populist revolt by buying off local elites and subjecting the broad populace in these countries to pauperization.

    English concludes his essay with a call to give d้tente with Putin and Russia a chance.

    Who Is Robert English?

    English's Wikipedia entry and biographical data provided on his University of Southern California web pages make it clear that he has quality academic credentials: Master of Public Administration and PhD. in politics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also has a solid collection of scholarly publications to his credit as author or co-editor with major names in the field of Russian-Soviet intellectual history.

    Red Square in Moscow with a winter festival to the left and the Kremlin to the right. (Photo by Robert Parry)

    He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 1982–1986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations.

    Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled "Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016."

    English's objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending America's strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton.

    By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanders's inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington.

    While there is nothing new in such "flexibility," there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her.

    Then, there are times, such as the article for Foreign Affairs, when an academic may be speaking for his own analysis of an important situation whatever the political costs or benefits. Sources who have long been close to English assure me that the points in his latest article match his true beliefs.

    The Politics of Geopolitics

    Yet, it is one thing to have a courageous author and knowledgeable scholar. It is quite another to find a publisher willing to take the heat for presenting views that venture outside the mainstream Establishment. In that sense, it is stunning that Foreign Affairs chose to publish English and let him destroy the groupthink that has dominated the magazine and the elite foreign policy circles for years.

    President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    The only previous exception to the magazine's lockstep was an article by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer entitled "Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault" published in September 2014. That essay shot holes in Official Washington's recounting of the events leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in the Donbass.

    It was a shock to many of America's leading foreign policy insiders who, in the next issue, rallied like a collection of white cells to attack the invasive thinking. But there were some Foreign Affairs readers – about one-third of the commenters – who voiced agreement with Mearsheimer's arguments. But that was a one-time affair. Mearsheimer appears to have been tolerated because he was one of the few remaining exponents of the Realist School in the United States. But he was not a Russia specialist.

    Foreign Affairs may have turned to Robert English because the editors, as insider-insiders, found themselves on the outside of the Trump administration looking in. The magazine's 250,000 subscribers, which include readers from across the globe, expect Foreign Affairs to have some lines into the corridors of power.

    In that regard, the magazine has been carrying water for the State Department since the days of the Cold War. For instance, in the spring issue of 2007, the magazine published a cooked-up article signed by Ukrainian politician Yuliya Tymoshenko on why the West must contain Russia, a direct response to Putin's famous Munich speech in which he accused the United States of destabilizing the world through the Iraq War and other policies.

    Anticipating Hillary Clinton's expected election, Foreign Affairs' editors did not hedge their bets in 2016. They sided with the former Secretary of State and hurled rhetorical bricks at Donald Trump. In their September issue, they compared him to a tin-pot populist dictator in South America.

    Thus, they found themselves cut off after Trump's surprising victory. For the first time in many years in the opening issue of the New Year following a U.S. presidential election, the magazine did not feature an interview with the incoming Secretary of State or some other cabinet member.

    Though Official Washington's anti-Russian frenzy seems to be reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill with strident hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election, the underlying reality is that the neocons are descending into a fury over their sudden loss of power.

    The hysteria was highlighted when neocon Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul after the libertarian senator objected to special consideration for McCain's resolution supporting Montenegro's entrance into NATO. In a stunning breach of Senate protocol, a livid McCain accused Paul of "working for Vladimir Putin."

    Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders have begun cautioning their anti-Trump followers not to expect too much from congressional investigations into the supposed Trump-Russia collusion on the election.

    In publishing Robert English's essay challenging much of the anti-Russian groupthink that has dominated Western geopolitics over the past few years, Foreign Affairs may be finally bending to the recognition that it is risking its credibility if it continues to put all its eggs in the we-hate-Russia basket.

    That hedging of its bets may be a case of self-interest, but it also may be an optimistic sign that the martyred Fifteenth Century Catholic Church reformer Jan Hus was right when he maintained that eventually the truth will prevail.

    Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

    [Mar 22, 2017] The Rachel Maddow Show on msnbc

    Rachel Maddow looks at the role of Russian bot networks and cyber war tactics during the 2016 U.S. election and notes that those things didn't just go away after the election. She proves to be a talented anti-Russian warmonger. Very impressive piece of propaganda. Classic brainwashing.
    MSNC clearly is in neo-McCarthyism camp and try to capitalize on anti-Russian hysteria. Of cause, Rachel Maddow was and still is a Hillary puppet, so she should have her credibility already destroyed. but people still watching her show and that's a problem. Previously she supported this neocon warmonger, now she became one. The problem with her blabbing is that accounting to FBI Russians have written off Trump in Summer 2016.
    Looks like Democratic party brass can no longer control the anti-Russian hysteria why wiped up, even if they realized that they went too far and the ability to lick thier wound by launching anti-Russian hysteria and getting it to the sky level pitch has some adverse effects in a long run ...
    Notable quotes:
    "... This anti-Russian warmonger Rachel Maddow is a Hillary puppet. That is a known fact. She has been dyed-in-the-wool supported neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton for the duration of the campaign. ..."
    "... A company related to a NATO aligned "think-tank", which is financed by weapon producers and other special interests, raises allegations against Russia that are quite possibly unfounded. These allegations are then used by NATO to build up a public boogeyman picture of "the Russian enemy". In consequence the budgets for NATO militaries and the profits of weapon producers increase. ..."
    "... It is a simple racket, but with potentially very bad consequences for all of us. ..."
    Mar 22, 2017 | www.msnbc.com

    Duration: 20:44

    libezkova -> Peter K .... March 22, 2017 at 04:24 PM

    This anti-Russian warmonger Rachel Maddow is a Hillary puppet. That is a known fact. She has been dyed-in-the-wool supported neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton for the duration of the campaign.

    All her blows were below the belt.

    This selective reporting of pieces of information is actually pretty disingenuous. Anybody using those methods and by selective reporting of bits of information that support your viewpoint can be painted as a Russian agent. Even EMichael :-)

    The problem with her blabbing is that according to FBI Russians have written off Trump in Summer 2016.

    Listening to this show by MSNBC is so disguising, that I lost any respect for it.

    RGC -> EMichael... March 22, 2017 at 04:45 PM
    Fool Me Once ... - Crowdstrike Claimed Two Cases
    Of "Russian Hacking" - One Has Been Proven Wrong

    The cyber-security company Crowdstrike claimed that the "Russia" hacked the Democratic National Committee. It also claimed that "Russia" hacked artillery units of the Ukrainian army. The second claim has now be found to be completely baseless. That same is probably the case with its claims related to the DNC.
    ..........................

    The DNC was likely not hacked at all. Some insider with access to its servers may have taken the emails to publish them. On July 10 2016 the DNC IT administrator Sean Rich was found fatally shot on the streets of Washington DC. To this day no culprit has been found. The crime is unsolved. Five Congressional staffers and IT administrators from Pakistan, some of whom also worked for the DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are under criminal investigation for unauthorized access to Congressional computers. They had the password of Wasserman-Schultz and may have had access to the DNC servers.

    Crowdstrike's claims of "Russian hacking" have evidently been false with regards to the Ukrainian artillery. Crowdstrike's claims of "Russian hacking" in the case of the DNC have never been supported or confirmed by independent evidence. There are reasons to believe that the loss of control of the DNC's email archives were a case of unauthorized internal access and not a "hack" at all.

    A company related to a NATO aligned "think-tank", which is financed by weapon producers and other special interests, raises allegations against Russia that are quite possibly unfounded. These allegations are then used by NATO to build up a public boogeyman picture of "the Russian enemy". In consequence the budgets for NATO militaries and the profits of weapon producers increase.

    It is a simple racket, but with potentially very bad consequences for all of us.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/ Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 04:45 PM

    [Mar 22, 2017] New Cold War and anti-Russian hysteria news March 2017 edition

    Notable quotes:
    "... the wrong foreign power ..."
    Mar 22, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    "Devin Nunes is a conservative Republican from the San Joaquin Valley who advised Donald Trump through his transition to the presidency. Adam Schiff is a Los Angeles Democrat who campaigned for Hillary Clinton and isn't shy in his criticisms of the man who defeated her" [ RealClearPolitics ]. Now the two California congressmen find themselves at the center of the political universe, leading a House probe into Russian meddling in American politics . The two have no qualms about expressing disagreements with what they deduce from the same pot of information, but their joint appearances are a vestige of the kind of bipartisanship that has all but disappeared from Washington. And yet, Monday's hearing showed the partisan divide on the issue, with Republican members focused on plugging government leaks of sensitive information and Democrats interested in possible collusion." "Meddling," "collusion." Pretty squishy words

    "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire" [ Politico ]. (Furzy Mouse). ZOMG!!!! The Ukrainians were hacking tampering with meddling in seeking to influence our election! Where's that declaration of war I had lying around

    "From Russia, with Panic" [Yasha Levine, The Baffler (DG)]. This is an important post. Key point: "But in private conversations, as well as little-noticed public discussions, security professionals take a dimmer view of the cybersecurity complex. And the more I've looked at the hysteria surrounding Russia's supposed hacking of our elections, the more I've come to see it as a case study of everything wrong and dangerous about the cyber-attribution business." For example: "Matt Tait, a former GCHQ analyst and founder of Capital Alpha Security who blogs under the influential Twitter handle @pwnallthethings, found a Word document pilfered from the DNC and leaked by Guccifer 2.0. As he examined its data signatures, he discovered that it had been edited by Felix Edmundovich-a.k.a. Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka. To him, it was proof that Guccifer 2.0 was part of the same Russian intelligence operation. He really believed that the super sophisticated spy group trying to hide its Russian ties would register its Microsoft Word processor in the name of the leader of the infamously brutal Soviet security service."

    "Could the President Spy on His Political Opponents?" [ The American Conservative ]. "But regardless of whether [Trump's "wiretapping"] claims turn out to be completely false, which is all but certain now, they do raise a question that shouldn't be casually dismissed: Could President Obama's administration have surveiled his political opponents under its interpretation of the law? Could President Trump's administration now do the same? The answer, unfortunately, is yes."

    "Report: Paul Manafort Drafted a Plan in 2005 to Influence American Politics for Putin's Benefit" [ Slate ]. I used Slate because "2005" somehow didn't get into the headlines in the other stories. Here's a blow-by-blow from NPR .

    I can well believe that the Democrats are so feckless that they ginned up a Trump scandal with the wrong foreign power :

    on Twitter
    Follow Mark Ames @MarkAmesExiled

    One claim in piss-Trump dossier that rang true-Trump happy media focus on his Russia ties rather than his China biz https:// twitter.com/matthewstoller /status/843888616774483968

    2:48 PM - 20 Mar 2017

    Heatlh Care

    "A White House in full-court press mode deployed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol

    [Mar 22, 2017] Noted Putin Critic Warns Of Confrontation Between Trump And Russia, Not Collaboration Zero Hedge

    Mar 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

    One thing we should have learned over the past year or so is you can take any narrative being pushed by the corporate media and Democrats, and assume that the exact opposite is true . The current Trump-Russia hysteria could very well turn out to be the latest and most embarrassing example of this phenomenon. In fact, well known Putin-critic, Masha Gessen, recently warned in an interview with Politico that her biggest fear is a Trump-Putin conflict, not some imagined alliance.

    Below I provide the excerpts from this lengthy interview which I believe are relevant to the topic.

    From Politico :

    Glasser : I want to talk a little bit about where we are right now. And then back up to why it is, in your life, you've figured out this expecting the unimaginable. But recently, you know, American politics has been consumed by Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia. And you wrote something that a lot of people were surprised by the other day, although I was not. And you said, "Beware the conspiracy trap."

    And that, in fact, the Russia scandal that now threatens to engulf President Trump's very new presidency, you wrote, "In effect, could be actually helping President Trump and amount to a sort of a colossal distraction for us." What did you mean by that?

    Gessen : Well, a couple things. One is that, if you look at, you know, what we actually know about the Russia story, which changes every day, but what-at this point, what we actually know suggests that the likelihood that there's going to be a causal link between the Russian interference in the American election and the outcome of the election. The likelihood that was a causal link, and that that causal link can be shown, is basically vanishingly small, right?

    So-and I think that part of the reason-there are basically two reasons that a lot of journalists and a lot of activists have been focusing on Russia is because it serves as a crutch for the imagination. And again, I'm coming back to this topic of imagination, which obsesses me.

    So one way in which it serves as a crutch for the imagination is that it allows us to imagine that, maybe, Trump will be so sullied by this Russia scandal, by this connection, even if he can't prove a cause-causal link, just that the darkness of the scandal will be thick enough of a cloud that he will eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress.

    That's a huge leap. And it also, I think, doesn't take into account the tools-the rhetorical tools that will have to be used to sully Trump in such a way, right? Which are basically xenophobic and, you know, corrosive to the public sphere. And the other way in which it serves as a crutch for the imagination is it also serves to explain how Trump could have happened to us, right? The Russians did it.

    Glasser : That's exactly right; if it's an external thing. And you wrote that very, very early on. Actually, before this latest round, that the real threat to Trump would be to misunderstand where this comes from. And if it's not Americans who voted for him, but somehow, it's a wily, dark conspiracy theory. That leads you down a whole different set of responses to Trump.

    Gessen : Right. Which-

    Glasser : I think that's your point.

    Gessen : That is my point. And also that it's destructive to politics. Politics is what happens out in the open. And there's lots of politics happening, right? There's this endless barrage of frightening bills being filed at this point. There are the Cabinet appointments. There's the, you know, dismantling of the federal government as we have known it for generations.

    All of that is going on out in the open. And we only have so much bandwidth. If we're not talking about what's going on out in the open, if we're talking about conspiracy instead, then we are, by doing that, destroying the politics that we should be preserving, right? I mean, how do we emerge out the other end, when Trump ends, and Trump will eventually end. Everything ends, right?

    If we've engaged in conspiracy theorizing this whole time, instead of engaging in politics-and only by engaging in politics can we actually preserve the political space

    Gessen : I'm worried about Russia. I'm-this is-I mean, we're already out of the honeymoon phase, and it's been less than two months. And I think it's-I mean, the danger of having these two unhinged power-hungry men at their-respective nuclear buttons cannot be overestimated. But-

    Glasser : So you would see them as potential enemies as much as potential friends? That this scenario-

    Gessen : Oh, absolutely.

    Glasser : -we should worry about is Trump versus Putin, not just Trump and Putin uniting?

    Gessen : Right. I'm actually worried about a collision with them.

    She's exactly right. I completely agree that the disaster scenario with Putin and Trump is if and when they actually clash. Once that happens, the corporate media and Democrats will pretend they had nothing to do with it, as they always do. As Mark Ames noted on Twitter:

    All the worst Iraq war liars still have their fat media jobs-where they now tell us public distrust in Establishment is a Kremlin conspiracy

    - Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) March 20, 2017

    Moving on, I want to once again turn to Robert Parry of Consortium News to highlight just how ridiculous the whole "Putin bought off Trump aides" conspiracy is. From yesterday's piece, The Missing Logic of Russia-gate :

    Democrats circulated a report showing that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Donald Trump's national security adviser, had received payments from several Russia-related entities, totaling nearly $68,000.

    The largest payment of $45,386 came for a speech and an appearance in Moscow in 2015 at the tenth anniversary dinner for RT, the international Russian TV network, with Flynn netting $33,750 after his speakers' bureau took its cut. Democrats treated this revelation as important evidence about Russia buying influence in the Trump campaign and White House. But the actual evidence suggests something quite different.

    Not only was the sum a relative trifle for a former senior U.S. government official compared to, say, the fees collected by Bill and Hillary Clinton, who often pulled in six to ten times more, especially for speeches to foreign audiences. ( Former President Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin, The New York Times reported in 2015,)

    Yet, besides Flynn's relatively modest speaking fee, The Washington Post reported that RT negotiated Flynn's rate downward.

    Deep inside its article on Flynn's Russia-connected payments, the Post wrote, "RT balked at paying Flynn's original asking price. 'Sorry it took us longer to get back to you but the problem is that the speaking fee is a bit too high and exceeds our budget at the moment,' Alina Mikhaleva, RT's head of marketing, wrote a Flynn associate about a month before the event."

    So, if you accept the Democrats' narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin is engaged in an all-out splurge to induce influential Americans to betray their country, how do you explain that his supposed flunkies at RT are quibbling with Flynn over a relatively modest speaking fee?

    Of course, you'll never hear any of this emphasized in the corporate media, they're too busy pushing for a conflict between the U.S. and Russia. A conflict that once it happens, they will vehemently deny playing any role in propagating.

    [Mar 21, 2017] It has long been a mystery to me why European nations adopt policies that hurt their economies just to pander to the whims of US geopolitics. Cases in point: sanctions on Iran and Russia and support for Israel

    Notable quotes:
    "... Past administrations of both parties have been vigorous supporters of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections. These protections can raise the price of protected items by factors of ten or even a hundred, making them equivalent to tariffs of 1000 and 10,000 percent. These protections lead to the same sorts of economic distortion and corruption that economists would predict from tariffs of this size. ..."
    "... Trump administration officials at a Group of 20 summit rejected concerns about spreading protectionism and made clear that the new administration would seek different approaches to global commerce. ..."
    "... The United States influence over the Group of 20 nations, even when the US is supposedly taking generally unpopular stances is striking and makes me wonder why there is no open dissent. What is supposed to be unpopular may be less so among G20 governments than commonly assumed. ..."
    Mar 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : March 20, 2017 at 05:43 AM

    http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/the-united-states-has-been-for-selective-protectionism-not-free-trade

    March 20, 2017

    The United States Has Been for Selective Protectionism, Not Free Trade

    The New York Times might have wrongly lead readers to believe that presidents prior to Donald Trump supported free trade in an article * noting his refusal to go along with a G-20 statement proclaiming the importance of free trade. This is not true.

    Past administrations of both parties have been vigorous supporters of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections. These protections can raise the price of protected items by factors of ten or even a hundred, making them equivalent to tariffs of 1000 and 10,000 percent. These protections lead to the same sorts of economic distortion and corruption that economists would predict from tariffs of this size.

    Past administrations have also supported barriers that protect our most highly paid professionals, such as doctors and dentists, from foreign competition. They apparently believed that these professionals lack the skills necessary to compete in the global economy and therefore must be protected from the international competition. The result is that the rest of us pay close to $100 billion more each year for our medical bills ($700 per family).

    * https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/business/group-of-20-summit-us-trade.html

    -- Dean Baker

    anne -> anne... , March 20, 2017 at 05:45 AM
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/business/group-of-20-summit-us-trade.html

    March 18, 2017

    U.S. Breaks With Allies Over Trade Issues Amid Trump's 'America First' Vows
    By JACK EWING

    Trump administration officials at a Group of 20 summit rejected concerns about spreading protectionism and made clear that the new administration would seek different approaches to global commerce.

    anne -> anne... , March 20, 2017 at 05:47 AM
    https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/843565279359766529

    Ben Norton‏ @BenjaminNorton

    US forced G20 nations in joint statement to drop any mention of climate change, which threatens life on Earth

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/g20-finance-ministers-statement-climate-change-fair-trade-trump-a7636956.html

    Financial officials from the world's biggest economies have dropped from a joint statement any mention of financing action on climate change, reportedly following pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia....

    1:50 PM - 19 Mar 2017

    anne -> anne... , March 20, 2017 at 05:49 AM
    The United States influence over the Group of 20 nations, even when the US is supposedly taking generally unpopular stances is striking and makes me wonder why there is no open dissent. What is supposed to be unpopular may be less so among G20 governments than commonly assumed.
    JohnH -> anne... , March 20, 2017 at 07:43 AM
    It has long been a mystery to me why European nations adopt policies that hurt their economies just to pander to the whims of US geopolitics. Cases in point: sanctions on Iran and Russia and support for Israel.

    [Mar 20, 2017] Donald Trump Isnt Even Pretending to Oppose Goldman Sachs Anymore

    Notable quotes:
    "... The ubiquity of Goldman Sachs veterans across numerous presidencies throughout history, both Republican and Democratic, has been well documented. But Donald Trump sold himself as something different, an economic nationalist determined to rankle Wall Street. He even ran campaign ads savaging bankers like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein for their role in a "global power structure." ..."
    "... That populist smokescreen is long gone now. ..."
    "... After dalliances with unorthodox proposals for a Republican, Trump has settled into an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation - particularly for the financial industry. Cohn laid out the new paradigm in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, promising lighter supervision and even lower capital requirements for the financial sector. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Trump's choice to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which handles derivatives regulations, hijacked a federal advisory panel to recommend abandoning limits on commodity speculation, of the kind pursued by big banks like Goldman Sachs. ..."
    "... Even in areas where populist sentiment was seen as pre-eminent, Trump has reportedly succumbed to the Wall Street advance. A dramatic piece in the Financial Times described a "civil war" within the White House over trade, pitting Trump's hard-liners like Bannon and trade policy adviser Peter Navarro against the likes of Cohn. It stated that Navarro was being sidelined, with Cohn taking a larger role in the negotiations over NAFTA, and with foreign leaders working through the National Economic Council rather than Navarro in trade talks. AFL-CIO official Thea Lee said in the story , "It appears the Wall Street wing is winning this battle." ..."
    "... At the NEC, Cohn hired Andrew Quinn, a chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to coordinate international trade and development. A stewing Breitbart News called Quinn " the enemy within ." ..."
    Mar 15, 2017 | theintercept.com

    The continuity of Wall Street's dominant role in American politics - regardless of what party sits in power or how reviled the financial industry finds itself across the country - was perhaps never more evident than when Jake Siewert, now a Goldman Sachs spokesperson, on Tuesday praised the selection of Jim Donovan, a Goldman Sachs managing director, for the No. 2 position in the Treasury Department under Steve Mnuchin, himself a former Goldman Sachs partner.

    "Jim is smart, extraordinarily versatile, and as hard-working as they come," Siewert gushed. "He'll be an invaluable addition to the economic team."

    The punch line? Siewert was counselor at the Treasury Department to Timothy Geithner, as well as a White House press secretary under Bill Clinton.

    The ubiquity of Goldman Sachs veterans across numerous presidencies throughout history, both Republican and Democratic, has been well documented. But Donald Trump sold himself as something different, an economic nationalist determined to rankle Wall Street. He even ran campaign ads savaging bankers like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein for their role in a "global power structure."

    That populist smokescreen is long gone now.

    Mnuchin and Donovan are just two of five Goldman expats in high-level positions on Trump's team. Steve Bannon spent a limited time at Goldman Sachs, but White House assistant Dina Powell, who headed the bank's philanthropic efforts, and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Goldman's former president, had higher-ranking positions for a longer period. Jay Clayton, Trump's nominee for the Securities and Exchange Commission, was a partner for Goldman's main law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell.

    White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reportedly blocked Donovan from Treasury initially, amid fears of an image problem with too many "Goldman guys." But Donovan got the post anyway.

    Other big banks are represented inside team Trump as well. Several expats of Mnuchin's OneWest Bank , which repeatedly brutalized homeowners during the foreclosure crisis, have been rumored for key spots at the banking regulators.

    The same day as Donovan, Trump announced the nomination of David Malpass as treasury undersecretary for international affairs. Malpass was the chief economist for Bear Stearns right before the investment bank imploded. He literally wrote an opinion piece called " Don't Panic About Credit Markets " for the Wall Street Journal in August 2007, noting, "Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy."

    But it's not just the presence of ex-bank executives that matters; it's the policy menu oriented to Wall Street's wishes.

    After dalliances with unorthodox proposals for a Republican, Trump has settled into an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation - particularly for the financial industry. Cohn laid out the new paradigm in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, promising lighter supervision and even lower capital requirements for the financial sector. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Trump's choice to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which handles derivatives regulations, hijacked a federal advisory panel to recommend abandoning limits on commodity speculation, of the kind pursued by big banks like Goldman Sachs.

    Donovan is expected to play a major role in tax policy, which will be overwhelmingly tilted to benefiting the wealthy, despite claims from Mnuchin that the rich will see "no absolute tax cut." Even Trump's flailing health care proposal is really little more than a large tax cut for the wealthiest Americans , financed by cuts to the low-income Medicaid program.

    Even in areas where populist sentiment was seen as pre-eminent, Trump has reportedly succumbed to the Wall Street advance. A dramatic piece in the Financial Times described a "civil war" within the White House over trade, pitting Trump's hard-liners like Bannon and trade policy adviser Peter Navarro against the likes of Cohn. It stated that Navarro was being sidelined, with Cohn taking a larger role in the negotiations over NAFTA, and with foreign leaders working through the National Economic Council rather than Navarro in trade talks. AFL-CIO official Thea Lee said in the story , "It appears the Wall Street wing is winning this battle."

    At the NEC, Cohn hired Andrew Quinn, a chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to coordinate international trade and development. A stewing Breitbart News called Quinn " the enemy within ."

    Not enough has happened on trade to declare the winner of this internecine battle; indeed, the Financial Times reported that Trump took Navarro's side in a recent Oval Office meeting. But in confirmation hearings Tuesday, Robert Lighthizer, Trump's pick for U.S. trade representative, praised his predecessor Michael Froman , architect of the TPP (and himself a former Citigroup executive), arguing that some of that work could be used in constructing a successor to NAFTA. Lighthizer also vowed tough enforcement of trade rules but said little about tariffs or the kinds of disruptive policies Trump touted in the campaign, which Wall Street disfavors.

    Banks have celebrated since Trump's election, composing the lion's share of the "Trump bump" in stock prices. Goldman Sachs shares have risen from $181.92 on Election Day to around $250 today , an increase that accounts for as much as one-fifth of the total rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over that period.

    Not only do Goldman executives benefit, but so do their alumni: Cohn received nearly $300 million in severance from Goldman after moving into government. He's vowed to recuse himself from anything "directly" affecting his former company, but that doesn't necessarily apply to tax and regulatory policies affecting the entire financial sector.

    [Mar 20, 2017] As French Election Nears, Le Pen Targets Voters Her Party Once Repelled

    Notable quotes:
    "... "There's been a real evolution," Philippe Renault-Guillemet, the retired head of a small manufacturing company, said as he handed out National Front leaflets in the market on a recent day. "A few years ago, they would insult us. It's changed ..."
    "... With a month to go, the signs are mixed. Many voters, particularly affluent ones, at markets here and farther up the coast betray a traditional distaste for the far-right party. Yet others once repelled by a party with a heritage rooted in France's darkest political traditions - anti-Semitism, xenophobia and a penchant for the fist - are considering it. ..."
    "... French politics are particularly volatile this election season. Traditional power centers - the governing Socialists and the center-right Republicans - are in turmoil. Ms. Le Pen's chief rival, Emmanuel Macron, is a youthful and untested politician running at the head of a new party. ..."
    "... Those uncertainties - and a nagging sense that mainstream parties have failed to offer solutions to France's economic anemia - have left the National Front better positioned than at any time in its 45-year history. ..."
    "... Fr้d้ric Boccaletti, the party's leader in the Var, knows exactly what needs to be done. Last week, he and his fellow National Front activists gathered for an evening planning session in La Seyne-Sur-Mer, a working-class port town devastated by the closing of centuries-old naval shipyards nearly 20 years ago. Mr. Boccaletti, who is running for Parliament, keeps his headquarters here. ..."
    "... It is not unlike the strategy that President Trump applied in the United States by campaigning in blue-collar, Democratic strongholds in rust-belt Ohio. No one thought he stood a chance there. Yet he won. ..."
    "... "Now, we've got doctors, lawyers, the liberal professions with us," Mr. Boccaletti said. "Since the election of Marine" to the party's presidency in 2011, "it's all changed. ..."
    "... The backlash against neoliberal globalization creates very strange alliances indeed. That was already visible during the last Presidential elections. When a considerable part of lower middle class professionals (including women) voted against Hillary. ..."
    "... As Fred noted today (Why did so many white women vote for Donald Trump http://for.tn/2f51y7s ) there were many Trump supporters among white women with the college degree, for which Democrats identity politics prescribed voting for Hillary. ..."
    "... I think this tendency might only became stronger in the next elections: neoliberal globalization is now viewed as something detrimental to the country future and current economic prosperity by many, usually not allied, segments of population. ..."
    Mar 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Peter K. : March 20, 2017 at 09:23 AM
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/world/europe/french-election-marine-le-pen-national-front.html

    As French Election Nears, Le Pen Targets Voters Her Party Once Repelled

    By ADAM NOSSITER

    MARCH 19, 2017

    SANARY-SUR-MER, France - The National Front's leafleteers are no longer spat upon. Its local candidate's headquarters sit defiantly in a fraying Muslim neighborhood. And last week, Marine Le Pen, the party's leader, packed thousands into a steamy meeting hall nearby for a pugnacious speech mocking "the system" and vowing victory in this spring's French presidential election.

    "There's been a real evolution," Philippe Renault-Guillemet, the retired head of a small manufacturing company, said as he handed out National Front leaflets in the market on a recent day. "A few years ago, they would insult us. It's changed."

    It has long been accepted wisdom that Ms. Le Pen and her far-right party can make it through the first round of the presidential voting on April 23, when she and four other candidates will be on the ballot, but that she will never capture the majority needed to win in a runoff in May.

    But a visit to this southeastern National Front stronghold suggests that Ms. Le Pen may be succeeding in broadening her appeal to the point where a victory is more plausible, even if the odds are still stacked against her.

    With a month to go, the signs are mixed. Many voters, particularly affluent ones, at markets here and farther up the coast betray a traditional distaste for the far-right party. Yet others once repelled by a party with a heritage rooted in France's darkest political traditions - anti-Semitism, xenophobia and a penchant for the fist - are considering it.

    "I've said several times I would do it, but I've never had the courage," Christian Pignol, a vendor of plants and vegetables at the Bandol market, said about voting for the National Front. "This time may be the good one."

    "It's the fear of the unknown," he continued, as several fellow vendors nodded. "People would like to try it, but they are afraid. But maybe it's the solution. We've tried everything for 30, 40 years. We'd like to try it, but we're also afraid."

    French politics are particularly volatile this election season. Traditional power centers - the governing Socialists and the center-right Republicans - are in turmoil. Ms. Le Pen's chief rival, Emmanuel Macron, is a youthful and untested politician running at the head of a new party.

    Those uncertainties - and a nagging sense that mainstream parties have failed to offer solutions to France's economic anemia - have left the National Front better positioned than at any time in its 45-year history.

    But if it is to win nationally, the party must do much better than even the 49 percent support it won in this conservative Var department, home to three National Front mayors, in elections in 2015. More critically, it must turn once-hostile areas of the country in Ms. Le Pen's favor and attract new kinds of voters - professionals and the upper and middle classes. Political analysts are skeptical.

    Fr้d้ric Boccaletti, the party's leader in the Var, knows exactly what needs to be done. Last week, he and his fellow National Front activists gathered for an evening planning session in La Seyne-Sur-Mer, a working-class port town devastated by the closing of centuries-old naval shipyards nearly 20 years ago. Mr. Boccaletti, who is running for Parliament, keeps his headquarters here.

    "I'm telling you, you've got to go to the difficult neighborhoods - it's not what you think," Mr. Boccaletti told them, laughing slyly. "Our work has got to be in the areas that have resisted us most" - meaning the coast's more affluent areas.

    It is not unlike the strategy that President Trump applied in the United States by campaigning in blue-collar, Democratic strongholds in rust-belt Ohio. No one thought he stood a chance there. Yet he won.

    "Now, we've got doctors, lawyers, the liberal professions with us," Mr. Boccaletti said. "Since the election of Marine" to the party's presidency in 2011, "it's all changed."

    ...

    libezkova -> Peter K.... March 20, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    The backlash against neoliberal globalization creates very strange alliances indeed. That was already visible during the last Presidential elections. When a considerable part of lower middle class professionals (including women) voted against Hillary.

    As Fred noted today (Why did so many white women vote for Donald Trump http://for.tn/2f51y7s ) there were many Trump supporters among white women with the college degree, for which Democrats identity politics prescribed voting for Hillary.

    I think this tendency might only became stronger in the next elections: neoliberal globalization is now viewed as something detrimental to the country future and current economic prosperity by many, usually not allied, segments of population.

    [Mar 20, 2017] Trump Administration To Reopen H1B Visa Program

    Mar 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Anachronism -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... March 20, 2017 at 09:59 AM , 2017 at 09:59 AM
    I posted this a few days ago. Another promise Trump reneged on.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/does-immigration-help-economy-trump-administration-reopen-h-1b-visa-program-2509198

    Does Immigration Help The Economy? Trump Administration To Reopen H-1B Visa Program

    By Lydia O'Neal @LydsONeal On 03/15/17 AT 4:30 PM

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Wednesday that it would not draw down the number of H-1B visas doled out to foreign workers for fiscal year 2018, leaving the total cap at 85,000, and would begin accepting applications April 3.

    The decision came less than two weeks after USCIS alarmed proponents of freer immigration for skilled workers when it suspended the premium processing route for H-1B visas, which allows companies to import workers quickly with just 15 waiting days and a $1,225 fee, for a period of at least six months.

    The agency attributed the decision to its need to "process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years," according to a USCIS press release. USCIS also kept its expedited processing route, which is reserved for emergency situations, in place.

    H-1B visas are reserved for foreign nationals with a clear relationship with the American company seeking to hire them, as well as a bachelor's degree or higher in a "specialty occupation," defined by USCIS as "in fields such as engineering, math and business, as well as many technology fields."

    H-1B Visa Petitions Approved in 2014 by Level of Education

    Showing petitions approved in the 2014 fiscal year by level of education. Approved petitions exceed the number of individual H-1B workers sponsored because multiple types of petitions can be filed for a single worker. The U.S. caps the number of H-1B workers that can be given a visa at 65,000 per fiscal year.

    The tech industry often cites the program, which primarily benefits Indian workers and companies, as a necessary tool to compensate for labor shortages, but the existence of that shortage has long been disputed.

    A recent study found that, had the program not been in place between 1994 and 2001, tech workers' salaries would've been up to 5 percent higher, while their employment would've grown by up to 11 percent. The paper, by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Diego, also pointed out that productivity in the sector rose by as much as 2.5 percent, while consumer prices fell, ultimately benefitting information technology firms.

    [Mar 19, 2017] Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and blogger, acknowledges he was one of the sources for Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano's claim - later repeated by the White

    Mar 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    im1dc : March 18, 2017 at 01:34 PM , 2017 at 01:34 PM
    The who behind Trump's Obama wire tapping claim is now known

    The why appears to be that he's an anti- Hillary Clintonista

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-gchq-spying-larry-johnson-intelligence-community-236220

    "How the U.K. spying claim traveled from an ex-CIA blogger to Trump's White House"

    'Former intelligence analyst Larry Johnson, who has long attacked the U.S. intel community, is standing by his allegation that triggered a feud with America's closest ally'

    By Matthew Nussbaum...03/18/17...02:38 PM EDT

    "...Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and blogger, acknowledges he was one of the sources for Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano's claim - later repeated by the White House..."

    [Mar 19, 2017] Intel Chair No Collusion Between Trump and Russia... Leak Is The Only Crime Zero Hedge

    Mar 19, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Intel Chair: "No Collusion Between Trump and Russia... Leak Is The Only Crime" Shemp 4 Victory , Mar 19, 2017 11:57 AM

    Reason won't matter to snowflakes. They'll cling to the comfort of their illusions.

    Erek -> Shemp 4 Victory , Mar 19, 2017 11:59 AM

    Hmm. It seems the "Intelligence" chair is leaking on the snowflakes.

    Looney -> Erek , Mar 19, 2017 12:01 PM

    ... No evidence of collusion

    But but 0bama said Hillary said 17 intelligence agencies said CNN said

    LetThemEatRand -> Shemp 4 Victory , Mar 19, 2017 11:59 AM

    The Deep State/MSM trots out shit like this precisely because the facts don't matter once the narrative is set. Half the country will go on thinking there's no way the story would have made it this far were there not some there there.

    MsCreant -> chunga , Mar 19, 2017 12:55 PM

    I have wondered if some of the strategy is to keep him on the run, on the defensive, so that if he does go after some of the elite who need to go down for their crimes, that it will be framed as a dictator abusing his power, engaged in partisan politics.

    I wonder if he can go after them at all without looking like Mussolini?

    chunga -> MsCreant , Mar 19, 2017 1:07 PM

    Guys like Schiff, Schumer, and Blitzer will say that but they hate Trump no matter what.

    Trump's deplorable supporters know the score and will criticize if he doesn't go after them hard and now is a perfect opportunity. It was the Dummycrats who demanded this investigation but want the scope restricted to Russia, and Russia only. And the rEpublicans won't bring this up either because they suck too.

    The first rule of Swamp Club is you DO NOT talk about Anthony Weiner's laptop.

    Jubal Early -> chunga , Mar 19, 2017 1:46 PM

    "Guys like Schiff, Schumer, and Blitzer will say that but they hate Trump no matter what."

    This whole "jew media hates Trump" meme is starting to put off a foul stench. For one thing Trump has yet to do anything to stop this war for greater Israel. Or take this latest leak/Russian collusion news. After months of bluster, its a nothing burger. Is Trump really made of that much teflon, or is this all a show for the goyim and all the ignorant jews.

    Just keep on scrolling. It really is starting to look like Trump is a crypto jew:

    http://thezog.info/who-controls-donald-trump/

    Lurk Skywatcher -> kellys_eye , Mar 19, 2017 12:27 PM

    Baseless accusations to try and draw attention away from what the Dems actually DID, with evidence and all.

    Libtards wreck everything they touch, even the hard work of theorists who until recently achieved an amazing level of success in converting conspiracys into fact.

    DaddyO -> Shemp 4 Victory , Mar 19, 2017 12:07 PM

    <- They'll cling to the comfort of their illusions ->

    Isn't delusions a better word choice?

    There's a part of me that wants the tide to change quickly, for the intel and deep state apparatus pendulum to swing back the other way.

    This slow motion train wreck is wreaking havoc on my libertarian leanings. I keep hoping against hope for a dramatic event like indictments and perp walks.

    The best outcome would be the elimination of the many 3 letter agencies that have become pygmalian.

    DaddyO

    Giant Meteor -> DaddyO , Mar 19, 2017 12:41 PM

    Yes, delusion, due to the illusion ...

    Madness .. in short

    Pathologic insanity if ya wanna go clinical

    Giant Meteor -> Canary Paint , Mar 19, 2017 12:24 PM

    Most reasonable people are sickened by this entire shit show, feel they have no say, nor control. As always it is mostly a partisan echo chamber, while the real events take on a life of their own. The great many, the unwashed masses are merely riding on the crazy train, and the reality is could give two shits. Other than that, another percentage spits back up what they are told on the tee vee .

    Yes, this paints a bleak picture, but there you have it.

    Giant Meteor -> Automatic Choke , Mar 19, 2017 1:09 PM

    Sure its been goin on forever. Partisan head games, lying, spying, stealing, cheating, theft, deep state parlor tricks, hat tricks, etc. all that .. I didn't say the game nor human beings were / was invented yesterday, and of course you're spot on about glimpsing past the curtain, thank you interwebs. I am merely saying, the depth of of problem, the extent, is becoming increasingly "larger" by degrees of magnitude, as will the eventual blow off top in my opinion, and also the blowback, I would imagine ..

    Obviously I could be completely wrong on this and things will just swim along such as they are, forever ..

    TheLastTrump -> Shemp 4 Victory , Mar 19, 2017 1:08 PM

    That IS what they say about Trump voters you know ....

    Watched more media this am, Trump kicked their ass into a puddle with this Obama wiretapping charge. Totally bitch slapped them. Now he's made Merkel & the EU & G20 look stupid along with the media.

    post turtle saver -> Shemp 4 Victory , Mar 19, 2017 2:30 PM

    it was a lie from the beginning

    HRC and Soros should be in jail

    if it comes to it, former President Obama should be in jail... probably has too mucn plausible deniability to shield him, but where there's smoke there's fire

    if I were Trump D.C. would be undergoing a serious witch hunt as we speak... the people who did this need to do time and the lying lapdog 'media' needs to be sanctioned

    fbazzrea -> DirtySanchez , Mar 19, 2017 12:29 PM

    should be on the front lines of the war with Russia.

    what war with Russia?

    chubbar -> fbazzrea , Mar 19, 2017 12:43 PM

    We start a war with Russia, we'll all be on the "front line". The retarded snowflakes don't even know that they are supporting this effort to start a war with Russia.

    az_patriot , Mar 19, 2017 12:00 PM

    ...and the liberal snowflakes and their puppets in the "news" media will run from this story like a vampire from garlic. Anything that proves them wrong or might in any way bolster Trump is bad medicine for them...

    [Mar 19, 2017] Malevolence tempered by incompetence.

    Mar 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    sanjait : March 17, 2017 at 10:01 AM , 2017 at 10:01 AM
    "Malevolence tempered by incompetence."

    That's the *optimists'* take on the Trump administration.

    It's clear they are incompetent, but I don't think we can be sanguine.

    Mainly because, if something isn't outright unconstitutional, we are reliant on massive numbers of citizens noticing the malevolence and becoming outraged enough to scare the few squishy members of the GOP caucus into backing off.

    But that's a fairly high bar.

    On healthcare the GOP stepped on a rake, but that's an issue where many people are VERY significantly affected in visible, immediate ways. It's funny that even Trump seems to recognize this, so his admin is bravely leading from behind on the push to pass the American Health Carnage Act.

    But contrast healthcare with something like climate change. Trump proposes to erase not only rules on immediate issues, but also very forward looking stuff like basic energy technology research and the people and satellites used *just to study the climate*.

    Is there a natural constituency of GOP base voters that is going to become activated enough to stop this? If not, what might?

    I don't see any barriers to a good portion of the malevolence, even if it is incompetent. The Trump admin and the GOP have turned incompetence like a badge of honor and their base voters love it.

    pgl -> sanjait... , March 17, 2017 at 10:44 AM
    Bat shit insanity on health care preceded Trump. The truly incompetent one is the Speaker of the House. And he is considered the policy wonk for the House Republicans. Trump is beyond awful but he is no worse than your modern Republican Party.
    sanjait -> pgl... , March 17, 2017 at 11:47 AM
    True, and it has been a mild surprise to me how poorly the GOP (ex-Trump) has executed on its agenda.

    I always thought they were *pretending* not to understand how healthcare economics worked to cynically gin up anti-ACA talking points.

    But it turns out, they really have no clue what they are talking about. They drank their own kool aid. They are what Stephen Colbert used to describe as "batshit serious."

    [Mar 19, 2017] Clintons time is passed. Her view of common ground is still based in the 20th century and the Third Way neoliberal politics she and her husband helped create. That era is over.

    Notable quotes:
    "... Clinton's time is passed. Her view of "common ground" is still based in the 20th century and the Third Way neoliberal politics she and her husband helped create. That era is over. ..."
    "... Why won't she just go off and become a professor somewhere, like Dukakis did? ..."
    "... Hillary like bill never feels guilt. Only ambition. They are monsters ..."
    "... Utterly without a sense of culpability ..."
    Mar 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Fred C. Dobbs : March 18, 2017 at 07:03 AM , 2017 at 07:03 AM
    Hillary Clinton Says She's
    'Ready to Come Out of the Woods'
    https://nyti.ms/2nCIzGS
    NYT - AP - March 17

    SCRANTON, Pa. - Hillary Clinton said Friday she's "ready to come out of the woods" and help Americans find common ground.

    Clinton's gradual return to the public spotlight following her presidential election loss continued with a St. Patrick's Day speech in her late father's Pennsylvania hometown of Scranton.

    "I'm like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news," Clinton told an Irish women's group.

    But she urged a divided country to work together to solve problems, recalling how, as first lady, she met with female leaders working to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

    "I do not believe that we can let political divides harden into personal divides. And we can't just ignore, or turn a cold shoulder to someone because they disagree with us politically," she said.

    Friday night's speech was one of several she is to deliver in the coming months, including a May 26 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. The Democrat also is working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her loss to Donald Trump.

    Clinton, who was spotted taking a walk in the woods around her hometown of Chappaqua, New York, two days after losing the election to Donald Trump, quipped she had wanted to stay in the woods, "but you can only do so much of that."

    She told the Society of Irish Women that it'll be up to citizens, not a deeply polarized Washington, to bridge the political divide.

    "I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going," said Clinton. ...

    Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , March 18, 2017 at 07:11 AM
    (As you may recall HRC won the popular vote,
    and also 472 counties which generate
    64% of the US GDP.)

    ... Our observation: The less-than-500 counties that Hillary Clinton carried nationwide encompassed a massive 64 percent of America's economic activity as measured by total output in 2015. By contrast, the more-than-2,600 counties that Donald Trump won generated just 36 percent of the country's output-just a little more than one-third of the nation's economic activity. ...

    High-output America vs low-output America http://brook.gs/2fIOhlt via @BrookingsInst

    Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , March 18, 2017 at 08:25 AM
    Trump did win PA, narrowly, 48.2% to 47.5% for HRC. Libertarians got 2.4%.

    HRC won most urban areas, including Scranton (6 counties). Trump won elsewhere, including Clinton county.

    Dan Kervick -> Fred C. Dobbs... , March 18, 2017 at 08:37 AM
    Please no.

    Clinton's time is passed. Her view of "common ground" is still based in the 20th century and the Third Way neoliberal politics she and her husband helped create. That era is over.

    Why won't she just go off and become a professor somewhere, like Dukakis did?

    paine -> Fred C. Dobbs... , March 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM
    Hillary like bill never feels guilt. Only ambition. They are monsters
    paine -> paine... , March 18, 2017 at 10:01 AM
    Utterly without a sense of culpability

    [Mar 19, 2017] Why Trumpism Is a Global Phenomenon

    Notable quotes:
    "... various European countries have seen a significant rise in votes for populist parties (on the right and left) and a decline in center-left "mainstream" parties. ..."
    "... As a result, most Americans are in debt, most Americans' wages have not increased above inflation, and most of the gains of the past 30 years of America's economic growth have gone to the top 1% of income earners. (And the same trends are true for other Western democracies.) ..."
    "... Blyth points out the famous Elephant Chart by economist Branko Milanovic, which shows the change in real income between 1988 and 2008 for all people in the world: basically, during the past 30 years, everyone in the world has seen a real increase in their income except for the Western world's middle class. ..."
    "... Mark Blyth poses the example of a hypothetical man named Gary who lives in Gary, Indiana, who is emblematic of a typical Midwestern white working-class Trump voter. In 1989, Gary had 10 years in the union at age 30 and was a line supervisor making $30 an hour (real dollars, adjusted for inflation). In 1993, after a few years of losing factory jobs to Southern states, the U.S. passed NAFTA and his town lost a lot of jobs. The town took a huge economic hit. Tax base declines, schools get worse. Gary wound up getting a job in a call center for $15 an hour. 5 years later, the call center moved from Indiana to India. Now at age 58, Gary works for $11.67 per hour at Walmart. ..."
    "... The only person who actually seems to articulate anything that Gary gives a shit about is Trump. And Gary knows that Trump's a buffoon, he knows he's a reality TV star. But Gary has seen politician after politician every four years saying 'vote for me, better jobs! vote for me, more security!' and Gary's life has gotten crappier and crappier. So he has no reason whatsoever to believe a word that they say. So he has a liar on one side, and a bullshit artist on the other. Which one gives you more possibilities?" ..."
    "... However: a sizable portion of Trump's vote-just like Brexit and just like the rise of other populist parties in the UK and Europe-was more of a despairing protest vote, a way to send a message to the political establishment and mainstream media: we don't like what you're doing, this system you've built is not working for us, we don't like the way you talk down to us, and we're gonna throw a brick through your window. ..."
    Mar 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Peter K. -> Peter K.... March 17, 2017 at 09:32 AM

    , 2017 at 09:32 AM
    https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/01/trump-is-not-a-fluke-why-trumpism-is-a-global-phen.html

    Trump Is Not a Fluke: Why "Trumpism" Is a Global Phenomenon

    By Ben Gran | January 31, 2017 | 4:25pm

    Where did Trump come from? Is the rise of Trump a fluke, a problem unique to America, born of American reality TV culture, combining 20th century American xenophobia with the worst aspects of 21st century social media into an ominous new post-truth world? Are American Trump voters uniquely racist and stupid and self-sabotaging? Or is Trump part of a broader global trend in politics, where voters throughout the industrialized world are revolting against the established political, economic and social order?

    There was a great lecture (from before the election) by Mark Blyth, Brown University professor of international political economy, about global Trumpism where he discusses how the same factors that are playing out in America are also happening in lots of other Western democracies, driven by populism (both right-wing and left-wing), racism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. For example, various European countries have seen a significant rise in votes for populist parties (on the right and left) and a decline in center-left "mainstream" parties. One particularly powerful example was the unexpected success of the Brexit vote for the UK to leave the European Union; despite the pleas of the political establishment and most members of the media, a small majority of UK voters decided to leave the EU even though it was widely described as an economically damaging, self-sabotaging, xenophobia-driven, unthinkable decision. Sound familiar?

    Blyth explores the economic factors and argues that Trump's victory should not be seen as an isolated, local "America-only" event; instead, Trump's victory is part of a broader trend where the post-World War II neoliberal global order is breaking down. What will replace it? No one knows. But it's worth listening to Mark Blyth for perspectives on how we ended up with Trump, and how to understand the broader political and economic forces that made Trump possible.

    Here are a few of Mark Blyth's key points on what "global Trumpism" means and how it happened:

    A Brief History of the Post World War II Economic Order

    Ever since World War II, the governments and financial institutions of "the West" (U.S., UK, Europe) have focused their national economic policy on two broad targets-from 1945 to 1975, broadly speaking, the goal was to achieve "full employment." This is part of why the 1950s-60s are looked back upon as a kind of Golden Age for the middle class, especially for people who worked in manufacturing at union jobs with good wages and benefits. And broadly speaking, this policy was successful! But full employment led to inflation-and by 1975, inflation had gotten so bad that creditor classes within these countries (investors, banks, wealthy people) started to revolt, and put in politicians like Reagan and Thatcher who focused on strong anti-inflation policies, and who changed the way that everyday people thought about the economy by appealing to voters' interests as consumers ("low-priced products from China are good! High-paid union labor is bad!") instead of their interests as workers or union members. All of this was good for creditors and consumers, even if it was bad for borrowers and workers. That's where we've been ever since 1975: central banks have fought inflation, interest rates have been low, labor unions have been weak-to-nonexistent, and life has gotten better for creditors and worse for debtors.

    As a result, most Americans are in debt, most Americans' wages have not increased above inflation, and most of the gains of the past 30 years of America's economic growth have gone to the top 1% of income earners. (And the same trends are true for other Western democracies.)

    Meanwhile, during that time, the center-left parties (Clinton's New Democrats, Tony Blair's New Labour, and Germany's Social Democratic Party) have moved away from their traditional working-class base and have become more comfortable hob-nobbing with bankers and tech CEOs and other corporate interests. So where are working class voters supposed to go? This is where left-wing populists like Bernie Sanders and right-wing nationalists like Trump are filling the void in the political marketplace.

    The Elephant Chart

    Blyth points out the famous Elephant Chart by economist Branko Milanovic, which shows the change in real income between 1988 and 2008 for all people in the world: basically, during the past 30 years, everyone in the world has seen a real increase in their income except for the Western world's middle class.

    This is why so many former factory workers in the Midwest are upset about globalization: they haven't seen their lives get better from it; if anything, globalization has made their lives worse. So when Trump promises to "bring jobs back" and raise taxes on companies that export products to the U.S., that message resonates in the Rust Belt states in a way that "the wife of the guy who passed NAFTA" just never would.

    Gary, from Gary

    Mark Blyth poses the example of a hypothetical man named Gary who lives in Gary, Indiana, who is emblematic of a typical Midwestern white working-class Trump voter. In 1989, Gary had 10 years in the union at age 30 and was a line supervisor making $30 an hour (real dollars, adjusted for inflation). In 1993, after a few years of losing factory jobs to Southern states, the U.S. passed NAFTA and his town lost a lot of jobs. The town took a huge economic hit. Tax base declines, schools get worse. Gary wound up getting a job in a call center for $15 an hour. 5 years later, the call center moved from Indiana to India. Now at age 58, Gary works for $11.67 per hour at Walmart.

    As Blyth describes in his lecture, speaking from the point of view of "Gary:" " The only person who actually seems to articulate anything that Gary gives a shit about is Trump. And Gary knows that Trump's a buffoon, he knows he's a reality TV star. But Gary has seen politician after politician every four years saying 'vote for me, better jobs! vote for me, more security!' and Gary's life has gotten crappier and crappier. So he has no reason whatsoever to believe a word that they say. So he has a liar on one side, and a bullshit artist on the other. Which one gives you more possibilities?"

    Trump's Victory was an Anti-Elite Vote

    Yes, Trump's a racist and a misogynist. Yes, he's horrible. Yes, lots of people voted for him out of racist or sexist hostility and wanting to raise a middle finger at Muslims and black people and Mexican immigrants.

    However: a sizable portion of Trump's vote-just like Brexit and just like the rise of other populist parties in the UK and Europe-was more of a despairing protest vote, a way to send a message to the political establishment and mainstream media: we don't like what you're doing, this system you've built is not working for us, we don't like the way you talk down to us, and we're gonna throw a brick through your window.

    But Trump Voters are all Racist ... Right?

    By all means, condemn Trump's racism and sexism. Resist his retrograde agenda every step of the way. But liberals need to be open to the possibility that Trump won not just because of racism and sexism (those voters weren't turning out for the Democrats anyway), but because-especially in a few key Upper Midwest states-Trump was offering a message of aggressive economic populism that the Democrats were not delivering, that was embraced by just enough voters in just the right states (who otherwise might have voted for the Democrat) to give him a victory.

    Trump didn't just happen in America; the political forces he represents are happening all over the Western democratic world. Other countries like Greece and Spain have elected left-wing "Trumpists" but America didn't have one of those choices on the ballot in November.

    If the only lesson that liberals take away from this election is: "48% of America's voters are irredeemably racist and sexist," they're not really understanding the nature of Trump's appeal within this broader context of "global Trumpism." And they'll lose to him again in 2020.

    What's Next?

    Mark Blyth is oddly optimistic about America in the age of Trumpism, especially compared to Europe. He says that America has an advantage over Europe because Europe is bound by the Euro currency, which Blyth says is a "disaster" because individual countries within the Eurozone (such as Greece vs. Germany) have different conflicting political agendas that cannot be addressed by monetary policy. Trump might turn out to be a flash in the pan, a Black Swan event brought on by a one-time bizarre confluence of events and a bad matchup with the Democratic nominee.

    Trump might even have some positive effects, in Blyth's view, because the U.S. would benefit from a more isolationist foreign policy with fewer costly, unending military interventions in other countries. As Blyth says in this discussion on the 2016 election results, if Europe is left to pay more for their own national defense and find their own accommodation with Russia, without relying on American military power, that would not be a bad thing for the U.S. Blyth is skeptical that Trump will actually enact any of his trade protectionist promises, since U.S. voters won't want to see higher prices for their iPhones (imported from China). It's possible that Trump's presidency will be less frighteningly radical than many liberals have feared.

    Aside from Trump's immediate outrages, the broader challenge for America, and the world, is that the neoliberal political order of the past 30 years in the Western democracies is breaking down. We've elected a president who campaigned as a populist, but who's likely going to govern as a traditional Reagan-style "trickle-down economics" Republican. Those Upper Midwest swing voters who voted based on economic populism and "bringing jobs back" are not remotely going to get the populist politics that Trump promised; so the question is, can the Democrats deliver a real populist alternative instead? Will the American Left be defeated by Trumpism, or can they co-opt Trump's appeal to the middle-class and working-class, and create a new politics that truly speaks to the concerns of the people who have been left behind by globalization and our new era of wealth inequality?

    sanjait -> Peter K.... ,