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

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

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

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

-- Gore Vidal

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

-- Leonard Pinkney

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

-- Daniel Estulin

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

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

 

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

There are also addition questions:

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

The fact that parties represent interests radically different from interests of their voters is not new.  As George Washinton put it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democracy for whom?

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80% or even 90%)  living under the dictatorship (for lower 50% this is even worse -- neo-slavery as  "debt slaves" or "wage slaves"), struggling to meet ends and thus excluded from the democratic process. Moreover,  most of the US population spend their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation, or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and adapted to the strict authoritarian rule at work ?  

Another large question: can  a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda and systematic betrayal of election promises (in this repect Trump is not different  from Barak Obama) as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )? 

Add to this completely brainwashed population ready to vote against their economic interests and  for indefinite and costly wars for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. For example,  despicable warmonger, war criminal(with destruction of Libya and  Syria under  the belt), staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts. Despite clear signs of the deep systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and closely related process of de-legitimization of neoliberal elite (look what percentage of the Americans trust Congress)  all she wanted is to kick the neoliberal can down the road. And still almost half of the country voted for her.

Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises. Any level of betrayal is OK, as parties in reality do not control the  behaviour of their leaders as long as they remain on neoliberal platform,  and they and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance.

In case of Trump and Obama this was a complete betrayal. In a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experience  who due to the lack of personal political history during elections was able to pretend to be the politician, while he clearly is not -- he is a marionette of MIC (much like Barak was marionette of CIA; just look at "very close" and pretty unusual relations  between him and Brennan) as well as Brannan role in color revolution against  Trump

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

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

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

First of all let me ask a simple question: What is the level of interest  in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity), if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda  which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA. 

Also  the middle class in not uniform. There is substantial caste of Americans deeply connected with the imperial state (servants of the empire so to speak) and they also represent  a political force with interests different form the average middle class American. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy). They have their own opinion and interest in such issues as permanent war for permanent peace.  And without draft this issue does not touch too deeply ordinary middle class American, who do not need to fight and die for the empire.

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

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

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

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The myth about intelligent voters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can the republic survive under Trump ?

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

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

Russiagate as a sign of the crisis of neoliberal empire

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

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

American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus.
Of course,  for correct framework we need to refer to classic Sheldon Wolin book. As he pointed out merge of corporate power with the ascendance of the "deep state" and technological progress proved to be an unstoppable factor that doomed the New Deal. Also defeated financial sector borrowed Bolsheviks methods and created "professional counter-revolutionaries" via think tanks, subservient press, etc. Milton Friedman Chicago school and Monte Perelin society were probably the most famous promoters of neoliberalism.  See also The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic
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[Jun 18, 2018] 'Deep Throat' was fiction, the CIA had all the info, the CIA fake 'leaker' is another big distraction game getting repeated

Notable quotes:
"... Counting the shooting of JFK in 1963, and the shooting-wouding of Ronald Reagan in 1981 by a guy whose father was working for George Bush's brother (!), plus the two arguably-staged 'impeachments' of Richard Nixon (ending 1974) and Bill Clinton (ending 1999), you have a 40% removal-programme hit rate on the previous 10 US Presidents. ..."
Jun 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Brabantian , Website June 18, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT

Nice account of 'getting woke' from Ron Unz quite appreciate the tidbits such as the mention of the once-very-famous Dorothy Kilgallen of the 'What's My Line?' TV show (1950-67)

Counting the shooting of JFK in 1963, and the shooting-wouding of Ronald Reagan in 1981 by a guy whose father was working for George Bush's brother (!), plus the two arguably-staged 'impeachments' of Richard Nixon (ending 1974) and Bill Clinton (ending 1999), you have a 40% removal-programme hit rate on the previous 10 US Presidents.

Maybe even more hidden from public knowledge, is the truth of the Watergate 'Silent Coup' (Colodny / Gettlin book). Bob Woodward was a US Navy intelligence agent under Admiral Maurer, and when Maurer became head of the US Joint Chiefs and thus the entire US military, Woodward was planted at the CIA's Washington Post to be the fake 'brave reporter' for the coup d'état of 'Watergate', entirely a US Joint Chiefs -- CIA operation. Bob Woodward was apparently such an idiot re journalism at first he needed lots of remedial coaching to meet minimal standards.

'Deep Throat' was fiction, the CIA had all the info, the CIA fake 'leaker' is another big distraction game getting repeated (Daniel Ellsberg; Deep Throat; Wikileaks Assange who was admitted by both Brzezinski and Netanyahu to be fake, seems he isn't even really 'living' at the London Ecuador Embassy, faker Edward Snowden , first 'leaking' to the CIA's Washington Post, ha!, with Glenn Greenwald posing as the latest Jewish 'brave journalist'; Mossad-historian-supervised 'Panama Papers', etc.)

Another 'impeachment' farce was the Deep State 'Monica Lewinsky' nonsense against Bill Clinton, fired up when Bill balked in nausea, at the thought of ordering the war-crime bombing of Serbia that would kill thousands. For Clinton-Lewinsky, another Jewish figure, Matt Drudge, was propped up to play the Woodward role of 'great investigative reporter' When Clinton consented to approve the war as his way to stay alive, he was 'acquitted' -- the bombings of Serbia began shortly afterwards. Clearly, the Deep State cannot even trust its highly pre-vetted White House occupants.

Now that the Unz site is on board with collusion in US President removals, we still have to get Unz site writers woke on the laughably fake 9 'trips to the moon' with 6 alleged 'moon landings' of 1968-72 regarding which director Stanley Kubrick even admitted before in March 1999 before he died, that he faked the 'moon landing' NASA videos (CIA movie studios, Laurel Canyon, California) 50th anniversary of the 'trips to the moon' starts this December a good time for Unz debunking

[Jun 16, 2018] Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin.

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Cloud9.5 -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:24 Permalink

The Democratic Party was founded in 1828. The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin. The primary reason Trump won the election was the simple. Even though he ran on the Republican ticket, he was not a Republican. He was the best choice open to the populist. Whether he is a populist or not does not matter. What matters is that people want an America first, Populist Party. We are tired of the wars. We are tired of the government. And, we are tired of the neocons...

edotabin -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

"Ha ha ha ha ha the party of losers and users is OVER"

Instead of worrying who will fill the void, they should focus on the void of their ways. As Nietzsche said, " And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. " It's no wonder they are consuming themselves.

The people are starting to see through the lower end of their BS. Oddly enough, it's figuring out the low end stuff that will create the most rage. Zombie awakening.

As for Obama, I think he realizes what's going on and probably wants no part of it.

null Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:33 Permalink

Debbie's DNC-cesspool member calling Clinton "toxic"?

The party is toxic ... literally corrosive to American People.

But not just toxic ... look how it infected the other party ... toxic and contagious ... LBJ would be sooooo proud.

momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

Biggest rallies in US presidential history were for Bernie Sanders who ran as a Democrat. Dems don't want him because they don't want to get off the corporate lobbyist gravytrain. They would rather lose the presidency.

The republicans are the same. Crooks. All this bullshit on Zero Hedge comments about one being better than the other is simpleton thinking.

hooligan2009 -> momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

its the lessor of two weevils.

the choice will always be between a douche and a turd sandwich.

the difference between trumps faults and clintons faults was a chasm.

if there ever was a leader for either party that halved the pentagon budget by making it "smart", eliminating waste, repatriating troops, closing overseas bases AND came up with a plan to make QUALITY portable and fungible across the country, AND found a way to educate rather than indoctrinate children AND found a way to repay the national debt whilst funding medicare/medicaid (both bankrupt) AND found a way to get the federal government completely out of the housing market (get rid of fraudie and funny and the FHA) and, etc etc.. the country would be back on track.

clinton wanted the opposite of all that, trump wants less of it and at least understands what a fucking pain in the ass federal involvement in anything actually is.

[Jun 14, 2018] The IG report is finally out

Jun 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. The IG report is finally out. A conspiracy involving, inter alia, the US, British, Baltic and Ukrainian organs of state security to prevent Trump being elected and then, when he was, to bring him down. " We'll stop it. " Serious stuff that will reverberate for a long time and lead investigators in many directions. I reiterate: there was no Trump-Russia collusion of any sort and there was no Russian government interference in the election of any sort. If Moscow had wanted to support a candidate it would have been Clinton: it had already bought her once and had plenty of kompromat on her . Mueller's indictment of Concord et al is bunkum as is proven by his desperate manoeuvres to avoid having to show his "evidence" .

[Jun 14, 2018] Trump Facing Renewed Pressure To Sit For Mueller Interview After Kim Summit Zero Hedge

Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

During their push to turn public opinion against Mueller, Trump's lawyers, led by Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani, have engaged in selective leaking, including back in early May when they leaked a list of 49 questions purportedly turned. As one lawyer who spoke with Bloomberg pointed out, the ongoing negotiations have turned into "a bit of a game." Others have claimed that the leak was intended to pressure Mueller into killing the interview (of course, we all know how that turned out).

"It's a little bit of a game," said Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor who's now a partner with law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. "Mueller could subpoena the president but probably doesn't want to. He faces some litigation risk. Trump could fight the subpoena, but he also faces a political risk."

The interview is key to Mueller's investigation into whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and whether Trump acted to obstruct the probe, one official said.

Meanwhile, Giuliani claimed late last month that he and Trump have already been rehearsing for an in-person interview with Mueller after the special counsel summarily rejected the Trump legal team's request to conduct some of the interview in a written format.

However, since FBI agents raided Trump attorney Michael Cohen's home, office and hotel room and are reportedly preparing to charge him with a crime, the president has grown increasingly wary of an interview.

One problem for Trump, though, is that if Mueller wins at the Supreme Court, he could compel Trump to sit for a Grand Jury for as long as he wants, and subject Trump to questions on a range of topics without providing any advanced warning.

"I think the Supreme Court will rule in Mueller's favor, but we don't really know," Sandick said. "If Mueller wins, he can actually put Trump in the grand jury without his lawyer for as long as he wants and ask about any subject he wants."

Furthermore, if Trump chooses the court battle route, Mueller's probe would encounter further delays, as the ruling likely wouldn't arrive until October at the earliest, after the Court returns from its summer recess. That would mean the investigation likely wouldn't wrap up until late this year - or early next year - at the very earliest. It also would open the Republican Party up to a high degree of political risk, because the Court's final ruling could arrive just before the midterms.

But since the beginning of the probe, the biggest obstacle to a direct interview is Trump. The president's legal team came within a hair's breadth of an agreement back in January. But as Trump got cold feet, his team sent Mueller a 20-page letter arguing that Trump isn't entitled to answer Mueller's questions as they invoked Trump's executive privilege.

Regardless of whether the interview happens, Mueller has told Trump's team that he will prepare a report summarizing his findings that will be turned over to the DOJ and, eventually, Congress. Then it will be up to Congress whether to release the report.

That will ultimately depend on the outcome of the midterm vote.


cankles' server -> natronic Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:51 Permalink

Why Mueller is still investigating.

BorisTheBlade -> cankles' server Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:54 Permalink

Hell of a racket, investigating something nonexistent can take years.

glenlloyd -> cankles' server Thu, 06/14/2018 - 00:25 Permalink

This is becoming the biggest shit show in the US. There is no evidence of Russian collusion at all Mueller has nothing. There's nothing to find but it drags on and wastes tax payer dollars.

You can't impeach a President for performing his duties as set out in the Constitution. Firing Comey was perfectly legitimate, especially now that the facts are coming out that the FBI needs to be completely purged from top to bottom.

Mueller needs to pack his bags and conclude this sucker and admit there was never anything to find, either that or arrest Hillary for the actual collusion with Russians plus go after her for the hacked email server.

D503 -> BorisTheBlade Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:55 Permalink

I hear Mueller's next investigation is Bigfoot.

The First Rule -> D503 Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:59 Permalink

Mueller is a Crooked Cop.

Rosenstein is an outright Criminal.

Trump should Fire them both. Get rid of Sessions while he's at it, and install Pruitt on a temp basis.

There are no lasting political consequences. The Republicans in Congress wouldn't dare move against Trump; it would be political suicide.

And all the Democrats/Press can do is bitch and whine; they are utterly, completely powerless - like a 5 year old with a temper tantrum.

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER, should Trump agree to sit down with these CRIMINAL DEEP STATE SCUM.

MuffDiver69 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:02 Permalink

Watched an interview with Rudy tonight. He started going after Weismann and the other corrupt thugs Mueller hired. Always a plan within and it was tailored for IG report today...I expect Trump to crank it up on this obvious Deep State axis of hitmen populating DOJ and FBI...Rosenstein was getting pummeled today as well....

In politics, as in professional wrestling, it's always important to have a heel.

Trump understands this.

Hillary was the perfect heel in 2016.

>The lack of a single heel in 2018 was always going to be a challenge for him, but media/Mueller etc are doing an incredible job of filling that role.

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump and National Neoliberalism by Sasha Breger Bush

Highly recommended!
This is prophetic article, no question about it. "National neoliberalism" and interesting term.
Notable quotes:
"... Political theorist Sheldon Wolin writes in Democracy, Inc. ..."
"... 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. ..."
Dec 24, 2016 | www.commondreams.org
Originally published by Dollars & Sense

And why the world is about to get much more dangerous The election of Donald Trump "represents a triumph of neoliberal thinking and values." (Photo: Carlo Allegri/ Reuters) 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. © 2018 Dollars & Sense

Sasha Breger Bush is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado–Denver and author of Derivatives and Development: A Political Economy of Global Finance, Farming, and Poverty (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump and National Neoliberalism, Revisited by Sasha Breger Bush

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic. Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans. ..."
"... All of this is to say that I'm considerably less excited about 2018 and 2020 than many others -- on what counts as the U.S. left -- appear to be. Democratic Party victories at the ballot box would certainly reduce some of the pressures on a variety of marginalized groups who are suffering mightily under President Trump. This is, of course, a good thing. But, Democratic victories will not "fix" the structural problems that underpin our current political crisis nor will they ensure a freer and more just future. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.dollarsandsense.org

This article is from Dollars & Sense : Real World Economics, available at http://www.dollarsandsense.org

Last winter, in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, I wrote an article for Dollars & Sense in which I argued that Trump's election represented a transition toward "national neoliberalism" in the United States ("Trump and National Neoliberalism: Trump's ascendance means the end of globalism -- but not of neoliberalism," January/February 2017).

I argued that this emergent state of affairs would be marked by a completion of the takeover of the U.S. government by corporate interests. I saw the election of Trump -- a top one-percenter and real estate tycoon firmly rooted in the culture and logic of big business, who has somehow convinced many Americans that he is an anti-establishment "outsider" -- as an "unmasking" of the corporate state, a revelation of the ongoing merger between state and market that has arguably been ongoing since the 1970s. In short, I envisioned a movement away from "global neoliberalism," a state of affairs characterized by the increasing preeminence of transnational corporate capital in a relatively open global political-economic system, and towards "national neoliberalism," a state of affairs in which transnational corporate dominance is cemented in the context of an ever more fragmented and dangerous global system.

About ten years ago, political theorist Sheldon Wolin published Democracy Incorporated , diagnosing American democracy with a potentially fatal corporate disease. Referring to the specter of "inverted totalitarianism," Wolin writes in his preface:

Primarily it represents the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry. Unlike the classic forms of totalitarianism [e.g. Germany, Italy], which openly boasted of their intentions to force their societies into preconceived totality, inverted totalitarianism is not expressly conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. Typically it is furthered by power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions. There is a certain heedlessness, an inability to take seriously the extent to which a pattern of consequences may take shape without having been preconceived. Wolin paints a picture of a gradual process of change in which many different actors, some wealthy and powerful and others not, unwittingly push the country's politics, bit by bit in piecemeal fashion, towards an undemocratic, corporate-controlled end. Many of these actors may have good intentions. Many of them may see themselves as champions of the people. Many of them may actually speak out against the very interests that they in other ways empower.

This framework for thinking about the plight of the United States, which has for me been legitimated over and over again during Trump's first year in office, conditions how I think about President Trump and the Republican Party, and how I think about our opportunities for nonviolent social transformation, freedom, and social justice. It's hard not to point to President Trump and blame him for our problems. He is a bigot who has struck out at immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans, Mexicans, women, LGBT people, and disabled people. He lacks the basic knowledge of politics and foreign policy that are a necessary condition for competent leadership. He picked up a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan in December 2016, disrupting relations with China, and called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "short" and "fat." He is a paranoid and narcissistic demagogue who has scorned and marginalized journalists, and made the terms "fake news" and "alternative facts" household words. He is a corrupt businessman who is using the levers of power that he controls to enrich Big Business, as well as his cronies, his friends, and himself. I could go on.

It's also hard not to point to Republicans in Congress. After the election, there was hope that the "never Trump" Republicans would win out and that Trump's agenda would be blocked. This has not happened. While some in Congress, like Senators McCain (R-Ariz.), Corker (R-Tenn.), Collins (R-Maine), Flake (R-Ariz.) and Murkowski (R-Alaska) have defied Trump in certain contexts (e.g. on foreign policy), on many issues congressional Republicans have simply fallen in line (e.g. with tax reform). Today, the Republican Party is often discussed by liberals in the same breath as Trump, with everyone hoping for good news in 2018 and 2020.

But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic. Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans.

President Obama presided over the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, a process that President Trump is continuing. As William Hartung recently reported in Mother Jones , "There is, in fact, a dirty little secret behind the massive U.S. arsenal: It has more to do with the power and profits of weapons makers than it does with any imaginable strategic considerations." President Obama also helped corporations get richer and more powerful in other ways. He negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal that, if Trump had not withdrawn us, would have expanded U.S. corporate access to overseas markets and given multinational corporates new policy leverage over governments (via investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms). (See Robin Brand, "Remembering the 'Tokyo No'," Dollars & Sense , January/February 2015.) In 2012, as he was running for his second term, Obama proposed a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 28%, not much different from the bill just passed by Congress. He also lobbied Congress for the $700 billion Wall Street bailouts after the Great Recession, continuing on the policy path set by his Republican predecessor, President Bush. (Obama received huge campaign contributions from finance, insurance, and real estate.) In terms of income inequality, CNBC had to reluctantly conclude that the gap widened under Obama, in spite of all his powerful rhetoric about equity and equality.

President Clinton negotiated and signed NAFTA into law, a trade agreement that created hardship for millions of American manufacturing workers and farmers, and generated large profits for multinational industrial and agricultural corporations. Clinton also pushed for welfare reform, signing into law a "workfare" system that required recipients to meet strict job and employment related conditions. Millions of people became ineligible for payments under the new system, and poverty increased especially among households in which members were long-term unemployed. Clinton's 1997 tax proposal advocated cutting estate taxes and capital gains taxes, and did not favor lower-income Americans. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, "Analyses by the Treasury Department indicate that when fully in effect, the Clinton plan would give the 20 percent of Americans with the highest incomes about the same amount in tax cuts as the bottom 60 percent combined. This is an unusual characteristic for a tax plan proposed by a Democratic President."

All of this is to say that I'm considerably less excited about 2018 and 2020 than many others -- on what counts as the U.S. left -- appear to be. Democratic Party victories at the ballot box would certainly reduce some of the pressures on a variety of marginalized groups who are suffering mightily under President Trump. This is, of course, a good thing. But, Democratic victories will not "fix" the structural problems that underpin our current political crisis nor will they ensure a freer and more just future.

I plan to support third-party candidates at the ballot box in coming years, in the hopes of contributing to the creation of a new kind of political infrastructure that can help us to unmake the corporate state.

SASHA BREGER-BUSH is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado–Denver.

[Jun 09, 2018] Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... That did not prevent the "handpicked" authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing "high confidence" that Russian intelligence "relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks." Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say. ..."
"... The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to "show" that it came from a Russian hack. ..."
"... "No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA's Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.] ..."
"... "Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the "Marble Framework" program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as 'news fit to print' and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since . ..."
"... "More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report , Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a 'forensic attribution double game' or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi." ..."
"... The CIA's reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates "demons," and insisting; "It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia."Our July 24 Memorandum continued: "Mr. President, we do not know if CIA's Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review. [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this. Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ] ..."
"... Another false flag operation? Suddenly false flag operations have become the weapon of choice. Interestingly enough, they are nefariously (always) committed by the US or US allies. MH17 was a false flag with an SU-25 Ukraine jet responsible for downing the passenger jet (to blame Russia). All of the chemical attacks in Syria were false flag operations with the supply of sarin/chlorine made in Turkey or directly given to the "rebels" by the CIA or US allies. The White Helmets were of course in on all of the details. Assad was just simply not capable of doing that to "his" people. Forget that the sarin had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply. Next it was the snipers who used a false flag operation during the Maidan revolution to shoot protesters and police to oust Yanukovych. Only the neo-Nazis could be capable of shooting the Maidan protesters so they could take power. And then Seth Rich was murdered so he couldn't reveal he was the "real" source of the leak. This was hinted by Assange when he offered a reward to find the killers. ..."
"... The author tosses out that the DNC hack was (potentially) a false flag operation by the CIA obviously to undermine Trump while victimizing Russia. ..."
"... I don't seen any cause to say that any false-flag theory you don't like is merely "tossed out" propaganda. One cannot tell in your comment where you think the accounts are credible and where not. No evidence that the Syria CW attacks "had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply." ..."
"... There can be no doubt that counterintelligence tools would be pursued by our intelligence agencies as a means to create narratives and false evidence based on the production of false flags which support desired geopolitical outcomes. There would be a need to create false flags using technology to support the geopolitical agenda which would be hard or impossible to trace using the forensic tools used by cyber sleuths. ..."
"... Russia-gate is American Exceptionalism writ large which takes on a more sinister aspect as groups like BLM and others are "linked" to alleged "Russian funding"on one and and Soros funding on another ..."
"... (FWIW, this is a new neoliberal phenomenon when the ultra-rich "liberals" can quietly fund marches on Washington and "grassroots" networking making those neophyte movements too easy targets with questionable robust foundation (color revolutions are possible when anyone is able to foot the cost of 1,000 or 2000 "free" signs or t-shirts -- impecccably designed and printed. ..."
"... Excellent post. Thanks also for reminding me I need to revisit the Vault 7 information as source material. These are incredibly important leaks that help connect the dots of criminal State intelligence activities designed to have remained forever hidden. ..."
"... Actually, both Brennan and Hayden testified to Congress that only 3 agencies signed off on their claim. They also said that they'd "hand picked" a special team to run their "investigation," and no other people were involved. So, people known to be perjurers cherry picked "evidence" to make a claim. Let's invade Iraq again. ..."
"... Mueller is not interested in the truth. He can't handle the truth. His purpose is not to divulge the truth. He has no use for truthtellers including the critical possessors of the truth whom you mentioned. This aversion to the truth is the biggest clue that Mueller's activities are a complete sham. ..."
"... Thanks, Ray, for revealing that the CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate is the likely cause of the Russiagate scams. ..."
"... Your disclaimer is hilarious: "We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental." ..."
"... For whatever reason, Ray McGovern chose not to mention the murder of Seth Rich, which pretty clearly points to the real source of the leak being him, as hinted by Assange offering a reward for anyone uncovering his killer. The whole thing stinks of a democratic conspiracy. ..."
"... Ray, from what I have seen in following his writing for years, meticulously only deals in knowns. The Seth Rich issue is not a known, it is speculation still. Yes, it probably is involved, but unless Craig Murray states that Seth Rich was the one who handed him the USB drive, it is not a known. ..."
"... There is a possibility that Seth Rich was not the one who leaked the information, but that the DNC bigwigs THOUGHT he was, in which case, by neither confirming nor denying that Seth Rich was the leaker, it may be that letting the DNC continue to think it was him is being done in protection of the actual leaker. Seth Rich could also have been killed for unrelated reasons, perhaps Imran Awan thought he was on to his doings. ..."
"... Don't forget this Twitter post by Wikileaks on October 30, 2016: Podesta: "I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it." https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/36082#efmAGSAH- ..."
"... Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians. Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump. Which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. Sure be interesting to see how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face? ..."
"... If they had had any evidence to inculpate Russia, we would have all seen it by now. They know that by stating that there is an investigation going on: they can blame Russia. The Democratic National Committee is integrated by a pack of liars. ..."
"... My question is simple, when will we concentrate on reading Hillary's many emails? After all wasn't this the reason for the Russian interference mania? Until we do, take apart Hillary's correspondence with her lackeys, nothing will transpire of any worth. I should not be the one saying this, in as much as Bernie Sanders should be the one screaming it for justice from the highest roof tops, but he isn't. So what's up with that? Who all is involved in this scandalous coverup? What do the masters of corruption have on everybody? ..."
Jun 09, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny . It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity -- including two "alumni" who were former National Security Agency technical directors -- have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the "emails related to Hillary Clinton" via a "hack" by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device -- probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the "conclusions" of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were "inconclusive." Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA "Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections" of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement. That did not prevent the "handpicked" authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing "high confidence" that Russian intelligence "relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks." Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

Never mind. The FBI/CIA/NSA "assessment" became bible truth for partisans like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering to help Trump. It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by herself. No, it had to have been the Russians.

Five days into the Trump presidency, I had a chance to challenge Schiff personally on the gaping disconnect between the Russians and WikiLeaks. Schiff still "can't share the evidence" with me or with anyone else, because it does not exist.

WikiLeaks

It was on June 12, 2016, just six weeks before the Democratic National Convention, that Assange announced the pending publication of "emails related to Hillary Clinton," throwing the Clinton campaign into panic mode, since the emails would document strong bias in favor of Clinton and successful attempts to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders. When the emails were published on July 22, just three days before the convention began, the campaign decided to create what I call a Magnificent Diversion, drawing attention away from the substance of the emails by blaming Russia for their release.

Clinton's PR chief Jennifer Palmieri later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions "to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton." The diversion worked like a charm. Mainstream media kept shouting "The Russians did it," and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer' Fox, Bernie didn't say nothin'.

Meanwhile, highly sophisticated technical experts, were hard at work fabricating "forensic facts" to "prove" the Russians did it. Here's how it played out:

June 12, 2016: Assange announces that WikiLeaks is about to publish "emails related to Hillary Clinton."

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: "Guccifer 2.0" affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the "hack;" claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with "Russian fingerprints."

The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to "show" that it came from a Russian hack.

Enter Independent Investigators

A year ago independent cyber-investigators completed the kind of forensic work that, for reasons best known to then-FBI Director James Comey, neither he nor the "handpicked analysts" who wrote the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment bothered to do. The independent investigators found verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of an alleged Russian hack of July 5, 2016 showing that the "hack" that day of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider -- the same process used by the DNC insider/leaker before June 12, 2016 for an altogether different purpose. (Once the metadata was found and the "fluid dynamics" principle of physics applied, this was not difficult to disprove the validity of the claim that Russia was responsible.)

One of these independent investigators publishing under the name of The Forensicator on May 31 published new evidence that the Guccifer 2.0 persona uploaded a document from the West Coast of the United States, and not from Russia.

In our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to President Donald Trump we stated , "We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI."

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: "Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

"No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA's Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.]

Marbled

"Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the "Marble Framework" program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as 'news fit to print' and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since .

"The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima, it seems, 'did not get the memo' in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: 'WikiLeaks' latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.'

"The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use 'obfuscation,' and that Marble source code includes a "de-obfuscator" to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

"More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report , Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a 'forensic attribution double game' or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi."

A few weeks later William Binney, a former NSA technical, and I commented on Vault 7 Marble, and were able to get a shortened op-ed version published in The Baltimore Sun

The CIA's reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates "demons," and insisting; "It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia."Our July 24 Memorandum continued: "Mr. President, we do not know if CIA's Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review. [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this. Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ]

We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today's technology enables hacking to be 'masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin' [of the hack] And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

"'Hackers may be anywhere,' he said. 'There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? I can.'

New attention has been drawn to these issues after I discussed them in a widely published 16-minute interview last Friday.

In view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:

"Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

"We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental." The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer before serving as a CIA analyst for 27 years. His duties included preparing, and briefing one-on-one, the President's Daily Brief.


ThomasGilroy , June 9, 2018 at 9:44 am

"More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a 'forensic attribution double game' or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi."

Another false flag operation? Suddenly false flag operations have become the weapon of choice. Interestingly enough, they are nefariously (always) committed by the US or US allies. MH17 was a false flag with an SU-25 Ukraine jet responsible for downing the passenger jet (to blame Russia). All of the chemical attacks in Syria were false flag operations with the supply of sarin/chlorine made in Turkey or directly given to the "rebels" by the CIA or US allies. The White Helmets were of course in on all of the details. Assad was just simply not capable of doing that to "his" people. Forget that the sarin had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply. Next it was the snipers who used a false flag operation during the Maidan revolution to shoot protesters and police to oust Yanukovych. Only the neo-Nazis could be capable of shooting the Maidan protesters so they could take power. And then Seth Rich was murdered so he couldn't reveal he was the "real" source of the leak. This was hinted by Assange when he offered a reward to find the killers.

The author tosses out that the DNC hack was (potentially) a false flag operation by the CIA obviously to undermine Trump while victimizing Russia. It must be the Gulf of Tonkin all over again. While Crowdstrike might have a "dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest", their results were also confirmed by several other cyber-security firms (Wikipedia):

cybersecurity experts and firms, including CrowdStrike, Fidelis Cybersecurity, Mandiant, SecureWorks, ThreatConnect, and the editor for Ars Technica, have rejected the claims of "Guccifer 2.0" and have determined, on the basis of substantial evidence, that the cyberattacks were committed by two Russian state-sponsored groups (Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear).

Then there was Papadopoulas who coincidentally was given the information that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. Obviously, they were illegally obtained (unless this was another CIA false flag operation). This was before the release of the emails by WikiLeaks. This was followed by the Trump Tower meeting with Russians with connections to the Russian government and the release of the emails by WikiLeaks shortly thereafter. Additionally, Russia had the motive to defeat HRC and elect Trump. Yesterday, Trump pushed for the reinstatement of Russia at the G-7 summit. What a shock! All known evidence and motive points the finger directly at Russia.

Calling everything a false flag operation is really the easy way out, but ultimately, it lets the responsible culprits off of the hook.

anon , June 9, 2018 at 11:28 am

I don't seen any cause to say that any false-flag theory you don't like is merely "tossed out" propaganda. One cannot tell in your comment where you think the accounts are credible and where not. No evidence that the Syria CW attacks "had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply."

CitizenOne , June 8, 2018 at 11:40 pm

There can be no doubt that counterintelligence tools would be pursued by our intelligence agencies as a means to create narratives and false evidence based on the production of false flags which support desired geopolitical outcomes. There would be a need to create false flags using technology to support the geopolitical agenda which would be hard or impossible to trace using the forensic tools used by cyber sleuths.

In pre computer technology days there were also many false flags which were set up to create real world scenarios which suited the geopolitical agenda. Even today, there are many examples of tactical false flag operations either organized and orchestrated or utilized by the intelligence agencies to create the narrative which supports geopolitical objectives.

Examples:

The US loaded munitions in broad daylight visible to German spies onto the passenger ship Lusitania despite German warnings that they would torpedo any vessels suspected of carrying munitions. The Lusitania then proceeded to loiter unaccompanied by escorts in an area off the Ireland coast treading over the same waters until it was spotted by a German U-Boat and was torpedoed. This was not exactly a false flag since the German U-Boat pulled the trigger but it was required to gain public support for the entrance of the US into WWI. It worked.

There is evidence that the US was deliberately caught "off guard" in the Pearl Harbor Attack. Numerous coded communication intercepts were made but somehow the advanced warning radar on the island of Hawaii was mysteriously turned off in the hours before and during the Japanese attack which guaranteed that the attack would be successful and also guaranteed that our population would instantly sign on to the war against Japan. It worked.

There is evidence that the US deliberately ignored the intelligence reports that UBL was planning to conduct an attack on the US using planes as bombs. The terrorists who carried out the attacks on the twin towers were "allowed" to conduct them. The result was the war in Iraq which was sold based on a pack of lies about WMDs and which we used to go to war with Iraq.

The Tonkin Gulf incident which historians doubt actually happened or believe if it did was greatly exaggerated by intelligence and military sources was used to justify the war in Vietnam.

The Spanish American War was ginned up by William Randolph Hearst and his yellow journalism empire to justify attacking Cuba, Panama and the Philippines. The facts revealed by forensic analysis of the exploded USS Maine have shown that the cataclysm was caused by a boiler explosion not an enemy mine. At the time this was also widely believed to not be caused by a Spanish mine in the harbor but the news sold the story of Spanish treachery and war was waged.

In each case of physical false flags created on purpose, or allowed to happen or just made up by fictions based on useful information that could be manipulated and distorted the US was led to war. Some of these wars were just wars and others were wars of choice but in every case a false flag was needed to bring the nation into a state where we believed we were under attack and under the circumstances flocked to war. I will not be the judge of history or justice here since each of these events had both negative and positive consequences for our nation. What I will state is that it is obvious that the willingness to allow or create or just capitalize on the events which have led to war are an essential ingredient. Without a publicly perceived and publicly supported cause for war there can be no widespread support for war. I can also say our leaders have always known this.

Enter the age of technology and the computer age with the electronic contraptions which enable global communication and commerce.

Is it such a stretch to imagine that the governments desire to shape world events based on military actions would result in a plan to use these modern technologies to once again create in our minds a cyber scenario in which we are once again as a result of the "cyber" false flag prepared for us to go to war? Would it be too much of a stretch to imagine that the government would use the new electronic frontier just as it used the old physical world events to justify military action?

Again, I will not go on to condemn any action by our military but will focus on how did we get there and how did we arrive at a place where a majority favored war.

Whether created by physical or cyberspace methods we can conclude that such false flags will happen for better or worse in any medium available.

susan sunflower , June 8, 2018 at 7:52 pm

I'd like "evidence" and I'd also like "context" since apparently international electoral "highjinks" and monkey-wrenching and rat-f*cking have a long tradition and history (before anyone draws a weapon, kills a candidate or sicc's death squads on the citizenry.

The DNC e-mail publication "theft" I suspect represents very small small potatoes for so many reasons As Dixon at Black Agenda Report put it . Russia-gate is American Exceptionalism writ large which takes on a more sinister aspect as groups like BLM and others are "linked" to alleged "Russian funding"on one and and Soros funding on another

https://www.blackagendareport.com/russia-gate-and-crisis-american-exceptionalism

(FWIW, this is a new neoliberal phenomenon when the ultra-rich "liberals" can quietly fund marches on Washington and "grassroots" networking making those neophyte movements too easy targets with questionable robust foundation (color revolutions are possible when anyone is able to foot the cost of 1,000 or 2000 "free" signs or t-shirts -- impecccably designed and printed.

Gary Weglarz , June 8, 2018 at 11:08 am

Excellent post. Thanks also for reminding me I need to revisit the Vault 7 information as source material. These are incredibly important leaks that help connect the dots of criminal State intelligence activities designed to have remained forever hidden.

Skip Scott , June 8, 2018 at 1:07 pm

I can't think of any single piece of evidence that our MSM is under the very strict control of our so-called intelligence agencies than how fast and completely the Vault 7 releases got flushed down the memory hole. "Nothing to see here folks, move along."

Realist , June 9, 2018 at 1:36 am

http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/dems-put-finishing-touches-on-one-party-surveillance-superstate/

Skip Scott , June 9, 2018 at 7:05 am

Mbob-

I don't think anyone can predict whether or not Sanders would have won as a 3rd party candidate. He ran a remarkable campaign, but when he caved to the Clinton machine he lost a lot of supporters, including me. If he had stood up at the convention and talked of the DNC skullduggery exposed by Wikileaks, and said "either I run as a democrat, or I run as a Green, but I'm running", he would have at least gotten 15 pct to make the TV debates, and who knows what could have happened after that. 40 pct of registered voters didn't vote. That alone tells you it is possible he might have won.

Instead he expected us to follow him like he was the f'ing Pied Piper to elect another Wall St. loving warmonger. That's why he gets no "pass" from me. He (and the Queen of Chaos) gave us Trump. BTW, Obama doesn't get a "pass" either.

willow , June 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

It's all about the money. A big motive for the DNC to conjure up Russia-gate was to keep donors from abandoning any future
Good Ship Hillary or other Blue Dog Democrat campaigns: "Our brand/platform wasn't flawed. It was the Rooskies."

Vivian O'Blivion , June 8, 2018 at 8:22 am

An earlier time line.

March 14th. Popadopoulos has first encounter with Mifsud.
April 26th. Mifsud tells Popadopoulos that Russians have "dirt" on Clinton, including "thousands of e-mails".
May 4th. Trump last man standing in Republican primary.
May 10th. Popadopoulos gets drunk with London based Australian diplomat and talks about "dirt" but not specifically e-mails.
June 9th. Don. Jr meets in Trump tower with Russians promising "dirt" but not specifically in form of e-mails.

It all comes down to who Mifsud is, who he is working for and why he has been "off grid" to journalists (but not presumably Intelligence services) for > 6 months.

Specific points.
On March 14th Popadopoulos knew he was transferring from team Carson to team Trump but this was not announced to the (presumably underwhelmed) world 'till March 21st. Whoever put Mifsud onto Popadopoulos was very quick on their feet.
The Australian diplomat broke chain of command by reporting the drunken conversation to the State Department as opposed to his domestic Intelligence service. If Mifsud was a western asset, Australian Intelligence would likely be aware of his status.
If Mifsud was a Russian asset why would demonstrably genuine Russians be trying to dish up the dirt on Clinton in June?

There are missing pieces to this jigsaw puzzle but it's starting to look like a deep state operation to dirty Trump in the unlikely event that he went on to win.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Ms. Clinton was personally trying to tar Trump with allusions to "Russia" and being "Putin's puppet" long before he won the presidency, in fact, quite conspicuously during the two conventions and most pointedly during the debates. She was willing to use that ruse long before her defeat at the ballot box. It was the straw that she clung to and was willing to use as a pretext for overturning the election after the unthinkable happened. But, you are right, smearing Trump through association with Russia was part of her long game going back to the early primaries, especially since her forces (both in politics and in the media) were trying mightily to get him the nomination under the assumption that he would be the easiest (more like the only) Republican candidate that she could defeat come November.

Wcb , June 8, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Steven Halper?

Rob Roy , June 8, 2018 at 1:33 am

I might add to this informative article that the reason why Julian Assange has been ostracized and isolated from any public appearance, denied a cell phone, internet and visitors is that he tells the truth, and TPTB don't want him to say yet again that the emails were leaked from the DNC. I've heard him say it several times. H. Clinton was so shocked and angry that she didn't become president as she so confidently expected that her, almost knee-jerk, reaction was to find a reason that was outside of herself on which to blame her defeat. It's always surprised me that no one talks about what was in those emails which covered her plans for Iran and Russia (disgusting).
Trump is a sociopath, but the Russians had nothing to do with him becoming elected. I was please to read here that he or perhaps just Pompeo? met with Binney. That's a good thing, though Pompeo, too, is unstable and war hungry to follow Israel into bombing yet another innocent sovereign country. Thank, Mr. McGovern for another excellent coverage of this story.

MLS , June 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

"no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team"

Do tell, Ray: How do you know what the GOP Congress appointed Special Prosecutor's investigation – with its unlimited budget, wide mandate, and notable paucity of leaks – has and has not done?

strgr-tgther , June 8, 2018 at 12:14 am

MLS: Thank you! No one stands up for what is right any more. We have 17 Intelligency agencies that say are election was stolen. And just last week the Republicans Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnel and Trey Gowdy (who I detest) said the FBI and CIA and NSA were just doing there jobs the way ALL AMERICANS woudl want them to. And even Adam Schiff, do you think he will tell any reporter what evidence he does have? #1 It is probably classified and #2 he is probably saving it for the inpeachment. We did not find out about the Nixon missing 18 minutes until the end anyways. All of these articles sound like the writer just copied Sean Hannity and wrote everything down he said, and yesterday he told all suspects in the Mueller investigation to Smash and Bleach there mobile devices, witch is OBSTRUCTION of justice and witness TAMPERING. A great American there!

Rob Roy , June 8, 2018 at 1:48 am

strgr-tgther:

Sean Hannity??? Ha, ha, ha.

As Mr. McGoven wrote .."any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental."

John , June 8, 2018 at 5:48 am

Sorry I had to come back and point out the ultimate irony of ANYONE who supports the Butcher of Libya complaining about having an election stolen from them (after the blatant rigging of the primary that caused her to take the nomination away from the ONE PERSON who was polling ahead of Trump beyond the margin of error of the polls.)

It is people like you who gave us Trump. The Pied Piper Candidate promoted by the DNC machine (as the emails that were LEAKED, not "hacked", as the metadata proves conclusively, show.)

incontinent reader , June 8, 2018 at 7:14 am

What is this baloney? Seventeen Intelligence agencies DID NOT conclude what you are alleging, And in fact, Brennan and his cabal avoided using a National intelligence Estimate, which would have shot down his cherry-picked 'assessment' before it got off the ground – and it would have been published for all to read.

The NSA has everything on everybody, yet has never released anything remotely indicating Russian collusion. Do you think the NSA Director, who, as you may recall, did not give a strong endorsement to the Brennan-Comey assessment, would have held back from the Congress such information, if it had existed, when he was questioned? Furthermore, former technical directors of the NSA, Binney, Wiebe and Loomis- the very best of the best- have proven through forensics that the Wikileaks disclosures were not obtained by hacking the DNC computers, but by a leak, most likely to a thumb drive on the East Coast of the U.S. How many times does it have to be laid out for you before you are willing and able to absorb the facts?

As for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, (and Trey Gowdy, who was quite skilled on the Benghazi and the Clinton private email server investigations- investigations during which Schiff ran interference for Clinton- but has seemed unwilling to digest the Strozk, Page, McCabe, et al emails and demand a Bureau housecleaning), who cares what they think or say, what matters is the evidence.

I suggest you familiarize yourself with the facts- and start by rereading Ray's articles, and the piece by Joe diGenova posted on Ray's website.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 4:12 pm

The guy's got Schiff for brains. Everyone who cares about the truth has known since before Mueller started his charade that the "17 intelligence agency" claim was entirely a ruse, bald-faced confected propaganda to anger the public to support the coup attempted by Ms. Clinton and her zombie followers. People are NOT going to support the Democratic party now or in the future when its tactics include subverting our public institutions, including the electoral process under the constitution–whether you like the results or not! If the Democratic party is to be saved, those honest people still in it should endeavor to drain the septic tank that has become their party before we can all drain the swamp that is the federal government and its ex-officio manipulators (otherwise known as the "deep state") in Washington.

Farmer Pete , June 8, 2018 at 7:30 am

"We have 17 Intelligency agencies that say are election was stolen."

You opened up with a talking point that is factually incorrect. The team of hand-picked spooks that slapped the "high confidence" report together came from 3 agencies. I know, 17 sounds like a lot and very convincing to us peasants. Regardless, it's important to practice a few ounces of skepticism when it comes to institutions with a long rap sheet of crime and deception. Taking their word for it as a substitute for actual observable evidence is naive to say the least. The rest of your hollow argument is filled with "probably(s)". If I were you, I'd turn off my TV and stop looking for scapegoats for an epically horrible presidential campaign and candidate.

strgr-tgther , June 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm

/horrible presidential campaign and candidate/ Say you. But we all went to sleep comfortable the night before the election where 97% of all poles said Clinton was going to be are next President. And that did not happen! So Robert Mueller is going to find out EXACTLY why. Stay tuned!!!

irina , June 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Not 'all'. I knew she was toast after reading that she had cancelled her election night fireworks
celebration, early on the morning of Election Day. She must have known it also, too.

And she was toast in my mind after seeing the ridiculous scene of her virtual image
'breaking the glass ceiling' during the Democratic Convention. So expensively stupid.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Mueller is simply orchestrating a dramatic charade to distract you from the obvious reason why she lost: Trump garnered more electoral votes, even after the popular votes were counted and recounted. Any evidence of ballot box stuffing in the key states pointed to the Democrats, so they gave that up. She and her supporters like you have never stopped trying to hoodwink the public either before or after the election. Too many voters were on to you, that's why she lost.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Indeed, stop the nonsense which can't be changed short of a coup d'etat, and start focusing on opposing the bad policy which this administration has been pursuing. I don't see the Dems doing that even in their incipient campaigns leading up to the November elections. Fact is, they are not inclined to change the policies, which are the same ones that got them "shellacked" at the ballot box in 2016. (I think Obama must own lots of stock in the shellack trade.)

Curious , June 8, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Ignorance of th facts keep showing up in your posts for some unknown reason. Sentence two: "we have 17 intelligency (sic) agencies that say ". this statement was debunked a long time ago.

Have you learned nothing yet regarding the hand-picked people out of three agencies after all this time? Given that set of lies it makes your post impossible to read.
I would suggest a review of what really happened before you perpetuate more myths and this will benefit all.

Also, a good reading of the Snowden Docs and vault 7 should scare you out of your shell since our "intelligeny" community can pretend to be Chinese, Russian, Iranian just for starters, and the blame game can start after hours instead of the needed weeks and/or months to determine the veracity of a hack and/or leak.

It's past trying to win you over with the actual 'time lines' and truths. Mr McGovern has re-emphasized in this article the very things you should be reading.
Start with Mr Binney and his technical evaluation of the forensics in the DNC docs and build out from there This is just a suggestion.

What never ceases to amaze me in your posts is the 'issue' that many of the docs were bought and paid for by the Clinton team, and yet amnesia has taken over those aspects as well. Shouldn't you start with the Clintons paying for this dirt before it was ever attributed to Trump?

Daniel , June 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Actually, both Brennan and Hayden testified to Congress that only 3 agencies signed off on their claim. They also said that they'd "hand picked" a special team to run their "investigation," and no other people were involved. So, people known to be perjurers cherry picked "evidence" to make a claim. Let's invade Iraq again.

More than 1/2 of their report was about RT, and even though that was all easily viewable public record, they got huge claims wrong. Basically, the best they had was that RT covered Occupy Wall Street and the NO DAPL and BLM protests, and horror of horrors, aired third party debates! In a democracy! How dare they?

Why didn't FBI subpoena DNC's servers so they could run their own forensics on them? Why did they just accept the claims of a private company founded by an Atlantic Council board member? Did you know that CrowdStrike had to backpedal on the exact same claim they made about the DNC server when Ukraine showed they were completely wrong regarding Ukie artillery?

Joe Lauria , June 8, 2018 at 2:12 am

Until he went incommunicado Assange stated on several occasions that he was never questioned by Muellers team. Craig Murray has said the same. And Kim Dotcom has written to Mueller offering evidence about the source and he says they have never replied to him.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Mueller is not interested in the truth. He can't handle the truth. His purpose is not to divulge the truth. He has no use for truthtellers including the critical possessors of the truth whom you mentioned. This aversion to the truth is the biggest clue that Mueller's activities are a complete sham.

Miranda Keefe , June 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm

MLS wrote, "How do you know what the GOP Congress appointed Special Prosecutor's investigation – with its unlimited budget, wide mandate, and notable paucity of leaks – has and has not done?"

Robert Mueller is NOT a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Congress. He is a special counsel appointed by the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, and is part of the Department of Justice.

I know no one who dislikes Trumps wants to hear it. But all Mueller's authority and power to act is derived from Donald J. Trump's executive authority because he won the 2016 presidential election. Mueller is down the chain of command in the Executive Department.

That's why this is all nonsense. What we basically have is Trump investigating himself. The framers of the Constitution never intended this. They intended Congress to investigate the Executive and that's why they gave Congress the power to remove him or her via impeachment.

As long as we continue with this folly of expecting the Justice Department to somehow investigate and prosecute a president we end up with two terrible possibilities. Either a corrupt president will exercise his legitimate authority to end the investigation like Nixon did -or- we have a Deep State beyond the reach of the elected president that can effectively investigate and prosecute a corrupt president, but also then has other powers with no democratic control.

The solution to this dilemma? An empowered Congress elected by the People operating as the Constitution intended.

As to the rest of your post? It is an example of the "will to believe." Me? I'll not act as if there is evidence of Russian interference until I'm shown evidence, not act as if it must be true, because I want to believe that, until it's fully proven that it didn't happen.

F. G. Sanford , June 7, 2018 at 8:22 pm

There must be some Trump-Russia ties.
Or so claim those CIA spies-
McCabe wants a deal, or else he won't squeal,
He'll dissemble when he testifies!

No one knows what's on Huma's computer.
There's no jury and no prosecutor.
Poor Adam Schiff hopes McCabe takes the fifth,
Special council might someday recruit her!

Assange is still embassy bound.
Mueller's case hasn't quite come unwound.
Wayne Madsen implies that there might be some ties,
To Israelis they haven't yet found!

Halper and Mifsud are players.
John Brennan used cutouts in layers.
If the scheme falls apart and the bureau is smart,
They'll go after them all as betrayers!

They needed historical fiction.
A dossier with salacious depiction!
Some urinous whores could get down on all fours,
They'd accomplish some bed sheet emiction!

Pablo Miller and Skripal were cited.
Sidney Blumenthal might have been slighted.
Christopher Steele offered Sidney a deal,
But the dossier's not copyrighted!

That story about Novichok,
Smells a lot like a very large crock.
But they can't be deposed or the story disclosed,
The Skripals have toxic brain block!

Papadopolis shot off his yap.
He told Downer, that affable chap-
There was dirt to report on the Clinton cohort,
Mifsud hooked him with that honey trap!

She was blond and a bombshell to boot.
Papadopolis thought she was cute.
She worked for Mifsud, a mysterious dude,
Now poor Paps is in grave disrepute!

But the trick was to tie it to Russians.
The Clinton team had some discussions.
Their big email scandal was easy to handle,
They'd blame Vlad for the bad repercussions!

There must have been Russian collusion.
That explained all the vote count confusion.
Guccifer Two made the Trump team come through,
If he won, it was just an illusion!

Lisa Page and Pete Strzok were disgusted
They schemed and they plotted and lusted.
If bald-headed Clapper appealed to Jake Tapper,
Brennan's Tweets might get Donald Trump busted!

There had to be cyber subversion.
It would serve as the perfect perversion.
They would claim it was missed if it didn't exist,
It's a logically perfect diversion!

Ray McGovern , June 8, 2018 at 1:03 am

BRAVO, F.G. and thanks.
Ray

Rob Roy , June 8, 2018 at 1:41 am

F.G., you've done it again, and I might add, topped even yourself! Thanks.

KiwiAntz , June 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

What a joke, America, the most dishonest Country on Earth, has meddled, murdered & committed coups to overturn other Govts & interfered & continues to do so in just about every Country on Earth by using Trade sanctions, arming Terrorists & illegal invasions, has the barefaced cheek to puff out its chest & hypocritcally blame Russia for something that it does on a daily basis?? And the point with Mueller's investigation is not to find any Russian collusion evidence, who needs evidence when you can just make it up? The point is provide the US with a list of unfounded lies & excuses, FIRSTLY to slander & demonise RUSSIA for something they clearly didn't do! SECONDLY, was to provide a excuse for the Democrats dismal election loss result to the DONALD & his Trump Party which just happens to contain some Republicans? THIRDLY, to conduct a soft Coup by trying to get Trump impeached on "TRUMPED UP CHARGES OF RUSSIAN COLLUSION"? And FOURTLY to divert attention away from scrutiny & cover up Obama & Hillary Clinton's illegal, money grubbing activities & her treasonous behaviour with her private email server?? After two years of Russiagate nonsense with NOTHING to show for it, I think it's about time America owes Russia a public apology & compensation for its blatant lying & slander of a innocent Country for a crime they never committed?

Sam F , June 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thanks, Ray, for revealing that the CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate is the likely cause of the Russiagate scams.

I am sure that they manipulate the digital voting machines directly and indirectly. True elections are now impossible.

Your disclaimer is hilarious: "We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental."

Antiwar7 , June 7, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Expecting the evil people running the show to respond to reason is futile, of course. All of these reports are really addressed to the peanut gallery, where true power lies, if only they could realize it.

Thanks, Ray and VIPS, for keeping up the good fight.

mike k , June 7, 2018 at 5:55 pm

For whatever reason, Ray McGovern chose not to mention the murder of Seth Rich, which pretty clearly points to the real source of the leak being him, as hinted by Assange offering a reward for anyone uncovering his killer. The whole thing stinks of a democratic conspiracy.

And BTW people have become shy about using the word conspiracy, for fear it will automatically brand one as a hoaxer. On the contrary, conspiracies are extremely common, the higher one climbs in the power hierarchy. Like monopolies, conspiracies are central to the way the oligarchs do business.

John , June 8, 2018 at 5:42 am

Ray, from what I have seen in following his writing for years, meticulously only deals in knowns. The Seth Rich issue is not a known, it is speculation still. Yes, it probably is involved, but unless Craig Murray states that Seth Rich was the one who handed him the USB drive, it is not a known.

There is a possibility that Seth Rich was not the one who leaked the information, but that the DNC bigwigs THOUGHT he was, in which case, by neither confirming nor denying that Seth Rich was the leaker, it may be that letting the DNC continue to think it was him is being done in protection of the actual leaker. Seth Rich could also have been killed for unrelated reasons, perhaps Imran Awan thought he was on to his doings.

Unfettered Fire , June 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

Don't forget this Twitter post by Wikileaks on October 30, 2016: Podesta: "I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it." https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/36082#efmAGSAH-

Unfettered Fire , June 8, 2018 at 10:47 am

" whether or not"?!! Wow. That's an imperialistic statement.

Drew Hunkins , June 7, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians. Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump. Which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. Sure be interesting to see how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was arguably in bed with the Winter Hill Gang!

jose , June 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm

If they had had any evidence to inculpate Russia, we would have all seen it by now. They know that by stating that there is an investigation going on: they can blame Russia. The Democratic National Committee is integrated by a pack of liars.

Jeff , June 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Thanx, Ray. The sad news is that everybody now believes that Russia tried to "meddle" in our election and, since it's a belief, neither facts nor reality will dislodge it. Your disclaimer should also probably carry the warning – never believe a word a government official says especially if they are in the CIA, NSA, or FBI unless they provide proof. If they tell you that it's classified, that they can't divulge it, or anything of that sort, you know they are lying.

john wilson , June 7, 2018 at 4:09 pm

I suspect the real reason no evidence has been produced is because there isn't any. I know this is stating the obvious, but if you think about it, as long as the non extent evidence is supposedly being "investigated" the story remains alive. They know they aren't going to find anything even remotely plausible that would stand up to any kind of scrutiny, but as long as they are looking, it has the appearance that there might be something.

Joe Tedesky , June 7, 2018 at 4:08 pm

I first want to thank Ray and the VIPS for their continuing to follow through on this Russia-Gate story. And it is a story.

My question is simple, when will we concentrate on reading Hillary's many emails? After all wasn't this the reason for the Russian interference mania? Until we do, take apart Hillary's correspondence with her lackeys, nothing will transpire of any worth. I should not be the one saying this, in as much as Bernie Sanders should be the one screaming it for justice from the highest roof tops, but he isn't. So what's up with that? Who all is involved in this scandalous coverup? What do the masters of corruption have on everybody?

Now we have Sean Hannity making a strong case against the Clinton's and the FBI's careful handling of their crimes. What seems out of place, since this should be big news, is that CNN nor MSNBC seems to be covering this story in the same way Hannity is. I mean isn't this news, meant to be reported as news? Why avoid reporting on Hillary in such a manner? This must be that 'fake news' they all talk about boy am I smart.

In the end I have decided to be merely an observer, because there are no good guys or gals in our nation's capital worth believing. In the end even Hannity's version of what took place leads back to a guilty Russia. So, the way I see it, the swamp is being drained only to make more room for more, and new swamp creatures to emerge. Talk about spinning our wheels. When will good people arrive to finally once and for all drain this freaking swamp, once and for all?

Realist , June 7, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Ha, ha! Don't you enjoy the magic show being put on by the insiders desperately trying to hang onto their power even after being voted out of office? Their attempt to distract your attention from reality whilst feeding you their false illusions is worthy of Penn & Teller, or David Copperfield (the magician). Who ya gonna believe? Them or your lying eyes?

Joe Tedesky , June 7, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Realist, You can bet they will investigate everything but what needs investigated, as our Politico class devolves into survivalist in fighting, the mechanism of war goes uninterrupted. Joe

F. G. Sanford , June 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Joe, speaking of draining the swamp, check out my comment under Ray's June 1 article about Freddy Fleitz!

Sam F , June 7, 2018 at 6:59 pm

That is just what I was reminded of; here is an antiseptic but less emphatic last line:
"Swamp draining progresses apace.
It's being accomplished with grace:
They're taking great pains to clean out the drains,"
New swamp creatures will need all that space!

Unfettered Fire , June 8, 2018 at 11:00 am

We must realize that to them, "the Swamp" refers to those in office who still abide by New Deal policy. Despite the thoroughly discredited neoliberal economic policy, the radical right are driving the world in the libertarian direction of privatization, austerity, private bank control of money creation, dismantling the nation-state, contempt for the Constitution, etc.

[Jun 09, 2018] Spooks Spooking Themselves by Daniel Lazare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block " Siberian candidate " Trump. ..."
"... The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove , Halper's friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London's venerable Garrick Club, according to The Washington Post , Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous "golden showers" opposition research dossier, that Trump "reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin." ..."
"... Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn't work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal. Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as "The Walrus" for his impressive girth , other participants include: Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA. Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat. Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow. Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic. James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence. John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst). ..."
"... Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself "The Cambridge Security Initiative." Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt's international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor . ..."
"... Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale . In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump's future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd. ..."
"... As head of Britain's foreign Secret Intelligence Service, as MI6 is formally known, Dearlove played a major role in drumming up support for the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq even while confessing at a secret Downing Street meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the [regime-change] policy." When the search for weapons of mass destruction turned up dry, Clapper, as then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, argued that the Iraqi military must have smuggled them into neighboring Syria, a charge with absolutely no basis in fact but which helped pave the way for US regime-change efforts in that country too. ..."
"... Brennan was meanwhile a high-level CIA official when the agency was fabricating evidence against Saddam Hussein and covering up Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11. Wood not only continues to defend the Iraqi invasion, but dismisses fears of a rising fascist tide in the Ukraine as nothing more than "a crude political insult" hurled by Vladimir Putin for his own political benefit. Such views now seem distressingly misguided in view of the alt-right torchlight parades and spiraling anti-Semitism that are now a regular feature of life in the Ukraine. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... describes Mifsud as "an enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia" and "a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, that Mr. Putin attends," which tried to suggest that he is a Kremlin agent of some sort. ..."
"... But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange later tweeted photos of Mifsud with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a high-ranking British intelligence official named Claire Smith at a training session for Italian security agents in Rome. Since it's unlikely that British intelligence would rely on a Russian agent in such circumstances, Mifsud's intelligence ties are more likely with the UK. ..."
"... Stefan Halper then infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the FBI as an informant in early July, weeks before the FBI launched its investigation. Halper had 36 years earlier infiltrated the Carter re-election campaign in 1980 using CIA agents to turn information over to the Reagan campaign. Now Halper began to court both Page and Papadopoulous, independently of each other. ..."
"... The rightwing Federalist website speculates that Halper was working with Steele to flesh out a Sept. 14 memo claiming that "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and [are] considering disseminating it." Clovis believes that Halper was trying "to create an audit trail back to those [Clinton] emails from someone in the campaign so they could develop a stronger case for probable cause to continue to issue warrants and to further an investigation." Reports that Halper apparently sought a permanent post in the new administration suggest that the effort was meant to continue after inauguration. ..."
"... Notwithstanding Clovis's nutty rightwing politics , his description of what Halper may have been up to makes sense as does his observation that Halper was trying " to build something that did not exist ." Despite countless hyper-ventilating headlines about mysterious Trump Tower meetings and the like, the sad truth is that Russiagate after all these months is shaping up as even more of a "nothing-burger" than Obama administration veteran Van Jones said it was back in mid-2017. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted Papadopoulos and others on procedural grounds, he has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for corruption, and he has charged a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency with violating US election laws. ..."
"... As The Washington Post noted in an oddly, cool-headed Dec. 2 article , 2, 700 suspected Russian-linked accounts generated just 202,000 tweets in a six-year period ending in August 2017, a drop in a bucket compared to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months leading up to Election Day. ..."
"... Opposition research is intended to mix truths and fiction, to dig up plausible dirt to throw at your opponent, not to produce an intelligence assessment at taxpayer's expense to "protect" the country. And Steele was paid for it by the Democrats, not his government. ..."
"... Although Kramer denies it, The New Yorker ..."
"... But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press." ..."
"... It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree. But that's what the intelligence agencies are for, i.e. to spread fear and propaganda in order to stampede the public into supporting their imperial agenda. In this case, their efforts are so effective that they've gotten lost in a fog of their own making. If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice. ..."
"... "Russiagate" continues to attract mounting blowback at Clinton, Obama and the Dems. Might well be they who end up charged with lawbreaking, though I'd be surprised if anyone in authority is ever really punished. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-02/fbi-spying-trump-started-london-earlier-thought-new-texts-implicate-obama-white ..."
"... I've always thought that the great animus between Obama and Trump stemmed from Trump's persistent birtherist attacks on Obama followed by Obama's public ridicule of Trump at the White House Correspondants' Dinner. Without the latter, Trump probably would not have been motivated to run for the presidency. Without the former, Obama would probably not have gotten into the gutter to defeat and embarrass Trump at all costs. Clinton and Obama probably never recruit British spooks to sabotage and provide a pretense for spying on the campaigns of Jeb, Ted or Little Marco. Since these were all warmongers like Hillary and Obama, the issues would have been different, Russia would not have been a factor, and Putin would have had no alleged "puppet." ..."
"... The irony is that Clinton and Obama wanted Trump as her opponent. They cultivated his candidacy via liberal media bias throughout the primaries. (MSNBC and Rachel Maddow were always cutting away to another full length Trump victory speech and rally, including lots of jibber jabber with the faithful supporters.) Why? Because they thought he was the easiest to beat. The polls actually had Hillary losing against the other GOP candidates. The Dems beat themselves with their own choice of candidate and all the intrigue, false narratives and other questionable practices they employed in both the primaries and the general. That's what really happened. ..."
"... I agree that Hillary wanted Trump as an opponent, thought she could easily win. I've underestimated idiot opponents before, always to my detriment. Why is it that they are always the most formidable? The "insiders" are so used to voters rolling over, taking it on the chin. They gave away their jobs, replaced them with the service industry, killed their sons and daughters in wars abroad, and still the American people cast their ballots in their favor. This time was different. The insiders just did not see the sea change, not like Trump did. ..."
"... Long-time CIA asset named as FBI's spy on Trump campaign By Bill Van Auken https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/21/poli-m21.html ..."
"... What the MSM really needed was a bait which they could use to lure more dollars just like a horse race where the track owners needed a fast underdog horse to clean up. I believe the term is to be "hustled". The con men of the media hustlers decided they needed a way to cause all of the candidates to squirm uneasily and to then react to the news that Donald Trump was "in the lead". ..."
"... Those clever media folks. What a gift the Supreme Court handed them. But there was one little (or big) problem. The problem was the result of the scam put Trump in the White House. Something that no conservative republican would ever sign onto. Trump had spent years as a democrat, hobnobbed with the Clinton's and was an avowed agnostic who favored the liberal ideology for the most part. ..."
"... The new guy in the White House with his crazy ideas of making friends with Vladimir Putin horrified a national arms industry funded with hundreds of billions of our tax dollars every year propped up by all the neocons with their paranoid beliefs and plans to make America the hegemon of the World. Our foreign allies who use the USA to fight their perceived enemies and entice our government to sell them weapons and who urge us to orchestrate the overthrow of governments were all alarmed by the "not a real republican" peace-nick occupying the White House. ..."
"... It is probable that the casino and hotel owner in the White House posed an very threatening alternate strategy of forming economic ties with former enemies which scared the hell out of the arms industry which built its economy on scaring all of us and justifying its existence based on foreign enemies. ..."
"... So the MSM and the MIC created a new cold war with their friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post which published endless stories about the new Russian threat we faced. It had nothing to do with the 0.02% Twitter and Facebook "influence" that Russia actually had in the election. It was billed as the crime of the century. The real crime was that they committed the crime of the century that they mightily profited from by putting Trump in the White House in the first place with a plan to grab all the election cash they could grab. ..."
May 31, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

As the role of a well-connected group of British and U.S. intelligence agents begins to emerge, new suspicions are growing about what hand they may have had in weaving the Russia-gate story, as Daniel Lazare explains.

Special to Consortium News

With the news that a Cambridge academic-cum-spy named Stefan Halper infiltrated the Trump campaign, the role of the intelligence agencies in shaping the great Russiagate saga is at last coming into focus.

It's looking more and more massive. The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials. Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration. Although the corporate press accuses Trump of conspiring with Russia to stop Hillary Clinton, the reverse now seems to be the case: the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block " Siberian candidate " Trump.

The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove , Halper's friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London's venerable Garrick Club, according to The Washington Post , Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous "golden showers" opposition research dossier, that Trump "reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin."

Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn't work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal. Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as "The Walrus" for his impressive girth , other participants include: Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA. Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat. Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow. Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic. James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence. John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst).

In-Bred

A few things stand out about this august group. One is its in-bred quality. After helping to run an annual confab known as the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself "The Cambridge Security Initiative." Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt's international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor .

Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale . In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump's future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd.

Halper: Infiltrated Trump campaign

In December 2016, Halper and Dearlove both resigned from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar because they suspected that a company footing some of the costs was tied up with Russian intelligence – suspicions that Christopher Andrew, former chairman of the Cambridge history department and the seminar's founder, regards as " absurd " as well.

As head of Britain's foreign Secret Intelligence Service, as MI6 is formally known, Dearlove played a major role in drumming up support for the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq even while confessing at a secret Downing Street meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the [regime-change] policy." When the search for weapons of mass destruction turned up dry, Clapper, as then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, argued that the Iraqi military must have smuggled them into neighboring Syria, a charge with absolutely no basis in fact but which helped pave the way for US regime-change efforts in that country too.

Brennan was meanwhile a high-level CIA official when the agency was fabricating evidence against Saddam Hussein and covering up Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11. Wood not only continues to defend the Iraqi invasion, but dismisses fears of a rising fascist tide in the Ukraine as nothing more than "a crude political insult" hurled by Vladimir Putin for his own political benefit. Such views now seem distressingly misguided in view of the alt-right torchlight parades and spiraling anti-Semitism that are now a regular feature of life in the Ukraine.

The result is a diplo-espionage gang that is very bad at the facts but very good at public manipulation – and which therefore decided to use its skill set out to create a public furor over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It Started Late 2015

The effort began in late 2015 when GCHQ, along with intelligence agencies in Poland, Estonia, and Germany, began monitoring what they said were " suspicious 'interactions' between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents."

Since Trump was surging ahead in the polls and scaring the pants off the foreign-policy establishment by calling for a rapprochement with Moscow, the agencies figured that Russia was somehow behind it. The pace accelerated in March 2016 when a 30-year-old policy consultant named George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser. Traveling in Italy a week later, he ran into Mifsud, the London-based Maltese academic, who reportedly set about cultivating him after learning of his position with Trump. Mifsud claimed to have "substantial connections with Russian government officials," according to prosecutors. Over breakfast at a London hotel, he told Papadopoulos that he had just returned from Moscow where he had learned that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."

This was the remark that supposedly triggered an FBI investigation. The New York Times describes Mifsud as "an enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia" and "a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, that Mr. Putin attends," which tried to suggest that he is a Kremlin agent of some sort.

But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange later tweeted photos of Mifsud with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a high-ranking British intelligence official named Claire Smith at a training session for Italian security agents in Rome. Since it's unlikely that British intelligence would rely on a Russian agent in such circumstances, Mifsud's intelligence ties are more likely with the UK.

After Papadopoulos caused a minor political ruckus by telling a reporter that Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize for criticizing Trump's anti-Muslim pronouncements, a friend in the Israeli embassy put him in touch with a friend in the Australian embassy, who introduced him to Downer, her boss. Over drinks, Downer advised him to be more diplomatic. After Papadopoulos then passed along Misfud's tip about Clinton's emails, Downer informed his government, which, in late July, informed the FBI.

Was Papadopoulos Set Up?

Suspicions are unavoidable but evidence is lacking. Other pieces were meanwhile clicking into place. In late May or early June 2016, Fusion GPS, a private Washington intelligence firm employed by the Democratic National Committee, hired Steele to look into the Russian angle.

On June 20, he turned in the first of eighteen memos that would eventually comprise the Steele dossier , in this instance a three-page document asserting that Putin "has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years" and that Russian intelligence possessed "kompromat" in the form of a video of prostitutes performing a "golden showers" show for his benefit at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. A week or two later, Steele briefed the FBI on his findings. Around the same time, Robert Hannigan flew to Washington to brief CIA Director John Brennan about additional material that had come GCHQ's way, material so sensitive that it could only be handled at "director level."

One player was filling Papadopoulos's head with tales of Russian dirty tricks, another was telling the FBI, while a third was collecting more information and passing it on to the bureau as well.

Page: Took Russia's side.

On July 7, 2016 Carter Page delivered a lecture on U.S.-Russian relations in Moscow in which he complained that " Washington and other western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change." Washington hawks expressed " unease " that someone representing the presumptive Republican nominee would take Russia's side in a growing neo-Cold War.

Stefan Halper then infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the FBI as an informant in early July, weeks before the FBI launched its investigation. Halper had 36 years earlier infiltrated the Carter re-election campaign in 1980 using CIA agents to turn information over to the Reagan campaign. Now Halper began to court both Page and Papadopoulous, independently of each other.

On July 11, Page showed up at a Cambridge symposium at which Halper and Dearlove both spoke. In early September, Halper sent Papadopoulos an email offering $3,000 and a paid trip to London to write a research paper on a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean, his specialty. "George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?" Halper asked when he got there, but Papadopoulos said he knew nothing. Halper also sought out Sam Clovis, Trump's national campaign co-chairman, with whom he chatted about China for an hour or so over coffee in Washington.

The rightwing Federalist website speculates that Halper was working with Steele to flesh out a Sept. 14 memo claiming that "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and [are] considering disseminating it." Clovis believes that Halper was trying "to create an audit trail back to those [Clinton] emails from someone in the campaign so they could develop a stronger case for probable cause to continue to issue warrants and to further an investigation." Reports that Halper apparently sought a permanent post in the new administration suggest that the effort was meant to continue after inauguration.

Notwithstanding Clovis's nutty rightwing politics , his description of what Halper may have been up to makes sense as does his observation that Halper was trying " to build something that did not exist ." Despite countless hyper-ventilating headlines about mysterious Trump Tower meetings and the like, the sad truth is that Russiagate after all these months is shaping up as even more of a "nothing-burger" than Obama administration veteran Van Jones said it was back in mid-2017. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted Papadopoulos and others on procedural grounds, he has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for corruption, and he has charged a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency with violating US election laws.

But the corruption charges have nothing to do with Russian collusion and nothing in the indictment against IRA indicates that either the Kremlin or the Trump campaign were involved. Indeed, the activities that got IRA in trouble in the first place are so unimpressive – just $46,000 worth of Facebook ads that it purchased prior to election day, some pro-Trump, some anti, and some with no particular slant at all – that Mueller probably wouldn't even have bothered if he hadn't been under intense pressure to come up with anything at all.

The same goes for the army of bots that Russia supposedly deployed on Twitter. As The Washington Post noted in an oddly, cool-headed Dec. 2 article , 2, 700 suspected Russian-linked accounts generated just 202,000 tweets in a six-year period ending in August 2017, a drop in a bucket compared to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months leading up to Election Day.

The Steele dossier is also underwhelming. It declares on one page that the Kremlin sought to cultivate Trump by throwing "various lucrative real estate development business deals" his way but says on another that Trump's efforts to drum up business were unavailing and that he thus "had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success."

Why would Trump turn down business offers when he couldn't generate any on his own? The idea that Putin would spot a U.S. reality-TV star somewhere around 2011 and conclude that he was destined for the Oval Office five years later is ludicrous. The fact that the Democratic National Committee funded the dossier via its law firm Perkins Coie renders it less credible still, as does the fact that the world has heard nothing more about the alleged video despite the ongoing deterioration in US-Russian relations. What's the point of making a blackmail tape if you don't use it?

Steele: Paid for political research, not intelligence.

Even Steele is backing off. In a legal paper filed in response to a libel suit last May, he said the document "did not represent (and did not purport to represent) verified facts, but were raw intelligence which had identified a range of allegations that warranted investigation given their potential national security implications." The fact is that the "dossier" was opposition research, not an intelligence report. It was neither vetted by Steele nor anyone in an intelligence agency. Opposition research is intended to mix truths and fiction, to dig up plausible dirt to throw at your opponent, not to produce an intelligence assessment at taxpayer's expense to "protect" the country. And Steele was paid for it by the Democrats, not his government.

Using it Anyway

Nonetheless, the spooks have made the most of such pseudo-evidence. Dearlove and Wood both advised Steele to take his "findings" to the FBI, while, after the election, Wood pulled Sen. John McCain aside at a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to let him know that the Russians might be blackmailing the president-elect. McCain dispatched long-time aide David J. Kramer to the UK to discuss the dossier with Steele directly.

Although Kramer denies it, The New Yorker found a former national-security official who says he spoke with him at the time and that Kramer's goal was to have McCain confront Trump with the dossier in the hope that he would resign on the spot. When that didn't happen, Clapper and Brennan arranged for FBI Director James Comey to confront Trump instead. Comey later testified that he didn't want Trump to think he was creating "a J. Edgar Hoover-type situation – I didn't want him thinking I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way."

But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press."

Since then, the Democrats have touted the dossier at every opportunity, The New Yorker continues to defend it , while Times columnist Michelle Goldberg cites it as well, saying it's a "rather obvious possibility that Trump is being blackmailed." CNN, for its part, suggested not long ago that the dossier may actually be Russian disinformation designed to throw everyone off base, Republicans and Democrats alike.

It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree. But that's what the intelligence agencies are for, i.e. to spread fear and propaganda in order to stampede the public into supporting their imperial agenda. In this case, their efforts are so effective that they've gotten lost in a fog of their own making. If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique , and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and The American Conservative.


Vivian O'Blivion , June 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

Interesting technical detail.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/04/mueller-russia-troll-case-620653

Mueller is trying to omit the normal burden of legal liability, "wilful intent" in his charges against the St Petersburg, social media operation. In a horrifically complex area such as tax, campaign contributions or lobbying, a foreign entity can be found guilty of breaking a law that they cannot reasonably have been expected to have knowledge of.

But the omission or inclusion of "wilful intent" is applied on a selective basis depending on the advantage to the deep state. From a practical standpoint, omission of "wilful intent" makes it easier for Mueller to get a guilty verdict (in adsentia assuming this is legally valid in America). Once the "guilt" of the St Petersburg staff is established, any communication between an American and them becomes "collusion".

This stinks.

Realist , June 3, 2018 at 4:50 am

"Russiagate" continues to attract mounting blowback at Clinton, Obama and the Dems. Might well be they who end up charged with lawbreaking, though I'd be surprised if anyone in authority is ever really punished. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-02/fbi-spying-trump-started-london-earlier-thought-new-texts-implicate-obama-white

I've always thought that the great animus between Obama and Trump stemmed from Trump's persistent birtherist attacks on Obama followed by Obama's public ridicule of Trump at the White House Correspondants' Dinner. Without the latter, Trump probably would not have been motivated to run for the presidency. Without the former, Obama would probably not have gotten into the gutter to defeat and embarrass Trump at all costs. Clinton and Obama probably never recruit British spooks to sabotage and provide a pretense for spying on the campaigns of Jeb, Ted or Little Marco. Since these were all warmongers like Hillary and Obama, the issues would have been different, Russia would not have been a factor, and Putin would have had no alleged "puppet."

The irony is that Clinton and Obama wanted Trump as her opponent. They cultivated his candidacy via liberal media bias throughout the primaries. (MSNBC and Rachel Maddow were always cutting away to another full length Trump victory speech and rally, including lots of jibber jabber with the faithful supporters.) Why? Because they thought he was the easiest to beat. The polls actually had Hillary losing against the other GOP candidates. The Dems beat themselves with their own choice of candidate and all the intrigue, false narratives and other questionable practices they employed in both the primaries and the general. That's what really happened.

backwardsevolution , June 3, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Realist – good post. I think what you say is true. Trump got too caught up in the birther crap, and Obama retaliated. But I think that Trump had been thinking about the presidency long before Obama came along. He sees the country differently than Obama and Clinton do. Trump would never have built up China to the point where all American technology has been given away for free, with millions of jobs lost and a huge trade deficit, and he would have probably left Russia alone, not ransacked it.

I saw Obama as a somewhat reluctant globalist and Hillary as an eager globalist. They are both insiders. Trump is not. He's interested in what is best for the U.S., whereas the Clinton's and the Bush's were interested in what their corporate masters wanted. The multinationals have been selling the U.S. out, Trump is trying to put a stop to this, and it is going to be a fight to the death. Trump is playing hardball with China (who ARE U.S. multinationals), and it is working. Beginning July 1, 2018, China has agreed to reduce its tariffs:

"Import tariffs for apparel, footwear and headgear, kitchen supplies and fitness products will be more than halved to an average of 7.1 percent from 15.9 percent, with those on washing machines and refrigerators slashed to just 8 percent, from 20.5 percent.

Tariffs will also be cut on processed foods such as aquaculture and fishing products and mineral water, from 15.2 percent to 6.9 percent.

Cosmetics, such as skin and hair products, and some medical and health products, will also benefit from a tariff cut to 2.9 percent from 8.4 percent.

In particular, tariffs on drugs ranging from penicillin, cephalosporin to insulin will be slashed to zero from 6 percent before.

In the meantime, temporary tariff rates on 210 imported products from most favored nations will be scrapped as they are no longer favorable compared with new rates."

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-tariffs/china-to-cut-import-tariffs-for-some-consumer-goods-from-most-favored-nations-idUSKCN1IW1PY

Trade with China has been all one way. At least Trump is leveling the playing field. He at least is trying to bring back jobs, something the "insiders" could care less about.

I agree that Hillary wanted Trump as an opponent, thought she could easily win. I've underestimated idiot opponents before, always to my detriment. Why is it that they are always the most formidable? The "insiders" are so used to voters rolling over, taking it on the chin. They gave away their jobs, replaced them with the service industry, killed their sons and daughters in wars abroad, and still the American people cast their ballots in their favor. This time was different. The insiders just did not see the sea change, not like Trump did.

Abe , June 2, 2018 at 2:20 am

"Pentagon documents indicate that the Department of Defense's shadowy intelligence arm, the Office of Net Assessment, paid Halper $282,000 in 2016 and $129,000 in 2017. According to reports, Halper sought to secure Papadopoulos's collaboration by offering him $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to London, ostensibly to produce a research paper on energy issues in the eastern Mediterranean.

"The choice of Halper for this spying operation has ominous implications. His deep ties to the US intelligence apparatus date back decades. His father-in-law was Ray Cline, who headed the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence at the height of the Cold War. Halper served as an aide to Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Alexander Haig in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

"In 1980, as the director of policy coordination for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, Halper oversaw an operation in which CIA officials gave the campaign confidential information on the Carter administration and its foreign policy. This intelligence was in turn utilized to further back-channel negotiations between Reagan's campaign manager and subsequent CIA director William Casey and representatives of Iran to delay the release of the American embassy hostages until after the election, in order to prevent Carter from scoring a foreign policy victory on the eve of the November vote.

"Halper subsequently held posts as deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs and senior adviser to the Pentagon and Justice Department. More recently, Halper has collaborated with Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, the British intelligence service, in directing the Cambridge Security Initiative (CSi), a security think tank that lists the US and UK governments as its principal clients.

"Before the 2016 election, Halper had expressed his view – shared by predominant layers within the intelligence agencies – that Clinton's election would prove 'less disruptive' than Trump's.

"The revelations of the role played by Halper point to an intervention in the 2016 elections by the US intelligence agencies that far eclipsed anything one could even imagine the Kremlin attempting."

Long-time CIA asset named as FBI's spy on Trump campaign By Bill Van Auken https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/21/poli-m21.html

CitizenOne , June 1, 2018 at 11:19 pm

Sorry for not commenting on other posts as of yet. But I think I have a different perspective. Russia Gate is not about Hillary Clinton or Putin but it is about Donald Trump. Specifically an effort to get rid of him by the intelligence agencies and the MSM. The fact is the MSM created Trump and were chiefly responsible for his election. Trump is their brainchild starlet used to fleece all the republican campaigns like a huckster fleeces an audience. It all ties to key Supreme Court rulings eliminating campaign finance regulations which ushered in the age of dark money.

When billionaires can donate unlimited amounts of money anonymously to the candidate of their choosing what ends up is a field of fourteen wannabes in a primary race each backed by their own investor(s). The only way these candidates can win is to convince us to vote. The only way they can do that is to spend on advertising.

What the MSM dreamed of in a purely capitalistic way was a way to drain the wallets of every single one of the republican Super PACs. The mission was fraught with potential checkmates. Foe example, there could be an early leader who snatched up the needed delegates for the nomination early on which would have stopped the flow of advertising cash flowing to the MSM. Such possibilities worried the MSM and caused great angst since this might just be the biggest haul they ever took in during a primary season. How would they prevent a premature end of the money river. Like financial vampire bats, ticks and leeches they needed a way to keep the money flowing from the veins of the republican Super PACs until they were sucked dry.

What the MSM really needed was a bait which they could use to lure more dollars just like a horse race where the track owners needed a fast underdog horse to clean up. I believe the term is to be "hustled". The con men of the media hustlers decided they needed a way to cause all of the candidates to squirm uneasily and to then react to the news that Donald Trump was "in the lead".

It was a pure stroke of genius and it worked so well that Carl Rove is looking for a job and Donald Trump is sitting in the White House.

Those clever media folks. What a gift the Supreme Court handed them. But there was one little (or big) problem. The problem was the result of the scam put Trump in the White House. Something that no conservative republican would ever sign onto. Trump had spent years as a democrat, hobnobbed with the Clinton's and was an avowed agnostic who favored the liberal ideology for the most part.

What to do? Trump was now the Commander in Chief and was spouting nonsense that the establishment recoiled at such as Trumps plans to form economic ties with Russia rather than continue to wage a cold war spanning 65 years which the MIC used year after year to spook us all and guarantee their billions annual increase in funding. Trump directly attacked defense projects and called for de-funding major initiatives like F35 etc.

The new guy in the White House with his crazy ideas of making friends with Vladimir Putin horrified a national arms industry funded with hundreds of billions of our tax dollars every year propped up by all the neocons with their paranoid beliefs and plans to make America the hegemon of the World. Our foreign allies who use the USA to fight their perceived enemies and entice our government to sell them weapons and who urge us to orchestrate the overthrow of governments were all alarmed by the "not a real republican" peace-nick occupying the White House.

What to do? There was clearly a need to eliminate this bad guy since his avowed policies were in direct opposition to the game plan that had successfully compromised the former administration. They felt powerless to dissuade the Administration to continue the course and form strategies to eliminate Iran, Syria, North Korea, Libya, Ukraine and other vulnerable targets swaying toward China and Russia. They faced a new threat with the Trump Administration which seemed hell bent to discontinue the wars in these regions robbing them of many dollars.

It is probable that the casino and hotel owner in the White House posed an very threatening alternate strategy of forming economic ties with former enemies which scared the hell out of the arms industry which built its economy on scaring all of us and justifying its existence based on foreign enemies.

So the MSM and the MIC created a new cold war with their friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post which published endless stories about the new Russian threat we faced. It had nothing to do with the 0.02% Twitter and Facebook "influence" that Russia actually had in the election. It was billed as the crime of the century. The real crime was that they committed the crime of the century that they mightily profited from by putting Trump in the White House in the first place with a plan to grab all the election cash they could grab.

In the interim, they also forgot on purpose to tell anyone about the election campaign finance fraud that they were the chief beneficiaries of. They also of course forgot to tell anyone what the fight was about for the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Twenty seven million dollars in dark money was donated by dark money donors enabled by the Supreme Court's decisions to eliminate campaign finance regulations which enabled these donors to buy out Congress and elect and confirm a Supreme Court Justice who would uphold the laws which eliminate all the election rules and campaign finance regulations dating back to the Tillman Act of 1907 which was an attempt to eliminate corporate contributions in political campaigns with associated meager fines as penalties. The law was weak then and has now been eliminated.

In an era of dark money in politics protected by revisionist judges laying at the top of our federal judicial branch posing as strict constructionists while being funded by the corporatocracy that viciously fights over control of the highest court by a panicked republican party that seeks to tie up their domination in our Congress by any means including the abdication of the Constitutional authority granted to the citizens of the nation we now face a new internal enemy.

That enemy is not some foreign nation but our own government which conspires to represent the wealthy and the powerful and which exalts them and which enacts laws to defend their control of our nation. Here is a quote:

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

Frederic Bastiat – (1801-1850) in Economic Sophisms

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 4:32 am

Different journalist covering much the same ground:

http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/why-is-the-new-york-times-misleading-the-american-people-about-the-paid-informant-who-was-spying-on-the-trump-campaign/

"Russiagate" is strictly a contrivance of the Deep State, American & British Spookery, and the corporate media propagandists. It clearly needs to be genuinely investigated (unlike the mockery being orchestrated by Herr Mueller from the Ministry of Truth), re-christened "Intellgate" (after the real perpetrators of crime), pursued until all the guilty traitors (including Mueller) who really tried to steal our democratic election are tried, convicted and incarcerated (including probably hundreds complicit from the media) and given its own lengthy chapter in all the history books about "The Election They Tried to Steal and Blame on Russia: How America Nearly Lost its Constitution." If not done, America will lose its constitution, or rather the incipient process will become totally irreversible.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 6:25 am

Your timing of events is confused.
The deep state didn't try and steal the election because they were overly complacent that their woman would win. Remember, they didn't try to use the dodgy, Steele dossier before the election.
What the deep state has done is reactively try to overcome the election outcome by launching an investigation into Trump. The egregious element of the investigation is giving it the title "investigation into collusion" when they in all probability knew that collusion was unlikely to have taken place. To achieve their aim (removing Trump) they included the line "and matters arising" in the brief to give them an open ended remit which allowed them to investigate Trump's business dealings of a Russian / Ukrainian nature (which may venture uncomfortably close to Semion Mogilevich).
If as you state (and I concur) there was no Russian collusion, then barring fabrication of evidence by Mueller (and there is little evidence of that to date) you have nothing to worry about on the collusion front. Remember, to date, Mueller has stuck (almost exclusively) to meat and potatoes charges like tax evasion and money laundering. If however the investigation leads to credible evidence that Trump broke substantive laws in the past for financial gain, then it is not reasonable to cry foul.

Seer , June 1, 2018 at 7:02 am

The Deep State assisted the DNC in knocking out Sanders. THAT was ground zero. Everything since then has been to cover this up and to discredit Trump (using him as the distraction). Consider that the Deep State never bothered to investigate the DNC servers/data; reason being is that they'd (Deep State) be implicated.

Skip Scott , June 1, 2018 at 7:29 am

Very true Seer. That is the real genesis of RussiaGate. It was a diversion tactic to keep people from looking at the DNC's behavior during the primaries. They are the reason Trump is president, not the evil Ruskies.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 8:13 am

We all seem agreed that the Russia collusion is an exercise in distraction. I can't say I know enough to comment with authority on whether the DNC would require assistance from the deep state to trash Bernie. From an outsider perspective it looked more like an application of massively disproportionate spending and standard, back room dirty tricks.
There is a saying; don't attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence. In this case, try replacing incompetence with MONEY.

dikcheney , June 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Totally agree with you Skip and the Mueller performance is there to keep up the intimidation and distraction by regularly finding turds to throw at Trump. Mueller doesnt need to find anything, he just needs to create vague intimations of 'guilty Trump' and suspicious associates so that no one will look at the DNC or the Clinton corruption or the smashing of the Sanders campaign.

Their actual agenda is to smother analysis and clear thinking. Thankfully there is the forensicator piecing the jigsaw as well as consortium news.

robjira , June 1, 2018 at 11:55 am

Spot on, Seer.

michael , June 1, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Those servers probably had a lot more pay-to-play secrets from the Clinton Foundation and ring-kissing from foreign big donors than what was released by Wikileaks, which mostly was just screwing over Bernie, which the judge ruled was Hillary's prerogative. Some email chains were probably construed as National Security and were discreetly not leaked.
The 30,000 emails Hillary had bit bleached from her private servers are likely in the hands of Russians and every other major country, all biding their time for leverage. This was the carrot the British (who undoubtedly have copies as well) dangled over idiot Popodopolous.

Uncle Bob , June 1, 2018 at 10:33 pm

Seth Rich

anon , June 1, 2018 at 7:42 am

Realist is likely referring to events before the election which involved people with secret agency connections, such as the opposition research (Steele dossier and Skripal affair).

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 9:32 am

Realist responded but is being "moderated" as per usual.

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 9:31 am

Hillary herself was a prime force in cooking up the smear against Trump for being "Putin's puppet." This even before the Democratic convention. Then she used it big time during the debates. It wasn't something merely reactive after she lost. Certainly she and her collaborators inside the deep state and the intelligence agencies never imagined that she would lose and have to distract from what she and her people did by projecting the blame onto Trump. That part was reactive. The rest of the conspiracy was totally proactive on her part and that of the DNC, even during the primaries.

Don't forget, the intel agencies led by Clapper, Brennan and Comey were all working for Obama at the time and were totally acquiescent in spying on the Trump campaign and "unmasking" the identities and actions of his would-be administration, including individuals like General Flynn. The cooked up Steele dossier was paid for by money from the Clinton campaign and used as a pretext for the intel agencies to spy on the Trump campaign. There is no issue on timing. The establishment was fully behind Clinton by hook or crook from the moment Trump had the delegates to win the GOP nomination. (OBTW, I am not a Trump supporter or even a Republican, so I KNOW that I "have nothing to worry about on the collusion front." I'm a registered Dem, though not a Hillary supporter.)

Moreover, if you think that Mueller (and the other intel chiefs) have been on the impartial up-and-up, why did the FBI never seize and examine the DNC servers? Why simply accept the interpretation of events given by the private cybersecurity firm (Crowdstrike) that the Clinton campaign hired to very likely mastermind a cover-up? That is exceptional (nay, unheard of!) "professional courtesy." Why has Mueller to this day not deposed Julian Assange or former British Ambassador Craig Murray, both of whom admit to knowing precisely who provided the leaked (not hacked) Podesta and DNC emails to Wikileaks? Why has Mueller not pursued the potential role of the late Seth Rich in the leaking of said emails? Why has Mueller not pursued the robust theory, based on actual evidence, proposed by VIPS, and supported by computer experts like Bill Binney and John McAfee, that the emails were not, as the Dems and the intel agencies would have you believe on NO EVIDENCE, hacked (by the "Russians" or anyone else) but were downloaded to a flash drive directly from the DNC servers? Why has Mueller not deposed Binney or Ray McGovern who claim to have evidence to bear on this and have discussed it freely in the media (to the miniscule extent that the corporate media will give them an audience)? Is Mueller after the truth, or is this a kangaroo court he is running? Is the media really independent and impartial or are they part of a cover-up, perpetrating numerous sins of both commission and omission in their highly flawed reportage?

I don't see clarity in what has been thus far been propounded by Mueller or any of Trump's other accusers, but I don't think I am the one who is confused here, Vivian. If you want to meet a thoroughly confused individual on what transpired leading up to this moment in American political history, just go read Hillary's book. Absolutely everyone under the sun shares in the blame but her for the fact that she does not presently reside in the White House.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 1:48 pm

You have presented your case with a great deal more detail and clarity than the original post that prompted my reply. You are also a great deal more knowledgeable than I on the details. I think we are 98% in agreement and I wouldn't like to say who's correct on the remaining 2%.
For clarity, I didn't follow the debates and wouldn't do so now if they were repeated. Much heat very little light.
The "pretext" that the intel agencies claim launched their actions against Trump was not the Steele dossier, at least that is what the intel agencies say. Either way your assertion that it was the dossier that set things off is just that, an assertion. I think this is a minor point.
On the DNC servers and the FBI we are 100% singing from the same hymn book and it all sticks. Mueller's apparent disinterest in the question of hack or USB drive does rather taint his investigation and thanks for pointing this out, I hadn't thought of that angle. I still think Mueller will stick to tax and money laundering and stay well clear of "collusion", so yes he may be running a kangaroo court investigation but the charges will be real world.
The MSM as a whole are a sick joke which is why we collectively find ourselves at CN, Craig Murray's blog, etc. I wouldn't like to attribute "collaboration" to any individual in the media. It was the reference to hundreds of journalists being sent to jail in your original post that set me off in the first place. When considering the "culpability" of any individual journalist you can have any position on a spectrum from; fully cognisant collaborator with a deep state conspiracy, to; a bit dim and running with the "sexy" story 'cause it's the biggest thing ever, the bosses can't get enough of it and the overtime is great. If American journalists are anything like their UK counterparts, 99% will fall into the latter category.
Don't have any issue with your final point. Hillary on stage and on camera was phoney as rocking horse s**te and everyone outside her extremely highly remunerated team could see it.
Sorry for any inconvenience, but your second post makes your points a hell of a lot clearer than the original.

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 4:26 pm

My purpose for the first post in this thread was to direct readers to the article in Unz by Mike Whitney, not to compress a full-blown amateur expose' by myself into a three-sentence paragraph. You would have found much more in the way of facts, analysis and opinion in his article to which my terse comments did not even serve as an abstract.

Quoting his last paragraph may give you the flavor of this piece, which is definitely not a one-off by him or other actual journalists who have delved into the issues:

"Let's see if I got this right: Brennan gets his buddies in the UK to feed fake information on Russia to members of the Trump campaign, after which the FBI uses the suspicious communications about Russia as a pretext to unmask, wiretap, issue FISA warrants, and infiltrate the campaign, after which the incriminating evidence that was collected in the process of entrapping Trump campaign assistants is compiled in a legal case that is used to remove Trump from office. Is that how it's supposed to work?

It certainly looks like it. But don't expect to read about it in the Times."

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Vivian – 90% of all major media is owned by six corporations. There most definitely was and IS collusion between some of them to bring down the outsider, Trump.

As far as individual journalists go, yeah, they're trying to pay their mortgage, I get it, and they're going to spin what their boss bloody well tells them to spin. But there is evidence coming out that "some" journalists did accept money from either Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie (sp) or Christopher Steele to leak information, which they did.

Bill Clinton passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that enabled these six media conglomerates to dominate the news. Of course they're political. They need to be split up, like yesterday, into a thousand pieces (ditto for the banks). They have purposely and with intent been feeding lies to the American people. Yes, some SHOULD go to jail.

As Peter Strzok of the FBI said re Trump colluding with Russia, "There was never any there, there." The collusion has come from the intelligence agencies, in cahoots with Hillary Clinton, perhaps even as high as Obama, to prevent Trump being elected. When that failed, they set out to get him impeached on whatever they could find. Of course Mueller is going to stick with tax and money laundering because he already KNOWS there was never any collusion with Russia.

This is the Swamp versus the People.

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Realist – another excellent post. "Is Mueller after the truth, or is this a kangaroo court he is running?" As you rightly point out, Mueller IS being very selective in what he examines and doesn't examine. He's not after the whole truth, just a particular kind of truth, one that gets him a very specific result – to take down or severely cripple the President.

Evidence continues to trickle out. Former and active members of the FBI are now even begging to testify as they are disgusted with what is being purposely omitted from this so-called "impartial" investigation. This whole affair is "kangaroo" all the way.

I'm not so much a fan of Trump as I am a fan of the truth. I don't like to see him – anyone – being railroaded. That bothers me more than anything. But he's right about what he calls "the Swamp". If these people are not uncovered and brought to justice, then the country is truly lost.

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Precisely. Destroy the man on false pretenses and you destroy our entire system, whether you like him and his questionable policies or not.

Some people would say it's already gone, but we do what we can to get it back or hold onto to what's left of it. Besides, all the transparent lies and skullduggery in the service of politics rather than principles are just making our entire system look as corrupt as hell.

michael , June 1, 2018 at 5:00 pm

When Mueller arrested slimy Manafort for crimes committed in the Ukraine and gave a pass to the Podesta Brothers who worked closely with Manafort, it was clear that Russiagate was a partisan operation.

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Michael – good point!

KiwiAntz , June 1, 2018 at 1:00 am

Its becoming abundantly clear now, that the whole Russiagate charade was had nothibg to do with Russia & is about a elaborate smokescreen & shellgame coverup designed to divert attention away from, firstly the Democratic Party's woeful defeat & its lousy Candidate choice in the corrupt Hillary Clinton? & also the DNC's sabotaging of Bernie Saunders campaign run! But the most henious & treacherous parts was Obama's, weaponising the intelligence agencies to spy (Halper) on the imaginary Mancharian Candidate Trump & to set him up as a Russia stooge? Obama & Hillary Clinton are complicent in this disgraceful & illegal activity to get dirt on Trump withe goal of ensuring Clinton's election win? This is bigger than Watergate & more scandalous? But despite the cheating & stacking of the card deck, she still lost out to the Donald? And this isn't just illegal its treasonous & willful actions deserving of a lengthy jail incarceration? HRC & her crooked Clinton foundation's funding of the fraudulent & discredited "Steele Dosier" was also used to implement Trump & Russia in a made up, pile of fictitious gargage that was pure offal? Obama & HRC along with their FBI & CIA spys need to be rounded up, convicted & thrown in jail? Perhaps if Trump could just shut his damn mouuth for once & get off twitter long enough to be able too get some Justice Dept officials looking into this, without being distracted by this Russiagate shellgame fakery, then perhaps the real criminal's like Halpert, Obama,HRC & these corrupt spooks & spies can be rounded up & held to account for this treasonous behaviour?

Sean Ahern , May 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm

Attention should be paid also to the role of so called progressive media outlets such as Mother Jones which served as an outlets for the disinformation campaign described in Lazare's article.
Here from David Corn's Mother Jones 2016 article:

"And a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump -- and that the FBI requested more information from him."
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump/

Not only was Corn and Mother Jones selected by the spooks as an outlet, but these so called progressives lauded their 'expose' as a great investigative coup on their part and it paved the way for Corn's elevation on MSNBC for a while as a 'pundit.'

Paul G. , May 31, 2018 at 8:46 pm

In that vein did the spooks influence Rachel Maddow or is her $30,000. a day salary adequate to totally compromise her microscopic journalistic integrity.

dikcheney , June 3, 2018 at 6:57 am

Passing around references to Mother Jones is like passing round used toilet paper for another try. MJ is BS it is entirely controlled fake press.

Abby , May 31, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Stefan Halper was being paid by the Clinton's foundation during the time he was spying on the Trump campaign. This is further evidence that Hillary Clinton's hands are all over getting Russia Gate started. Then there's the role that Obama's justice department played in setting up the spying on people who were working with the Trump campaign. This is worse than Watergate, IMO.

Rumors are that a few ex FBI agents are going to testify to congress in Comey's role in covering up Hillary's crimes when she used her private email server to send classified information to people who did not have clearance to read it. Sydney Bluementhol was working for Hillary's foundation and sending her classified information that he stole from the NSA.

Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were concerned about Obama knowing that Hillary wasn't using her government email account after he told the press that he only found out about it at the same time they did. He had been sending and receiving emails from her Clintonone email address during her whole tenure as SOS.

Obama was also aware of her using her foundation for pay to play which she was told by both congress and Obama to keep far away from her duties. Why did she use her private email server? So that Chelsea could know where Hillary was doing business so she could send Bill there to give his speeches to the same organizations, foreign governments and people who had just donated to their foundation.

Has any previous Secretary of State in history used their position to enrich their spouses or their foundations? I think not.

The secrets of how the FBI covered for Hillary are coming out. Whether she is charged for her crimes is a different matter.

F. G. Sanford , May 31, 2018 at 7:48 pm

If Hillary paid a political operative using Clinton Foundation funds – those are tax exempt charitable contributions – she would be guilty of tax fraud, charity fraud and campaign finance violations. Hillary may be evil, but she's not stupid. The U.S.Government paid Halper, which might be "waste, fraud and abuse", but it doesn't implicate Hillary at all. Not that she's innocent, mind you

Rob , June 1, 2018 at 2:14 am

I need some references to take any of your multitude of claims seriously. With all due respect, this sound like something taken from info wars and stylized in smartened up a little bit.

chris m , May 31, 2018 at 2:52 pm

the idea that Stefan Halper was some sort a of mastermind spy behind the so called "Russiagate" fiasco
seems very implausible considering what he seems to have spent doing for the past 40 years
going back to the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1980 and his efforts then.

i think he must have had a fairly peripheral role as to whatever or not was going on behind the scenes from 2016 election campaign, and the campaign to first stop Trump getting elected, and secondly, when that failed, to bring down his Presidency.

of course, the moment his name was revealed in recent days, would have shocked or surprised those of in the general
public, but not certainly amongst those in Government aka FBI/CIA/Military-industrial circles.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 4:36 pm

chris m – Halper is probably one of those people who hide behind their professor (or other legitimate) jobs, but are there at the ready to serve the Deep State. "I understand. You want me to set up some dupes in order to make it look like there was or could be actual Russian meddling. Gotcha." All you've got to do is make it "look like" something nefarious was going on. This facilitates a "reason" to have a phony investigation, and of course they make it as open-ended an investigation as possible, hoping to get the target on something, anything.

Well, they've no doubt looked long and hard for almost two years now, but zip. However, in their zeal to get rid of their opponent, who they did not think would win the election, they left themselves open, left a trail of crimes. Whoops!

This is the Swamp that Trump talked about during the election. He's probably not squeaky clean either, but he pales in comparison to what these guys have done. They have tried to take down a duly-elected President.

F. G. Sanford , May 31, 2018 at 5:09 pm

His role may have been peripheral, but I seem to recall that the Office of Net Assessments paid him roughly a million bucks to play it. That office, run from the Pentagon, is about as deep into the world of "black ops" spookdom as you can get. Hardly "peripheral", I'd say.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm

F. G. Sanford – yes, a million bucks implies something more than just a peripheral involvement, more like something essential to the plot, like the actual setting up of the plot. Risk of exposure costs money.

ranney , May 31, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Chris, I think the Halper inclusion in this complex tale is simply an example of how these things work in the ultra paranoid style of spy agencies. As Lazare explains, every one knew every one else – at least at the start of this, and it just kind of built from there, and Halper may have been the spark – but the spark landed on a highly combustible pile of paranoia that caught on fire right away. This is how our and the UK agencies function. There is an interesting companion piece to this story today at Common Dreams by Robert Kohler titled The American Way of War. It describes basically the same sort of mind set and action as this story. I'd link it for you if I knew how, but I'm not very adept at the computer. (Maybe another reader knows how?)

We (that is the American people who are paying the salaries of these brain blocked, stiff necked idiots) need to start getting vocal and visible about the destructive path our politicians, banks and generals have rigidly put us on. Does any average working stiff still believe that all this hate, death and destruction is to "protect" us?

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:07 pm

ranney – when you are on the page that you want to link to, take your cursor (the little arrow on your screen) to the top of the page to the address bar (for instance, the address for this article is:
"https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/31/spooks-spooking ")

Once your cursor is over the address bar, right click on your mouse. A little menu will come up. Then position your cursor down to the word "copy" and then left click on your mouse. This will copy the link.

Then proceed back to the blog (like Consortium) where you want to provide the link in your post. You might say, "Here is the link for the article I just described above." Then at this point you would right click on your mouse again, position your cursor over the word "paste", and then left click on your mouse. Voila, your link magically appears.

If you don't have a mouse and are using a laptop pad, then someone else will have to help you. That's above my pay grade. Good luck, ranney.

irina , May 31, 2018 at 8:13 pm

If you are using a Mac, either laptop w/touch screen or with a mouse, the copy/paste function
works similarly. Use either the mouse (no need to 'right click, left click') or the touch screen
to highlight the address bar once you have the cursor flashing away on the left side of it.
You may need to scroll right to highlight the whole address. Then go up to Edit (there's also
a keyboard command you can use, but I don't) in your tool bar at the top of your screen.
Click on 'copy'. Now your address is in memory. Then do the same as described above to
get back to where you want to paste it. Put your cursor where you want it to be 'pasted'.
Go back to 'edit' and click 'paste'. Voila !

This is a very handy function and can be used to copy text, web addresses, whatever you want.
Explore it a little bit. (Students definitely overuse the 'paste and match style' option, which allows
a person to 'paste' text into for example an essay and 'match the style' so it looks seamless, although
unless carefully edited it usually doesn't read seamlessly !)

Remember that whatever is in 'copy' will remain there until you 'copy' something else. (Or your
computer crashes . . . )

ranney , June 1, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Irina and Backwards Evolution – Thanks guys for the computer advice! I'll try it, but I think I need someone at my shoulder the first time I try it.

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 8:53 pm

ranney – you're welcome! Snag one of your kids or a friend, and then do it together. Sometimes I see people posting things like: "Testing. I'm trying to provide a link, bear with me." Throw caution to the wind, ranney. I don't worry about embarrassing myself anymore. I do it every day and the world still goes on.

I heard a good bit of advice once, something I remind my kids: when you're young, you think everybody is watching you and so you're afraid to step out of line. When you're middle-aged, you think everybody is watching you, but you don't care. When you're older, you realize nobody is really watching you because they're more concerned about themselves.

Good luck, ranney.

irina , June 2, 2018 at 10:00 pm

I find it helpful to write down the steps (on an old fashioned piece of paper, with old fashioned ink)
when learning to use a new computer tool, because while I think I'll remember, it doesn't usually
'stick' until after using it for quite a while. And yes, definitely recruit a member of the younger set
or someone familiar with computers. My daughter showed me many years ago how to 'cut & paste'
and to her credit she was very gracious about it. Remember that you need a place to 'paste' what-
ever you copied -- either a comment board like this, or a document you are working on, or (this is
handy) an email where you want to send someone a link to something. Lots of other possibilities too!

mike , June 1, 2018 at 7:43 pm

No one is presenting Halper as a mastermind spy. He was a tool of the deep state nothing more.

Gary Weglarz , May 31, 2018 at 1:57 pm

It seems a mistake to frame the "Russiagate" nonsense as a "Democrat vs Republican" affair, except at the most surface level of understanding in terms of our political realities. If one considers that the Bush family has been effectively the Republican Party's face of the CIA/deep state nexus for decades, as the Clinton/Obama's have been the Democratic Party's face for decades now, what comes into focus is Trump as a sort of unknown, unexpected wild card not appropriately tethered to the control structure. Simply noting that the U.S. and Russia need not be enemies is alone enough to require an operation to get Trump into line.
This hardly means this is some sort of "partisan" issue as the involvement of McCain and others demonstrates.

One of the true "you can't make this stuff up" ironies of the Bush/Clinton CIA/deep state nexus history is worth remembering if one still maintains any illusions about how the CIA vets potential presidents since they killed JFK. During Iran/Contra we had Bush, the former CIA director now vice president, running a drugs for arms operation out the White House through Ollie North, WHILE then unknown Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was busy squashing Arkansas State Police investigations into said narcotics trafficking. Clinton obviously proved his bona fides to the CIA/deep state with such service and was appropriately rewarded as an asset who could function as a reliable president. Here in one operation we had two future presidents in Bush and Clinton both engaged in THE SAME CIA drug running operation. You truly can't make this stuff up.

Russiagate seems to be in the end all about keeping deep state policy moving in the "right direction" and "hating Russia" is the only entree on the menu at this time for the whole cadre of CIA/deep state, MIC, neocons, Zionists, and all their minions in the MSM. The Obama White House would have gladly supported Vlad the Impaler as the Republican candidate that beat Hillary if Vlad were to have the appropriate foaming at the mouth "hate-Russia" vibe going on.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Gary – great post.

irina , May 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm

Roger that. I would really like to see an inquiry re-opened into the
teenage boys who died 'on the train tracks' in Arkansas during the
early years of the Clinton-Bush trafficking. Many questions are still
unanswered. Speculation is that they saw something they weren't
supposed to see.

Mark Thomason , May 31, 2018 at 1:12 pm

This all grows out of the failure to clean up the mess revealed by the Iraq fiasco. Instead, those who did that remained, got away with it, and are doing more of the same.

Babyl-on , May 31, 2018 at 12:46 pm

So, here is my question – Who, ultimately does the permanent/bureaucratic/deep/Imperial* state finally answer to? Who's interests are they serving? How do they know what those interests are?

It could be, and increasingly it looks as if, the answer is – no one in particular – but the Saud family, the Zionist cabal of billionaires, the German industrialist dynasties, the Japanese oligarchy and never forget the arms dealers, all of them once part of the Empire now fighting for themselves so we end up with the high level apparatchiks not knowing what to do or who to follow so they lie outright to Congress and go on TV and babble more lies for money.

It's a great contradiction that the greatest armed force ever assembled with cutting edge robotics and AI yet at the same time so weak and pathetic it can not exercise hegemony over the Middle East as it seems to desire more than anything. Being defeated by forces with less than 20% of the US spend.

Abby , May 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm

You're right. They answer to no one because they are not just working in this country, but they think that the whole world is theirs.

To these people there are no borders. They meet at places like the G20, Davos and wherever the Bilderberg group decides to meet every year. No leader of any country gets to be one unless they are acceptable to the Deep State. The council of foreign relations is one of the groups that run the world. How we take them down is a good question.

Abe , May 31, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Following the pattern of mainstream media, Daniel Lazare assiduously avoids mentioning Israel and pro-Israel Lobby interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Israel-gate reality underlying all the Russia-gate fictions.

For example, George Papadopoulos is directly connected to the pro-Israel Lobby, right wing Israeli political interests, and Israeli government efforts to control regional energy resources.

Lazare mentions that Papadapoulos had "a friend in the Israeli embassy".

But Lazare conspicuously neglects to mention numerous Israeli and pro-Israel Lobby players interested in "filling Papadopoulos's head" with "tales of Russian dirty tricks".

Papadopoulos' LinkedIn page lists his association with the right wing Hudson Institute. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank part of pro-Israel Lobby web of militaristic security policy institutes that promote Israel-centric U.S. foreign policy.

https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/hudson_institute/

The Hudson Institute confirmed that Papadopoulos was an intern who left the pro-Israel neoconservative think tank in 2014.

In 2014, Papadopoulos authored op-ed pieces in Israeli publications.

In an op-ed published in Arutz Sheva, media organ of the right wing Religionist Zionist movement embraced by the Israeli "settler" movement, Papadopoulos argued that the U.S. should focus on its "stalwart allies" Israel, Greece, and Cyprus to "contain the newly emergent Russian fleet".

In another op-ed published in Ha'aretz, Papadopoulos contended that Israel should exploit its natural gas resources in partnership with Cyprus and Greece rather than Turkey.

In November 2015, Papadapalous participated in a conference in Tel Aviv, discussing the export of natural gas from Israel with a panel of current and past Israeli government officials including Ron Adam, a representative of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Eran Lerman, a former Israeli Deputy National Security Adviser.

Among Israel's numerous violations of United Nations Resolution 242 was its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981. Recent Israeli threatened military threats against Lebanon and Syria have a lot to do with control of natural gas resources, both offshore from Gaza and on land in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights region.

Israeli plans to develop energy resources and expand territorial holdings in the Syrian Golan are threatened by the Russian military presence in Syria. Russian diplomatic efforts, and the Russian military intervention that began in September 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government, have interfered with the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis "dirty war" in Syria.

Israeli activities and Israel-gate realities are predictably ignored by the mainstream media, which continues to salivate at every moldy scrap of Russia-gate fiction.

Lazare need no be so circumspect, unless he has somehow been spooked.

Herman , May 31, 2018 at 4:13 pm

"Among Israel's numerous violations of United Nations Resolution 242 was its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981. Recent Israeli threatened military threats against Lebanon and Syria have a lot to do with control of natural gas resources, both offshore from Gaza and on land in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights region."

And water. Rating energy and water, what's at the top for Israel. Israel would probably say both but Israel shielded by the US will take what it wants. That is already true with the Palestinians.. The last figure I heard is that the Palestinians are allocated one fifth per capita what is allocated to Israel's

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 11:59 am

A large swamp is actually an ancient and highly organized ecosystem. Only humans could create a lawless madness like Washington DC.

irina , May 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Yes that is a good description of a swamp. BUT, if it loses what sustains it --
water, in the case of a 'real' swamp and money in the case of this swamp --
it changes character very quickly and becomes first a bog, then a meadow.

I am definitely ready for more meadowland ! But the only way to create it
is to voluntarily redirect federal taxes into escrow accounts which stipulate
that the funds are to be used for (fill in the blank) Public Services at the
Local and Regional levels. Much more efficient than filtering them through
the federal bureaucracy !

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:21 pm

But how would one avoid prosecution for nonpayment of taxes?
That seems a very quiet way to be rendered ineffective as a resister.

irina , June 1, 2018 at 2:30 am

The thing is, you don't 'nonpay' them. The way it used to work, through the
Con$cience and Military Tax Campaign Escrow Account, was that you filed
your taxes as usual. (This does require having less withholding than you owe).
BUT instead of paying what is due to the IRS, you send it to the Escrow Account.
You attach a letter to your tax return, explaining where the money is and why it
is there. That is, you want it to be spent on _________________(fill in the blank)
worthy public social service. Then you send your return to the IRS.

When I used to do this, I stated that I wanted my tax dollars to be spent to develop
public health clinics at neighborhood schools. Said clinics would be staffed by nurse
practitioners, would be open 24-7 and nurses would be equipped with vans to make
House Calls. Security would be provided.

So you're not 'nonpaying' your taxes, you are (attempting) to redirect them. Eventually,
after several rounds of letters back and forth, the IRS would seize the monies from the
escrow account, which would only release them to the IRS upon being told to by the
tax re-director. Unfortunately, not enough people participated to make it a going concern.
But the potential is still there, and the template has been made and used. It's very scale-
able, from local to international. And it would not take that many 're-directors' to shift the
focus of tax liability from the collector to the payor. Because ultimately we are liable for
how our funds are used !

Bill , June 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm

this was done a lot during the Vietnam conflict, especially by Quakers. the first thing, if you are a wage earner, is to re-file a W2 with maximum withholdings-that has two effects: 1) it means you owe all your taxes in April. 2) it means the feds are deprived of the hidden tax in which they use or invest your withholding throughout the year before it's actually due(and un-owed taxes if you over over-withhold). Pretty sure that if a large number of people deprive the government of that hidden tax by under-withholding, they will begin to take notice.

Abe , May 31, 2018 at 11:54 am

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence agency of the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom.

In 2013, GCHQ received considerable media attention when the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency was in the process of collecting all online and telephone data in the UK. Snowden's revelations began a spate of ongoing disclosures of global surveillance and manipulation.

For example, NSA files from the Snowden archive published by Glenn Greenwald reveal details about GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) unit, which uses "dirty trick" tactics to covertly manipulate and control online communities.

JTRIG document: "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations"
https://edwardsnowden.com/docs/doc/the-art-of-deception-training-for-a-new.pdf

In 2017, officials from the UK and Israel made an unprecedented confirmation of the close relationship between the GCHQ and Israeli intelligence services.

Robert Hannigan, outgoing Director-General of the GCHQ, revealed for the first time that his organization has a "strong partnership with our Israeli counterparts in signals intelligence." He claimed the relationship "is protecting people from terrorism not only in the UK and Israel but in many other countries."

Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the UK, commented on the close relationship between British and Israeli intelligence agencies. During remarks at a Conservative Friends of Israel reception, Regev opined: "I have no doubt the cooperation between our two democracies is saving British lives."

Hannigan added that GCHQ was "building on an excellent cyber relationship with a range of Israeli bodies and the remarkable cyber industry in Be'er Sheva."

The IDF's most important signal intelligence–gathering installation is the Urim SIGINT Base, a part of Unit 8200, located in the Negev desert approximately 30 km from Be'er Sheva.

Snowden revealed how Unit 8200 receives raw, unfiltered data of U.S. citizens, as part of a secret agreement with the U.S. National Security Agency.

After his departure from GCHQ, Hannigan joined BlueteamGlobal, a cybersecurity services firm, later re-named BlueVoyant.

BlueVoyant's board of directors includes Nadav Zafrir, former Commander of the Israel Defense Forces' Unit 8200. The senior leadership team at BlueVoyant includes Ron Feler, formerly Deputy Commander of the IDF's Unit 8200, and Gad Goldstein, who served as a division head in the Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet, in the rank equivalent to Major General.

In addition to their purported cybersecurity activities, Israeli. American, and British private companies have enormous access and potential to promote government and military deception operations.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Thanks Abe. Sounds like a manual for slave owners and con men. What a tangled wed the rich bastards weave. The simple truth is their sworn enemy.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Interesting that a foreign power would be given all US communications data, which implies that the US has seized it all without a warrant and revealed it all in violation of the Constitution. If extensive, this use of information power amounts to information warfare against the US by its own secret agencies in collusion with a foreign power, an act of treason.

Seer , June 1, 2018 at 7:18 am

This has been going on for a LONG time, it's nothing new. I seem to recall 60 Minutes covering it way back in the 70s(?). UK was allowed to do the snooping in the US (and, likely, vice versa) and then providing info to the US. This way the US govt could claim that it didn't spy/snoop on its citizens. Without a doubt Israel has been extensively intercepting communications in the US..

Secrecy kills.

Sam F , June 1, 2018 at 8:23 am

Yes, but the act of allowing unregulated foreign agencies unwarranted access to US telecoms is federal crime, and it is treason when it goes so far as to allow them full access, and even direct US bulk traffic to their spy agencies. If this is so, these people should be prosecuted for treason.

F. G. Sanford , May 31, 2018 at 11:36 am

To listen to the media coverage of these events, it is tempting to believe that two entirely different planets are being discussed. Fox comes out and says Mueller was "owned" by Trump. Then, CNN comes out and says Trump was "owned" by Clapper. Clapper claims the evidence is "staggering", while video clips of his testimony reveal irrefutable perjury. Some of President Trump's policies are understandably abhorrent to Democrats, while Clinton's email server and charity frauds are indisputably violations of Federal statutes. Democrats are attempting to claim that a "spy" in the Trump campaign was perfectly reasonable to protect "national security", but evidence seems to indicate that the spy was placed BEFORE there was a legitimate national security concern. Some analysts note that, while Mueller's team appears to be Democratic partisan hacks, their native "skill set" is actually expertise in money laundering investigations. They claim that although Mr. Trump may not be compromised by the Russian government, he is involved with nefarious Russian organized crime figures. It follows, according to them, that given time, Mueller will reveal these illicit connections, and prosecution will become inevitable.

Let's assume, for argument, that both sides are right. That means that our entire government is irretrievably corrupt. Republicans claim that it could " go all the way to Obama". Democrats, of course, play the "moral high ground" card, insinuating that the current administration is so base and immoral that somehow, the "ends justify the means". No matter how you slice it, the Clinton campaign has a lot more liability on its hands. The problem is, if prosecutions begin, people will "talk" to save their own skins. The puppet masters can't really afford that.

"All the way to Obama", you say? I think it could go higher than that. Personally, I think it could go all the way to Dick Cheney, and the 'powers that be' are in no mood to let that happen.

Vivian O'Blivion , May 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

The issue as I see it is that from the start everyone was calling the Mueller probe an investigation into collusion and not really grasping the catch all nature of his brief.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Counsel_investigation_(2017–present)

It's the "any matters arising " that is the real kicker. So any dodgy dealing / possible criminal activity in the past is fair game. And this is exactly what in happening with Manafort.
Morally you can apply the Nucky Johnson defence and state that everyone knew Trump was a crook when they voted for him, but legally this has no value.
There is an unpleasant whiff of deep state interference with the will of the people (electoral college). Perhaps if most bodies hadn't written Trump's chances off in such an off hand manner, proper due diligence of his background would have uncovered any liabilities before the election.
If there is actionable dirt, can't say I am overly sympathetic to Trump. Big prizes sometimes come with big risks.

David G , May 31, 2018 at 5:14 pm

My own feeling from the start has been that Mueller was never going to track down any "collusion" or "meddling" (at least not to any significant degree) because the whole, sprawling Russia-gate narrative – to the extent one can be discerned – is obviously phony.

But at the same time, there's no way the completely lawless, unethical Trump, along with his scummy associates, would be able to escape that kind of scrutiny without criminal conduct being exposed.

So far, on both scores, that still seems to me to be a likely outcome, and for my part I'm fine with it.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 5:29 am

My thoughts exactly. Collusion was never a viable proposition because the Russians aren't that stupid. Regardless of any personal opinion regarding the intelligence and mental stability of Donald Snr., the people he surrounds himself with are weapons grade stupid. I don't see the Russians touching the Trump campaign with a proverbial barge pole.

Bill , June 2, 2018 at 3:26 pm

it just happens that Trump appears to have been involved (wittingly or not), with the laundering a whole lot of Russian money and so many of his friends seem to be connected with wealthy Russian oligarchs as well plus they are so stupid, they keep appearing to (and probably are) obstructing justice. The Cohen thing doesn't get much attention here, but it's significant that they have all this stuff on a guy who is clearly Trump's bagman.

Steve Naidamast , May 31, 2018 at 3:15 pm

There is also quite an indication that the entire Mueller investigation is a complete smoke screen to be used as cannon fodder in the mainstream media.

On the one hand, Mueller and his hacks have found nothing of import to link Trump to anything close to collusion with members of the Russian government. And I am by no means a Trump supporter by any stretch of the imagination, except as a foil to Clinton. However, even my minimalist expectations for Trump have not worked out either.

In addition. the Mueller investigation has been spending what appears to be a majority of its time on ancillary matters that were not within the supposed scope and mandate of this investigation. Further, a number of indictments have come down against people involved with such ancillary matters.

The result is that if Mueller is going beyond the scope of his investigatory mandate, this may come in as a technicality that will allow indicted persons to escape prosecution on appeal.

Such a mandate, I would think, is the same thing as a police warrant, which can find only admissible evidence covered by the warrant. Anything else found to be criminally liable must be found to be as a result of a completely different investigation that has nothing to do with the original warrant.

In other words, it appears that the Mueller investigation was allowed to commence under a Republican controlled Congress for the very reason that its intent is simply to go in circles long enough for Republicans to get their agendas through, which does not appear to be working all too well as a result of their high levels of internecine party conflicts.

This entire affair is coming to show just how dysfunctional, corrupt, and incompetent the entirety of the US federal government has become. And to the chagrin of all sincere activists, no amount of organized protesting and political action will ever rid the country of this grotesque political quagmire that now engulfs the entirety of our political infrastructure.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 8:48 pm

Very true that the US federal government is now "dysfunctional, corrupt, and incompetent."
What are your thoughts on forms of action to rid us this political quagmire?
(other than ineffective "organized protesting and political action")
Have you considered new forms of public debate and public information?

Seer , June 1, 2018 at 7:34 am

All of this is blackmail to hold Trump's feet to the fire of the Israel firsters (such actions pull in all the dark swampy things). By creating the Russia blackmail story they've effectively redirected away from themselves. The moment Trump balks the Deep State will reel in some more, airing innuendos to overwhelm Trump. Better believe that Trump has been fully "briefed" on all of this. John Bolton was able to push out a former OPCW head with threats (knew where his, the OPCW head's children were). And now John Bolton is sitting right next to Trump (whispering in his ear that he knows ways in which to oust Trump).

What actual "ideas" were in Trump's head going in to all of this (POTUS run) is hard to say. But, anything that can be considered a threat to the Deep State has been effectively nullified now.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 8:22 am

Possible, but Manafort already tried to get his charges thrown out as being the outcome of investigations beyond the remit He failed.

Brendan , May 31, 2018 at 10:26 am

There's no doubt at all that Joseph Mifsud was closely connected with western intelligence, and with MI6 in particular. His contacts with Russia are insignificant compared with his long career working amongst the elite of western officials.
Lee Smith of RealClearInvestigations lists some of the places where Mifsud worked, including two universities:

"he taught at Link Campus University in Rome, ( ) whose lecturers and professors include senior Western diplomats and intelligence officials from a number of NATO countries, especially Italy and the United Kingdom.

Mifsud also taught at the University of Stirling in Scotland, and the London Academy of Diplomacy, which trained diplomats and government officials, some of them sponsored by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council, or by their own governments."

Two former colleagues of Mifsud's, Roh and Pastor, recently interviewed him for a book they have written. Those authors could very well be biased, but one of them makes a valid point, similar to one that Daniel Lazare makes above:
"Given the affiliations of Link's faculty and staff, as well as Mifsud's pedigree, Roh thinks it's impossible that the man he hired as a business development consultant is a Russian agent."

Politically, Mifsud identifies with the Clintons more than anyone else, and claims to belong to the Clinton Foundation, which has often been accused of being just a way of funneling money into Hillary Clinton's campaign.

As Lee Smith says, if Mifsud really is a Russian spy, "Western intelligence services are looking at one of the largest and most embarrassing breaches in a generation. But none of the governments or intelligence agencies potentially compromised is acting like there's anything wrong."

From all that we know about Joseph Mifsud, it's safe to say that he was never a Russian spy. If not, then what was he doing when he was allegedly feeding stories to George Papadopoulos about Russians having 'dirt' on Clinton?

https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2018/05/26/the_maltese_phantom_of_russiagate_.html

David G , May 31, 2018 at 4:25 pm

I read somewhere that Mifsud had disappeared. Was that true? If so, is he back, or still missing?

Chet Roman , May 31, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Here are some excerpts that will answer your question from an article by Lee Smith at Realclearinvestigations, "The Maltese Phantom of Russiagate".

A new book by former colleagues of Mifsud's – Stephan Roh, a 50-year-old Swiss-German lawyer, and Thierry Pastor, a 35-year-old French political analyst – reports that he is alive and well. Their account includes a recent interview with him.

Their self-published book, "The Faking of Russia-gate: The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis," includes a recent interview with Mifsud in which he denies saying anything about Clinton emails to Papadopoulos. Mifsud, they write, stated "vehemently that he never told anything like this to George Papadopoulos." Mifsud asked rhetorically: "From where should I have this [information]?"

Mifsud's account seems to be supported by Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat who alerted authorities about Papadopoulos. As reported in the Daily Caller, Downer said Papadopoulos never mentioned emails; he spoke, instead, about the Russians possessing material that could be damaging to Clinton. This new detail raises the possibility that Mifsud, Papadopoulos' alleged source for the information, never said anything about Clinton-related emails either.

In interviews with RealClearInvestigations, Roh and Pastor said Mifsud is anything but a Russian spy. Rather, he is more likely a Western intelligence asset.

According to the two authors, it was a former Italian intelligence official, Vincenzo Scotti, a colleague of Mifsud's and onetime interior minister, who told the professor to go into hiding. "I don't know who was hiding him," said Roh, "but I'm sure it was organized by someone. And I am sure it will be difficult to get to the bottom of it."

Toby McCrossin , June 1, 2018 at 1:54 am

" The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis," includes a recent interview with Mifsud in which he denies saying anything about Clinton emails to Papadopoulos. Mifsud, they write, stated "vehemently that he never told anything like this to George Papadopoulos.""

Thank you for providing that explosive piece of information. If true, and I suspect it is, that's one more nail in the Russiagate narrative. Who, then, is making the claim that Misfud mentioned emails? The only source for the statement I can find is "court documents".

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 9:20 am

The election scams serve only to distract from the Israel-gate scandal and the oligarchy destruction of our former democracy. Mr. Lazare neglects to tell us about that. All of Hillary's top ten campaign bribers were zionists, and Trump let Goldman-Sachs take over the economy. KSA and big business also bribed heavily.

We must restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual donations, for democracy is lost.

We must eliminate zionist fascism from our political parties, federal government, and foreign policy. Obviously that has nothing to do with any ethnic or religious preference.

Otherwise the United States is lost, and our lives have no historical meaning beyond slavery to oligarchy.

Joe Tedesky , May 31, 2018 at 9:51 am

You are right Sam. Israel does work the fence under the guise of the Breaking News. Joe

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm

My response was that Israel massacres at the fence, ignored by the zionist US mass media.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 11:48 am

The extreme wealth and privileges of oligarchy depend on the poverty and slavery of others. Inequality of income is the root cause of most of our ills. Try to imagine what a world of economic equals would be like. No striving for more and more wealth at the expense of others. No wars. What would there be to fight over – everyone would be content with what they already had.

If you automatically think such a world would be impossible, try to state why. You might discover that the only obstacle to such a world is the greedy bastards who are sitting on top of everybody, and will do anything to maintain their advantages.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 11:52 am

How do the oligarchs ensure your slavery? With the little green tickets they have hoarded that the rest of us need just to eat and have a roof over our heads. The people sleeping in the streets tell us the penalty for not being good slaves.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Very true, Mike. Those who say that equality or fairness of income implies breaking the productivity incentive system are wrong. No matter how much or how little wage incentive we offer for making an effort in work, we need not have great disparities of income. Those who can work should have work, and we should all make an effort to do well in our work, but none of us need the fanciest cars or grand monuments to live in, just to do our best.

Getting rid of oligarchy, and getting money out of mass media and elections, would be the greatest achievement of our times.

Joe Tedesky , May 31, 2018 at 5:30 pm

An old socialist friend of my dad's generation who claimed to have read the biography of Andrew Carnegie had told me over a few beers that Carnegie said, "that at a time when he was paying his workers $5 a week he 'could' have been paying them $50 a day, but then he could not figure out what kind of life they would lead with all that money". Think about it mike, if his workers would have had that kind of money it would not be long before Carnegie's workers became his competition and opened up next door to him the worst case scenario would be his former workers would sell their steel at a cheaper price, kind of, well no exactly like what Rockefeller did with oil, or as Carnegie did with steel innovation. How's that saying go, keep them down on the farm . well. Remember Carnegie was a low level stooge for the railroads at one time, and rose to the top .mike. Great point to make mike, because there could be more to go around. Joe

Steve Naidamast , May 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm

"We must restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual donations, for democracy is lost.

We must eliminate zionist fascism from our political parties, federal government, and foreign policy. Obviously that has nothing to do with any ethnic or religious preference."

Good luck with that!!!

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Well, you are welcome to make suggestions on how to save the republic.

john wilson , May 31, 2018 at 9:10 am

The depths of the deep state has no limits, but as a UK citizen, I fail to see why the American "spooks" need any help from we Brits when it comes state criminal activity. Sure, we are masters at underhand dirty tricks, but the US has a basket full of tricks that 'Trump' (lol) anything we've got. It was the Russians wot done mantra has been going on for many decades and is ever good for another turn around the political mulberry tree of corruption and underhand dealings. Whether the Democrats or the Republicans win its all the same to the deep state as they are in control whoever is in the White House. Trump was an outsider and there for election colour and the "ho ho ho" look what a great democracy we are, anyone can be president. He is in fact the very essence of the 'wild card' and when he actually won there was total confusion, panic, disbelief and probably terror in the caves and dungeons of the deep state.

Realist , May 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

I'm sure the result was so unexpected that the shadowy fixers, the IT mavens who could have "adjusted" the numbers, were totally caught off guard and unable to do "cleanly." Not that they didn't try to re-jigger the results in the four state recounts that were ordered, but it was simply too late to effectively cheat at that point, as there were already massive overvotes detected in key urban precincts. Such a thing will never happen again, I am sure.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 9:36 am

It appears that UK has long had a supply of anti-Russia fearmongers, presumably backed by its anti-socialist oligarchy as in the US. Perhaps the US oligarchy is the dumbest salesman, who believes that all customers are even dumber, so that UK can sell Russophobia here thirty years after the USSR.

Bob Van Noy , May 31, 2018 at 8:49 am

"But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press."

Perfect.
Recently, while trying to justify my arguement that a new investigation into the RFK Killing was necessary, I was asked why I thought that, and my response was "Modus operandi," exactly what Robert Parry learned by experience, and that is the fundamental similarity to all of the institutionalized crime that takes place by the IC. Once one realizes the literary approach to disinformation that was fundamental to Alan Dulles, James Jesus Angleton, even Ian Fleming, one can easily see the Themes being applied. I suppose that the very feature of believability offered by propaganda, once recognized, becomes its undoing. That could be our current reality; the old Lines simply are beginning to appear to be ridiculous

Thank you Daniel Lazar.

Sam F , June 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

The recognition of themes of propaganda as literary themes and modus operandi is helping to discredit propaganda. The similarities of the CW false-flag operations (Iraq, Syria, and UK), and the fake assassinations (Skripal and Babchenko) by the anti-Russia crowd help reveal and persuade on the falsehood of the Iraq WMD, Syria CW, and MH-17 propaganda ops. Just as the similarities of the JFK/MLK/RFK assassinations persuade us that commonalities exist long before we see evidence.

Bob Van Noy , June 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Many thanks Sam F for recognizing that. As we begin to achieve a resolution of the 60's Kllings, we can begin to see the general and specific themes utilized to direct the programs of Assassination. The other aspect is that real investigation Never followed; and that took Real Power.

In a truly insightful book by author Sally Denton entitled "The Profiteers" she puts together a very cogent theory that it isn't the Mafia, it's the Syndicate, which means (for me at least) real, criminal power with somewhat divergent interests ok with one another, to the extent that they can maintain their Own Turf. I think that's a profound insight

Too, in a similar vain, the Grand Deceptions of American Foreign Policy, "scenarios" are simply and only that, not a Real possible solution. Always resulting in failure

Sam F , June 1, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Yes, it is difficult to determine the structure of a subculture of gangsterism in power, which can have many specialized factions in loose cooperation, agreeing on some general policy points, like benefits for the rich, hatred of socialism, institutionalized bribery of politicians and judges, militarized policing, destruction of welfare and social security, deregulation of everything, essentially the neocon/neolib line of the DemReps. The party line of oligarchy in any form.

Indeed the foreign policy of such gangsters is designed to "fail" because destruction of cultures, waste, and fragmentation most efficiently exploits the bribery structure available, and serves the anti-socialist oligarchy. Failure of the declared foreign policy is success, because that is only propaganda to cover the corruption.

SocraticGadfly , May 31, 2018 at 8:48 am

You know, not only Gay Trowdy but even Dracula Napolitano think people like Lazare , McGovern, etc. are overblown on this issue.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 1:47 pm

SocraticGadfly – Trey Gowdy hasn't even seen the documents yet, so he's hardly in a position to say anything. The House Intelligence Committee, under Chairman Nunes, are being stymied by the FBI and the Department of Justice who are refusing to hand over documents. Refusing! Refusing to disclose documents to the very people who, by law, have oversight. Nunes is threatening to hit them with Contempt of Congress.

Let's see the documents. Then Trey Gowdy can open his mouth.

Herman , May 31, 2018 at 8:32 am

What I take from this head spinning article is the paragraph about Carter Page.

"On July 7, 2016 Carter Page delivered a lecture on U.S.-Russian relations in Moscow in which he complained that "Washington and other western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change." Washington hawks expressed "unease" that someone representing the presumptive Republican nominee would take Russia's side in a growing neo-Cold War

Mr. Page hit the nail on the head. There is no greater sin to entrenched power than to spell out what is going on with Russia. It helps us understand why terms like dupe and naïve were stuck on Carter Page's back.. Truth to power is not always good for your health.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

The tyrant accuses of disloyalty, all who question the reality of his foreign monsters.
And so do his monster-fighting agencies, whose budgets depend upon the fiction.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:25 am

Daniel Lazare – good report. "It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree." This wasn't a case of paranoia. This was a blatant attempt to bring down a rival opponent and, failing that, the President of the United States. This was intentional and required collusion between top officials of the government. They fabricated the phony Steele dossier (paid for by the Clinton campaign), exonerated Hillary Clinton, and then went to town on bringing down Trump.

"Was George Popodopolous set up?" Of course he was. Set up a patsy in order to give you reason to carry out a phony investigation.

"If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice." They're not befogged; they're following orders (the major television and newspaper outfits). Without their 24/7 spin and lies, Russiagate would never have been kept alive.

These guys got the biggest surprise of their life when Hillary Clinton lost the election. None of this would have come out had she won. During the campaign, as Trump gained in the polls, she was heard to say, "If they ever find out what we've done, we'll all hang."

I hope they see jail time for what they've done.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:38 am

Apparently what has come out so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Some are saying this could lead all the way up to Obama. I hope not, but they have certainly done all they can to ruin the Trump Presidency.

JohnM , May 31, 2018 at 9:58 am

I'm adjusting my tinfoil hat right now. I'm wondering if Skripal had something to do with the Steel dossier. The iceberg may be even bigger than thought.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:18 am

It is known that Skripal's close friend living nearby was an employee of Steele's firm Orbis.

Chet Roman , May 31, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Exactly, his name is Pablo Miller and he is the MI6 agent who initially recruited Sergei Skripal. Miller worked for Orbis, Steele's company and listed that in his resume on LinkedIn but later deleted it. But once it's on the internet it can always be found and it was and it was published.

robjira , May 31, 2018 at 2:13 pm

John, both Moon Of Alabama and OffGuardian have had excellent coverage of the Skripal affair. Informed opinions wonder if Sergei Skripal was one of Steele's "Russian sources," and that he may have been poisoned for the purpose of either a) bolstering the whole "Russia = evil" narrative, or b) a warning not to ask for more than what he may have conceivably received for any contribution he may or may not have made to the "dossiere."

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 7:20 am

Interesting details in this article, but we have known this whole Russiagate affair was a scam from the get go. It all started the day after Trump's unexpected electoral win over Hillary. The chagrined dems came together and concocted their sore loser alibi – the Russians did it. They scooped up a lot of pre-election dirt, rolled it into a ball and directed it at Trump. It is a testament to the media's determination to stick with their story, that in spite of not a single scrap of real evidence after over a year of digging by a huge team of democratic hit men and women, this ridiculous story still has supporters.

David G , May 31, 2018 at 10:31 am

"It all started the day after Trump's unexpected electoral win over Hillary."

Not so.

Daniel Lazare's first link in the above piece is to Paul Krugman's July 22, 2016 NY Times op-ed, "Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate". (Note how that headline doesn't even bother to employ a question mark.)

I appreciate that that Krugman column gets pride of place here since I distinctly remember reading it in my copy of the Times that day, months before the election, and my immediate reaction to it: nonplussed that such a risible thesis was being aired so prominently, along with a deep realization that this was only the first shot in what would be a co-ordinated media disinformation campaign, à la Saddam's WMDs.

Chet Roman , May 31, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Actually, I think the intelligence agencies' (CIA/FBI/DNI) plan started shortly after Trump gave the names of Page and Papadopoulos to the Washington Post (CIA annex) in a meeting on March 21, 2016 outlining his foreign policy team.

Carter Page (Naval Academy distinguished graduate and Naval intelligence officer) in 2013 worked as an "under-cover employee" of the FBI in a case that convicted Evgeny Buryakov and it was reported that he was still an UCE in March of 2016. The FBI never charged or even hinted that Page was anything but innocent and patriotic. However, in October 2016 the FBI told the FISA Court that he was a spy to support spying on him. Remember the FISA Court allows spying on him AND the persons he is in contact, which means almost everyone on the Trump transition team/administration.

Here is an excerpt from an article by WSJ's Kimberley Strassel:

In "late spring" of 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed White House "National Security Council Principals" that the FBI had counterintelligence concerns about the Trump campaign. Carter Page was announced as a campaign adviser on March 21, and Paul Manafort joined the campaign March 29. The briefing likely referenced both men, since both had previously been on the radar of law enforcement. But here's what matters: With this briefing, Mr. Comey officially notified senior political operators on Team Obama that the bureau had eyes on Donald Trump and Russia. Imagine what might be done in these partisan times with such explosive information.

And what do you know? Sometime in April, the law firm Perkins Coie (on behalf the Clinton campaign) hired Fusion GPS, and Fusion turned its attention to Trump-Russia connections.

David G , May 31, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Most interesting, Chet Roman. Thanks.

My understanding is that Trump more or less pulled Page's name out of a hat to show the WashPost that he had a "foreign policy team", and thus that his campaign wasn't just a hollow sham, but that at that point he really had had no significant contact at all with Page – maybe hadn't even met him. It was just a name from his new political world that sprang to "mind" (or the Trumpian equivalent).

Of course, the Trump campaign *was* just a sham, by conventional Beltway standards: a ramshackle road show with no actual "foreign policy team", or any other policy team.

So maybe that random piece of B.S. from Trump has caused him a heap of trouble. This is part of why – no matter how bogus "Russia-gate" is – I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for old Cheeto Dust.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 6:56 am

Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal had some good advice:

"Mr. Trump has an even quicker way to bring the hostility to an end.

He can – and should – declassify everything possible, letting Congress and the public see the truth.

That would put an end to the daily spin and conspiracy theories. It would puncture Democratic arguments that the administration is seeking to gain this information only for itself, to "undermine" an investigation.

And it would end the Justice Department's campaign of secrecy, which has done such harm to its reputation with the public and with Congress."

What do you bet he does?

RickD , May 31, 2018 at 6:44 am

I have serious doubts about the article's veracity. There seems to be a thread running through it indicating an attempt to whitewash any Russian efforts to get Trump elected. To dismiss all the evidence of such efforts, and , despite this author's words, there is enough such evidence, seems more than a bit partisan.

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , May 31, 2018 at 6:55 am

What evidence? I've seen none so far. A lot of claims that there is such evidence but no one seems to ever say what it is.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:06 am

RickD – thanks for the good laugh before bedtime. I'm with Mr. Merrell and I actually want to see some evidence. Maybe it was Professor Halper in the kitchen with the paring knife.

Realist , May 31, 2018 at 9:21 am

Unfortunately, what this guy says is what most Americans still seem to believe. When I ask people what is the actual hard evidence for "Russiagate" (because I don't know of any that has been corroborated), I get a response that there have been massive examples of Russian hacks, Russian posts, tweets and internet adverts–all meant to sabotage Hillary's candidacy, and very effective, mind you. Putin has been an evil genius worthy of a comic book villain (to date myself, a regular Lex Luthor). Sez who, ask I? Sez the trustworthy American media that would never lie to the public, sez they. You know, professional paragons of virtue like Rachel Maddow and her merry band.

Nobody seems aware of the recent findings about Halpern, none seem to have a realistic handle on the miniscule scope of the Russian "offenses" against American democracy. Rachel, the NY Times and WaPo have seen to that with their sins of both commission and omission. Even the Republican party is doing a half-hearted job of defending its own power base with rigorous and openly disseminated fact checking. It's like even many of the committee chairs with long seniority are reluctant to buck the conventional narrative peddled by the media. Many have chosen to retire rather than fight the media and the Deep State. What's a better interpretation of events? Or is one to believe that the silent voices, curious retirements and political heat generated by the Dems, the prosecutors and the media are all independent variables with no connections? These old pols recognise a good demonizing when they see it, especially when directed at them.

Personally, I think that not only the GOPers should be fighting like the devil to expose the truth (which should benefit them in this circumstance) but so should the media and all the watchdog agencies (ngo's) out there because our democracy WAS hijacked, but it was NOT by the Russians. Worse than that, it was done by internal domestic enemies of the people who must be outed and punished to save the constitution and the republic, if it is not too late. All the misinformation by influential insiders and the purported purveyors of truth accompanied by the deliberate silence by those who should be chirping like birds suggests it may well be far too late.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Realist – a most excellent post! Some poll result I read about the other day mentioned that well over half of the American public do NOT believe what they are being told by the media. That was good to hear. But you are right, there are still way too many who never question anything. If I ever get in trouble, I wouldn't want those types on my jury. They'd be wide awake during the prosecution's case and fast asleep during my defense.

This is the Swamp at work on both sides of the aisle. Most of the Republicans are hanging Trump out to dry. They've probably got too much dirt they want to keep hidden themselves, so retirement looks like a good idea. Get out of Dodge while the going is good, before the real fighting begins! The Democrats are battling for all they're worth, and I've got to hand it to them – they're dirty little fighters.

Yes, democracy has been hijacked. Hard to say how long this has been going on – maybe forever. If there is anything good about Trump's presidency, it's that the Deep State is being laid out and delivered up on a silver platter for all to see.

There has never been a better chance to take back the country than this. If this opportunity passes, it will never come again. They will make sure of it.

The greatest thing that Trump could do for the country would be to declassify all documents. Jeff Sessions is either part of the Deep State or he's been scared off. He's not going to act. Rosenstein is up to his eyeballs in this mess and he's not going to act. In fact, he's preventing Nunes from getting documents. It is up to Trump to act. I just hope he's not being surrounded by a bunch of bad apple lawyers who are giving him bad advice. He needs to go above the Department of Justice and declassify ALL documents. If he did that, a lot of these people would probably die of a heart attack within a minute.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 7:11 am

You sure came out of the woodwork quickly to express your "serious doubts" RickD.

Skip Scott , May 31, 2018 at 8:07 am

Please provide "such evidence". I've yet to see any. The entire prosecution of RussiaGate has been one big Gish Gallop.

strgr-tgther , May 31, 2018 at 9:39 pm

RickD – Thank you for pointing that out! You were the only one!!! It is a very strange article leaving Putin and the Russians evidence out and also not a single word about Stromy Daniels witch is also very strange. I know Hillary would never have approved of any of this and they don't say that either.

John , June 1, 2018 at 2:26 am

What does Stormy Daniels have to do with RussiaGate?

You know that someone who committed the ultimate war crime by lying us into war to destroy Libya and re-institute slavery there, and who laughed after watching video of a man that Nelson Mandela called "The Greatest Living Champion of Human Rights on the Planet" be sodomized to death with a knife, is somehow too "moral" to do such a thing? Really?

It amazes me how utterly cultish those who support the Red Queen have shown themselves to be – without apparently realizing that they are obviously on par with the followers of Jim Jones!

strgr-tgther , June 1, 2018 at 12:17 pm

That is like saying what does income tax have to do with Al Capone. Who went to Alctraz because he did not pay income tax not for being a gangster. So we know Trump has sexual relations with Stormy Daniels, then afterward PAID her not to talk about it. So he paid Story Daniels for sex! That is Prostitution! Same thing. And that is inpeachable, using womens bodies as objects. If we don't prosecute Trump here then from now on all a John needs to say to the police is that he was not paying for sex but paying to keep quiet about it. And Cogress can get Trump for prostitution and disgracing the office of President. Without Russia investigations we would never have found out about this important fact, so that is what it has to do with Russia Gate.

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , May 31, 2018 at 4:53 am

Guccifer 2.0's American Fingerprints Reveal An Operation Made In The USA: https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/05/guccifer-2-0s-american-fingerprints-reveal-an-operation-made-in-the-usa/

[Jun 09, 2018] Sanders role in the 20016 Presidential election was a sheepdog. But it backfired as Sanders supporters were reluctant to back Hillary

Notable quotes:
"... I don't think anyone can predict whether or not Sanders would have won as a 3rd party candidate. He ran a remarkable campaign, but when he caved to the Clinton machine he lost a lot of supporters, including me. If he had stood up at the convention and talked of the DNC skullduggery exposed by Wikileaks, and said "either I run as a democrat, or I run as a Green, but I'm running", he would have at least gotten 15 pct to make the TV debates, and who knows what could have happened after that. 40 pct of registered voters didn't vote. That alone tells you it is possible he might have won. ..."
"... Instead he expected us to follow him like he was the f'ing Pied Piper to elect another Wall St. loving warmonger. That's why he gets no "pass" from me. He (and the Queen of Chaos) gave us Trump. BTW, Obama doesn't get a "pass" either. ..."
Jun 09, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

jsinton , June 8, 2018 at 8:35 am

I saw a compelling statistic the other day. Apparently, 12% of Sanders supporters eventually went on to vote Trump. If true, a very good argument can be made that this is by far the biggest "upset factor" in the election. So why can't our MSM see that?

My initial reaction to Russia-gate still holds true today: It's an easy way to deflect self-examination by the Dems on "why" they lost the election, while simultaneously smearing Trump and the Russians all in the same sentence! I felt that, in a word, Russia-gate was "bullshit".

Al Pinto , June 8, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Here's a link the referenced voting statistics for SOS (Sell Out Sanders):

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/christinerousselle/2017/08/23/wow-12-percent-of-bernie-voters-voted-for-trump-n2372351

Quote from the link above:

"More important, in the three critical states that tipped the election, Sanders-to-Trump voters ultimately gave Trump the margin he needed to win:

-- In Wisconsin, roughly 51K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 22K votes.

-- In Michigan, roughly 47K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 10K votes.

-- In Pennsylvania, roughly 116K Sanders voters backed Trump in a state he won by just 44K votes."

Yes, Sanders could have run as independent and probably still won the election over RHC and DJT, at least in my view

Disclaimer: I've changed my party affiliation just to vote for Sanders in the primary. To say that I've been disappointed in him to cave in for HRC is an understatement .

mbob , June 8, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Sanders would *not* have won. The US and the media were not ready for a third-party candidate in 2016. (Yes I know that Ross Perot won 19% of the vote in 1992. Sanders might have done better, but not enough better to win.)

Given that, he was damned either way. Had he run, your own numbers show he would have taken more from Clinton than from Trump. Trump would still have won. And Sanders (and his supporters) would have been blamed. There'd be no Russiagate: there'd be a Sandersgate. Given the magnitude of the purely made up Russiagate hysteria, can you begin to imagine what the democrats and the media would have done to Sanders and his supporters?

His political career would be over, but much more importantly, the Sanders-inspired progressive movements would have been stopped before they could even start. The democratic party would be even more Clinton-controlled and even more attached to their neoliberal/globalist agenda. Instead, Sanders is the most popular politician in the US and his supporters are growing in numbers and in strength. Sanders-inspired candidates and Sanders-inspired initiatives are making inroads.

Given the failure in 2016 of the two-party system to produce a candidate that the public wanted, it's even possible the US will be ready for a third-party candidate in 2020. It'd be terrific if that candidate was Sanders or someone who shares his agenda.

irina , June 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Alaska's 2018 race for governor is shaping up to be an actual 3-way race,
after former Senator Mark Begich threw his hat in the ring at the last minute,
filing as a Democratic candidate. Now the incumbent team of Bill Walker and
Byron Mallot are planning to run as Independents (they would have run on the
Democratic ticket if nobody filed). And there are several candidates jostling for
the Republican nomination. This will be an interesting litmus test for 2020 !

Al Pinto , June 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm

You are probably correct and it's been just my wishful thinking

On the other hand, the media had not been ready to accepted DJT for POTUS and yet, he has been elected. This indicates that people have their own evaluation method, at least a sizable number of them, instead of listening to the media.

Knowing that the MSM media is owned outright by oligarchs, it's hard to imagine that it will ever be ready for a third-party candidate. While this might be acceptable on the state level, the federal level probably requires more time than couple of years.

And even if the MSM will be ready in 2020, I would not vote for Sander. As the old saying goes, "If you burn me once, shame on you "

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm

You spell out Sander's realistic decision with crystal clarity, something I've not seen done so lucidly before. Sanders would have destroyed the progressive movement had he bolted from the Democratic party, which he promised to support when he entered the campaign, thereby giving the election to Trump. Trump won without any help from Bernie. In fact, all indications are that Bernie would have won as a Democrat, but not yet as an independent. Still far too much mindless loyalty (and chits owed) to the party. The Dems screwed themselves by sabotaging his campaign to secure the nomination for the unpopular acid-tongued Clinton. Now is when he should become the truthteller and deliver a full broadside against Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff and the other party insiders who are the actual culprits in destroying the party's future with their attempted soft coup.

Sam F , June 8, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I suspect that Sanders knows that the DNC would not back him, because he is not pleasing to their oligarchs. Likely he will continue to sheepdog liberals to the zionist/WallSt/MIC candidate. So he is not what he seems, which is his job.

mbob , June 8, 2018 at 11:04 pm

Thank you. I agree that Sanders would likely have won had he been the Democratic nominee, but not otherwise. I understand and share the profound disappointment many have that he's not our president. But I don't understand the anger directed at him. Given that he wasn't nominated, he had no choice but to do what he did. He didn't betray anyone. Nor did he cost Clinton the election.

On the other hand, I *do* think that the Democratic party did betray us. So, after 40+ years of being a registered Democrat, I left the party and registered as Independent.

Lastly, why does Obama get a pass, but not Sanders? Sanders gets criticized in ways Obama never was. Obama is an admitted globalist and neoliberal. The TPP he pushed so vigorously would have been a betrayal of all Americans who work. Obama blatantly favored Clinton, another neoliberal/globalist, as his successor.

Sanders, while admittedly imperfect, was on the right side of the TPP and most other issues. He's worked with amazing vigor to revive the progressive movement that languished under Obama. His efforts are receiving tangible results. Obama never did anything of the sort. Neither did Biden, who may be Democrat's 2020 presidential candidate.

So why so much hostility toward Sanders and so little toward Obama?

Realist , June 9, 2018 at 1:35 am

I'm with you again on your analysis, mbob. I've been a registered Dem myself for fifty years in three different states. I haven't changed my registration because I want to give them a message in their primaries that the direction they have been taking is distinctly wrong and will not be rewarded in the general elections. I don't think I will have much impact in the coming campaign, however, based on the analysis by Mike Whitney (below) that the Dems are currently skewing towards hard core military and intelligence agency candidates and running away from progressives:

"The Democratic Party has made a strategic decision to bypass candidates from its progressive wing and recruit former members of the military and intelligence agencies to compete with Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. The shift away from liberal politicians to center-right government agents and military personnel is part of a broader plan to rebuild the party so it better serves the interests of its core constituents, Wall Street, big business, and the foreign policy establishment. Democrat leaders want to eliminate left-leaning candidates who think the party should promote issues that are important to working people and replace them with career bureaucrats who will be more responsive to the needs of business. The ultimate objective of this organization-remake is to create a center-right superparty comprised almost entirely of trusted allies from the national security state who can be depended on to implement the regressive policies required by their wealthy contributors. Here's more background from Patrick Martin at the World Socialist Web Site " (Citation attached)

Whitney doesn't give Sanders a pass, basically characterising him as a Judas goat misleading progressives to vote for neoliberal Wall Street candidates, as SamF says. But then, he doesn't give Obama or Biden a pass either. Actually, there is a lot of "dislike" out there for Obama and the whole crew he recruited into his administration, e.g., Biden, Clinton, Gates, Rice, Power, Carter and Nuland, gangsters all. They campaigned as progressive peaceniks but proved themselves to be neoliberal warmongers. I will never vote for their ilk again even if Bernie begs pretty please. I don't follow messiahs or party orders. Bernie still has the support of his people who are NOT mainstream Dems of this era, but that faction of the party has little clout regardless of their appeal at the ballot box.

Skip Scott , June 9, 2018 at 7:05 am

Mbob-

I don't think anyone can predict whether or not Sanders would have won as a 3rd party candidate. He ran a remarkable campaign, but when he caved to the Clinton machine he lost a lot of supporters, including me. If he had stood up at the convention and talked of the DNC skullduggery exposed by Wikileaks, and said "either I run as a democrat, or I run as a Green, but I'm running", he would have at least gotten 15 pct to make the TV debates, and who knows what could have happened after that. 40 pct of registered voters didn't vote. That alone tells you it is possible he might have won.

Instead he expected us to follow him like he was the f'ing Pied Piper to elect another Wall St. loving warmonger. That's why he gets no "pass" from me. He (and the Queen of Chaos) gave us Trump. BTW, Obama doesn't get a "pass" either.

[Jun 09, 2018] Rotten to the Heart: Authoritarian Chickens Roosting at Home by Paul Street

Notable quotes:
"... insult to common human decency ..."
"... They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy ..."
"... going so far to the left ..."
"... climate crisi ..."
"... New York Timesapprovingly explains ..."
"... the two major political parties, in which we don't count ..."
"... inauthentic opposition ..."
"... our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule ..."
"... In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power , ..."
"... Help Street keep writing at https://www.paulstreet.org/subscribe/ ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Yes, He's Awful

Much of what liberals say about Donald Trump and the chilling political moment the Trump presidency represents is true enough.

Trump really is the arch-authoritarian malignant narcissist that liberals say he is. Trump thinks he deserves to rule the nation like an absolute monarch or some ridiculous Banana Republic dictator. He believes he's above all the law, consistent with Louis XIV's dictum L'etat, C'est Moi ("the state is me"). The notion that Trump can pardon himself from any crime really is the height of imperial arrogance.

Trump really does value nothing but the advancement of his own wealth and image. There is no person, no principle, no higher loyalty he is not willing to sacrifice on the altar of self.

Trump really is the almost perfect embodiment of venal malevolence that liberals say he is. The idiotic military parade Trump has scheduled for the next Veterans Day is an exercise in proto-fascistic, Mussolini-like imperial-presidential self-adulation.

This racist and sexist beast befouls the nation and world with his ghastly, eco-cidal presence. The sooner he draws his last undeserved breath, the better for all living things (or maybe not: Mike Pence could be worse).

The Authoritarian and Inauthentic Opposition

Fine, but why does this despicable, orange-tinted insult to common human decency occupy the White House? He holds the most powerful office in the world because the Democratic Party has long been and remains what the late liberal-left Princeton political scientist Sheldon Wolin called the Inauthentic Opposition. "Should Democrats somehow be elected," Wolin prophesied in early 2008, they would do nothing to "alter significantly the direction of society" or "substantially revers[e] the drift rightwards. The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts," Wolin wrote, "points to the crucial fact that for the poor, minorities, the working class and anti-corporatists there is no opposition party working on their behalf." The corporatist Democrats would work to "marginalize any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans."

Wolin called it. A nominal Democrat was elected president along with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2008. What followed under Barack Obama (as under his Democratic presidential predecessor Bill Clinton ) – a different and possibly more dangerous kind of malignant narcissist – was the standard "elite" neoliberal manipulation of campaign populism and identity politics in service to the reigning big-money bankrollers and their global empire. Wall Street's control of Washington and the related imperial agenda of the "Pentagon System" were advanced more effectively by the nation's first Black president than they could have been by stiff and wealthy white Republicans like John McCain or Mitt Romney. The reigning U.S. system of corporate and imperial "inverted totalitarianism" (Wolin) was given a deadly, fake-democratic re-branding. The underlying "rightward drift" sharpened, fed by a widespread and easily Republican-exploited sense of popular abandonment and betrayal, as the Democrats depressed and demobilized their own purported popular base.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did nothing to correct that problem. Quite the opposite. With a colossal campaign finance war-chest fed not just by the usual Wall Street and Silicon Valley suspects but also by many traditionally Republican big money donors who were repelled by Trump's faux "populism," the transparently corporate establishmentarian candidate Clinton could barely deign to pretend to be a progressive. She ran almost completely on the argument that Trump was too terrible and unqualified to be president. Making candidate character and qualities her sole selling point was a critical and historic mistake given the angry and anti-establishment mood of the electorate and her own epic unpopularity. So was calling Trump's flyover county supporters a "basket of" racist and sexist " deplorables " in a sneering comment (one that accurately reflected her aristocratic "progressive"-neoliberal world view) to rich Manhattan campaign donors.

Authoritarianism? Single-Payer national health insurance had long been supported by most U.S.-Americans when Obama ascended to the White House. Who cared? Not the "radical socialist" Barack Obama. Like the Clintons before him, Obama coldly froze Single Payer advocates out of the health insurance policy debate. He worked with the leading drug and insurance corporations and their Wall Street backers to craft a richly corporatist "reform" that preserved those companies' power to write their super-profits into the obscenely exaggerated cost of American medical care.

As our greatest intellectual Noam Chomsky noted two years ago, Obama "punished more whistle-blowers than all previous presidents combined." The Obama administration repeatedly defended George W. Bush's position on behalf of indefinite detention, maintaining that prisoners (US-Americans included) in the US global "war on [of] terror" were not entitled to habeas corpus or protection from torture or execution. Obama carried overseas assassination (by drone and Special Forces) – execution (even of U.S. citizens) without trial or even formal charge – to new levels. Regarding Obama's drone assassination program, Chomsky wrote acidly about how "the [Obama] Justice Department explained that the constitutional guarantee of due process, tracing to Magna Carta, is now satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch alone. The constitutional lawyer in the White House agreed. King John (1199-1216) might have nodded with satisfaction."

Hillary Clinton's 2016 Vice Presidential ticket partner, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), is currently a leading sponsor of the " Forever AUMF 2018" (SJRes 59 ) (Authority for the Use of Military Force). As the ACLU's Renee Parsons explains , the measure would " eliminate Congress' sole, inviolate Constitutional authority 'to declare war.'" It "would remove Congress from its statutory authority as it transfers 'uninterrupted' authority on 'the use of all necessary and appropriate force' to one individual." That would garner another thumbs-up from King John.

Such examples are just tips of the richly bipartisan "deep state" iceberg of authoritarian class and imperial rule that lurks beneath the visible-state surface dramas of "our" so-called and oxymoronic "capitalist democracy." (See my book They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy for a more comprehensive account, just one of many studies [here's a recent one ] that document the eclipse of anything like democracy in New Gilded Age America)

The Democrats: Corrupt, not Feckless

The Democrats could well have won the 2016 election by running Bernie Sanders. Bernie would have tapped popular anger from the center-left, advancing a policy agenda and anti-plutocratic sentiments consistent with longstanding majority-progressive public opinion in the U.S. But so what? The Democratic nomination process was rigged against Sanders for some very good ruling-class reasons. As William Kaufman told Barbara Ehrenreich on Facebook last year, "The Democrats aren't feckless, inept, or stupid, unable to 'learn' what it takes to win. They are corrupt. They do not want to win with an authentically progressive program because it would threaten the economic interests of their main corporate donor base The Democrats know exactly what they're doing. They have a business model: sub-serving the interests of the corporate elite."

The reigning corporate Democrats would rather lose to the right, even to a proto-fascistic white nationalist and eco-exterminist right, than lose to the left, even to a mildly progressive social democratic left within their own party.

Among other things, Russiagate is the Inauthentic Opposition, following its business model, doing its job, working to cover its tracks by throwing the debacle of its corporatist politics down Orwell's memory hole and attributing its self-made defeat to Russia's allegedly powerful interference in our supposed democracy. Russiagate is meant to provide corporate Democrats cover not only for 2016 but also for 2018 and 2020. It advances a narrative that lets the Democrats continue nominating business-friendly neoliberal shills and imperialists who pretend to be progressive while they are owned by the nation's homegrown oligarchs. This year's crop of Democratic Congressional candidates is loaded with military and intelligence veterans, a reflection of the Democrats' determination to run as the true party of empire.

"Some Discipline and Pragmatism to the Oval Office"

Under the cover of Russiagate, the pinstripe politicos atop the nation's not-so leftmost major party seem to have the Sanders wing under control. Clintonite Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez purged progressive, Sanders Democrats from leading positions in the DNC last fall. Bernie-endorsed candidates have flailed in the Democrats' 2018 Congressional primaries . The not-so "socialist" Sanders' not-so revolutionary "political [though not social] revolution" seems largely spent, skewered on the fork of a major party electoral-industrial-complex it falsely promised to transform from within. In the Iowa Democratic gubernatorial primary last Tuesday, the progressive Democrat union member and "Our Revolution" candidate Cathy Glasson was trounced by the vapid and centrist but super-wealthy businessman Fred Hubbell, who self-financed his campaign with millions of dollars.

I recently watched a "liberal" morning CNN talking head salivate over the prospect of the Democrats running a billionaire business mogul who "shares the party's world view" – someone like the just-retired Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. The latte and cappuccino mogul recently and absurdly ripped the Democratic Party for " going so far to the left ." Sounding like a once-traditional Republican, Schultz elaborated :

"I say to myself, 'How are we going to pay for these things,' in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don't think that's realistic. I think we got to get away from these falsehoods and start talking about the truth and not false promises I think the greatest threat domestically to the country is this $21 trillion debt hanging over the cloud of America and future generations. The only way we're going to get out of that is we've got to grow the economy, in my view, 4 percent or greater. And then we have to go after entitlements."

How to pay for progressive policies long but irrelevantly supported by most U.S.-Americans ? With (to mention some other measures that have long been quaintly and trivially preferred by most U.S. citizens) seriously progressive taxation including a financial transaction tax and with a long-overdue transfer of taxpayer dollars from the bloated and monumentally mass-murderous Pentagon budget. There's nothing remotely mysterious about how we could fund Single Payer and green jobs programs that would help save the nation and (oh, by the way) the human race from the actual "greatest threat to the country" (and to the world): environmental catastrophe , fed by toxic capitalist "growth" (let's hit "4 percent of higher"!) and with the climate crisi s ("climate change" does not begin to capture to the gravity of the problem) in the lead.

Here's the accurate translation for "go after entitlements": (1) slash Social Security and Medicare further; (2) use the fiscal crisis created by arch-plutocratic tax cuts for the already absurdly rich and by the persistently gargantuan "defense" (empire) budget as an excuse to decimate further the already weak U.S. social safety net and to (in what promises to be an epic windfall for Wall Street) privatize the nation's old age insurance system. The real entitlement that matters most – the inherited oligarchic class rule and despotism of capital over workers, citizens, and ever more poisoned commons – remains untouched and is indeed expanded in coffee baron Schultz's glorious "liberal" agenda,

All of which is fairly consistent with the Wall Street- and corporate-friendly records and agenda of the Democratic Party during and between the ugly "neoliberal" years when a Georgia peanut farmer (deregulation leader Jimmy Carter) and two silver-tongued Ivy League law school graduates (NAFTA champion and public assistance-wrecker Bill Clinton and big bank bailout champion and Trans Pacific Partnership advocate Barack Obama) occupied the White House. I expect the dismal Democrats to nominate the longtime centrist politician Joe "Regular Guy" Biden (who claims he would have kicked Trump's ass in high school ) or the newly hatched faux-progressive Senator and former longtime prosecutor Kamala "Obama 2.0" Harris (D-CA), but, hey, why not go full corporate monty and try to put an actual full-on corporate CEO in the White House in the name of the Democratic Party's "liberal world view"? As the "liberal" New York Timesapprovingly explains :

"The election of Mr. Trump, a real estate developer and reality television personality, certainly opened that door of opportunity, making it clear that American voters were willing to elect a president with no prior government experience .American companies -- including Starbucks -- have become more political in recent years, wading into issues like immigration, gun rights and climate policy And at a moment when many voters say they are frustrated with partisan gridlock and ineffective government programs, some believe that an efficiency-minded business executive might bring some discipline and pragmatism to the Oval Office."

Besides Schultz, other corporate CEOs I've heard and read self-described liberals discuss as potentially desirable presidential candidates include Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Facebook's spooky cult-leader Mark Zuckerberg, and even the JP Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. What the Hell: why not drop the pretense of independence from the nation's corporate and financial dictatorship and run an actual corporate or financial chieftain for president?

That would be an act of oligarchic honesty on the part of the dismal dollar Dems. "I like the idea of Dimon," one left correspondent writes me: "maybe with him as a candidate people would finally wake up to the fact that the Democrats are the real problem." Don't hold your breath. "Because," another comrade tells me, "being a ruthless plutocrat is their world view."

"Trump is Terrible, So Let's Give Him More Spying and Killing Powers!"

What is the Democrats' leading cry? That the terrible Trump is truly terrible – and a tool of Russia. And, of course, the "terrible" part is all too terribly true – the Russia part not so much. But after you've bemoaned the terribleness of Trump for the ten thousandth time, are you ready to get serious about the systemic and richly bipartisan, oligarchic context within which Trump has emerged? "The Trump administration ," Chris Hedges reminded us on Truthdig two weeks ago, "did not rise like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy . The problem is not Trump," writes Hedges. "It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don't count " (emphasis added).

And if Trump is as much of a dangerous and authoritarian monster as liberal Democrats say he is (and he is), then why, pray tell, have most Democrats in Congress been willing to grant him record levels of military funding along with re-authorized and expanded warrantless surveillance and spying powers ? Why are Tim Kaine and other top Democrats ready to grant him (and his successors) a freaking "Forever AUMF"? Hello? What does that say about the not-so leftmost of the two reigning corporate parties? The glaring schizophrenia ("Trump is a monster, let's give him more war and spying powers!") is yet more proof that the Democrats are indeed an inauthentic opposition , committed to the same imperial and police state Trump heads today. They are merely waiting to put one of their ruling-class own atop the same exact and in fact richly bipartisan structures.

What Goes Around: "Trampling on the Helpless Abroad" Comes Home

A final matter concerns the problem of imperial chickens coming home to roost. Liberals don't like to hear it, but the ugly, richly documented historical fact of the matter is that their party of binary and tribal choice has long joined Republicans in backing and indeed crafting a U.S. foreign policy that has imposed authoritarian regimes (and profoundly undemocratic interventions including invasions and occupations) the world over . The roster of authoritarian and often-mass murderous governments the U.S. military and CIA and allied transnational business interests have backed, sometimes even helped create, with richly bipartisan support, is long indeed.

Last fall, Illinois Green Party leader Mike Whitney ran some fascinating numbers on the 49 nation-states that the right-wing "human rights" organization Freedom House identified as "dictatorships" in 2016. Leaving aside Freedom House's problematic inclusion of Russia, Cuba, and Iran on its list, the most remarkable thing about Whitney's research was his finding that the U.S. offered military assistance to 76 percent of these governments. (The only exceptions were Belarus, China, Central African Republic, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria.). "Most politically aware people," Whitney wrote:

"know of some of the more highly publicized instances examples of [U.S. support for foreign dictatorships], such as the tens of billions of dollars' worth of US military assistance provided to the beheading capital of the world, the misogynistic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and the repressive military dictatorship now in power in Egypt apologists for our nation's imperialistic foreign policy try to rationalize such support, arguing that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are exceptions to the rule. But my survey demonstrates that our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule ."

The Pentagon and State Department data Whitney used came from Fiscal Year 2015. It dated from the next-to-last year of the Obama administration, for which so many liberals recall with misplaced nostalgia. Freedom House's list should have included Honduras, ruled by a vicious right-wing government that Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped install in a June 2009 military coup .

The problem here isn't just liberal hypocrisy and double standards. The deeper issue is that, as the great American iconoclast Mark Twain knew, you cannot maintain democracy at home while conducting an authoritarian empire abroad. During the United States' blood-soaked invasion and occupation of the Philippines, Twain penned an imaginary history of the twentieth-century United States. "It was impossible," Twain wrote, "to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home."

"Just a decade after Twain wrote those prophetic words," the historian Alfred W. McCoy has observed , "colonial police methods came home to serve as a template for the creation of an American internal security apparatus in wartime." The nation's first Red Scare, which crushed left and labor movements during and after World War One, drew heavily on the lessons and practices of colonial suppression in the Philippines and Cuba. As McCoy shows in his latest book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power , the same basic process – internal U.S. repression informed and shaped by authoritarian and imperial practices abroad and justified by alleged external threats to the "homeland" – has recurred ever since. Today, the rise of an unprecedented global surveillance state overseen by the National Security Agency has cost the US the trust of many of its top global allies (under Bush43 and Obama44, not just under Trump45) while undermining civil liberties and democracy within as beyond the U.S.

"The fetters imposed on liberty at home," James Madison wrote in 1799 , "have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad." Those are wise words well worth revisiting amidst the current endless Russiagate madness, calculated among other things to tell us that the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the nation's vast and ever more ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance state are on our side.

Help Street keep writing at https://www.paulstreet.org/subscribe/

[Jun 09, 2018] What Goes Around: "Trampling on the Helpless Abroad" Comes Home

Notable quotes:
"... our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule ..."
"... The problem here isn't just liberal hypocrisy and double standards. The deeper issue is that, as the great American iconoclast Mark Twain knew, you cannot maintain democracy at home while conducting an authoritarian empire abroad. ..."
"... "It was impossible," Twain wrote, "to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home." ..."
"... "Just a decade after Twain wrote those prophetic words," the historian Alfred W. McCoy has observed , "colonial police methods came home to serve as a template for the creation of an American internal security apparatus in wartime." The nation's first Red Scare, which crushed left and labor movements during and after World War One, drew heavily on the lessons and practices of colonial suppression in the Philippines and Cuba. As McCoy shows in his latest book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power , ..."
"... "The fetters imposed on liberty at home," James Madison wrote in 1799 , "have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad." Those are wise words well worth revisiting amidst the current endless Russiagate madness, calculated among other things to tell us that the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the nation's vast and ever more ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance state are on our side. ..."
Jun 09, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

A final matter concerns the problem of imperial chickens coming home to roost. Liberals don't like to hear it, but the ugly, richly documented historical fact of the matter is that their party of binary and tribal choice has long joined Republicans in backing and indeed crafting a U.S. foreign policy that has imposed authoritarian regimes (and profoundly undemocratic interventions including invasions and occupations) the world over . The roster of authoritarian and often-mass murderous governments the U.S. military and CIA and allied transnational business interests have backed, sometimes even helped create, with richly bipartisan support, is long indeed.

Last fall, Illinois Green Party leader Mike Whitney ran some fascinating numbers on the 49 nation-states that the right-wing "human rights" organization Freedom House identified as "dictatorships" in 2016. Leaving aside Freedom House's problematic inclusion of Russia, Cuba, and Iran on its list, the most remarkable thing about Whitney's research was his finding that the U.S. offered military assistance to 76 percent of these governments. (The only exceptions were Belarus, China, Central African Republic, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria.). "Most politically aware people," Whitney wrote:

"know of some of the more highly publicized instances examples of [U.S. support for foreign dictatorships], such as the tens of billions of dollars' worth of US military assistance provided to the beheading capital of the world, the misogynistic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and the repressive military dictatorship now in power in Egypt apologists for our nation's imperialistic foreign policy try to rationalize such support, arguing that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are exceptions to the rule. But my survey demonstrates that our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule ."

The Pentagon and State Department data Whitney used came from Fiscal Year 2015. It dated from the next-to-last year of the Obama administration, for which so many liberals recall with misplaced nostalgia. Freedom House's list should have included Honduras, ruled by a vicious right-wing government that Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped install in a June 2009 military coup .

The problem here isn't just liberal hypocrisy and double standards. The deeper issue is that, as the great American iconoclast Mark Twain knew, you cannot maintain democracy at home while conducting an authoritarian empire abroad. During the United States' blood-soaked invasion and occupation of the Philippines, Twain penned an imaginary history of the twentieth-century United States. "It was impossible," Twain wrote, "to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home."

"Just a decade after Twain wrote those prophetic words," the historian Alfred W. McCoy has observed , "colonial police methods came home to serve as a template for the creation of an American internal security apparatus in wartime." The nation's first Red Scare, which crushed left and labor movements during and after World War One, drew heavily on the lessons and practices of colonial suppression in the Philippines and Cuba. As McCoy shows in his latest book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power , the same basic process -- internal U.S. repression informed and shaped by authoritarian and imperial practices abroad and justified by alleged external threats to the "homeland" -- has recurred ever since. Today, the rise of an unprecedented global surveillance state overseen by the National Security Agency has cost the US the trust of many of its top global allies (under Bush43 and Obama44, not just under Trump45) while undermining civil liberties and democracy within as beyond the U.S.

"The fetters imposed on liberty at home," James Madison wrote in 1799 , "have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad." Those are wise words well worth revisiting amidst the current endless Russiagate madness, calculated among other things to tell us that the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the nation's vast and ever more ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance state are on our side.

Help Street keep writing at https://www.paulstreet.org/subscribe/

[Jun 06, 2018] "Neoliberalism will literally be the death of democracy." In fact, that was the plan.

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Friarbird -> 64newc , 3 Jun 2018 17:56

"Neoliberalism will literally be the death of democracy."

In fact, that's the plan.
Openly alluded to by the IPA's Gary Johns;

".... a cardinal tenet of libertarianism is to keep democracy in its place, to regard it as an activity of limited application. Government's role is to depoliticise much of life, to make it less amenable to public dispute....."

From Margo Kingston's 'Not happy, John !' (2005).
Get on to the 'Catallaxy' site.
You'll soon find out what Libertarian sociopaths think of democracy.

Scryboy -> spharks , 3 Jun 2018 17:55
I actually think many people go along with neoliberalism because they perceive it will turn out well for them. It's the every man for himself Darwinian approach to life, but the LNP reflects that view most closely. It's the one where everyone is a welfare scrounger, but if for some reason you end up needing welfare, you deserve it because of all the tax you paid, even though you've been minimising your tax for decades.
64newc , 3 Jun 2018 17:44
Neoliberalism will literally be the death of democracy.

[Jun 06, 2018] The other great con is convincing the public that voting for anyone but the two major parties is "wasting your vote".

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Purge, 3 Jun 2018 17:46

The other great con is convincing the public that voting for anyone but the two major parties is "wasting your vote". This political duopoly means only those interests are ever represented and that has also led to Australia's systematic decline. Yes it's true that the majors hold majority in parliament but we've already seen that voting below the line can work- Labour had to take notes from the Greens last time they held power. Despite how hopeless it all seems we do still have the power to affect change as long as we- all of us- stop swallowing the lies.
BobsWorth2 , 3 Jun 2018 17:35
The current two party system is like a coin. On one side we have the head of Malcolm Turnbull and on the other Bill Shorten. When it comes to the toss up the corporations and wealthy get to call heads.
BelindaJonas -> Tom Dalyell , 3 Jun 2018 17:30
There is perhaps more honour amongst thieves? Hard to imagine there being less.
B.J.

[Jun 06, 2018] The divisive societal aspects of free market fundamentalism

Jun 06, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

AsDusty, 3 Jun 2018 17:43

Half the population prefers a politics that is racist and unethical, that demonises the poor and idolises the rich, that eschews community and embraces amoral individuality. These people don't care about the economic inconsistencies of neo-liberalism, they are far more attracted to the divisive societal aspects of free market fundamentalism.

[Jun 06, 2018] It's apparent that elections can be won by throwing enough resources into well aimed propaganda

Slightly edited Guardian comment...
How many voters even have any idea of what "neoliberalism" is? I would be thinking not many, especially as the Murdoch press don't even use the term in their publications. They might feel the effects , but without any conceptualisation of its underpinning ideas and ideology be less likely to be able to identify policy which reflects neoliberal values. And I'm sure the powers that be like it that way.
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Alan Ritchie , 3 Jun 2018 21:58

For that last 40 years some variant of neoliberalism has been the predominant dogma. Unfortunately once we moved on from hunter gatherer to an agriculture supported society we lost the connections to each other that existed at the tribal level. That sense of community does not flourish in our eight thousand year experiment with city based civilisation. It seems to only do so during times of disruption and war.

Personally my experience of living in a socially cohesive society was the 30 year period leading up to the reinfestation of the neoliberal curse that started in the 80's with Reagan and Thatcher.

So neoliberalism is the norm, socialism requires more work. We can't take it for granted that society will naturally gravitate towards egalitarianism.

Turnbull and his LNP cohort can openly mock the population with impunity safe in the knowledge that a small but powerful and rich minority, joined by group think and supported by exclusive membership institutions, schools, corporations, have a shared goal of controlling the monetary, economic system and government.

It's apparent that elections can be won by throwing enough resources into well aimed propaganda, (cue Murdoch). Cambridge Analytica was brutally effective at the last elections in the US and UK. Anyone who believes a similar scam won't be tried in Australia is being naive.
So people will still vote against their long term interests and we will likely still get another dose of self inflicted neoliberalism at the next election.

1MadUncle , 3 Jun 2018 21:51
The real problem will be that no where near enough voters will read this article or pieces like it. The Murdoch press for example would never publish it and the content won't be seriously discussed on morning TV. The ABC wouldn't dare mention a word of it.

I don't think it is all doom and gloom. I have 12 grandchildren, some now teenagers. They and their kind are smarter than we give them credit for and they won't put up with the crap we have bequeathed them. They don't get information from main stream media and although their social media contains an enormous amount of rubbish, embedded are real grievances about their lot in life. Soon they will vote. Goodbye and good riddance to the conservatives.

PDGFD1 -> sarkany , 3 Jun 2018 21:39

It is actually just a pan-national oligarchy, where legislatures and media are compromised into acceptance of destructive and unethical policies by Big Money.

Worthy of repetition since I'm not able to give you more than one 'uptick'.

In this instance, I very much suspect it will be the staggering load put on the natural environment that will spin the current "Eternal Empires" "down the sinkhole of history".
Sadly for everyone and everything else.

nogapsallowed , 3 Jun 2018 21:26
Neoliberalism wins by manipulating public distraction. The so-called reality shows of mainstream media are the furthest flight imaginable from lived experience, and even the serious news outlets succumb to the Peyton Place of Barnaby's baby and a disappeared Melania Trump. All of which makes a considered analysis such as the one republished here such a notable exception.
BlackAbbott -> familygardener , 3 Jun 2018 21:22
That man has the real meaning of neoliberalism. Neoliberal way is not incompatible with unions, wages, social services or governments that protect their citizens.


His way there should be no division and no angst of politics. Maybe that's where the problem is/ His way is not the way of modern politics and greed. Being rich does not mean being greedy. But that is what modern neoliberam with its free markets mantra have come to be seen as.

My Grandfather and Great Grandfather, would see this man as being correct with a very good attitude. He would see Wall St and many financial businesses as greedy and managed by bullies and tyrants.

[Jun 06, 2018] Inverted totalitarism described by a Guardia commenter

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Bearmuchly, 3 Jun 2018 16:37

Despite the huge changes in communication in the last several decades and the ever increasing levels of education in our society, politics have failed to engage the vast majority and that cohort of the cynical, the alienated, the disinterested, the lazy, the simply care less continues to grow.

In the last decade the only cause that evoked passion and engaged a larger number, finally forcing our elected members to act was same sex marriage .....a crescendo that took years to generate.

With the complicity of our media and the decline of that part of education that teaches analysis, social psychology and political philosophy (let alone teaches about basic political structures and mechanisms) our level of disengagement from the political process appears to be at an all time high. The performance of our legislators has become increasingly unaccountable and purely self interested .... we have re-created the "political class" of pre-war times where alienation was based on a lack of education and awareness and a sense of inferiority and powerlessness DESPITE our vastly improved communication, access to information and educational standards (not to mention affluence).

Basically, we have "dumbed down" to the extent where passion and ideology in politics is now the preserve of fewer and fewer. In a democracy this trend is of massive concern and a threat to its sustainability.... it also completely suits those that are focused on concentrating power and wealth... the more that don't give a toss the less likely you are to be encumbered by limitations, social considerations, ethics and morality.

Until we re-engage far larger numbers into the political process, raise the levels of awareness of political thought and choices, stop dumbing down and re-inject some broader passion and participation into our political processes then vested interests will continue to dominate.....and democracy will become increasingly undemocratic !

[Jun 05, 2018] Some people think that they are prisoners of neoliberal democracy.

Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Stephen J. June 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm

I believe we are prisoners of so-called "democracy"
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
July 13, 2017
The Prisoners of "Democracy"

Screwing the masses was the forte of the political establishment. It did not really matter which political party was in power, or what name it went under, they all had one ruling instinct, tax, tax, and more taxes. These rapacious politicians had an endless appetite for taxes, and also an appetite for giving themselves huge raises, pension plans, expenses, and all kinds of entitlements. In fact one of them famously said, "He was entitled to his entitlements." Public office was a path to more, and more largesse all paid for by the compulsory taxes of the masses that were the prisoners of "democracy."
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

[Jun 05, 2018] The importance of identity wedge in two party voting

Jun 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

anon [317] Disclaimer , June 5, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Rational

responding to PG's comments and the comments of Rational Zionist, among them, being many NY Intellectuals, invented mugged reality (Neoconism), but party slithering is a another name for divide and conquer.

Fudmier's example as to how to control the vote:

You present an idea to 6 people (there are seven votes including yours, you are the one); virtually everyone is indifferent or against your idea. Before the vote, how can you make the outcome favorable to your side? Divide the opinions on a related subject so that the people must vote for your idea if they take a side on the related subject. I am always either a Democrat or a Republican, cannot vote for anything the other party presents, no matter how good it is. So make the idea Republican or Democratic.

Here is a simple example:

no division     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Total votes 7. Voted for me 1 (myself only)                   I lose
divide by party D R D R D R R Total votes 7. Voted for me (3 republican votes and myself) 4 I win

As the simple analysis suggests: it is easy to win a vote when the idea is Glued to the two AAs (glue, attached, or associated). The unpopular idea Glued and attached or associated with the political party issue splits the vote (such activity divides and weakens the political power inherent in the voting power of the masses). For example, if we make the vote to turn off all of the drinking water. the only vote will be mine, but if we say turn off the drinking water to all but those who are green, we divide the vote. and control the outcome.

This brings us to the democratic dilemma: should the non green people be included in vote on that issue? In fact, it is exactly this problem that those who wrote the constitution intended to establish.

The aggressive foreign policies and national security positions mentioned by PG have been attached to the standard Jewish line; in other words the duty of a Jew to recognize him/herself as a Jew and to vote as a member of the clan has been glued to the AAs. It is nearly impossible to vote for Jewish interest and not vote to demolish Palestinian homes.

I am hoping this list can develop ways to analyze current events into a set of fair play rules, reading, learning and analyzing books, journals and events and writing about them is not enough; some kind of action is needed to bring into reality the findings of these readings, learning and analysis produce. The best way to offset misleading, false or invented propaganda is to force it to into a rule based debunking process. Simple rules that everyone can learn, understand and adopt.

Capitalist Russia and its resources represent a major competitor to the resources and schemes of the capitalist neocon led West. Hating Russia is like being a democrat or a republican, it keeps the pharaoh options open.

[Jun 05, 2018] Is Democracy to Blame for Our Present Crisis by Alexander William Salter

Notable quotes:
"... Just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it is self-governing, as America is quickly discovering. ..."
"... John Adams warned that democracy "soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." ..."
"... James Madison was equally concerned with the pernicious consequences of large-scale democracy, arguing that democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." ..."
"... Even George Washington had his doubts about whether democracy was consistent with wise government. Democracies are slow to correct their errors, and those who try to guide the public down a wise course frequently become the object of popular hatred ..."
"... What we've got now is the tyranny of the ..."
"... minority . It is not "the people" who govern the nation. Instead, the state is run by permanent civil servants, largely unaccountable to any popular control, and professional politicians who are usually hand-picked by party insiders (Hillary over Bernie, anyone?). This has made it such that the actual 2016 election was more akin to ratifying a foregone conclusion than a substantive choice over the direction of future policy. ..."
"... If you're a student of politics, you've probably heard of the iron law of oligarchy . The phrase was coined by Robert Michels, an early 20th-century social scientist, in his landmark study of political parties. The iron law of oligarchy is simple: minorities rule majorities, because the former are organized and the latter are not. This is true even within democratic institutions. As power was concentrated in the federal government, the complexity of the tasks confronting civil servants and legislators greatly increased. This required a durable, hierarchical set of institutions for coordinating the behavior of political insiders. Durability enabled political insiders to coordinate their plans across time, which was particularly useful in avoiding the pesky constraints posed by regular elections. Hierarchy enabled political insiders to coordinate plans across space, making a permanently larger government both more feasible and more attractive for elites. The result, in retrospect, was predictable: a massive executive branch bureaucracy that's now largely autonomous, and a permissive Congress that's more than happy to serve as an institutionalized rubber stamp. ..."
"... One of the cruel ironies of the political status quo is that democracy is unquestioningly associated with self-governance, yet in practice, the more democratic a polity grows, the less self-governing it remains. ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it is self-governing, as America is quickly discovering.

Something has gone wrong with America's political institutions. While the United States is, on the whole, competently governed, there are massive problems lurking just beneath the surface. This became obvious during the 2016 presidential election. Each party's nominee was odious to a large segment of the public; the only difference seemed to be whether it was an odious insurgent or an odious careerist. Almost two years on, things show little signs of improving.

What's to blame? One promising, though unpopular, answer is: democracy itself. When individuals act collectively in large groups and are not held responsible for the consequences of their behavior, decisions are unlikely to be reasonable or prudent. This design flaw in popular government was recognized by several Founding Fathers. John Adams warned that democracy "soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

James Madison was equally concerned with the pernicious consequences of large-scale democracy, arguing that democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

Even George Washington had his doubts about whether democracy was consistent with wise government. Democracies are slow to correct their errors, and those who try to guide the public down a wise course frequently become the object of popular hatred : "It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evil of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure," Washington wrote. "It is to be lamented, nevertheless, that the remedies are so slow, and that those, who may wish to apply them seasonably are not attended to before they suffer in person, in interest and in reputation."

Is Democracy in a Death Spiral? Is Democracy to Blame for the Loneliness Epidemic?

Given these opinions, it is unsurprising that the U.S. Constitution contains so many other mechanisms for ensuring responsible government. Separation of powers and checks and balances are necessary to protect the people from themselves. To the extent our political institutions are deteriorating, the Founders' first instinct would be to look for constitutional changes, whether formal or informal, that have expanded the scope of democracy and entrusted to the electorate greater power than they can safely wield, and reverse them.

This theory is simple, elegant, and appealing. But it's missing a crucial detail.

American government is largely insulated from the tyranny of the majority. But at least since the New Deal, we've gone too far in the opposite direction. What we've got now is the tyranny of the minority . It is not "the people" who govern the nation. Instead, the state is run by permanent civil servants, largely unaccountable to any popular control, and professional politicians who are usually hand-picked by party insiders (Hillary over Bernie, anyone?). This has made it such that the actual 2016 election was more akin to ratifying a foregone conclusion than a substantive choice over the direction of future policy.

But now we confront a puzzle: the rise of the permanent government did coincide with increased democratization. The administrative-managerial state, and its enablers in Congress, followed from creative reinterpretations of the Constitution that allowed voters to make decisions that the Ninth and Tenth amendments -- far and away the most ignored portion of the Bill of Rights -- should have forestalled. As it turns out, not only are both of these observations correct, they are causally related . Increasing the scope of popular government results in the loss of popular control.

If you're a student of politics, you've probably heard of the iron law of oligarchy . The phrase was coined by Robert Michels, an early 20th-century social scientist, in his landmark study of political parties. The iron law of oligarchy is simple: minorities rule majorities, because the former are organized and the latter are not. This is true even within democratic institutions. As power was concentrated in the federal government, the complexity of the tasks confronting civil servants and legislators greatly increased. This required a durable, hierarchical set of institutions for coordinating the behavior of political insiders. Durability enabled political insiders to coordinate their plans across time, which was particularly useful in avoiding the pesky constraints posed by regular elections. Hierarchy enabled political insiders to coordinate plans across space, making a permanently larger government both more feasible and more attractive for elites. The result, in retrospect, was predictable: a massive executive branch bureaucracy that's now largely autonomous, and a permissive Congress that's more than happy to serve as an institutionalized rubber stamp.

The larger the electorate, and the more questions the electorate is asked to decide, the more important it is for the people who actually govern to take advantage of economies of scale in government. If the federal government were kept small and simple, there would be little need for a behemoth public sector. Developing durable and hierarchical procedures for organizing political projects would be unfeasible for citizen-statesmen. But those same procedures become essential for technocratic experts and career politicians.

One of the cruel ironies of the political status quo is that democracy is unquestioningly associated with self-governance, yet in practice, the more democratic a polity grows, the less self-governing it remains. This is why an upsurge of populism won't cure what ails the body politic. It will either provoke the permanent and unaccountable government into tightening its grip, or those who actually hold the power will fan the flames of popular discontent, channeling that energy towards their continued growth and entrenchment. We have enough knowledge to make the diagnosis, but not to prescribe the treatment. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing what political health looks like. G.K. Chesterton said it best in his insight about the relationship between democracy and self-governance:

The democratic contention is that government is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly . In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves

The first step towards renewed self-governance must be to reject the false dichotomy between populism and oligarchy. A sober assessment shows that they are one in the same.

Alexander William Salter is an assistant professor in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. He is also the Comparative Economics Research Fellow at TTU's Free Market Institute. See more at his website: www.awsalter.com .



Steve Miller June 4, 2018 at 11:49 pm

This was going fine until the author decided to blame civil servants for our nation's problems. How about an electoral system that denies majority rule? A Congress that routinely votes against things the vast majority want? A system that vastly overpriveleges corporations and hands them billions while inequality grows to the point where the UN warns that our country resembles a third world kleptocracy? Nope, sez this guy. It's just because there are too many bureaucrats.
tz , , June 5, 2018 at 12:37 am
He avoids the 17th amendment which was one of the barriers to the mob, and the 19th that removed the power of individual states to set the terms of suffrage.
Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Katy Stanton could simply have moved to Wyoming.
It might be useful to only have property taxpayers vote.
And the problem is the left. When voters rejected Gay Marriage (57% in California!) or benefits for illegals, unelected and unaccountable judges reversed the popular will.
S , , June 5, 2018 at 3:38 am
I find your use of the word populism interesting. Inasmuch the word is generally used when the decisions of the populace is different from that which the technocrats or oligarchs would have made for them. The author being part of the technocratic elite thinks that he and his ilk know best. This entire article is just a lot of arguments in support of this false and self serving idea.
Realist , , June 5, 2018 at 5:11 am
When a populous isn't controlled by the electorate democracy is dead.
Rotunda , , June 5, 2018 at 5:47 am
The libertarian political philosopher Jason Brennan made small waves with his book "Against Democracy", published last year.
Voltaire's Ghost , , June 5, 2018 at 6:03 am
Making the federal government "small" will not solve the problems the author describes or really alludes to. The power vacum left by a receding federal government will just be occupied by an unaccountable corporate sector. The recent dismantling of Toys R Us by a spawn of Bain Capital is the most recent manifestation of the twisted and pathological thought process that calls itself "free market capitalism." A small federal government did not end child labor, fight the Depression, win WW II or pioneer space exploration. Conservatives love the mythology of a government "beast" that must be decapitated so that "Liberty" may reign. There are far more dangerous forces at work in American society that inhibit liberty and tax our personal treasuries than the federal government.
TJ Martin , , June 5, 2018 at 9:23 am
1) The US is not and never has been a ' democracy ' It is a Democratic Republic ' which is not the same as a ' democracy ' ( one person -- one vote period ) of which there is only one in the entire world . Switzerland

2) A large part of what has brought us to this point is the worn out well past its sell by Electoral College which not only no longer serves its intended purpose .

3) But the major reason why we're here to put it bluntly is the ' Collective Stupidity of America ' we've volitionally become : addled by celebrity , addicted to entertainment and consumed by conspiracy theory rather than researching the facts

cj , , June 5, 2018 at 9:41 am
The US has a democracy? Were'nt two of the last 3 presidents placed into office via a minority of the vote?

We have instead what Sheldon Wolin called a 'managed democracy'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guided_democracy

It's time to end the pretension that we live in a democracy. It maybe useful to claim so when the US is trying to open markets or control resources in 3rd world countries. It's at that time that we're 'spreading democracy'. Instead it's like spreading manure.

Jon , , June 5, 2018 at 9:43 am
The managerial state arose to quell the threat of class warfare. Ironically those who sought to organize the proletariat under a vision of class-based empowerment clamored for the same. The response over time was fighting fire with fire as the cliche goes becoming what the opposition has sought but only in a modified form.

If we were able to devise a way for distributive justice apart from building a bloated bureaucracy then perhaps this emergence of oligarchy could have been averted. What alternative(s) exist for an equitable distribution of wealth and income to ameliorate poverty? Openly competitive (so-called) markets? And the charity of faith-based communities? I think not.

Youknowho , , June 5, 2018 at 10:39 am
Democracy, like all systems requires maintenace. Bernard Shaw said that the flaw of pragmatism is that any system that is not completely idiotic will work PROVIDED THAT SOMEONE PUT EFFORT IN MAKING IT WORK.

We have come to think that Democracy is in automatic pilot, and does not require effort of our part See how many do not bother to vote or to inform themselves.

Democracy is a fine, shiny package with two caveats in it "Batteries not included" And "Some assembly required" FAilure to heed those leads to disaster.

TG , , June 5, 2018 at 12:21 pm
I see where you are coming from, but I must disagree. We don't have a democracy in any real way, so how can it have failed?

Despite massive propaganda of commission and omission, the majority of the American people don't want to waste trillions of dollars on endless pointless oversees wars. The public be damned: Trump was quickly beaten into submission and we are back to the status quo. The public doesn't want to give trillions of dollars to Wall Street while starving Main Street of capital. The public doesn't want an abusively high rate of immigration whose sole purpose is to flood the market for labor, driving wages down and profits up. And so on.

Oswald Spengler was right. " in actuality the freedom of public opinion involves the preparation of public opinion, which costs money; and the freedom of the press brings with it the question of possession of the press, which again is a matter of money; and with the franchise comes electioneering, in which he who pays the piper calls the tune."

JJ , , June 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm
"If the federal government were kept small and simple, there would be little need for a behemoth public sector. Developing durable and hierarchical procedures for organizing political projects would be unfeasible for citizen-statesmen. But those same procedures become essential for technocratic experts and career politicians."

True, but this implies retarding government power as is will lead to an ultimate solution. It will not. The sober truth is that a massive centralized national government has been inevitable since the onset of the second world war or even beforehand with American intervention in the colonoal Phillippines and the Great War. Becoming an empire requires extensive power grabbing and becoming and maintaining a position as a world power requires constant flexing of that power. Maintaining such a large population, military, and foreign corps requires the massive public-works projects you speak of in order to keep the population content and foreign powers in check. Failure to do so leads to chaos and tragic disaster that would lead to such a nation a collapse in all existing institutions due to overcumbersome responsibilities. These cannot be left to the provinces/states due to the massive amounts of resources required to maintain such imperial ambitions along with the cold reality of state infighting and possible seperatist leanings.

If one wishes to end the power of the federal government as is, the goal is not to merely seek reform. The goal is to dismantle the empire; destroy the military might, isolate certain diplomatic relations, reduce rates of overseas trade and reduce the economy as a whole, and then finally disband and/or drastically reduce public security institutions such as the FBI, CIA, and their affiliates. As you well know, elites and the greater public alike consider these anathema.

However, if you wish to rush to this goal, keep in mind that dismantling the American empire will not necessarily lead to the end of oppression and world peace even in the short term. A power vacuum will open that the other world powers such as the Russian Federation and the PRC will rush to fill up. As long as the world remains so interconnected and imperialist ambitions are maintained by old and new world powers, even the smallest and most directly democratic states will not be able to become self-governing for long.

Chris in Appalachia , , June 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm
Well, when, statistically speaking, half of the population has an IQ of less than 100 (probably more than half now that USA has been invaded by the Third World) then a great number of people are uninformed and easily manipulated voters. That is one of the great fallacies of democracy.
Robert Charron , , June 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm
In an era when the word "democracy" is regarded as one of our deities to worship, this article is a breath of fresh air. Notice how we accuse the Russians of trying to undermine our hallowed "democracy." We really don't know what we mean when we use the term democracy, but it is a shibboleth that has a good, comforting sound. And this idea that we could extend our "democracy" by increasing the number of voters shows that we don't understand much at all. Brilliant insights.
Stephen J. , , June 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm
I believe we are prisoners of so-called "democracy"
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
July 13, 2017
The Prisoners of "Democracy"

Screwing the masses was the forte of the political establishment. It did not really matter which political party was in power, or what name it went under, they all had one ruling instinct, tax, tax, and more taxes. These rapacious politicians had an endless appetite for taxes, and also an appetite for giving themselves huge raises, pension plans, expenses, and all kinds of entitlements. In fact one of them famously said, "He was entitled to his entitlements." Public office was a path to more, and more largesse all paid for by the compulsory taxes of the masses that were the prisoners of "democracy."
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

[May 29, 2018] The Urban-Rural Divide More Pronounced Than Ever

Notable quotes:
"... Why Liberalism Failed ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
May 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

These findings reminded me of the suggestion in Patrick Deneen's recently released Why Liberalism Failed that the political ideology of liberalism drives us apart, making us more lonely and polarized than ever. As Christine Emba writes in her Washington Post review of Deneen's book:

As liberalism has progressed, it has done so by ever more efficiently liberating each individual from "particular places, relationships, memberships, and even identities-unless they have been chosen, are worn lightly, and can be revised or abandoned at will." In the process, it has scoured anything that could hold stable meaning and connection from our modern landscape-culture has been disintegrated, family bonds devalued, connections to the past cut off, an understanding of the common good all but disappeared.

likbez

Our political differences are strengthening, with an increasing number of urban Americans moving further left and more than half of rural voters (54 percent)

There is actually no way to move to the left in the two party system installed in the USA. The Democratic Party is just another neoliberal party. Bill Clinton sold it to Wall Street long ago.

Neoliberalism uses identity wedge to split the voters into various groups which in turn are corralled into two camps representing on the federal level two almost identical militaristic, oligarchical parties to eliminate any threat to the status quo.

And they do very skillfully and successfully. Trump is just a minor deviation from the rule (or like Obama is the confirmation of the rule "change we can believe in" so to speak). And he did capitulate to neocons just two months after inauguration. While he was from the very beginning a "bastard neoliberal" -- neoliberal that denies the value of implicit coercion of neoliberal globalization in favor of open bullying of trade partners. Kind of "neoliberalism for a single exceptional country."

The current catfight between different oligarchic groups for power (Russiagate vs. Spygate ) might well be just a smoke screen for the coming crisis of neoliberalism in the USA, which is unable to lift the standard of living of the lower 80% of population, and neoliberal propaganda after 40 or so years lost its power, much like communist propaganda in the same time frame.

The tenacity with which Clinton-Obama wing of Democratic Party wants Trump to be removed is just a testament of the political power of neoliberals and neocons in the USA as they are merged with the "deep state." No deviations from the party line are allowed.

[May 25, 2018] The Simulation of Democracy, by C.J. Hopkins - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org . ..."
May 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

One of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of operating a global capitalist empire is maintaining the fiction that it doesn't exist. Virtually every action you take has to be carefully recontextualized or otherwise spun for public consumption. Every time you want to bomb or invade some country to further your interests, you have to mount a whole PR campaign. You can't even appoint a sadistic torture freak to run your own coup-fomenting agency, or shoot a few thousand unarmed people you've imprisoned in a de facto ghetto, without having to do a big song and dance about "defending democracy" and "democratic values."

Naked despotism is so much simpler, not to mention more emotionally gratifying. Ruling an empire as a godlike dictator means never having to say you're sorry. You can torture and kill anyone you want, and conquer and exploit whichever countries you want, without having to explain yourself to anyone. Also, you get to have your humongous likeness muraled onto the walls of buildings, make people swear allegiance to you, and all that other cool dictator stuff.

Global capitalists do not have this luxury. Generating the simulation of democracy that most Western consumers desperately need in order to be able to pretend to believe that they are not just smoothly-functioning cogs in the machinery of a murderous global empire managed by a class of obscenely wealthy and powerful international elites to whom their lives mean exactly nothing, although extremely expensive and time-consuming, is essential to maintaining their monopoly on power. Having conditioned most Westerners into believing they are "free," and not just glorified peasants with gadgets, the global capitalist ruling classes have no choice but to keep up this fiction. Without it, their empire would fall apart at the seams.

This is the devil's bargain modern capitalism made back in the 18th Century. In order to wrest power from the feudal aristocracies that had dominated the West throughout the Middle Ages, the bourgeoisie needed to sell the concept of "democracy" to the unwashed masses, who they needed both to staff their factories and, in some cases, to fight revolutionary wars, or depose and publicly guillotine monarchs. All that gobbledegook about taxes, tariffs, and the unwieldy structure of the feudal system was not the easiest sell to the peasantry. "Liberty" and "equality" went over much better. So "democracy" became their rallying cry, and, eventually, the official narrative of capitalism. The global capitalist ruling classes have been stuck with "democracy" ever since, or, more accurately, with the simulation of democracy.

The purpose of this simulation of democracy is not to generate fake democracy and pass it off as real democracy. Its purpose is to generate the concept of democracy , the only form in which democracy exists. It does this by casting a magic spell (which I'll do my best to demystify in a moment) that deceives us into perceiving the capitalist marketplace we Westerners inhabit, not as a market, but as a society. An essentially democratic society. Not a fully fledged democratic society, but a society progressing toward "democracy" which it is, and simultaneously isn't.

Obviously, life under global capitalism is more democratic than under feudal despotism, not to mention more comfortable and entertaining. Capitalism isn't "evil" or "bad." It's a machine. Its fundamental function is to eliminate any and all despotic values and replace them with a single value, i.e., exchange value, determined by the market. This despotic-value-decoding machine is what freed us from the tyranny of kings and priests, which it did by subjecting us to the tyranny of capitalists and the meaningless value of the so-called free market, wherein everything is just another commodity toothpaste, cell phones, healthcare, food, education, cosmetics, et cetera. Despite that, only an idiot would argue that capitalism is not preferable to despotism, or that it hasn't increased our measure of freedom. So, yes, we have evolved toward democracy, if we're comparing modern capitalism to medieval feudalism.

The problem is that capitalism is never going to lead to actual democracy (i.e., government by and for the people). This is never going to happen. In fact, capitalism has already reached the limits of the freedom it can safely offer us. This freedom grants us the ability to make an ever-expanding variety of choices none of which have much to do with democracy. For example, Western consumers are free to work for whatever corporation they want, and to buy whatever products they want, and to assume as much debt as the market will allow to purchase a home wherever they want, and to worship whichever gods they want (as long as they conform their behavior to the values of capitalism and not their religion), and men can transform themselves into women, and white people can deem themselves African Americans, or Native Americans, or whatever they want, and anyone can mock or insult the President or the Queen of England on Facebook and Twitter, none of which freedoms were even imaginable, much less possible, under feudal despotism.

But this is as far as our "freedom" goes. The global capitalist ruling classes are never going to allow us to govern ourselves, not in any meaningful way. In fact, since the mid-1970s, they've been systematically dismantling the framework of social democracy throughout the West, and otherwise relentlessly privatizing everything. They've been doing this more slowly in Europe, where social democracy is more entrenched, but, make no mistake, American "society" is the model for our dystopian future. The ruling classes and their debt-enslaved servants, protected from the desperate masses by squads of hyper-militarized police, medicated in their sanitized enclaves, watching Westworld on Amazon Prime as their shares in private prisons rise and the forces of democracy defend their freedom by slaughtering men, women, and children in some faraway country they can't find on a map, and would never visit on vacation anyway this is where the USA already is, and where the rest of the West is headed.

Which is why it is absolutely crucial to maintain the simulation of democracy, and the fiction that we're still living in a world where major geopolitical events are determined by sovereign nations and their leaders, rather than by global corporations and a class of supranational elites whose primary allegiance is to global capitalism, rather than to any specific nation, much less to the actual people who live there. The global capitalist ruling classes need the masses in the West to believe that they live in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and so on, and not in a global marketplace. Because, if it's all one global marketplace, with one big global labor force (which global corporations can exploit with impunity), and if it's one big global financial system (where the economies of supposed adversaries like China and the United States, or the European Union and Russia, are almost totally interdependent), then there is no United States of America, no United Kingdom, no France, no Germany or not as we're conditioned to perceive them. There is only the global capitalist empire, divided into "national" market territories, each performing slightly different administrative functions within the empire and those territories that have not yet surrendered their sovereignty and been absorbed into it. I think you know which those territories are.

But getting back to the simulation of democracy (the purpose of which is to prevent us from perceiving the world as I just suggested above), how that works is, we are all conditioned to believe we are living in these imperfect democracies, which are inexorably evolving toward "real" democracy but just haven't managed to get there quite yet. "Real" being the key word here, because there is no such thing as real democracy. There never has been, except among relatively small and homogenous groups of people. Like Baudrillard's Disneyland, "Western democracy" is presented to us as "imperfect" or "unfinished" (in other words, as a replica of "real democracy") in order to convince us that there exists such a thing as "real democracy," which we will achieve someday.

This is how simulations work. The replica does not exist to deceive us into believing it is the "real" thing. It exists to convince us that there is a "real" thing . In essence, it invokes the "real" thing by pretending to be a copy of it. Just as the images of God in church invoke the "god" of which they are copies (if only in the minds of the faithful), our imperfect replica of democracy invokes the concept of "real democracy" (which does not exist, and has never existed, beyond the level of tribes and bands).

This is, of course, ceremonial magic but then so is everything else, really. Take out a twenty dollar bill, or a twenty Euro note, or your driver's license. They are utterly valueless, except as symbols, but no less powerful for being just symbols. Or look at some supposedly solid object under an electron microscope. Try this with a tablespoon. As that bald kid in The Matrix put it, you will "realize that there is no spoon" or, rather, that there is only the spoon we've created by believing that there is a spoon.

Look, I don't mean to get all spooky. What that kid (among various others throughout history) was trying to get us to understand is that we create reality, collectively, with symbols or we allow reality to be created for us. Our collective reality is also our religion, in that we live our lives and raise our children according to its precepts and values, regardless of whatever other rituals we may or may not engage in on the weekend. Western consumers, no matter whether nominally Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, or of any other faith, live their lives and raise their children according to the values and rules of capitalism. Capitalism is our religion. Like every religion, it has a cosmology.

In the cosmology of global capitalism, "democracy" is capitalist heaven. We hear it preached about throughout our lives, we're surrounded by graven images of it, but we don't get to see it until we're dead. Attempting to storm its pearly gates, or to create the Kingdom of Democracy on Earth, is heresy, and is punishable by death. Denying its existence is blasphemy, for which the punishment is excommunication, and consignment to the City of Dis, where the lost souls shout back and forth at each other across the lower depths of the Internet, their infernal voices unheard by the faithful but, hey, don't take the word of an apostate like me. Go ahead, try it, and see what happens.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .


animalogic , May 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT

Really good, amusing article.
Our replica of democracy is not to deceive us, but to convince us that there really IS an(unattainable) democracy. The promised land is always just beyond the horizon
SunBakedSuburb , May 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm GMT
"It does this by casting a magic spell that deceives us into perceiving the capitalist marketplace we Westerners inhabit, not as a market, but as a society."

Yes. Consumer capitalism requires illusion and MK-ULTRA programs to function.

"We create reality, collectively, with symbols "

And those symbols, often repurposed from earlier iterations like the swastika, stem from ancient sources. Maybe the structure of our reality was designed years ago.

"This is, of course, ceremonial magic but then so is everything else, really."

Yep. The narrow-focused rationalists who have degraded science into a religion will never accept that there is a sliver of magic and sorcery, originating from Kabbalistic practices, that operate as a higher level science, the mechanics of which non-initiates can't quantify.

Excellent, thought-provoking article.

Per/Norway , May 23, 2018 at 8:08 pm GMT
well written.
Speak Truth To Power , May 24, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT
I agree with much of what this columnist wrote. However this entire globalist criminal enterprise is rapidly crumbling. This is shown in the rise of patriotic/loyalist and Marxist parties in Europe and the Far Right and Far Left in the U.S. The globalist elite 0.001% empire of the banksters, crapitalists and fingerciers and their lackeys, knaves and varlets, along with their political prostitute puppets, is built on sand. These worthless cretins have loaded down every nation on earth, and especially in the West, with massive, crushing debt. Ditto for individuals and businesses. It is not sustainable. In addition they have off shored much of Western industry into Third World nations and flooded Western nations with Third World proles to hold down wages and depress living conditions. Reaction among the native Whites is building stronger by the day. At some point this volcano is going to blow. When it does all bets are off as to how much destruction will happen.

At this point the super rich and their banks and trans-national corporations can either gradually give way to democratic change and re-industrialize the West, discount all these debts, and stop this Third World invasion and begin swift repatriation of these interlopers and save much of their wealth and power or they will soon face armed revolution and civil/class/racial war in the streets. These worthless elites have fouled their own nests since they have left virtually no Western nation untouched by these triple evils of debt, immigration and de-industrialization. They either never learned the lessons of the French and Russian revolutions or believe it could not happen in the 21st Century to them. Either way it makes no difference. Globalism is crumbling and going the way of other evil isms: Fascism, Communism, Nazism, Imperialism, Colonialism, etc. Its days are numbered and the writing is on the wall. Meanwhile those nations not controlled by the Western White Collar Mafia, namely Russia and China, along with Iran and a few other Asian and Middle Eastern nations, are building up their economies and militaries and increasingly challenging the Western tyrants. We are definitely in for troubled times ahead. Always remember: Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable. Globalism has had its evil day and its black sun is setting. The only questions now are will it go peacefully and quietly or loudly and violently and what will replace it. I hope and pray something good and true.A new world order built that that is God and Christ and not man based with peace, prosperity, and justice for all in a natural order of things.

jilles dykstra , May 24, 2018 at 6:41 am GMT
Free movement of capital, in Europe since 1997, took away power from politicians.
The German Lafontaine made it clear.
He stated that when in Basel a German spoke to the bankers assembled there, blaming them, they clapped their hands.
One sees it in the terminology used, what in the good old days was called protectionism, a word suggesting something positive, now is trade war, definitely something bad.
It for me is the same as with privatisation of universal services, water, electricity, etc., neither privatising anything is good, also a state economy is not good, as the USSR made clear.
In the good old days in W European countries we had mixed exonomies, commercial enterprises for cars and jeans, state enterprise for electricity and public transport.
In my opinion a mixed world economy also is the best option, this means regulation of capital movement, to mention one thing.
gsjackson , May 24, 2018 at 6:43 am GMT
A little snapshot to illustrate the point. Standing in the passport control line at Newark Airport -- interminably, because of about 24 stations for checking people back in to the motherland, maybe five were manned. This was in mid-afternoon on a weekday, a time when many international flights were arriving. The wait was about an hour and a half.

While waiting, you get a superb view through the window of the Manhattan skyline, and might have occasion to think about all the swells in the financial sector whose ever-growing prosperity has sucked money not only out of the real economy of goods and services, but out of government as well, a point Michael Hudson often makes. E.g., cap those property taxes in California, but drive housing prices in California and interest rates sky high to transfer wealth out of the hands of home owners and governments, and into finance capital.

You can work yourself up into a pretty good lather thinking about this while you wait your turn at an under-funded passport control station.

renfro , May 24, 2018 at 7:37 am GMT
I would recommend this book to unz readers. I read it years ago and its basic premise becomes more observably true every year .and pertains to the US as well, something Chu didn't mention.

World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability

By Amy Chua
Category: World Politics | Economics | Management

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/27643/world-on-fire-by-amy-chua/9780385721868/

"Chua shows how in non-Western countries around the globe, free markets have concentrated starkly disproportionate wealth in the hands of a resented ethnic minority. These "market-dominant minorities" – Chinese in Southeast Asia, Croatians in the former Yugoslavia, whites in Latin America and South Africa, Indians in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, Jews in post-communist Russia – become objects of violent hatred.
At the same time, democracy empowers the impoverished majority, unleashing ethnic demagoguery, confiscation, and sometimes genocidal revenge."

So maybe revolutions will be the new way of managing the world,

llloyd , Website May 24, 2018 at 9:51 am GMT
@Speak Truth To Power

An ex furniture salesman, now the Prime Minister of Israel would not agree. He thinks history has ended. Jerusalem is soon to be or already is the capital of the globalist world. Hate speech laws replace the sanctity of the Monarchs and Churches with the sanctity of Israel and identity politics. His lackeys have even taken away the freedom to shop via the criminalisation of BDS. Talpiot program has turned everything into a video game. He is either a genius or a complete fool. But I hope you are right and he is wrong. Another point. Democracy real and simulated only became fashionable a hundred years ago.

Daniil Adamov , May 24, 2018 at 11:05 am GMT
That's the first I've heard of "progressing towards democracy" as a major feature of the modern Western worldview (a la USSR progressing towards communism, I suppose). No, I've encountered such ideas before among pundits, but I don't think most people in America, say, believe that they currently don't live in a democracy but will later live in a "true" democracy. That seems like a rather exotic notion outside of very narrow intellectual circles.

Also, "as long as they conform their behavior to the values of capitalism and not their religion". But people are free to conform their behaviour to the values of their religion to a large extent. They're not free to violate the laws of what you'd call capitalist society. But that is not the same as being forced to conform to its values.

Jake , May 24, 2018 at 11:14 am GMT
Another CJ Hopkins must-read.

So how long before he is imprisoned alongside Julian Assange? Truth-telling is not allowed in Globalist Democracy.

Miro23 , May 24, 2018 at 11:26 am GMT

Which is why it is absolutely crucial to maintain the simulation of democracy, and the fiction that we're still living in a world where major geopolitical events are determined by sovereign nations and their leaders, rather than by global corporations and a class of supranational elites whose primary allegiance is to global capitalism, rather than to any specific nation, much less to the actual people who live there.

But it can go wrong. The simulation was supposed to make Hillary Clinton President – but, in the event, it veered over to real Democracy and produced Trump.

Equally the Brexit vote was planned to fail – but that also turned in a real Democratic result with a majority for Brexit.

Simulated Democracy is a difficult process and it's probably due for more failures given the difficulty of controlling the modern flow of information.

Borsalino , May 24, 2018 at 11:43 am GMT
Damn, Hopkins, you nailed it!
ScientistInHiding , May 24, 2018 at 11:49 am GMT
I suppose we are all going to spend the rest of our lives listening to bitter millenials rant about the evils of capitalism. After all, they could move out of their parent's basement if the government would force the banks to forgive all their student loans.

It should be obvious by now that all forms of government eventually morph into what we see all around us today. But let's not confuse free market capitalism (which has never existed) with the aristocratic fascisms that we call "Communism" or "Democracy."

The only way to really solve the problem of government is make government irrelevant.

Ronald Thomas West , Website May 24, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
Well, CJ, If I were your political science professor, I'd fail your sorry ass for 'communist jargon' and 'Marxist jingoism' maybe that works fine if you're into looking for strokes when singing to the choir but it won't build alliances that accomplish anything. But maybe that's not your point, and the substance of your butt-hurt whining is about "I'm CJ Hopkins!" kinda like "I'm Rick James!"

Look dude, if you want to get down and dirty with your enemies, hit below the belt, and do it like this:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2015/11/29/whereas-the-enemy-of-your-friend-is-your-favorite-fk/

If you want to entertain, you do it like this:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2015/04/01/merge/

And like this:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/10/09/liberals/

^

DESERT FOX , May 24, 2018 at 12:44 pm GMT
The worlds elites have us mind controlled and financially controlled via the Zionist Fed that creates money out of thin air and then loans this money to our gov and we goyim and charge interest on this ether created money and there in lies the control for by their control over the money they control every thing.

In addition the Zionists fastened the IRS on we goyims and this IRS is a off shoot of the FED and so our money is sent to the Zionist bankers who own the FED to make sure we pay for the wars that the Zionists have arranged for we Americans and so this is a trap that has been laid by the central bankers which insures their dominance for ever and ever.

This system of control has been in existence since 1913 when the zionist bankers fastened the FED and the IRS on to the American people and the author of this article is exactly right, we are in a financial prison a prison without bars but a prison none the less.

In regards to voting as Stalin said ie it is not who votes that counts but who counts the votes.

Seamus Padraig , May 24, 2018 at 1:52 pm GMT

there is no such thing as real democracy. There never has been, except among relatively small and homogenous groups of people.

Yeah, like Sweden in the 50s.

ancient archer , May 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm GMT
Best article I have read in a long long time.
Keep it up
manorchurch , May 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm GMT
@Speak Truth To Power

These worthless cretins have loaded down every nation on earth, and especially in the West, with massive, crushing debt. Ditto for individuals and businesses. It is not sustainable.

Any given iteration of the capitalism model is unsustainable by its very nature, of course. Any capitalist instantiation is self-exhausting, as capitalism eventually transfers all wealth (or some very large fraction) to the wealthy. ALL. At that point, that instance collapses at some rate determined by its state of monetization.

But not all wealth evaporates. After a financial collapse, a new zero-point establishes at or near "true value". The capitalism model reasserts, and continues. It may be inherent to the nature of Man.

manorchurch , May 24, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West

Gee, Ron, usually you write something with some trace of substance.

TG , May 24, 2018 at 2:19 pm GMT
Well said!

'Democracy' is a scam that privatizes power, while socializing responsibility.

Reminds me of Oswald Spengler, though he is better read about than read, IMHO. From wikipedia: "Spengler asserts that democracy is simply the political weapon of money, and the media are the means through which money operates a democratic political system."

But one minor quibble: yes, for now, in the West, fake democracy is certainly better than old-style feudalism. But it doesn't have to be, and it doesn't have to stay that way. In many nominally capitalist and 'democratic' countries – like India, Bangladesh, etc. – half the population is chronically malnourished, the physical standard of living well below that of late medieval europe (!). Now that communism has been vanquished, capitalism has no need of a bargain of power for a decent standard of living, and the rich are moving towards dragging the entire world towards the Indian model of cheap-labor serfdom. Yes it can happen here.

redmudhooch , May 24, 2018 at 2:22 pm GMT
Citizens United isn't helping, brought to you by the corrupt Supreme Court. They're starting to push putting Ted Cruz in SCOTUS, that would be a huge mistake.

"Democracy" is a sham, the candidates are carefully pre-selected and promoted by the corrupt media, if that fails, the unelected delegates and super delegates can always void your vote.

This is why we only get Mitt Romneys, Clintons, Bushes, the same ol dirtbags out of millions of people.
Americans clearly want the homicidal wars to end, are the wars/occupations ending?
More Americans clearly are turning away from supporting Israel, does it matter?
Most Americans want mass immigration and illegal immigration stopped, is it stopping?

There is a petition to End the Federal Reserve scam, do any of the petitions go anywhere? Go sign it, lets find out .

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/petition-president-congress-remove-privately-owned-federal-reserve-our-central-bank

manorchurch , May 24, 2018 at 2:24 pm GMT
@Jake

So how long before he is imprisoned alongside Julian Assange? Truth-telling is not allowed in Globalist Democracy.

Long time. He circumspects skillfully. Besides, he uses a level of abstraction that few Inet denizens will understand.

Dagon Shield , May 24, 2018 at 2:37 pm GMT
The Mexican maid is the answer to our collective misery. What do I mean? Well! The white boys have given up on rebelling against the Empire (1% + 10% Jews and Whites with a small sprinkling of non-white goys) and da coloreds (Indians and Chinese) are too wrapped up in trying to prove their worth to the lost crackas while the niggas (Blacks et al) are simply too stupid to understand, let alone do anything about improving their lot. Alas, fear not! The unwelcome army of latinas from Central America, employed as caretakers will prove their worth by simply poisoning the whole perfidious lot, slowly. So, welcome to America, Guadalupe!
Justwondering , May 24, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
The suffocating hold that propaganda has on an uncritical public must rank as an historic coup for the ages. It is the modern version of the allegory of the cave. Simpletons are willing to die for their puppeteers in wars that serve no other purpose than to enrich their owners. But die for their masters they will. Yet there is a glaring contradiction in foreign wars and America's favorite pastime, regime change. The chances of "real" democracy, for instance, taking root in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt are virtually non-existent. Worse still, they are simply not allowed. And any other countries that steer an independent course from American hegemony will suffer consequences -- regime change, economic sanctions or direct military action. Yet it is the public sold on its exceptionalism, living in a "real" democracy (confused with rampant consumerism and hedonism) that has so utterly failed to see -- and act, on these contradictions. Although the notion of "inching" toward "real" democracy may serve to pacify the public, with the ever growing militarization of the deep police state, true democracy will simply not be allowed to flourish. It is the only credible threat to rampant capitalism. What is significant is that the lumpen proletariat firmly believe that they live in a democracy. So change is rendered redundant in such a scenario.
m___ , May 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm GMT
Best expression of capitalism, religion, democracy as a Weltanschauung.

To fuse the totalitarian, univeral concept that paires so well to 98% of the world population we suggest consumerism.

Do not take for granted that our de facto global elites, and the mercenary middle-classes have a clear understandig where they are heading. There is cognitive dissonance in idea, method and projection of their in-group opportunism. Ethics being nothing more then superior opportunism. Smart, but ailing and failing a religion. In fact the theory proves the cognitive capacity of the authors.

Wally , May 24, 2018 at 3:51 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

said:
"well written"

Seriously?

The usual Marxist strawmen in play here by Hopkins.

What Hopkins describes is not "capitalism", yet he tries to excoriate capitalism.

Wally , May 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm GMT
@llloyd

said:
"Hate speech laws "

The ongoing debunking of the sacred yet impossible '6M Jews' is what is really driving so called "hate speech laws". What your told is merely the pretext.

Below is where free speech on the impossible 'holocaust' storyline is illegal, violators go to prison for Thought Crimes.
An obvious admission that the storyline doesn't stand up to scientific, logical, & rational scrutiny.
And coming to your neighborhood.

discussion: https://forum.codoh.com/download/file.php?id=1858

Why is this happening you ask:

The 'holocaust' storyline is one of the most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that denies free speech and the freedom to seek the truth? Truth needs no protection from scrutiny.

Only liars demand censorship.

http://www.codoh.com

manorchurch , May 24, 2018 at 4:04 pm GMT
@Wally

What Hopkins describes is not "capitalism", yet he tries to excoriate capitalism.

True, but that's what the elites call it.

Stop complaining about terminology. You are so whiny.

densa , May 24, 2018 at 4:11 pm GMT
This is an elegant fleshing out of fashionable despair. Yes, self-rule is a myth. What does Hopkins recommend to replace it with? Is the aspiration of a democratic republic the problem, or is it money, media, and the subversion of power?

As flawed as our belief in democracy is, I haven't heard the better alternative. Just as some say we must go to Mars because we are destroying earth, I think we should take care of this earth as repairing and caring for it might be within our means. Instead of throwing democracy out, we should try and make it work.

For example, been reading about the rise of antibiotic resistant germs and industrial farming. The problem was long known, but there was no political will to do anything about it because the industry could lobby and also control regulators. In theory, the government worked for the greater good of all the people, but in practice it auctions us all to special interest.

Capitalists defend the current system by saying it's not really capitalism. Well, whatever it is, it came about because democracy was not actual but rather an ongoing auction of national interest to special interest.

It's a good article and makes a good case, but you will have to wait just a bit longer until us believers die off as you will not pry this democracy, our heritage and our best chance, from my cold hands.

bjondo , May 24, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT
@gsjackson

similar experience coming through Atlanta.
Want to create jobs? Coulda created 50 there. At least. And prevented missed flight connections. Obama time.

Wally , May 24, 2018 at 6:02 pm GMT
@manorchurch

Oh yeah, you're another whining Zionist who has been demolished by my 'holocaust' debunking information. Hurts don't it?

Your projection is noted. LOL

"If you can't say what you mean, then you can't mean what you say".

http://www.codoh.com

AaronB , May 24, 2018 at 6:11 pm GMT
I shall proudly call myself an idiot then, as I believe capitalism and democracy are both bad.

The only system capable of inspiring passion and loyalty is some form of feudalism – personal loyalty to a lord is a beautiful thing, noblesse oblige a beautiful thing, sacred kingship is a beautiful thing, the tradition of beautiful craftsmanship that arises when economic considerations are not uppermost is a beautiful thing, the standards of excellence that are natural to a system that recognizes hierarchy and inequality is a beautiful thing.

I also think personal freedom, and tolerance for eccentricity is far greater when the social system is firmly grounded. In a democracy where nothing is secure conformity of opinion and personality become urgent – to maintain even minimum stability.

Japan has retained elements of feudalism to this day yet is economically far more egalitarian than America – because when economics is the sole standard of value, the ambitious will gather all wealth into their hands.

Seeing the Japanese bow to each other – such a beautiful gesture.

Ronald Thomas West , Website May 24, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
@manorchurch

Yeah, I suppose I could have half tried but the self-righteous indignation (tone) puts me off. It's like Tom Englehardt, get people all tied up in some hopeless, helpless outrage that accomplishes precisely nothing, no solutions, no pointing to a direction that might get something done. In any case CJ is in Berlin but I bet he wouldn't give a New York second's thought to risking his butt and work to put the German politicians nuts in a vise, but Hey! you never know, here's his chance, he can promote this:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

Of my five years exile in Germany, two of those years were in Berlin and I can assure you the German political animal is an authentic coward, and Gregor Gysi of Die Linke is no exception, he'd go after CJ before he'd go after the NATO war criminals is my best bet. Maybe CJ has the balls to risk it?

Backwoods Bob , May 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm GMT
Marxist twaddle about "democracy", lol. As if the founders didn't warn us so strenuously about the tyranny of the majority.

Our government was formed not so that we could vote on what I am allowed to eat, but so that others would have no say in it.

The centralization of power and conformity across previously sovereign states now prohibits people from voting with their feet. The globalists are the next extension of the same tyranny.

We don't have limited governments and free markets. We have big brother government and a captured regulatory apparatus ensuring only large corporations can survive. Regulatory law is nowhere in the constitution and they dictate over subjects also not in the constitution.

I knew it was over when the US electorate was swooned over Iraqis having purple fingers voting "secret ballots". The candidates names were secret. But all you need to tell the sheeple is that they voted.

This piece is typical Marxist sleight of hand. To have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, you limit what the government can do. Then you have liberty. Self-rule.

exiled off mainstreet , May 24, 2018 at 7:02 pm GMT
Mr. Hopkins' article is an effective, accurate description of why and how things have declined into a sort of soft fascism during the last 40 years or so in particular.
The Scalpel , Website May 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West

If you want to hijack someone else's article for the purpose of shameless self-promotion, do it like Ronald Thomas West lol.

The Scalpel , Website May 24, 2018 at 7:28 pm GMT
Democracy can easily be done on the individual level. There are plenty of resources for this. I am not my brother's keeper anyway. don't tell me there is no democracy – just people who want others to give it to them. Go all Thoreau on the world. Go off the grid, or Alaska, or an island somewhere. Democracy is not for pansies.
manorchurch , May 24, 2018 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West

no solutions, no pointing to a direction that might get something done

Preceding "solution" is description, and descriptive explanation. The article is not intended as a set of solutions. It is a description and explanation.

Perhaps you have an axe to grind. Not my problem

HPLCguru , Website May 24, 2018 at 7:43 pm GMT
Excellent article with much needed humor. We no longer have a word for an economic system that supports human life. Hunting and gathering was early agriculture. Moving some rocks and dirt out of the way to get some obsidian was mining. Knocking rocks against the obsidian was early manufacturing. The excess from farms, mines and factories is what WAS called capital. We are supposed to believe that a farmer can't plant a seed without a loan! We are in the last stages of financialism. Since the word capitalism is useless how about "real stuffism"? I'm a physical scientist and I can guarantee that math and the physical world always ends financialism.
manorchurch , May 24, 2018 at 7:43 pm GMT
@Backwoods Bob

This piece is typical Marxist sleight of hand.

That line got me to laughing a lot harder than the rest of your bullshit, so I had to stop reading. Your comments are now relegated to the "Duuuuuuuhhhhhh .MARXISM!!!" bin.

Ronald Thomas West , Website May 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

Thanks for the promotion, here's one for CJ's 'democracy'

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/05/19/maison-de-lhistoire-de-france/

^

Cheery Bint , May 24, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
You could open up the scope of this post's valid point and say that it's not just democracy that's simulated here. Rights and rule of law are simulated too. Democracy, fetishized though it is, in degenerate ritual form, is a very small part of rights and rule of law (specifically, ICCPR Article 25, one article of one of nine core human rights instruments or about 100 total instruments in world-standard customary and conventional international law. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx )

Here's CIA telling you how the world works now.

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/deep-state-swamp-monster-says-there-is-no-deep-state-f4c944e21533

This exchange is a really good catch. Latching on to the term deep state allows CIA to bat away a puffball question that avoids the real question. Their scripted answer to the scripted easy question: employees 'aimed at' the president's objectives and Amerca's objectives. This is clever first of all because it says objectives and not orders. It's a weaker formulation that the Pike-Committee era line, CIA works for the president. CIA is trying to evade the US commitment to command responsibility in the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. Secondly, the DCI purports to interpret the president's objectives and proclaim America's objectives. Used to be State or NSC did that, subject to presidential directives or decision documents. Pompeo says CIA works for him. We're at the point Frank Zappa told us to expect: CIA's removing the stage set so we're sitting looking at the brick wall. Pompeo's telling you that CIA's in charge.

The hard question is: Does CIA have impunity in municipal law? The answer is yes, of course it does. It's there in black and white in the Central Intelligence Agency Act, the Houston memo, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the operational files exemption, and the political questions doctrine. If the DCI had no impunity the new DCI would be in prison. CIA is obligated to prosecute or extradite its torturers and murderers. Na ga happen. CIA has the arbitrary life-and-death power of a totalitarian state. CIA is beyond criminal. Its arbitrary suspension of non-derogable rights and jus cogens says, Law? Fuck law.

Miro23 , May 24, 2018 at 10:57 pm GMT
I agree that the US is the ultimate expression of materialism.

The original Pilgrim Fathers were looking for religious freedom, but later waves of immigrants came for economic opportunity, and the US was the first place that "Citizens" morphed into "Consumers".

Congressmen are bought and sold, and they're probably OK with that, along the lines that their vote has value, and they'll support whoever bids the highest (which isn't the electors back home).

Like AaronB says, the US (and West in general) has no spiritual foundation, and is just a cynical game of exploitation and corruption pretending to be "Democratic" . Real Democracy does exist, but it's not something that Americans would want to be involved with – it requires a high level of personal commitment and responsibility (probably obligatory), regular local public meetings, investment in studying issues, and the primacy of local decision making and voting over Federal power ( i.e. power residing at the lowest level possible – which in the US would be the County and State). In other words it's hard and time consuming work.

To take a parallel, the late Roman Empire was also a sink of absolute corruption and self interest that couldn't defend its frontiers and finally collapsed, first socially, then economically.

The spiritual Phoenix that rose out of its ashes was Christianity, with the barbarian invaders converting and building Christendom in Europe (Rome) and also in the Middle East (Byzantium). The early Christian communities in the Late Roman Empire were heavily persecuted but still recognized for their high level of morality, work ethic and "respectability", and in its last days (too late), the Empire actually adopted to Christianity through the conversion of Constantine.

A good but difficult source is Robin Lane Fox's "Pagans and Christians" https://www.amazon.com/PAGANS-CHRISTIANS-Robin-Lane-Fox/dp/0394554957/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527202127&sr=1-2&keywords=pagans+christians+lane+fox

Stonehands , May 24, 2018 at 11:01 pm GMT
@ScientistInHiding

It should be obvious by now that all forms of government eventually morph into what we see all around us today. But let's not confuse free market capitalism (which has never existed) with the aristocratic fascisms that we call "Communism" or "Democracy."

You are on the right path, good observations.

Thinking people are aware of the fact that Moderns have permission not freedom.

Realist , May 24, 2018 at 11:09 pm GMT
@Speak Truth To Power

Sadly your scenario is probably not viable.
A dream of the pipe variety.

Realist , May 24, 2018 at 11:12 pm GMT
Great article.
Stonehands , May 24, 2018 at 11:52 pm GMT
@manorchurch

Peckerwood you are a fine specimen of American Communism. Where were you indoctrinated- Columbia University or the New School?

76239 , Website May 25, 2018 at 12:53 am GMT
What a surprise another commie writer on economic issues on Unz! These economic pos articles resemble what you read in the NY times. Sheesh.

"Western consumers are free to buy whatever products they want"

Pure crap. Depending on the state you live in, think for a moment of all the restrictions, taxes and permission you must go through to own a car, buy gass, freon, herbicide. Pharmacy products, illegal drugs guns etc. A list a mile long. Anyone who describes the USA as a free market is plain wrong and has no idea about the problems we face.

Liberty and the free market are not part of the problem. They are part of the solution.

Switzerland, Singapore, and old Hong Kong to name a few examples are some of the wealthiest in the world because of low to no taxes and max economic freedom. Two of the three were crushed by ww2. Came back stronger than ever in 40 yrs or so.

manorchurch , May 25, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@Stonehands

Peckerwood you are a fine specimen of American Communism.

Pecker-putty, fuck off. You wouldn't know commanizm if it bit you in the ass.

Wally , May 25, 2018 at 1:21 am GMT
@AaronB

You won't see the Japanese opening their borders to low IQ illegal immigrants.

Ilya G Poimandres , May 25, 2018 at 2:00 am GMT
You only discuss democracy as some monolithic idea, with some idealised notion that 'real' democracy can only be tribal or small scale. This is not true.

Representative democracy = evolutionary autocracy and the right to shout. Laws and regulations, being made by representatives – and only representatives – remain purely autocratic in their creation and destruction.

Direct democracy – those tribes. Doesn't work for a society that has a huge population and needs a 'directing mind' as Aurelius likened the individuals' equivalent.

Semi-direct democracy – a combination of the power to create or strike law by both representatives (elected or selected), and the electorate. Switzerland has it (to a degree because of its media, just check the June 10th banking referendum propaganda machine), China approximates it because it polls its population on every level, decision and preference.

At the very least, the electorate should have power to strike laws made by representatives and rescind previously struck laws by representatives. This is only fair – people should have a process for declaring directly what laws they want to abide by. Representatives may not like it, but society is society, it should be able to make these choices, for good or bad.

Representative democracy – democracy in the spirit of the law, and autocracy in the letter of the law – is for the most part an autocracy, with a progressive dumbing down, frustration, and marginalisation of the electorate due to their practical lack of true power to change society.

Then there's the question of education and media, as you need a smart and well informed public with semi-direct much more than with representative. And preferably constitutionally enforced armed military neutrality, as herd behaviour often tends to violence.

Finally – revolutionary democracy: revolts against systems can often be democratic, if bloody, so build an effective system that considers the opinions and worries of the masses.

willieskull68 , May 25, 2018 at 2:02 am GMT
Three sentences and I was done; and a play wright living in Berlin. Berrrrlin Dude, lets do some history, Socialism sucks. But I do agree that my vote has been diluted to zero, by design.
Biff , May 25, 2018 at 2:45 am GMT
@Speak Truth To Power

A new world order built that that is God and Christ

Been there, done that, and it sucked! Anymore dumb ideas?

[May 20, 2018] Far from "the intelligence community" believing any such thing, it was eventually admitted that a handful of picked individuals from three agencies (of the 16) had cautiously expressed that "belief" with the proviso that they acknowledged that they knew of no supporting evidence.

May 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

Tom Welsh , May 17, 2018 at 9:46 am GMT

"John Brennan, James Clapper and Admiral Rogers stage-managed a paper in January, 2017 that asserted that the Intelligence Community believed various things about Russian government tinkering with the US election (much as the US does in other countries' elections)".

Except that:

1. The paper's assertion was untrue (and known by the authors to be untrue). Far from "the intelligence community" believing any such thing, it was eventually admitted that a handful of picked individuals from three agencies (of the 16) had cautiously expressed that "belief" – with the proviso that they acknowledged that they knew of no supporting evidence. Presumably a handful of picked (and anonymous) individuals would be highly susceptible to bribery, blackmail, or a combination of the two.

2. The sentence quoted does not make it clear that, whereas the US government routinely manages and controls other countries' political affairs (it goes a very long way further than "tinkering") the alleged Russian "tinkering" was on a tiny scale, and had nothing to do with the Russian government.

Curmudgeon , May 17, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh

An assertion is less than an allegation. Both have some factual basis, however little that factual basis may be.
A belief is less than an assertion. A belief is based on faith. A factual basis is not necessary.
In other words, the document was a leap of faith.

[May 19, 2018] Krugman Cries Treason After Stefan Halper Outed As FBI Infiltrator, There's Just One Problem...

Humint on Trump election campaign staff is a the last nail in the coffin of the US republic, as we know it. This is essentially "national security state" mode of operation, where intelligence agencies are primary political force.
Notable quotes:
"... Times ..."
"... counterintelligence powers ..."
"... counterintelligence ..."
May 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
CIA and MI6 asset Stefan Halper as an FBI asset sent to infiltrate the Trump campaign has social media abuzz today. Reactions have ranged from celebration to outrage, with little inbetween.

To recap, after two weeks of hunting for a "mole" in the Trump campaign, the New York Times and Washington Post both printed incredibly detailed descriptions of Halper - printing all but his name, solidly corroborating a March report by the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross about Halper's meetings with the Trump aides. Neither publication give Ross credit, of course.

Somehow several anti-Trump intellectuals got their wires crossed, conflating President Trump and Senate Intel Committee Chair Devin Nunes' calls for transparency by the DOJ, with the actual media outlets that exposed Halper.

Senior Brookings Institute fellow, and James Comey's close friend, Benjamin Wittes is beside himself - angrily tweeting: " I have a whole lot to say about how the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the President of the United States teamed up to out an intelligence source ...," adding in a subsequent tweet "But I am too angry to write right now -- and Twitter is probably not the right forum. So I'll leave it at this for now: Important people defiled their oaths of office for these stories to appear."

... ... ...

along with senior Russian official Anatoly Chubais and Russian oligarch Ruben Vardanyan – who was appointed by Vladimir Putin to the Russian economic council.

Two months after Podesta joined the board, Joule managed to raise $35 million from Putin's Kremlin-backed investment fund Rusnano. Not only did John Podesta fail to properly disclose this relationship before joining the Clinton Campaign, he transferred 75,000 shares of Joule to his daughter through a shell company using her address.

We're sure the FBI was all over that...

AlaricBalth two hoots Permalink The Caller - flying him out to London to work on a policy paper on energy issues in Turkey, Cyprus and Israel - for which he was ultimately paid $3,000."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-19/fbi-spy-op-exposed-trump-camp

It would be interesting to find out through bank transaction records who reimbursed Halper for the $3,000 he paid Papadopoulos for this policy paper, which was clearly a ruse by Halper in an attempt to make Papadopoulos comfortable with him.

https://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/Staff_and_Students/professor-stefan-halper

y3maxx AlaricBalth Permalink

"They will go down fighting trump six ways to sunday."

-Since there was no "criminal" Russia Gate proof,
the Dem's & Deep State moved to an "illegal" counter intelligence investigation against Trump.

-Bringing down Trump at any cost, fuck the constitution or laws, is ok in the Dem books.

-The louder the Left shrieks, the guiltier they are.

Sudden suicides, jumping off towers, car crashes or exiting the US begin in 3...2...1...

Posa LaugherNYC Permalink

"What the Times story makes explicit, with studious understatement, is that the Obama administration used its counterintelligence powers to investigate the opposition party's presidential campaign.

That is, there was no criminal predicate to justify an investigation of any Trump-campaign official. So, the FBI did not open a criminal investigation. Instead, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation and hoped that evidence of crimes committed by Trump officials would emerge. But it is an abuse of power to use counterintelligence powers, including spying and electronic surveillance, to conduct what is actually a criminal investigation.

The Times barely mentions the word counterintelligence in its saga. That's not an accident. The paper is crafting the media-Democrat narrative."

Kayman AlaricBalth Permalink

They sure ain't the Obamas and the Clintons. Pallets of Cash purportedly flown to Iran, bullshit speeches for $500,000, millions thru their dirty Canadian conduit. Life sure was grand, selling out your country.

[May 18, 2018] Was it Trump political inexperience or yet another shrwed Obama-style bait and switch operation ?

Lemmings get what they deserve. Almost always as the iron law of oligarchy implies. Period of revolution and social upheaval are probably the only exceptions.
In 2018 there is no doubt that Trump is an agent of Deep State, and probably the most militant part of neocons. What he the agent from the beginning or not is not so important. He managed to fool electorate with false promises like Obama before him and get elected.
May 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

bowie28 -> The First Rule Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:18 Permalink

" Of course it was setup. Rod Rosenstein & Co. have been in on this from the beginning. "

Rosenstein was appointed by Trump. If he is involved in a setup it's more likely it is a setup organized by Trump. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Rosenstein

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on February 1, 2017. [25] [26] He was one of the 46 United States Attorneys ordered on March 10, 2017, to resign by Attorney General Jeff Sessions ; Trump declined his resignation. [ 27] Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 2017, by a vote of 94–6

In May 2017, he authored a memo which President Trump said was the basis of his decision to dismiss FBI Director James Comey . [5] Later that month, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and related matters.

Ask yourself why Sessions ordered Rosenstein to resign and Trump declined his resignation? Likely because Sessions was recused from Russia investigation and could not be told Rosenstein was working for Trump from day 1.

(Mueller also met with Trump the day before Rosenstein appointed him SC.)

Also relevant, Rosenstein is Republican and in 2007/8 was blocked from getting a seat on appeals court by Dems. Doesn't seem he would be loyal to the Obama crowd and trying to take down Trump with a phony investigation.

In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit . Rosenstein was a Maryland resident at the time. Barbara Mikulski and new Democratic Maryland senator, Ben Cardin , blocked Rosenstein's confirmation, stating that he did not have strong enough Maryland legal ties, [24] and due to this Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy did not schedule a hearing on Rosenstein during the 110th Congress and the nomination lapsed. Later, Andre M. Davis was renominated to the same seat by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

Kayman -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Rosenstein slithered in via Sessions.

Withdrawn Sanction -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 18:16 Permalink

"...a cabal of ruthless and dishonest people..."

You better believe it. What's happened to the NYC detectives who viewed the "insurance policy" on Weiner's laptop? The kiddie stuff is the real hot potato here. The power "elite" are pure unadulterated filth.

rosiescenario -> WarPony Fri, 05/18/2018 - 15:55 Permalink

Yes....when you start to add up various facts coming from this investigation it is easy to argue that the prime beneficiary has been Trump. Why would Trump even consider firing this guy? The more Mueller digs the more crap surfaces about the Dems, and they are in full support of it without any seeming awareness of the results. They are so blinded by their hatred they cannot see reality.

The info from Weiner's computer is really going to make for major popcorn sales. All Hitlery's "lost" emails are in there. All the names in his address book will also make for some interesting reading. Just a guess but there are a lot of very nervous NYC elected officials and pedos making sure their passports are up to date. The Lolita Express to Gitmo....

GoingBig -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:22 Permalink

You guys see everything through Trump colored glasses. Trump is dirty and just because the evidence hasn't been shown to you doesn't mean it isn't there. Mueller has the dirt on Trump. It will show. Does everyone here forget that Watergate took 2 1/2 years to play out?

Kayman -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:04 Permalink

Watergate was about a burglary and missing tapes.

It wasn't about the Department of Justice and the FBI being rotten to the core.

Emergency Ward -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

Being in the business he is in, there is little doubt that Trump has paid out millions of dollars over the years in bribes and payoffs to greedy politicians, regulators, and zoning commissioners given to filthy lucre in return for building permits, zoning variances, and law changes.

I know he is but what are they? This could be one reason the politicians, regulators, and zoning commissioners hate him so much. He knows what they know.

Trump is no dirtier than other politicians and much less than some. He is just dirty in a way (he was usually the payer, they were the payees) that bothers the other ones.

Honest Sam -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

All politicians and most of humanity 'is dirty'.

There is no man or woman who has or ever will run for office that is not dirty.

As Dershowitz so acutely pointed out, every one of them with an opposition Special Counsel on his case, can find at least 3 crimes they committed.

The only reason theBamster wasn't probed at all is because no one dared go after the only black man to ever run and win for POTUS. HE instead, was protected from any probes.

You're an idiot that doesn't know anything about what this is really all about. Or pretending to. Or a troll. Fuck you for being any of them.

jmack -> One of We Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:13 Permalink

Obama has a history of taking out his opponents in their personal life, so that he doesnt have to meet them in the political arena, just look at his state campaigns, and then his senate campaign. Look at how he used the bureaucracy during his admin to preempt opposition, not allowing opposition groups to get tax exempt status and sending osha/fbi/treasury etc to harrass people that were more than marginally effective.

With that context set I would like to know the following.

1. Did the brennan/comey/clapper cabal have investigations running on all the gop primary front runners?

2. Did they promote Trump to win the GOP primary, to eliminate those rivals from consideration, just to attempt to destroy him in the general with the russian collusion narrative and his own words.

3. Was Comey's failure to ensure Hillary's victory due to incompetence or arrogance? I say arrogance, because his little late day announcement of the new emails was obviously ass covering so that he could pass whatever senate hearing that would be required for his new post in the hillary administration.

NoDebt Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:04 Permalink

Having to learn how to deal with mobbed-up lawyers and unions in NYC turns out the be pretty damned good preparation to be President Of The United States. I love watching this guy work.

DingleBarryObummer Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

The illegitimate liberal MSM is sucking all the oxygen out of the room for legitimate criticism of Trump. This Russian Collusion stormy daniels stuff is a bunch of bologna, and it's making a smokescreen for Trump to carry out his zio-bankster agenda.

Hegelian dialectic, Divide and conquer, kabuki theater

A real left would be covering this===>

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-15/no-one-watched-trump-pardoned
As No One Watched, Trump Pardoned 5 Megabanks For Corruption Charges

Buy they won't because there is no left or right. It's one big uniparty club, and they work together to rob us and lie to us.

Picturing The March Of Tyranny | Zero Hedge

DingleBarryObummer -> brain_glitch Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:11 Permalink

In the second half of peter schiff's most recent podcast he goes on a good rant/lecture about this topic.

I know Peter Schiff is a controversial figure, and I don't agree with a lot of what he does or says, but sometimes he nails it.

Rex Titter -> DingleBarryObummer Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:45 Permalink

For the most part I like Peter Schiff. I don't think he talks enough about the criminal manipulation of commodities by the banksters and the seemingly endless reluctance by our glorious leaders to prosecute them.

On this topic: The lawlessness of the 17 agencies is beyond the pale. They have set themselves apart and for this they will have to pay eventually. I have no doubt that in the minds of the Bureau principals there was motive and there was opportunity. I don't believe anything that comes out of their mouths. Robert Mueller is a three letter word for a donkey. He is a criminal and a totally owned puppet of the deep and dark state. Last I heard, the FBI planted a mole in the Trump campaign. Iff true, that speaks volumes...

Pollygotacracker Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

It is amazing that President Trump is still standing on his feet and still out there swinging. The man is no coward. I'm glad I voted for him, although I am disappointed in some of his failings.

Son of Captain Nemo -> Pollygotacracker Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

"although I am disappointed in some of his failings."...

Yeah I know just what ya mean...

The treason of war crimes he's committed exceeding all of his predecessor(s) in his short assed existence as President and threatening war on two nuclear superpowers that could easily wipe his office and 4 thousand square miles of CONUS " off the map "!...

Endorsing a torturer murder to head the CIA condoning her efforts in public "thumbing his nose" at Article 3 Geneva the U.S. Constitution and for his military to tacitly continue disobeying the UCMJ as a response to that "selection"!...

Telling the parasitic partner that owns him through blackmail that Jerusalem is the Capital of IsraHell as over 200 Palestinians are murdered and 3 thousand others injured in joyous celebration of that violation of international law which is the equivalent of pouring "gasoline" on a building that has already been reduced to "ash"...

And speaking of "buildings" and "ash"... The pledge he ignored before being "anointed" that he said he would investigate but of course DID NOT ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/14/trump-im-reopening-911-inve )

... ... ...

ioniancat21 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

They didn't really think things through when they plotted against Trump and figured Hillary would win and they could sweep this under the rug and then she lost. Funnier is that many expected her to lose as she never won an election in her life despite her being "The Most Qualified" candidate as her parrots in the media lovingly called her. Now Trump and his team will stomp them all into the ground. My guess is that he'll pinch others in her gang who have big egos so that they'll talk and drop a dime which they will. The libtards are turning on themselves in every area now. Look at Hollywood and the sexual harassment cases in the pipeline.

It's just so pleasurable watching your enemy fall on their sword while you sit back and enjoy life and smile....

Chief Joesph Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:21 Permalink

Was the Trump campaign "Set-up"? It's just another way the oligarchy is deflecting what the real problem is. Americans are fed up with the political status quo in this country, and wanted a change. Neither political party offers any change for the better. It is also why Bernie Sanders had a huge following, but no one is calling his campaign a "set-up", and he would have been the more likely choice the Russians would have helped.

It really doesn't make any sense why the Russians would have selected Trump, but it makes a lot of sense why the oligarchy would want to discredit Trump any means availble to them. And since they have always hated Russia so much, that is the big tip-off of who comes up with these stupid stories about Russians meddling in our elections.

GRDguy Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:15 Permalink

We voted against the powers that be. With Truman, we got a decent man that was manipulated by the Deep State. With Trump, we got a not-so-decent man, but still manipulated by the Deep State. Sigh.

hooligan2009 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

there needs to be a schedule drawn up of charges against individuals. it's all very well talking and talking anf talking around the water cooler, but until the charges are drawn up and a grand jury empowered, it is all pissing into the wind.

the individuals range from obama through clinton, through the loathsome slimebags in the alphabet soup, through foundations, through DNC leaders/politicians, through Weiner, Abedin, Rice and the witches cabal (Wasserstein Schulz etc), UK intel agencies, awan brothers, pakistan intel supplying Iran with classified documents and so on.

there are charges (of treason, sedition, wilful mishandling of classifed documents, bribery, corruption, murder, child trafficking, election rigging, spying for/collusion with foreign powers, funding terrorism, child abuse, election rigging/tampering, misappropriation of federal funds, theft etc as well as general malfeasance, failure to perform duties and so on) that are not being brought that are so obvious, only a snowflake would miss them.

what charges can be brought against the MSM for propaganda, misdirection, lying, fabrication and attempting to ovetthrow a legitimately elected president using these techniques to further their own ends? there is no freedom of the press to lie and further civil unrest.

a list of charges against individuals in the DNC/alphabet soup is what is needed. if the DoJ is so incompetent or corrupt that it is unable to do its job, private law suits need to be brought to get all the facts out in the open.

someone needs to write the book and make it butt hole shaped to shove up all those that try to make a living out of making up gossip in the NYT, WaPo, CNN, BBC, Economist, Madcow, SNL, Oliver and so on.

these people are guilty of being assholes and need their assholes (mouths) plugged with a very think fifteen inch book.

Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

Divide and conquer playing out in front of your faces. Trump, Hitlary, Obama, DiGenova, Giuliani, etc. etc...all "deep state".

Mission accomplished.

Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:01 Permalink

It's amazing that you fools still believe in your hearts that Trump is not a deep stater. LOL

insanelysane -> Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:04 Permalink

Trump might become a deep stater but he definitely wasn't one of them. Google "offer to pay trump to drop out of election" and see how many stories there were. Here is one of them.

http://fortune.com/2017/12/05/donald-trump-2016-race-mike-pence-preside

RedDwarf Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:45 Permalink

"At some point, the Russia investigation became political. How early was it?"

I am going to go out on the shortest limb in history and say it was political from the beginning.

insanelysane Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:13 Permalink

I hope someone writes a book on this with all of the timing and all of the "little" things that happened on the way to the coronation of Hillary. Comey "interviews" Hillary on 4th of July weekend. Wraps up case by 9am Tuesday after 4th of July. By noon, Hillary and Obama are on Air Force 1 to begin campaign. Within a few weeks Seth Rich is dead and DWS avoids being "killed in an armed robbery gone bad" when she steps down as head of DNC. Above article forgets to mention that GPS also hired the wife of someone in the government as part of the "fact gathering" team.

[May 18, 2018] Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan s Denial of Reliance on Dossier

Notable quotes:
"... In my opinion the key points are: - Obama spied on Trump and many other Senator's Congressmen, Judges, and the press without warrants they only did Trump warrants well after they started spying. ..."
"... This was to cover their a$$ because they had no warrants when the spying started. ..."
"... Obama spied using our allies (GCHQ) 5 eyes etc. and DOJ, IRS, FBI, CIA, Treasury and all the Alphabet Obamagate will be 10,000 x worse than Watergate, ..."
"... They're covering up an attempted coup. ..."
"... essions (via his absurd recusal) and Rosenstein allowed the Statute of Limitations to run out against Clapper without filing a perjury charge. ..."
"... It's a bit ironic that Comey has been the focus of so much ire from the Trump people. Brennan and Clapper, not Comey, were the Obama political hacks who were pushing the Russian collusion angle. ..."
"... They forced the FBI to open a Trump/Russia investigation, even though Strzok and Comey were skeptical that any real evidence existed. ..."
"... It's hard to believe that Clapper and Brennan (and Lynch, Yates, and Ohr from DoJ) cooked-up the scheme without the approval/direction of Obama. In fact, the sheer political evil genius of the Trump/Russia collusion plot, including how it "explained" the DNC hack, reeks of the only person capable of inventing it: that 'ol silver fox himself, Bill Clinton. ..."
"... I think it is Comey's sanctimonious self-righteousness that brings that reaction. It always does. No matter who the parties are or what event it is. Even though their crimes are greater, it is easier to tolerate the obviously slimy swamp critters like Clapper and Brennan than it is the pious hypocrite like Comey. ..."
"... The DNC was caught in the act of rigging the Primaries. Fact. ..."
"... And someone inside hacked their computers for all those emails, too. That's why they didn't turn over their computers to the F.B.I. because it would bear that out. ..."
"... Brennan and Clapper may have been the puppetmasters, with Comey, McCabe, Stzrok, Page, Ohr and Yates dancing to their tune, but Rogers didn't play nice and they didn't even invite the Defense Intelligence Agency to play. ..."
"... Rogers is a white hat in a sea of black hats who tried to fire him for being a patriot. Rogers is a true American hero, without whom the extent of this coup and treasonous plot may never have been fully uncovered. The big ugly awaits the traitors and hopefully, the great awakening begins. ..."
"... I believe the name you're looking for is "Seth Rich." ..."
"... Aside from the obvious crimes of espionage and certainly extortion and fraud, why was Imran Awan trying to flee the country just after Seth Rich's assassination? Was Rich spilling the beans about Debbie Schultz's Pakistani mole and not just the Hillary scam? ..."
"... Brennan and Clapper are dirty as can be. They are both corrupt deep state agents, and should go to prison for their lies and corruption. Adm. Rogers looks like the only straight-shooter in the bunch. ..."
"... There are 2 sets of Laws in America. One for the elite, power political people and one for the Joe Sixpacks ..."
"... Former FBI Director James Comey has a long history of involvement in Department of Justice actions that arguably ended up favorable to the Clintons. ..."
"... FBI has had its ups and downs, certainly, but usually it found those low times due to some mishap or bad policy decisions based on matters of process by its upper management. But despite some of the worst 1970s conspiracy theories, rarely has the FBI been considered a bald-faced political actor until Director James Comey tarnished the shield by becoming a member of the Hillary Clinton's election campaign. ..."
"... If these yokels better knew history, they would better understand the dangers of fomenting revolution. ..."
May 18, 2018 | www.realclearinvestigations.com

Former CIA Director John Brennan's insistence that the salacious and unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election is being contradicted by two top former officials.

Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the ICA . And James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the assessment was based on "some of the substantive content of the dossier." Without elaborating, he maintained that "we were able to corroborate" certain allegations.

These accounts are at odds with Brennan's May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier was "not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community's assessment" that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on "Meet the Press."

In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier -- described as "the Christopher Steele information" -- was "added" as an "appendix to the ICA draft," and that consideration of that appendix was "part of the overall ICA review/approval process."

His skepticism of the dossier may explain why the NSA parted company with other intelligence agencies and cast doubt on one of its crucial conclusions: that Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cyberattack on Hillary Clinton's campaign to help Donald Trump win the White House.

Rogers has testified that while he was sure the Russians wanted to hurt Clinton, he wasn't as confident as CIA and FBI officials that their actions were designed to help Trump, explaining that such as assessment "didn't have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources."

Here and in photo at top, from left, the National Security Agency Director, Adm. Michael Rogers; FBI Director James Comey; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; CIA Director John Brennan; and the Defense Intelligence Agency Director, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, testifying before the

The dossier, which is made up of 16 opposition research-style memos on Trump underwritten by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's own campaign, is based mostly on uncorroborated third-hand sources. Still, the ICA has been viewed by much of the Washington establishment as the unimpeachable consensus of the U.S. intelligence community. Its conclusions that "Vladimir Putin ordered" the hacking and leaking of Clinton campaign emails "to help Trump's chances of victory" have driven the "Russia collusion" narrative and subsequent investigations besieging the Trump presidency.

Except that the ICA did not reflect the consensus of the intelligence community. Clapper broke with tradition and decided not to put the assessment out to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies for review. Instead, he limited input to a couple dozen chosen analysts from just three agencies -- the CIA, NSA and FBI. Agencies with relevant expertise on Russia, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department's intelligence bureau, were excluded from the process.

While faulting Clapper for not following intelligence community tradecraft standards that Clapper himself ordered in 2015, the House Intelligence Committee's 250-page report also found that the ICA did not properly describe the "quality and credibility of underlying sources" and was not "independent of political considerations."

In another departure from custom, the report is missing any dissenting views or an annex with evaluations of the conclusions from outside reviewers. "Traditionally, controversial intelligence community assessments like this include dissenting views and the views of an outside review group," said Fred Fleitz, who worked as a CIA analyst for 19 years and helped draft national intelligence estimates at Langley. "It also should have been thoroughly vetted with all relevant IC agencies," he added. "Why were DHS and DIA excluded?"

Fleitz suggests that the Obama administration limited the number of players involved in the analysis to skew the results. He believes the process was "manipulated" to reach a "predetermined political conclusion" that the incoming Republican president was compromised by the Russians.

"I've never viewed the ICA as credible," the CIA veteran added.

A source close to the House investigation said Brennan himself selected the CIA and FBI analysts who worked on the ICA, and that they included former FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok.

"Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and [former FBI Director James] Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA," according to the source.

Last year, Strzok was reassigned to another department and removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation after anti-Trump and pro-Clinton text messages he wrote to another investigator during the 2016 campaign were discovered by the Justice Department's inspector general. Strzok remains under IG investigation, along with other senior FBI officials, for possible misconduct.

Strzok led the FBI's investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia during 2016, including obtaining electronic surveillance warrants on Carter Page and other campaign advisers. The Page warrant relied heavily on unverified allegations contained in the Democratic Party-funded dossier.

Brennan has sworn the dossier was not "in any way" used as a basis for the ICA. He explains he heard snippets of the dossier from the press in the summer of 2016, but insists he did not see it or read it for himself until late 2016. "Brennan's claims are impossible to believe," Fleitz asserted.

"Brennan was pushing the Trump collusion line in mid-2016 and claimed to start the FBI collusion investigation in August 2016," he said. "It's impossible to believe Brennan was pushing for this investigation without having read the dossier."

He also pointed out that the key findings of the ICA match the central allegations in the dossier. The House Intelligence Committee concluded that Brennan, who previously worked in the White House as Obama's deputy national security adviser, created a "fusion cell" on Russian election interference made up of analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA, who produced a series of related papers for the White House during the 2016 campaign.

Less than a month after Trump won the election, Obama directed Brennan to conduct a review of all intelligence relating to Russian involvement in the 2016 election and produce a single, comprehensive assessment. Obama was briefed on the findings, along with President-elect Trump, in early January.

"Brennan put some of the dossier material into the PDB [presidential daily briefing] for Obama and described it as coming from a 'credible source,' which is how they viewed Steele," said the source familiar with the House investigation. "But they never corroborated his sources."

Attempts to reach Brennan for comment were unsuccessful. Several prominent Washington news outlets had access to the dossier during the 2016 campaign -- or at least portions of it -- but also could not confirm Steele's allegations. So they shied away from covering them. All that changed in early January 2017, after CNN and The Washington Post learned through Obama administration leaks that the CIA had briefed the president and president-elect about them. Then the allegations became a media feeding frenzy. On Jan. 11, 2017, within days of the dossier briefings and release of the declassified ICA report, BuzzFeed published virtually all of the dossier memos on its website.

The House committee found "significant leaks" of classified information around the time of the ICA -- and "many of these leaks were likely from senior officials within the IC." Its recently released report points to Clapper as the main source of leaks about the presidential briefings involving the dossier. It also suggests that during his July 17, 2017, testimony behind closed doors in executive session, he misled House investigators.

When first asked about leaks related to the ICA in July 2017, Clapper flatly denied "discuss[ing] the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists." But he subsequently acknowledged discussing the "dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper," and admitted he might have spoken with other journalists about the same issue.

On Jan. 10, 2017, CNN published an article by Tapper and others about the dossier briefings sourced to "multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings." Tapper shared a byline with lead writer Evan Perez, a close friend of the founders of Fusion GPS, which hired Steele as a subcontractor on the dossier project.

The next day, Clapper expressed his "profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press," while stressing that "I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC." A month after his misleading testimony to House investigators, Clapper joined CNN as a "national security analyst."

Attempts to reach Clapper for comment were unsuccessful.


Tom JonesLeader 3d

My, My, My.....what a tangled web they weave. Interesting that both Rogers and Clapper indicated the dossier was part of the assessment and Brennan does not. All while Obama was assuring the public that in no way could Russia impact our elections. With the recent allegations of a plant in the Trump campaign organization and the continued reluctance of the DOJ to release documents, it's becoming more evident by the day of significant irregularities that took place. Certainly, one would hope that only under the most severe probabilities would a President allow his intelligence agencies to spy on an opponents campaign....but it's looking more and more like it was an intended political operation rather than a national security issue. And if so, it's a direct threat to our democracy and should be addressed with the full power and legal impact of our judicial system. If it was political, EVERYONE involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law and they should spend significant time behind bars.
magic_worker 1d
In my opinion the key points are: - Obama spied on Trump and many other Senator's Congressmen, Judges, and the press without warrants they only did Trump warrants well after they started spying.

This was to cover their a$$ because they had no warrants when the spying started. Did it start the second a billionaire stepped on the escalator or before? - Obama spied using our allies (GCHQ) 5 eyes etc. and DOJ, IRS, FBI, CIA, Treasury and all the Alphabet Obamagate will be 10,000 x worse than Watergate, Don't fall for the golly gee Obama knew nothing Schultz defense. - Awan's were hired by Obama to run the DNC server, you really don't think Debbie hired them do you? ... See more

Rosa1984 Leader 3d
They're covering up an attempted coup. What we've witnessed the past 15 months is HORRIFIC, Deeply Disturbing, and a Threat to the U.S. We CANNOT allow Democrats and Deep State to get away with this.
NoBS NoSpam Influencer 3d Edited
Did you know the President was in Nevada and Las Vegas during the Mandalay Assassination? Err, I mean the mass shooting by an FBI informant, of course. We assume Trump is free to govern. Why? If the Deep State owns the FBI, CIA, NSA and the most powerful weapon on Earth, the IRS. Martial Law of all Security clearance holders who are still alive "off" the books or not. Operative word is "Ex" spooks and their active psychopath cousins in the Military Industrial Complex.
Peps Leader 3d
All of which means precisely nothing, because Sessions (via his absurd recusal) and Rosenstein allowed the Statute of Limitations to run out against Clapper without filing a perjury charge. So, once again, if you are a high-ranking DC insider, you can commit a felony for which any average citizen would be arrested, prosecuted and jailed, and do so with absolute, arrogant impunity, regardless of which party is technically in charge of the Department of Justice.
KathyMcP 3d
What is the limitation period for a perjury charge???
carolinaswampfox Leader 3d
What is the limitations period for sedition, treason, conspiring to interfere with a presidential election, conspiring to overturn the results of an American presidential election, obstruction of justice, illegal abuse of the FISA process, perjury in sworn testimony and in the FISA process, etc.
Sam Hyde Leader 3d Edited
Mr. Clapper, did you leak any information on the briefings that took place with the President and President-elect? Clapper: Not wittingly. How many times has this guy committed perjury and gotten away with it? lol
Carolinatarheel Leader 3d
Obama lowered the bar substantially for ethical standards and telling the truth! Our FBI is corrupt and dangerous! Mueller and Comey are dirty cops! ...
chris_zzz Leader 3d
It's a bit ironic that Comey has been the focus of so much ire from the Trump people. Brennan and Clapper, not Comey, were the Obama political hacks who were pushing the Russian collusion angle.

They forced the FBI to open a Trump/Russia investigation, even though Strzok and Comey were skeptical that any real evidence existed. Congressional investigators as well as the relevant IGs need to look at whether Obama himself, as well as the White House staff, engineered the Trump/Russia collusion hocus-pocus. It's hard to believe that Clapper and Brennan (and Lynch, Yates, and Ohr from DoJ) cooked-up the scheme without the approval/direction of Obama. In fact, the sheer political evil genius of the Trump/Russia collusion plot, including how it "explained" the DNC hack, reeks of the only person capable of inventing it: that 'ol silver fox himself, Bill Clinton.

Greg Bed 2d
I think it is Comey's sanctimonious self-righteousness that brings that reaction. It always does. No matter who the parties are or what event it is. Even though their crimes are greater, it is easier to tolerate the obviously slimy swamp critters like Clapper and Brennan than it is the pious hypocrite like Comey.
GameTime68 Leader 3d
How much more of this are we going to have to read about before someone with authority begins investigating this entire sordid mess? Until someone is indicated and charged with something, there is no incentive for the truth - just more media stories about conflicting congressional testimony, colleague disagreements on the veracity of statements, and so forth. Those of us who sat through Watergate were not naive enough to think it was a one-off. What is Sessions doing? Where is the special investigator for Dossiergate?
NoBS NoSpam Influencer 3d
The DNC was caught in the act of rigging the Primaries. Fact. Do we really think they stopped at only the level of the DNC Primaries? I wish to be that naive so my love for America was still alive and not dead like Seth Rich. The low lives could not even cheat well, but not from lack of trying.
GameTime68 Leader span 3d
And someone inside hacked their computers for all those emails, too. That's why they didn't turn over their computers to the F.B.I. because it would bear that out.
Old Paratrooper Contributor 3d
Brennan and Clapper may have been the puppetmasters, with Comey, McCabe, Stzrok, Page, Ohr and Yates dancing to their tune, but Rogers didn't play nice and they didn't even invite the Defense Intelligence Agency to play. But I suspect the conspiracy went to the White House. Didn't Page say that the President "wanted to know everything we do"? And I suspect that Susan Rice, Valarie Jarrett and Ben Rhodes left fingerprints all over this crime.
chris_zzz Leader span oper 3d
The NSA director at the time, Adm. Rogers, reportedly visited Trump (without Clapper's authorization) during the transition to inform Trump about the FBI's surveillance of his operation. The next day Trump tweeted that Obama was wiretapping Trump Tower.
carolinaswampfox Leader 3d
Rogers is a white hat in a sea of black hats who tried to fire him for being a patriot. Rogers is a true American hero, without whom the extent of this coup and treasonous plot may never have been fully uncovered. The big ugly awaits the traitors and hopefully, the great awakening begins.
carolinaswampfox Leader span oper 3d
--and BHO communicated with Hillary at her private email address. The computers were smashed and bleach bit and Comey and company obstructed justice in whitewashing the Clinton investigation because all roads lead to BHO.
Right-Here; Right Now ! Influencer 3d
The cogent fact is that none of that matters since the entire premise is that the Russians hacked the emails.....the ENTIRE Russia collusion theory collapses without the hacking of emails. And of course the Russians did not hack the DNC emails (time stamps on the meta data PROVE that they were copied at speeds too fast for any internet hack) ....they were downloaded on site on to a portable storage devise. We Know that the DNC denied law enforcement access to its server, (why would any "victim," of a crime refuse to cooperate with investigators?) Even more remarkable, experts determined that the files released by Guccifer 2.0 have been "run, via ordinary cut and paste, through a template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints." Brennan Clapper and Comey ALL testified to congress that the CIA...and many others.. had this capability to leave "fingerprints" of whomever they wished to implicate. Moreover, for what it is worth, Julian Assange has repeatedly denied that Russia "or any state actor" was the source of the stolen DNC data published by WikiLeaks...but rather a staffer who passed a portable drive on the Mall in DC I think its safe to assume that the downloading was done by Imran Awan who we KNOW had access and we KNOW downloaded material and we KNOW used unauthorized methods to access unauthorized areas of Congressional servers and TOTAL ... See more
James Fitzpatrick Influencer span Right Now ! 3d Edited
I believe the name you're looking for is "Seth Rich." This is a case that requires a bull dog, not Droopy Dog. It's got murder, blackmail, extortion, Deep State conspiracy, high treason, low-level corruption, perverted sex cults... c'mon! Why are we still hearing about how a Senator met a Russian Ambassador at a meet-and-greet?! This is real drama!
NoBS NoSpam Influencer span atrick 3d
They are mocking Seth Rich as the Russian Hacker. They keep dragging this kids hard work through the mud!
JayTeigh Leader span Right Now ! 3d
I think you're right about Awan being the hacker. I now wonder if the somehow sold the emails to someone who sent them to Assange.
James Fitzpatrick Influencer 3d
Here are some things that need investigation:
  1. Aside from the obvious crimes of espionage and certainly extortion and fraud, why was Imran Awan trying to flee the country just after Seth Rich's assassination? Was Rich spilling the beans about Debbie Schultz's Pakistani mole and not just the Hillary scam?
  2. Russia expert Nellie Ohr was hired by FusionGPS during the launch of the Steele scam. But she was CIA. Was Fusion itself a rogue CIA shell org? And nobody seems to get the connection to the CIA OpenSource hackers' toolbox that was leaked into the wild, just as the "resist" people were expressing concern that THEY would lose access to these spying malware products and could no longer spy on Trump. And who worked for the OpenSource project? Why, Nellie Ohr, of course. Funny.
pmidas span atrick 3d
Didn't Nellie state in some format that "i am going to be purchasing short-wave radios for our communications going forward"....?
James Fitzpatrick Influencer 3d
Yes. One of many attempts to dodge a trail for investigators, oversight and FOIA.
BorisBadinov Leader 3d
Brennan and Clapper are dirty as can be. They are both corrupt deep state agents, and should go to prison for their lies and corruption. Adm. Rogers looks like the only straight-shooter in the bunch.
NoBS NoSpam Influencer span v 3d
General Flynn was the main crusader for our children's dignity. The son of a b*censured*ich is still fighting for them!
Grandmother of 7 Contributor 3d
May Brennan and all his cohorts, including Obama, rot from the inside out because I doubt anything we could punish them with would be enough. They did more damage to the Republic than Osama bin Laden and his ilk ever could.
Mcgovern72 Leader 3d
The Clap-Man and Jimmy the B continue to be the best sources of intrigue on the whole collusion confusion, huh? Their legacy tarnished by all the lies, they now get to spew it on 'fake news', further tarnishing the credibility of 'faux news'. Brilliant!!
Sam Hyde Leader span 3d Edited
DNI Clapper doing what DNI Clapper does best. I can see him rubbing his greasy egg head right now for not having his story straight.
dadling 3d
There are 2 sets of Laws in America. One for the elite, power political people and one for the Joe Sixpacks.....there is NO Law in America...the people are still asleep and have yet to be roused. However, when they do wake up, pitchforks, tar & feathers will be the order of the day for these criminals.
dawg1234 3d
Ouch! Quite a scathing article from Real Clear! Impressive! Brennan? Brennan? Calling Mister, John, Brennan! LOL, this is getting fun!
cjones1 Leader 3d
The plot thickens!
leestauf4 Leader 2d
The democrats accuse Trump of colluding with the Russians to get elected, have ZERO proof of it after two years of trying to invent it, and yet it is a proven fact that Hillary and the DNC, through the middlemen Fusion GPS and Steele, COLLUDED with and paid high level Russian officials millions of dollars to produce the "salacious and completely unverified dossier" (Comey's words), in an attempt to throw our election like they did in their own primary, and to then try to impeach a constitutionally elected president with the same Russian supplied lies when that failed! So where was the actual collusion with the enemy? And why is Mueller completely ignoring those facts?
jrc_mrc 2d
Former FBI Director James Comey has a long history of involvement in Department of Justice actions that arguably ended up favorable to the Clintons. In 2001, following the original 9/11 mass murder by the Muslim jihadists, President Bush asked the FBI to track the movements of likely Muslim jihadists; Comey and Mueller refused that request on the basis that such tracking would be "un-American". The jihadist mass murders of Americans in Boston, Chattanooga, Orlando, Fort Hood, and San Bernardino are therefore the direct result of that irresponsible refusal. In 2004 Comey, then serving as a deputy attorney general in the Justice Department, apparently limited the scope of the criminal investigation of Sandy Berger, which left out former Clinton administration officials who may have coordinated with Berger in his removal and destruction of classified records from the National Archives. The documents were relevant to the accusations that the Clinton administration was negligent in the build-up to the 9/11 terrorist attack. Back a year or two ago, FBI director Comey announced that despite the evidence of "extreme negligence" by Hillary Clinton and her top aides regarding the handling of classified information through her unprotected private email server, the FBI would not refer criminal charges to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department since it was just a case of innocent negligence.
jrc_mrc 2d
FBI has had its ups and downs, certainly, but usually it found those low times due to some mishap or bad policy decisions based on matters of process by its upper management. But despite some of the worst 1970s conspiracy theories, rarely has the FBI been considered a bald-faced political actor until Director James Comey tarnished the shield by becoming a member of the Hillary Clinton's election campaign.

The FBI is no longer a legitimate or competent law enforcement agency. The FBI has become nothing more than a bunch of goons for the DNC and the Democrat Party. The FBI should now be considered a domestic corrupt terrorist organization. Due to the FBI's corruption and political affiliation with the Democrat Party, they should no longer have jurisdiction over a single American citizen. Comey is now guilty of treason by default and association. He has violated his sworn oath and must be removed. "Yes – Hillary Clinton is guilty but we will not recommend prosecution" – he declared to the congressional inquiry with a straight face. In other words, and for all practical purposes our FBI had become the American KGB.

KenPittman 2d
Clapper, Brennan and Comey have al likely retained legal counsel as Nunes has brilliantly followed the trail methodically backwards to the source. The Ohr couple, the intercepts of Strzok and the common denominators linking Stefan Halper are going to rock the Deep State to its foundation. Thankfully there are enough patriots in Washington to continue to outflank the framing of the POTUS.
johnmike 2d
The butts of Brennan, Clapper, and Comey should be hauled before a Grand Jury by John Huber, the US Attorney, as stated by Joe DiGenova. I believe all three are enemies of the US and the biggest threats to our constitutional republic. Brennan once voted for a communist. All three are pathological liars...it's scary that these three scumbags held the highest and most critical intelligence and law enforcement positions in the nation.
Ralph Lynch Contributor 1d
If these yokels better knew history, they would better understand the dangers of fomenting revolution.

[May 18, 2018] The Steele Dossier the Intelligence Community Assessment by Jeff Carlson, CFA

May 15, 2018 | www.themarketswork.com

An article, Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan's Denial of Reliance on Dossier , caught the attention of a bunch of folks:

In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier -- described as "the Christopher Steele information" -- was "added" as an "appendix to the ICA draft," and that consideration of that appendix was "part of the overall ICA review/approval process."

A source close to the House investigation said Brennan himself selected the CIA and FBI analysts who worked on the ICA, and that they included former FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok.

"Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and [former FBI Director James] Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA," according to the source.

As a result of the article, I'm re-upping relevant portions from a February 23, 2108 post, Did Brennan & Clapper Use the Steele Dossier in the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We've long suspected that Clapper and Brennan were already ensnared in the Inspector General's Investigation – see John Brennan & James Clapper – Complicity, Lies & Bill Priestap .

Clapper was the architect of the report – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections . I've previously discussed the report here and here .

Clapper's Assessment Report was the third in series of reports – each building on the other.

The first report, an assessment of Russian Intervention, was made in an October 7, 2016, Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence noting the Intelligence Community was confident of Russian involvement in our election.

Later testimony by our various Intelligence Directors confirmed that Russia is always involved in Presidential elections.

The October report was followed up by a December 29, 2016, Joint Analysis by Homeland Security and the FBI titled GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity .

This report was meant to directly tie Russian hacking to the election.

What the report actually did was use technical language to describe a generalized hacking process – and the means by which hacking and phishing can be generally prevented.

I strongly encourage you to read the report. Its lack of actual detail is eye-opening.

FBI Russian Hacking Report by The Conservative Treehouse on Scribd

[May 18, 2018] In fact the Intelligence Community Assessment was the work product of two of Brennan's analysts

Notable quotes:
"... The paper was represented to be an IC wide opinion (like an NIE). ..."
May 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The President is not CinC of the US, by W. Patrick Lang - The Unz Review

3. John Brennan, James Clapper and Admiral Rogers stage-managed a paper in January, 2017 that asserted that the Intelligence Community believed various things about Russian government tinkering with the US election (much as the US does in other countries' elections). The paper was represented to be an IC wide opinion (like an NIE).

Clapper gave it his imprimatur as Director of National Intelligence but Admiral Rogers at the National Security Agency could not get his people to express more than limited confidence in the document. DIA, State Department INR, the Army, Navy, Air Force and other agencies were either not consulted or did not deign to "sign on." Donald J Trump thinks this is a "rum deal," a phony politically motivated procedure run by a group of "hacks". Why would he not think that? The reaction of the Left is to excoriate him for his lack of "respect", for the people who "cooked up" this document. We should remember that the people who "cooked" the document have no legal or constitutional existence outside the framework of the Executive Branch. Any president, in any circumstance could dismiss them all at will. No president is under any obligation at all to accept their opinion or that of anyone in the Executive Branch on anything. They are his advisers and subordinates, tools in his kit box, and that is all they are.

[May 04, 2018] Memo to Trump Defy Robert Mueller by Patrick J. Buchanan

The shadow of 9/11 hangs over Mueller. The Deep State keeps him by the balls and wants results. And that means impeachment.
CIA-democrats which now is the ruling wing of Democratic Party wants to get to power but they have no that many viable candidates for midterm elections. If they overplay their hand then the attempt to cover betrayal of ordinary Americans with former military CIA candidates might backfire.
Notable quotes:
"... By now, witnesses have testified in ways that contradict what Trump has said. This, plus Trump's impulsiveness, propensity to exaggerate, and often rash responses to hostile questions, would make him easy prey for the perjury traps prosecutors set up when they cannot convict their targets on the evidence. Mueller and his team are the ones who need this interrogation. ..."
"... For, after almost two years, their Russiagate investigation has produced no conclusive proof of the foundational charge: that Trump's team colluded with Vladimir Putin's Russia to hack and thieve the emails of the Clinton campaign and DNC. ..."
"... Having failed, Mueller & Co. now seek to prove that, even if Trump did not collude with the Russians, he interfered with their investigation. How did Trump obstruct justice? ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
May 04, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Should Mueller subpoena him, as he has threatened to do, Trump should ignore the subpoena and frame it for viewing in Trump Tower.

If Mueller goes to the Supreme Court and wins an order for Trump to comply and testify before a grand jury, Trump should defy the Court.

The only institution that is empowered to prosecute a president is Congress. If charges against Trump are to be brought, this is the arena, this is the forum, where the battle should be fought and the fate and future of the Trump presidency decided.

The goal of Mueller's prosecutors is to take down Trump on the cheap. If they can get him behind closed doors and make him respond in detail to questions -- to which they already know the answers -- any misstep by Trump could be converted into a perjury charge.

Trump has to score 100 on a test to which Mueller's team has all the answers in advance while he must rely upon memory.

Why take this risk?

By now, witnesses have testified in ways that contradict what Trump has said. This, plus Trump's impulsiveness, propensity to exaggerate, and often rash responses to hostile questions, would make him easy prey for the perjury traps prosecutors set up when they cannot convict their targets on the evidence. Mueller and his team are the ones who need this interrogation.

For, after almost two years, their Russiagate investigation has produced no conclusive proof of the foundational charge: that Trump's team colluded with Vladimir Putin's Russia to hack and thieve the emails of the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Having failed, Mueller & Co. now seek to prove that, even if Trump did not collude with the Russians, he interfered with their investigation. How did Trump obstruct justice?

Did he suggest that fired national security advisor General Mike Flynn might get a pardon? What was his motive in sacking FBI director James Comey? Did Trump edit the Air Force One explanation of the meeting in June 2016 between his campaign officials and Russians? Did he pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller?

Mueller's problem: These questions and more have all been aired and argued endlessly in the public square. Yet no national consensus has formed that Trump committed an offense to justify his removal. Even Democrats are backing away from talk of impeachment.

Trump's lawyers should tell Mueller to wrap up his work, as Trump will not be testifying, no matter what subpoena he draws up or what the courts say he must do. And if Congress threatens impeachment for defying a court order, Trump should tell them: impeach me and be damned.

Would a new Congress really impeach and convict an elected president?

An impeachment battle would be a titanic struggle between a capital that detests Trump and a vast slice of Middle America that voted to repudiate that capital's elite, trusts Trump, and will stand by him to the end.

And in any impeachment debate before Congress and the cameras of the world, not one but two narratives will be heard.

The first is that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and then sought to obstruct an investigation of his collusion.

The second is the story of how an FBI cabal went into the tank on an investigation of Clinton to save her campaign. Then it used the product of a Clinton-DNC dirt-diving operation, created by a British spy with Russian contacts, to attempt to destroy the Trump candidacy. Now, failing that, it's looking to overthrow the elected president of the United States.

In short, the second narrative is that the "deep state" and its media auxiliaries are colluding to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Unlike Watergate, with Russiagate, the investigators will be on trial as well.

Trump needs to shift the struggle out of the legal arena, where Mueller and his men have superior weapons, and into the political arena, where he can bring his populous forces to bear on the decision as to his fate.

This is the terrain on which Trump can win: an us-vs-them fight, before Congress and country, where not only the alleged crimes of Trump are aired but also the actual crimes committed to destroy him and to overturn his victory.

Trump is a nationalist who puts America first both in trade and securing her frontiers against an historic invasion from the South. If he is overthrown, and the agenda for which America voted is trashed as well, it may be Middle America in the streets this time.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.


Sid Finster May 4, 2018 at 11:30 am

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/05/gaius-publius-setting-perjury-trap-trump.html
swb , says: May 4, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Pat is correct, Trump should try to avoid answering any questions as he is incapable of keeping his lies straight. He can't even keep then straight in two consecutive sentences. A couple of hours of answering questions will result in a incoherent transcript that will take many teams of layers years to decipher.
Kurt Gayle , says: May 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm
Pat, I'm with you 100%!

Somebody should have said this a long time ago:

"Trump's lawyers should tell Mueller to wrap up his work, as Trump will not be testifying, no matter what subpoena he draws up or what the courts say he must do. And if Congress threatens impeachment for defying a court order, Trump should tell them: impeach me and be damned."

The Deep State, the mainstream media, Establishment Democrats, and (yes) Establishment Republicans have been conspiring to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election since the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016.

But we're not going to let that happen!

You're right, Pat, that "Trump is a nationalist who puts America first both in trade and securing her frontiers against an historic invasion from the South. If he is overthrown, and the agenda for which America voted is trashed as well, it may be Middle America in the streets this time."

Yes! If we have to go into the streets to protect our duly-elected President and our country, then we will take the fight into the streets.

If we don't stand and fight now, we'll lose our country! It's that simple!

Sign me up! I'm ready!

Kurt Gayle , says: May 4, 2018 at 2:17 pm
Pat is right: "The goal of Mueller's prosecutors is to take down Trump on the cheap."

A good example of this came this morning at the Paul Manafort trial in federal court in Virginia, where Judge T.S. Ellis III scolded Mueller's prosecuters:

"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud. You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment I don't see what relationship this indictment [against Manafort] has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate."

Ken Zaretzke , says: May 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm
Because Mueller's entire team consists of Democrats, who are presumptively partisan, his investigation lacks even *prima facie* credibility.

It would be nice if Trump's team makes this point. Rudy G. could explain to dimwitted journos, "That means 'on its face.' The point being, what kind of charade is this investigation, and what kind of person doesn't think it's inevitably a charade?"

Dan Green , says: May 4, 2018 at 3:50 pm
The longer the left pursues this impeachment strategy the bigger hole they are digging for themselves. They never come forth with our Obama replacement or a plan.

[May 03, 2018] Alert The Clintonian empire is still here and tries to steal the popular vote throug

Highly recommended!
The dramatic rise fo the number of CIA-democrats as candidates from Democratic Party is not assedental. As regular clintonites are discredited those guys can still appeal to patriotism to get elected.
Notable quotes:
"... Bernie continuously forcing Hillary to appear apologetic about her campaign funding from big financial interests. She tries hard to persuade the public that she will not serve specific interests. Her anxiety can be identified in many cases and it was very clear at the moment when she accused Bernie of attacking her, concerning this funding. Hillary was forced to respond with a deeply irrational argument: anyone who takes money from big interests doesn't mean that he/she will vote for policies in favor of these interests! ..."
"... Bernie drives the discussion towards fundamental ideological issues. He forced Hillary to defend her "progressiveness". She was forced to speak even about economic interests by names. A few years ago, this would be nearly a taboo in any debate between any primaries. ..."
"... After the disastrous defeat by Trump in 2016 election, the corporate Democrats realized that the progressive movement, supported mostly by the American youth, would not retreat and vanish. On the contrary, Bernie Sanders' popularity still goes up and there is a wave of progressive candidates who appear to be a real threat to the DNC establishment and the Clintonian empire. ..."
"... It seems that the empire has upgraded its dirty tactics beyond Hillary's false relocation to the Left. Seeing the big threat from the real progressives, the empire seeks to "plant" its own agents, masked as progressives, inside the electoral process, to disorientate voters and steal the popular vote. ..."
"... This is a Master's class in blatant historical revisionism and outright dishonesty. Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq. ..."
May 03, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing

globinfo freexchange

During the 2016 Democratic party primaries we wrote that what Bernie achieved, is to bring back the real political discussion in America, at least concerning the Democratic camp. Bernie smartly "drags" his primary rival, Hillary Clinton, into the heart of the politics. Up until a few years ago, you could not observe too much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, who were just following the pro-establishment "politics as usual", probably with a few, occasional exceptions. The "politics as usual" so far, was "you can't touch the Wall Street", for example.

Bernie continuously forcing Hillary to appear apologetic about her campaign funding from big financial interests. She tries hard to persuade the public that she will not serve specific interests. Her anxiety can be identified in many cases and it was very clear at the moment when she accused Bernie of attacking her, concerning this funding. Hillary was forced to respond with a deeply irrational argument: anyone who takes money from big interests doesn't mean that he/she will vote for policies in favor of these interests!

Bernie drives the discussion towards fundamental ideological issues. He forced Hillary to defend her "progressiveness". She was forced to speak even about economic interests by names. A few years ago, this would be nearly a taboo in any debate between any primaries.

After the disastrous defeat by Trump in 2016 election, the corporate Democrats realized that the progressive movement, supported mostly by the American youth, would not retreat and vanish. On the contrary, Bernie Sanders' popularity still goes up and there is a wave of progressive candidates who appear to be a real threat to the DNC establishment and the Clintonian empire.

It seems that the empire has upgraded its dirty tactics beyond Hillary's false relocation to the Left. Seeing the big threat from the real progressives, the empire seeks to "plant" its own agents, masked as progressives, inside the electoral process, to disorientate voters and steal the popular vote.

Eric Draitser gives us valuable information for such a type of candidate. Key points:

One candidate currently generating some buzz in the race is Jeff Beals, a self-identified "Bernie democrat" whose campaign website homepage describes him as a " local teacher and former U.S. diplomat endorsed by the national organization of former Bernie Sanders staffers, the Justice Democrats. " And indeed, Beals centers his progressive bona fides to brand himself as one of the inheritors of the progressive torch lit by Sanders in 2016. A smart political move, to be sure. But is it true?

Beals describes himself as a "former U.S. diplomat," touting his expertise on international issues born of his experience overseas. In an email interview with CounterPunch, Beals describes his campaign as a " movement for diplomacy and peace in foreign affairs and an end to militarism my experience as a U.S. diplomat is what drives it and gives this movement such force. " OK, sounds good, a very progressive sounding answer. But what did Beals actually do during his time overseas?

By his own admission, Beals' overseas career began as an intelligence officer with the CIA. His fluency in Arabic and knowledge of the region made him an obvious choice to be an intelligence spook during the latter stages of the Clinton Administration.

Beals shrewdly attempts to portray himself as an opponent of neocon imperialism in Iraq. In his interview with CounterPunch, Beals argued that " The State Department was sidelined as the Bush administration and a neoconservative cabal plunged America into the tragic Iraq War. As a U.S. diplomat fluent in Arabic and posted in Jerusalem at the time, I was called over a year into the war to help our country find a way out. "

This is a Master's class in blatant historical revisionism and outright dishonesty. Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq.

Moreover, no one who knows anything about the Iraq War could possibly swallow the tripe that CIA/State Department officials in Iraq were " looking to help our country find a way out " a year into the war. A year into the war, the bloodletting was only just beginning, and Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and the other corporate vultures had yet to fully exploit the country and make billions off it. So, unfortunately for Beals, the historical memory of the anti-war Left is not that short.

It is self-evident that Beals has a laundry list of things in his past that he must answer for. For those of us, especially Millennials, who cut our activist teeth demonstrating and organizing against the Iraq War, Beals' distortions about his role in Iraq go down like hemlock tea. But it is the associations Beals maintains today that really should give any progressive serious pause.

When asked by CounterPunch whether he has any connections to either Bernie Sanders and his surrogates or Hillary Clinton and hers, Beals responded by stating: " I am endorsed by Justice Democrats, a group of former Bernie Sanders staffers who are pledged to electing progressives nationwide. I am also endorsed for the Greene County chapter of the New York Progressive Action Network, formerly the Bernie Sanders network. My first hire was a former Sanders field coordinator who worked here in NY-19. "

However, conveniently missing from that response is the fact that Beals' campaign has been, and continues to be, directly managed in nearly every respect by Bennett Ratcliff, a longtime friend and ally of Hillary Clinton. Ratcliff is not mentioned in any publicly available documents as a campaign manager, though the most recent FEC filings show that as of April 1, 2018, Ratcliff was still on the payroll of the Beals campaign. And in the video of Beals' campaign kickoff rally, Ratcliff introduces Beals, while only being described as a member of the Onteora School Board in Ulster County . This is sort of like referring to Donald Trump as an avid golfer.

Beals has studiously, and rather intelligently, avoided mentioning Ratcliff, or the presence of Clinton's inner circle on his campaign. However, according to internal campaign documents and emails obtained by CounterPunch, Ratcliff manages nearly every aspect of the campaign, acting as a sort of éminence grise behind the artifice of a progressive campaign fronted by a highly educated and photogenic political novice.

By his own admission, Ratcliff's role on the campaign is strategy, message, and management. Sounds like a rather textbook description of a campaign manager. Indeed, Ratcliff has been intimately involved in "guiding" Beals on nearly every important campaign decision, especially those involving fundraising .

And it is in the realm of fundraising that Ratcliff really shines, but not in the way one would traditionally think. Rather than focusing on large donations and powerful interests, Ratcliff is using the Beals campaign as a laboratory for his strategy of winning elections without raising millions of dollars.

In fact, leaked campaign documents show that Ratcliff has explicitly instructed Beals and his staffers not to spend money on food, decorations, and other standard campaign expenses in hopes of presenting the illusion of a grassroots, people-powered campaign with no connections to big time donors or financial elites .

It seems that Ratcliff is the wizard behind the curtain, leveraging his decades of contact building and close ties to the Democratic Party establishment while at the same time manufacturing an astroturfed progressive campaign using a front man in Beals .

One of Ratcliff's most infamous, and indefensible, acts of fealty to the Clinton machine came in 2009 when he and longtime Clinton attorney and lobbyist, Lanny Davis, stumped around Washington to garner support for the illegal right-wing coup in Honduras, which ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in favor of the right-wing oligarchs who control the country today. Although the UN, and even U.S. diplomats on the ground in Honduras, openly stated that the coup was illegal, Clinton was adamant to actively keep Zelaya out.

Essentially then, Ratcliff is a chief architect of the right-wing government in Honduras – the same government assassinating feminist and indigenous activists like Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and others, and forcibly displacing and ethnically cleansing Afro-indigenous communities to make way for Carribbean resorts and golf courses.

And this Washington insider lobbyist and apologist for war criminals and crimes against humanity is the guy who's on a crusade to reform campaign finance and fix Washington? This is the guy masquerading as a progressive? This is the guy working to elect an "anti-war progressive"?

In a twisted way it makes sense. Ratcliff has the blood of tens of thousands of Hondurans (among others) on his hands, while Beals is a creature of Langley, a CIA boy whose exceptional work in the service of Bush and Clinton administration war criminals is touted as some kind of merit badge on his resume.

What also becomes clear after establishing the Ratcliff-Beals connection is the fact that Ratcliff's purported concern with campaign financing and "taking back the Republic" is really just a pretext for attempting to provide a "proof of concept," as it were, that neoliberal Democrats shouldn't fear and subvert the progressive wing of the party, but rather that they should co-opt it with a phony grassroots facade all while maintaining links to U.S. intelligence, Wall Street, and the power brokers of the Democratic Party .

Info from the article How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns by Eric Draitser

[May 02, 2018] Sanders was arguably a moderate populist hoping to ameliorate the bad effects of capitalism by addressing its more obvious social consequences of its logic in a way that has already been done by every other developed nation. That's why he was/is unacceptable to neoliberal even as sheep dog

May 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

WJ , May 1, 2018 4:04:06 PM | 36

4) When Obama was President, he was kept in line by the "Birthers".

His cabinet was handpicked by Citibank! He didn't need to be "kept in line" at all.

Sanders was arguably a moderate populist hoping to ameliorate the bad effects of capitalism by addressing its more obvious social consequences of its logic in a way that has already been done by every other developed nation. In all these nations he is a somewhat hawkish centrist. But he did raise a TON of money without needing to take donations from mega super PACs and oligarchs; hence his candidacy was a threat to the oligarchy's total ownership of US politics. This ownership is what enables the Israel lobby and others to take hold so easily in the first place, and so it was never going to end well for Sanders -- even assuming he was not just a sheep dog.

I could live in a country where actual left leaning and right leaning people worked out their differences via the democratic process. I am left leaning--well, way left leaning--but I am perfectly willing to engage right leaning people in the procedures of political compromise. But there is no such compromise available because the US is not a democratic representative republic but an oligarchy, pure and simple.

[May 01, 2018] It is disgusting how anti-war pre-president Trump becomes Hillary copycat after election: another Obama-style bait and switch maneuver to deceive US electorate

Notable quotes:
"... disgusting how anti-war pre-president trump becomes military pandering trumpanyahoo after election...his handlers, knowing he will need them in the near future, set him to constantly stroke the military every opportunity he has... ..."
"... The Western globalist billionaires and elites are ultimately responsible for any aggression coming from Israel. If they can conquer and control Iran and take over its oil and gas reserves, risking the fate of the millions of people in Iran, Syria and in Israel, then the losses to them will be incidental. ..."
"... I'm sure I'm missing some of the many "dots" but it logic suggests that both Obama and Trump are faux populists that - at least in foreign policy (where Presidential powers are greatest) - are greatly influenced by foreign(albeit "allied") interests. ..."
"... IMO Apologists for the faux populists also play an important part. They respond voraciously to the "crazy opposition" and thereby keep alive faith in the faux hero. ..."
"... Faux populist leaders seem to be a natural fit for our inverted totalitarian form of government. Perhaps any Empire will naturally gravitate to such a compromised government? Funny thing is, most Americans would say that USA is NOT an Empire. ..."
May 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Not that there was much doubt who was behind it, but two days after "enemy" warplanes attacked a Syrian military base near Hama on Sunday, killing at least 11 Iranians and dozens of others, and nobody had yet "claimed responsibility" the attack, US officials told NBC that it was indeed Israeli F-15 fighter jets that struck the base, NBC News reported .

Ominously, the officials said Israel appears to be preparing for open warfare with Iran and is seeking U.S. help and support .

"On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now," said one senior U.S. official.

The US officials told NBC that Israeli F-15s hit Hama after Iran delivered weapons to a base that houses Iran's 47th Brigade, including surface-to-air missiles. In addition to killing two dozen troops, including officers, the strike wounded three dozen others. The report adds that the U.S. officials believe the shipments were intended for Iranian ground forces that would attack Israel.

Meanwhile, as we reported yesterday, the Syrian army said early on Monday that "enemy" rockets struck military bases belonging to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. According to several outlets, the strikes targeted the 47th Brigade base in the southern Hama district, a military facility in northwestern Hama and a facility north of the Aleppo International Airport.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday that Israel on Tuesday morning had four problems, one more than the day before: "Iran, Iran, Iran and hypocrisy." The comment came one day after Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu "revealed" a cache of documents the Mossad stole from Iran detailing the country's nuclear program, which however critics said were i) old and ii) not indicative of Iran's current plans.

"This is the same Iran that cracks down on freedom of expression and on minorities. The same Iran that tried to develop nuclear weapons and entered the [nuclear] deal for economic benefits," Lieberman said.

"The same Iran is trying to hide its weapons while everyone ignores it. The state of Israel cannot ignore Iran's threats, Iran, whose senior officials promise to wipe out Israel," he said. "They are trying to harm us, and we'll have a response.

Iran's Defense Minister Amir Khatami threatened Israel on Tuesday, saying it should stop its "dangerous behavior" and vowing that the "Iranian response will be surprising and you will regret it." Khatami's remarks came Following Netanyahu's speech which Khatami described as Israeli "provocative actions," and two days after the strikes in Syria.

* * *

Meanwhile, in a potential hint at the upcoming conflict, Haaretz writes that two and a half weeks after the bombing in which seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were killed at the T4 base in Syria, Israel is bracing for an Iranian retaliation for the Syrian strikes (and if one isn't forthcoming, well that's what false flags are for).

As Haaretz writes, the Iranians' response, despite their frequent threats of revenge, is being postponed, screwing up Iran's war planning. It's also possible that as time passes, Tehran is becoming more aware of the possible complex consequences of any action. Still, the working assumption of Israeli defense officials remains that such a response is highly probable.

The Iranians appear to have many options. Revenge could come on the Syrian border, from the Lebanese border via Hezbollah, directly from Iran by the launch of long-range missiles, or against an Israeli target abroad. In past decades Iran and Hezbollah took part, separately and together, in two attacks in Argentina, a suicide attack in Bulgaria and attempts to strike at Israeli diplomats and tourists in countries including India, Thailand and Azerbaijan.

In any case, Lebanon seems all but out of bounds until the country's May 6 parliamentary elections, and amid Hezbollah's fear of being portrayed as an Iranian puppet. The firing of missiles from Iran would exacerbate the claims about Tehran's missile project a moment before a possible U.S. decision on May 12 to abandon the nuclear agreement. Also, a strike at a target far from the Middle East would require long preparation.

* * *

For now, an Israeli war with Iran in Syria is far from inevitable: the clash of intentions is clear: Iran is establishing itself militarily in Syria and Israel has declared that it will prevent that by force. The question, of course, is whether this unstable equilibrium will devolve into a lethal escalation, or if it will somehow be resolved through peaceful negotiation. Unfortunately, in the context of recent events, and the upcoming breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal, the former is looking like the most likely outcome.

BullyBearish -> FireBrander Tue, 05/01/2018 - 13:30 Permalink

disgusting how anti-war pre-president trump becomes military pandering trumpanyahoo after election...his handlers, knowing he will need them in the near future, set him to constantly stroke the military every opportunity he has...

Chupacabra-322 -> BullyBearish Tue, 05/01/2018 - 13:36 Permalink

The Western globalist billionaires and elites are ultimately responsible for any aggression coming from Israel. If they can conquer and control Iran and take over its oil and gas reserves, risking the fate of the millions of people in Iran, Syria and in Israel, then the losses to them will be incidental. The Western-globalist-Zio-hawk Axis no doubt feels it has to act now against Iran in case everything settles down in the ME with the Syrian war cooling off. Any expansion of Israeli turf or getting control of resources to the north would be stymied with further waiting and allowing both Syrian and Iranian defense systems to be further fortified. The Israelis appear to be completely confident that if they can instigate a war with Iran that it will be backed by the US, the UK, France and other NATO nations.

That confidence could only come from the Western elites running things. However, after their last fizzled false-flag poison-gas attack in Syria, the support by many NATO nations for more Axis aggression may not be that solid. So what does the Israeli tough talk and threats mean at this time? Perhaps it means that Israel is in the process of concocting a massive and much more sophisticated false-flag attack, like the taking out of a US war ship and blaming Iran for starting the war.

Remember Five points:

  1. Isreal will fight to the very last American Soldiers Death.
  2. The Zionist screams in Pain as he Stikes you.
  3. The Yinon Plan.
  4. Operation TALPIOT.
  5. Qatari Pipeline Petro Dollar Vs. Russia / China Petro Yaun.

One bright aspect is the Anti-Isreal / Jew Zionist movement is gaining steam. More & more Individuals are speaking openly against Israel's War Crimes, False Flag involvements, The Yinon Plan along with Pro Zionist immigrantion policy of migrating Muslim's & Arabs to the EU & US without fear of retribution. Pro migration policy which supports territory boarder expansion via the Yinon Plan & ethnic cleansing & migration of Arabs & Muslim's.

Not to mention the Billions in US foreign aid, AIPAC, ZioNeoConFascist NGO's & dual Israeli Citizen's which hold Political Office in CONgress. Which must be outlawed.

Jackrabbit , May 1, 2018 3:44:58 PM | 31
As people become more disillusioned with Trump I think it's worthwhile to spend a moment to take stock of what happened in th 2016 election.

1) The US President is the primary determinant of US foreign and military power. The President is much weaker when addressing domestic policy / internal affairs. Any small, paranoid nation with ambitious plans in its neighborhood would want ensure that they have the President's ear ( or his balls). Too much at stake to take chances. And political influence is even easier when you've developed close relation with an oil-rich ally (Saudis) with deep pockets.

2) US democracy is money-driven and no real populist stands much of a chance.

3) Despite a groundswell of discontent on both the left and the right, here were only two populists that ran in the election (note: I'm not counting Rand Paul's because he didn't make an outright populist appeal - he merely spoke in a sensible way.

4) When Obama was President, he was kept in line by the "Birthers". Trump is kept in line by the allegation of Russian interference.

5) "Never Trump-ers" were mainly Jewish (AFAIK) and almost certainly pro-Israel. The Never Trump campaign began in earnest with Kagan's Op-Ed in February 2016 ( some might date it to Bloomberg's public statement in January 2016 that neither Sanders or Trump could be allowed to win).

6) AFAIK Pro-Israel oligarchs (like Saban, Soros, Bloomberg) are big donors to Democratic Party. Hillarry and DNC are known to have colluded against 'sheep-dog' Sanders. Wouldn't Hillary just as easily collide FOR Trump (the Cinton's And Trump's are known to have had close ties - and their daughters are still close).

I'm sure I'm missing some of the many "dots" but it logic suggests that both Obama and Trump are faux populists that - at least in foreign policy (where Presidential powers are greatest) - are greatly influenced by foreign(albeit "allied") interests.

IMO Apologists for the faux populists also play an important part. They respond voraciously to the "crazy opposition" and thereby keep alive faith in the faux hero.

Faux populist leaders seem to be a natural fit for our inverted totalitarian form of government. Perhaps any Empire will naturally gravitate to such a compromised government? Funny thing is, most Americans would say that USA is NOT an Empire.

Jackrabbit , May 1, 2018 3:58:01 PM | 33
I should point out that "kept in line" (point #4) appears to be a convenience needed to excuse the faux populist's betrayals.

Both Obama and Trump seem more than willing to do as they are told.

And don't bother citing Obama's Iran deal as "proof" that Obama was independent. IMO That deal was made simply to buy time because regime-change in Syria was taking longer than expected. It is foolish to think that Obama did everything the establishment wanted but refused IN THAT ONE MATTER.

[Apr 30, 2018] Neoliberalization of the US Democratic Party is irreversible: It is still controlled by Clinton gang even after Hillary debacle

Highly recommended!
An interesting new term is used in this discussion: "CIA democrats". Probably originated in Patrick Martin March 7, 2018 article at WSWS The CIA Democrats Part one - World Socialist Web Site but I would not draw an equivalence between military and intelligence agencies.
"f the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress."
Notable quotes:
"... @leveymg ..."
"... @CS in AZ ..."
"... @CS in AZ ..."
"... @CS in AZ ..."
"... "I was truly fired up about Bernie Sanders at that time. I've come a very long ways since then." ..."
"... @arendt ..."
"... @The Voice In the Wilderness ..."
"... @The Voice In the Wilderness ..."
Apr 30, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

Postmodern progressives

arendt on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 9:28am

The left has never been welcome in the Republican party; and since the neoliberal Clinton machine showed up, they have not been welcome in the Democratic party either. As Clinton debauched the historical, FDR/JFK/LBJ meaning of the word "liberal", the left started calling itself "progressives". The left had long been the grassroots of the Democratic party; and after being left in the lurch by John Kerry (no lawsuits against Ohio fraud), lied to by Barack Obama, and browbeaten by the increasingly neocon Clintonite DNC, they enthusiastically coalesced around Bernie Sanders.

If our political system were honest, Bernie Sanders would have been the Democratic nominee; and Hillary Clinton and Debbie W-S (of Aman Brothers infamy) would be on trial for violating national security and corrupting the DNC. But, our political system isn't honest. Our political system, including the Democratic party, is completely bought and paid for. And, unfortunately, Bernie Sanders - despite being a victim of that corruption - continues to refuse to make that point. He refused to join the lawsuit (complete with dead process server and suspicious phone call from DWS's office) against the DNC. All in the name of working within a party he does not even belong to.

After the 2016 election, the DNC, continuing its corrupt ways, blatantly favored Tom Perez over the "progressive" Keith Ellison, smearing Ellison as a Moslem lover. Bernie's reaction to this continuing manipulation was muted. On foreign policy, Bernie continues to be either AWOL or pro-MIC (F-35 plant in VT)/pro-Israel. These are not progressive positiions. AFAIAC, Bernie is half a leftist. He is left on economics and social policy; but he is rightwing on the MIC, foreign policy, and Israel. There is very little democracy left in this country, and I am not going to waste my time supporting Bernie, who has shown himself to be a sheepdog. That's my take on the 2018 version of Bernie. I will always treasure the early 2016 version of Bernie, the only political candidate in my life that I gave serious money to.

Neither will I waste my time pretending that honest, inside-the-system efforts can take the Democratic party back from the plutocrats who own it, lock, stock, and checkbook. You might think there is a chance to work inside the system. You might think the DNC is vulnerable because it learned nothing from the 2016 debacle; but you would be wrong. After the Hillary debacle, they have learned how to manufacture more credible fake progressives.

------

For it seems that progressive candidates aren't the only ones who learned the lesson of Bernie Sanders in 2016; the neoliberal Clintonites have too. So, while left-wing campaigns crop up in every corner of the country, so too do astroturf faux-progressive campaigns. And it is for us on the left to parse through it all and separate the authentic from the frauds.

One candidate currently generating some buzz in the race is Jeff Beals, a self-identified "Bernie democrat" whose campaign website homepage describes him as a "local teacher and former U.S. diplomat endorsed by the national organization of former Bernie Sanders staffers, the Justice Democrats." And indeed, Beals centers his progressive bona fides to brand himself as one of the inheritors of the progressive torch lit by Sanders in 2016. A smart political move, to be sure. But is it true?

By his own admission, Beals' overseas career began as an intelligence officer with the CIA. His fluency in Arabic and knowledge of the region made him an obvious choice to be an intelligence spook during the latter stages of the Clinton Administration.

Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq.

Moreover, no one who knows anything about the Iraq War could possibly swallow the tripe that CIA/State Department officials in Iraq were "looking to help our country find a way out" a year into the war. A year into the war, the bloodletting was only just beginning, and Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and the other corporate vultures had yet to fully exploit the country and make billions off it. So, unfortunately for Beals, the historical memory of the anti-war Left is not that short.

How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns

The takeaway here is that many of these self-declared "Bernie Democrats" are, in reality, the "CIA Democrats" that we have been warned about. And Bernie has not called them out. Another thing he has not called out is the fact that the party leadership is still blatantly sabotaging even modestly "progressive" candidates in the primaries.

In the latest striking example of how the Democratic Party resorts to cronyism (and perhaps corruption) to ensure that its favored candidates beat back progressive challengers in local races, a candidate for Colorado's 6th Congressional District has leaked a recording of a conversation with Minority Leader Steny Hoyer to The Intercept which published it overnight. In it, Hoyer can be heard essentially lecturing the candidate about why he should step aside and let the Democratic Party bosses - who of course have a better idea about which candidate will prevail over a popular Republican in the general election - continue pulling the strings.

The candidate, Levi Tillemann, is hardly a party outsider. Tillemann had grandparents on both sides of his family who were elected Democratic representatives, and his family is essentially Democratic Party royalty.

Still, the party's campaign arm - the notorious Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (better known as the DCCC, or D-trip) - refused to provide Tillemann with access to party campaign data or any of the other resources he requested.


Secret Recording Reveals Democratic Party Boss Ordering Progressive Candidate To Quit Race

Here is yet another thing that Bernie has not called out: The DNC, which is reportedly badly behind in fundraising, is nevertheless willing to spend obscene amounts of money in primaries just to keep progressives out of races - even Red district races that are guaranteed losses for Democrats.

Dan Feehan has successfully bought the Democratic nomination for Minnesota's first congressional district (MN-CD1). Dan, having lived outside the state since the age of 14, has allegedly misled the public on his FEC form, claiming residence at his cousin's address. Here is Dan's FEC filing form. One can see that it his cousin who lives at this address...

Mr. Feehan has no chance to win in November. While nobody likes a candidate from Washington D.C., people hate Washington money even more. To be fair to Dan he hasn't taken super PAC money, somehow. But he has raised 565,000 dollars, an outrageous sum for a congressional race. 94% of this money has come from outside the district, and 79% from outside the state. Where does this money come from? Well, according to the campaign, from people around the country who want to keep Minnesota blue. If this was the case, why not wait to give money until Minnesota voted for a candidate in the primary and then donate? And who on earth has this much money to pour into an obscure race outside of their state?

Dan Feehan is of the same breed that most post-Trump Democrats are. Clean cut, military experience, stern, anti-gun, anti-crazy Orange monsters, anti-negativity, and anti-discrimination of rich people who fall under a marginalized group. What are they for? No one knows. If pushed they want "good" education, health care, jobs, environment, etc. But they want Big money too for various reasons, but the ones cited are: because that is the only way to win, because rich people are smart and poor people are dumb, and because money is speech. So they cannot and will not make any concrete commitments. Hence energy becomes "all inclusive", as if balancing clean and dirty energy was a college admissions department diversity issue, rather than a question of life or death for the entire planet. Healthcare becomes not a right, but a requirement with a giant handout to insurance companies. Near full employment (with the near being very important, when we consider leverage) comes with part-time, short-term, and low paying work.

The Clintonite Democrats and their spawn are postmodern progressives. In their world, there is no way to test if one is progressive.
Within the world of the Democratic party, there is no relativity. It is merely a universe that exists only to clash with (but mostly submit to) the parallel Republican universe. Whoever proves to be the victor should be united behind without a thought given to their place within the political spectrum of Democrat voters. They believe, if I were to paraphrase René Descartes: "I Democrat, therefore I progressive."

How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101

Tell me again why I must be a loyal Democrat, why I must support candidates who are corporate/MIC shills, why I must submit to the constant harassment and sabotage of progressive efforts. Tell me again how Bernie is fighting the party leadership. (That is, explain away all the non-activity related to the items posted above.)

I'm with Chris Hedges. Formal democracy is dead in the US; all we have left are actions in the streets (and those are being slowly made illegal). The only people in this country who deserve my support are: 1) the striking teachers, many of them non-unionized, 2) the oil pipeline protestors, who are being crushed by police state tactics, 3) the fighters for $15 minimum wage, again non-unionized. The Democratic Party used to stand for unions. It doesn't any more. It doesn't stand for anything except getting more money from the 1% to sell out the 99% with fake progressive CIA candidates. Oh, and it stands for pussy hats.

Anyone who tells me to get in line behind Bernie is either a naive pollyana or a disingenuous purity troll.


leveymg on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 9:44am
We have all been here before. 1948. That was the year that the clawback of the Democratic Party and the purge of the Left was formalized. It really dates to the engineered hijacking of the nomination of Henry Wallace at the 1944 Democratic Convention. History does repeat itself for those who didn't learn or weren't adequately taught it.
arendt on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:00am
I appreciate being reminded of the history... @leveymg @leveymg

however tragic it is. Instead of a true leftwinger, we got Harry Truman, a naive wardheeler from corrupt Kansas City. He was led by the nose to create the CIA.

I do take your point; but the question is, can anything be done? If democracy has become meaningless kabuki, and the neocon warmongers are in charge no matter whom we "elect", what is there to do besides build that bomb shelter?

That is why I say that only genuine issues will galvanize the public; and even then, they can run a hybrid war against the left. They have created this ludicrous Identity Politics boogeyman that energizes the right and makes the postmodern progressives look stupid. No matter what tactic I think of, TPTB have already covered that base. The problem is that the left has absolutely no base in the U.S. today.

Alligator Ed on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 3:56am
The post-modern progressives are stupid @arendt They are not progressive. They do not have a platform (except "I anti-Trump, therefore I progressive".

How will the pseudo-progressives be able to justify being both "progressive" and pro-war?

Talk about cognitive dissonance. But wait. Democraps of any stripe, don't cogitate, hence no dissonance.

zoebear on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:12am
Appreciate you posting this essay This is only one of the many troubling signs which convince me he is being controlled by my enemy.

The takeaway here is that many of these self-declared "Bernie Democrats" are, in reality, the "CIA Democrats" that we have been warned about. And Bernie has not called them out.

CS in AZ on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:12am
Thanks for the essay, arendt I came to this site in the great purge at daily kos, and I was truly fired up about Bernie Sanders at that time. I've come a very long ways since then. Thanks to the people here.

And to kos, who now rather infamously said "if you think Hillary Clinton can't beat Donald Trump, you're a fucking moron. Seriously, you're dumb as rocks." And he said if you're not going to cheerlead for democrats, "go the fuck away. This is not your place." True words!!

So this site was here and Bernie supporters flocked here. Including me. But over this time I have seen the mistakes I made. Such a lot of wasted time and energy.

Still searching for answers myself, but I know what doesn't work, and how important for the status quo to keep the illusion of democracy alive. But more and more people are not buying it anymore. I suspect that a few more crumbs will be forthcoming on some issues. That's the very best way to keep the show going. And the show must go on.

Pulling back the curtain is really the first and most important weapon we have. Thank you for doing that.

zoebear on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:45am zoebear on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:45am
Whose dumb as rocks now? @CS in AZ

Countered with Russia, Russia, Russia. God he was such a prick.

I came to this site in the great purge at daily kos, and I was truly fired up about Bernie Sanders at that time. I've come a very long ways since then. Thanks to the people here.

And to kos, who now rather infamously said "if you think Hillary Clinton can't beat Donald Trump, you're a fucking moron. Seriously, you're dumb as rocks." And he said if you're not going to cheerlead for democrats, "go the fuck away. This is not your place." True words!!

So this site was here and Bernie supporters flocked here. Including me. But over this time I have seen the mistakes I made. Such a lot of wasted time and energy.

Still searching for answers myself, but I know what doesn't work, and how important for the status quo to keep the illusion of democracy alive. But more and more people are not buying it anymore. I suspect that a few more crumbs will be forthcoming on some issues. That's the very best way to keep the show going. And the show must go on.

Pulling back the curtain is really the first and most important weapon we have. Thank you for doing that.

arendt on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 12:19pm
"important for the SQ to keep the illusion of democracy alive" @CS in AZ

That's how I feel about it. I've been suckered one time too many. The 2016 election was a complete farce. Bernie was sabotaged. The DNC and Hillary broke their own rules to do it. But Bernie, with a perfect opportunity and lots of support, just walked away from the fight that he had promised his people.

Sheep dog.

TPTB want the political "fight" to be between slightly different flavors of neoliberal looting/neocon warmongering. They want unions, teachers, environmentalists, and minorities to, in the words of a UK asshole, "shut up and go away".

The CIA literally paid $600M to the Washington Post, whose purchase price was only $300M. Bezos made 200% of his money back in a month. The media is completely corporatized; and they are coming for the internet with censorship. Where is Bernie on this? Haven't heard a word.

Sheep dog.

As TPTB simply buy what is left of the Democratic party, they will enforce this kabuki politics. Any deviation will be labeled Putin-loving, Assad-loving, China-loving, etc.

You can't have a democracy when free speech is instantly labeled fake news or enemy propaganda.

snoopydawg on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 5:47pm
I think this is the gist of people who don't care for Bernie @CS in AZ

"I was truly fired up about Bernie Sanders at that time. I've come a very long ways since then."

This is how I see the way some people feel about him. This same thing happened after I voted for Obama. I thought that he would do what "I heard him say that he would", but he let me down by not even bothering to try doing anything.

What soured me on Bernie was his saying that Her won the election fair and square after everything we saw happen. Even after learning how the primary was rigged against him. And now he has jumped on the Russian interference propaganda train when he knows that Russia had no hand with Trump beating Her out the presidency.

Bottom line is that I no longer believe that Bernie is being up front with me. I know that others feel differently, but remember how people changed their minds on Obama and never accepted Herheinous! People should be free here to say how they feel.

dkmich on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:51am
Obama was the template.

"I guess the lesson is we shouldn't be fooled by good-looking liberals no matter how well-spoken they are," Fonda said.

I don't trust the Justice Dems as far as I can throw them. DailyKos indoctrinated us for 10 years with more and better. It is all bull shit.

Bernie also lied to us. "He is in it to win it" - as long as he doesn't piss off the Clintons and Obama.

arendt on Sat, 04/28/2018 - 12:21pm
I don't folllow all the BS. Who are the "justice" dems? @dkmich

Purportedly Bernie? Perportedly Obama?

I just don't care. The Democratic Party is dead to me. I had a wake a while back.

dkmich on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:44am
Berniecrats that want to work from within just like Bernie does @arendt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Democrats

Lookout on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 11:35am
The Obomber template has been exported @dkmich

Don't you think Trudeau and Macron seem to be cut from an Obama cloth?

Would that we had a Corbyn in the US. At lest he request evidence before bombing and ejecting diplomats.

zoebear on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 9:58am
Withdrawing in "purity" @The Voice In the Wilderness

Isn't making it "easier" for them to cheat when they are already doing that. What participating in their corruption does do is keep the illusion of democracy alive for their benefit. Easier? They're already achieving their end game. Controlling us, electing their candidates, and collecting our taxes.

Frankly we've been participating in their potemkin village passing as democracy for decades with no effect.

CS in AZ on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 10:09am
No, that's not what it means @The Voice In the Wilderness

First, a boycott is not "ignoring" voting. It's an organized protest against fake elections. It's actually not that uncommon for people in other countries to call for election boycotts in protest when a significant portion of people feel the election is staged or rigged with a predetermined outcome, or where all of the candidates are chosen by the elite so none represent the will of the people.

In that type of situation, boycotting the election -- and obviously that means saying why, and making a protest out of it -- is really the only recourse people have. It may not be effective at stopping the fake election, but it lets the world know the vote was fake.

If you line up to go obediently cast your vote anyway, then you are the one who is empowering the enemy, by giving the illusion of legitimacy to the fake vote.

Now about this big worry about what "they" will say... first, look at what they already say about third party voters. In the media and political world, third party voters are a joke, useful idiots, who can be simultaneously written off as "fringe" wackos who can and should be ignored, and also childish spoilers who can be scapegoated and blamed for eternity for election loses. Witness Ralph Nader and Jill Stein. Of course people should still vote third party if there's someone that truly represents them, and if they believe the election process is genuine. Because you don't let your voting choices be dictated by what the powers that be say about it!

For those of us who believe the election process is a sham and a scam, voting is playing into their hands, giving legitimacy to their show. That is what makes it easier for them to keep the status quo firmly in place, and is literally helping them do it.

As has been pointed out, if an organized protest/boycott that called the elections fake were to take root and grow, they would not be able to say we don't care. That's a big if, obviously, but it's better than playing your assigned role in The Voting Show. Because that show is what everyone points to as proof that the American people want this fucked up warmongering government we keep voting back into power every two years.

Enough is enough. One of Bernie's slogans, which I still agree with.

[Apr 30, 2018] The CIA Democrats Part one by Patrick Martin

Mar 07, 2018 | www.wsws.org

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored "star" recruit. A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, "homeland defense" and cyber warfare. Elissa Slotkin

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called "Red to Blue" program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats -- in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call "spy vs. spy."

The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter's website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.

CNN's "State of the Union" program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday's primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a "career civil servant." However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, "Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy" (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).

According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as "senior advisor for trade enforcement," a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.

[Apr 30, 2018] The CIA Democrats Part one

Apr 30, 2018 | www.wsws.org

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored "star" recruit. A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, "homeland defense" and cyber warfare. Elissa Slotkin

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called "Red to Blue" program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats -- in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call "spy vs. spy."

The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter's website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.

CNN's "State of the Union" program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday's primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a "career civil servant." However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, "Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy" (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).

According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as "senior advisor for trade enforcement," a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.

[Apr 29, 2018] Citizens have no opportunity for input otherwise on any matter of governance, so their lack of engagement is imposed upon them

Apr 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

teddyfromcd Patty Donovan 2 years ago ,

JUST - i hope -- you understand (and that's why sometimes SIX PACK gets mad at me -- NOT HIS FAULT) -- when it has become habitual to generalize ''americans" ...but that is very hard to avoid now after all that the USA has done to so many countries. in so many cruel ways.

but it IS understood that it NEVER means "'ALL AMERICANS"

that is just an IMPOSSIBILITY..

Don Bacon | Apr 22, 2018 3:37:51 PM | 26

@Sid2 11
a huge amount of the American populace is entirely disengaged from what's going on

The American populace was certainly involved when against all odds, against nearly every "expert," Donald Trump not only bested a dozen politicians in his own party primaries but then beat the odds-on favorite by far in the general election.

But that's an exception. The people get involved (of course) only when they have the opportunity to do so. Generally speaking that's an opportunity to vote for one schmuck or another periodically, and that's about it, in the so-called US "democracy." Citizens have no opportunity for input otherwise on any matter of governance, so their lack of engagement is imposed upon them, it's not their choice. It differs little in every country.

jayc , Apr 22, 2018 4:31:27 PM | 30
I must have missed the day in high school civics class when it was explained the best way to resolve political differences in a democracy was to form an angry mob and engage in widespread vandalism and arson.

I had seen an MSM piece on the disruptions in Nicaragua, which did mention that Social Security reform was motivating the demonstrators - without mentioning that the protesters were angry that the proposed reforms were not sufficiently cruel. In this way the Nicaraguan protesters join those in Venezuela, who are angry that health and literacy programs exist, and the Ukrainians who sparked a "revolution" so they could have a harsh austerity program imposed on them.

[Apr 29, 2018] Pompeo's Contempt for Diplomacy and the Nuclear Deal by Daniel Larison

Trump betrayal of his voters is as staggering as Obama betrayal. May even more so.
Notable quotes:
"... It is fitting that one of the first things that will happen during Pompeo's tenure as chief diplomat is the repudiation of a successful diplomatic agreement solely for reasons of spite and ideology. That reflects the contempt for diplomacy and compromise that Pompeo shares with the president. It is an early reminder why having Pompeo in charge of U.S. diplomacy is so dangerous and why it would have been better not to confirm him. ..."
"... North Korea wasn't going to give up its nuclear weapons anyway, and now it will look at Trump's reneging on the nuclear deal as proof that they are right to keep them. ..."
"... Pompeo's recent statements are those of an ignorant and incompetent jackass. Barely two weeks in and sane Americans are already nostalgic for Tillerson. ..."
"... Instead, as Pompeo's current trip and whereabouts make very clear, he's aping the same old tired Bush/Obama Middle East crap and still running errands for the corrupt rulers of Israel and Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... And if Trump doesn't stop betraying his voters with all this pointless, staggeringly expensive Middle East crap, he'll be gone in 2020. ..."
Apr 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

It is fitting that one of the first things that will happen during Pompeo's tenure as chief diplomat is the repudiation of a successful diplomatic agreement solely for reasons of spite and ideology. That reflects the contempt for diplomacy and compromise that Pompeo shares with the president. It is an early reminder why having Pompeo in charge of U.S. diplomacy is so dangerous and why it would have been better not to confirm him.

Pompeo also said this weekend that he didn't think North Korea would care if the U.S. withdrew from the agreement:

"I don't think Kim Jong Un is staring at the Iran deal and saying, 'Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won't talk to the Americans anymore,'" Pompeo told reporters traveling on his plane en route from Saudi Arabia to Israel. "There are higher priorities, things that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay in the [agreement]."

It is obvious that North Korea has bigger concerns than U.S. adherence to the JCPOA, but it doesn't follow that they won't take U.S. withdrawal as another sign that negotiating with Washington is pointless. North Korea already has other reasons to doubt U.S. trustworthiness. John Bolton's endorsement of using negotiations with Libya as a model couldn't be more tone-deaf, since North Korean officials frequently cite the overthrow and death of Gaddafi as a cautionary tale of what happens when a government makes a deal with the U.S. It is possible that North Korea won't put much stock in what happens to the JCPOA one way or another for a very different reason: unlike Iran, North Korea has no intention of making significant concessions, and it is engaged in talks with the U.S. to get as much as it can out of the fact that it is now a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.

North Korea wasn't going to give up its nuclear weapons anyway, and now it will look at Trump's reneging on the nuclear deal as proof that they are right to keep them.

Cincinnati G April 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Our involvement in international "diplomacy", already weird, embarrassing, and destabilizing because of Trump's random behavior, now seems to be spinning out of control. Pompeo's recent statements are those of an ignorant and incompetent jackass. Barely two weeks in and sane Americans are already nostalgic for Tillerson.

Wake me up when any senior member of this government turns out to be something other than crooked, stupid, vulgar, incompetent, or some kind of foreign agent. We voted for Trump hoping for a radical re-dedication to American interests. Instead, as Pompeo's current trip and whereabouts make very clear, he's aping the same old tired Bush/Obama Middle East crap and still running errands for the corrupt rulers of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

November 2018 is already slated to be a Republican bloodbath, in great part because our government, the Congress in particular, is serving foreign interests and Wall Street instead of America. And if Trump doesn't stop betraying his voters with all this pointless, staggeringly expensive Middle East crap, he'll be gone in 2020.

[Apr 29, 2018] The Presidency The Hardest Job in the World

It's Imperial Presidency now. It it requires new rules.
Apr 29, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

any of the responsibilities that vex Trump are ones that were not part of the job's original design. They have accrued to the presidency over time, most in the recent past. The Framers, fresh from a successful rebellion against a tyrannical king, envisioned an executive who was limited in power and even stature. For a good long while, the design held. James K. Polk's wife, Sarah, was so concerned that the 11th president might enter a room unnoticed, she asked the Marine Band to play "Hail to the Chief" to get people to turn their head when he arrived.

Today we notice when the president doesn't show up. We are a president-obsessed nation, so much so that we undermine the very idea of our constitutional democracy. No one man -- or woman -- can possibly represent the varied, competing interests of 327 million citizens. And it may be that no man -- or woman -- can perform the ever-expanding duties of office while managing an executive branch of 2 million employees (not including the armed forces) charged with everything from regulating air pollution to x-raying passengers before they board an airplane.

Even the role of commander in chief, already one of the weightiest presidential responsibilities, has grown rapidly in its demands. National security is today threatened less by slow-moving armies than by stateless terror groups who might weaponize a rented truck and by rogue states who might weaponize an email. Rare is the day when one or more of these enemies don't present an imminent danger requiring the president's attention. "The modern presidency has gotten out of control," Leon Panetta, who has served past presidents as the White House chief of staff, the secretary of defense, and the director of the CIA, told me recently. "Presidents are caught in a crisis-by-crisis response operation that undermines the ability of any modern president to get a handle" on the office.

The growth of presidential power is not new. When Arthur Schlesinger Jr. published The Imperial Presidency , in 1973, the term was already at least 10 years in use. But the office hasn't just grown in power; it's grown in scope, complexity, degree of difficulty. Each time a president has added to the job description, a new expectation has conveyed, like the Oval Office furniture, to the next man in line. A president must now be able to jolt the economy like Franklin Roosevelt, tame Congress like Lyndon Johnson, comfort the nation like Ronald Reagan.

... ... ....

Even Trump, not one to readily admit a mistake, has acknowledged that he underestimated the difficulty of the job. "I thought it would be easier," he told Reuters 100 days into his term. A blunt admission -- and one much mocked by his critics -- but one every president eventually makes. Lyndon Johnson made the point in his earthy way: "The office is kinda like the little country boy found the hoochie-koochie show at the carnival," he said. "Once he'd paid his dime and got inside the tent: It ain't exactly as it was advertised."

... ... ...

Eisenhower sorted priorities through a four-quadrant decision matrix that is still a staple of time-management books. It was based on his maxim "What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important."

... ... ...

Monitoring even small threats can take up an entire day. "My definition of a good day was when more than half of the things on my schedule were things I planned versus things that were forced on me," says Jeh Johnson, who served Obama as homeland-security secretary.

... ... ...

Eisenhower-esque detachment was no longer viable. Amid crashing favorability ratings, Obama interrupted his own vacation to tour abandoned, oil-slicked beaches. "I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis," he said. "I am the president, and the buck stops with me."

That phrase -- a succinct expression of presidential obligations -- is like the presidency itself: It has spilled out of its original container. When Harry Truman placed a sign on his desk reading the buck stops here , it meant that some decisions, only the president can make. It did not mean that the president is responsible -- and therefore to blame -- for everything that happens in the executive branch, much less the nation.

... ... ...

Modern presidents who have just come to office on the strength of their rhetoric and showmanship are encouraged to continue relying on those skills. "They have been talking for two years, and that's nearly all they've been doing. When they win, they conclude that they can convince people of anything," the Texas A&M political scientist George C. Edwards III says. "The feedback is pretty strong."

Governing is about more than talking, though. "The first thing a president needs to understand," says Max Stier, the CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, "is that in order to run a government, they are going to need capabilities different than the ones needed to win the right to run the government."

... ... ...

The rush to staff up encourages new presidents to fill the administration with the people who helped them win the office in the first place, further entrenching a campaign mentality within the White House. The presidential scholar Shirley Anne Warshaw, who teaches at Gettysburg College, found that 58 percent of the senior posts in the Obama administration were filled by campaign staff. Some may have been suited to the unique challenges of the executive branch, but the system does not allow enough time to make certain of it. New presidents just have to hope for the best.

... ... ...

When a president travels, he has his own doctor, security, exercise equipment, and water. It all gets moved around on his airplanes. If the Secret Service thinks the bathroom in a foreign country might cause the president to slip, agents will lay down protective strips to give him traction when he gets out of the tub. Grover Cleveland used to answer his own front door. Now presidents touch door handles only in their private quarters. Their lives are babyproofed.

... ... ...

The relentlessness of the job depletes a president's powers of restraint, and yet restraint is crucial for wise decision making. "You have to have a high tolerance for pain," says Jay Carney, one of Obama's press secretaries. "Sometimes that means letting yourself be misunderstood," refusing opportunities to score easy debating points in favor of the long view.

As Lyndon Johnson put it, sometimes the president is little more than "a jackass in a hailstorm."

[Apr 29, 2018] Immigration and identity politics

Apr 29, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 05:41

If you are saying that their expertise lies elsewhere, that is surely self-evident?
Crazymoomin , 24 Apr 2018 05:37

Working-class white people may claim to be against identity politics, but they actually crave identity politics.

I think they probably see it more of a "if you can't beat them, join them" scenario. They see the way the wind is blowing and decide if they want representation, they have to play the game, even if they don't really like the rules.

Ron Jackson -> CharlesBradlaugh , 24 Apr 2018 05:30
No sloth will make you live in poverty, unless you are actually the animal the sloth.
StevoT -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 05:28
The detail. They don't know the detail. They don't have the expertise. Which is what this article is about.

They don't know what they're talking about, even if they do know what they want.

cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 05:22
.... but see my previous post.

They know enough about the EU to know that it isn't one of their patrons and sponsors. They also know that Westminster have been systematically misrepresenting the EU for their own purposes for decades, and they can use the same approach.

What more is required?

CharlesBradlaugh -> Ron Jackson , 24 Apr 2018 05:15
are we supposed to be impressed by your middle income? Poverty is not caused by sloth.
CharlesBradlaugh -> Ron Jackson , 24 Apr 2018 05:12
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
Ron Jackson -> CharlesBradlaugh , 24 Apr 2018 05:08
Not a fool and I don't hate anyone at 55 I have 1.2M in investments, I make 165k a year and pay 40k+ a year in taxes. I to come across people who live off of we everyday and expect to free load. I am not a blowhard just an engineer who pays for sloth.
KeyboardChimp , 24 Apr 2018 05:07
Non expert berating non experts. The Michael Massing paradox.
CharlesBradlaugh -> Ron Jackson , 24 Apr 2018 04:57
I've met many fools like you in my over 50 years on the planet, blowhards parading their ignorance as a badge of pride, thinking that their hatred of anyone not exactly like them is normal, mistaking what some cretin says on the far right radio for fact.

You people would be comical if not for the toxicity that your stupidity engenders.

Monkeybiz -> SteveofCaley , 24 Apr 2018 04:51
It's a play on the motto "One country under God". Rather clever, I thought.
Monkeybiz -> Andrew Nichols , 24 Apr 2018 04:50
Yes, there is a deep lack of context and hence dilution of meaning as a result
Monkeybiz -> Navarth , 24 Apr 2018 04:48
Al Jazeera tries to do a better job, at least providing a spectrum of opinion and a lot of depth in quite a few issues, something most other networks fail to do these days.
StevoT -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 04:48
Don't think I am confusing anything.

My point was about expertise. Brexiteers have goals about which I agree with you.

My point is that they don't know about the subject, the EU, which they are using to achieve their goals.

Monkeybiz -> breitling1884 , 24 Apr 2018 04:47
Really? Were they repeated?
cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 04:37
Don't fall into the associated trap either, of the false equation between STATED and ACTUAL goals.

Fox and Hunt are fully aware that to actually admit their actual goal, would be (probably) just about the only thing which would provoke an electoral backlash which would sweep the Conservatives from office. The NHS is proverbially "the nearest thing the English have, to a religion" and is a profoundly dangerous subject for debate.

Fox and Hunt may be weaving an incomprehensible web of sophistry and misdirection, but no part of it is accidental.

StevoT -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 04:31
Don't disagree with this. Doesn't mean they know what they are talking about.
cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 04:12
Please, please don't make the unfounded assumption that people like Fox, Johnson, Cameron et al are as stupid as they sometimes appear.

Fox and Hunt, in particular, know exactly what they are engaged in - a hard-right coup designed to destroy government control over the NHS and route its enormous cash flows into the pockets of their private, mostly American sponsors. It isn't necessary to look far, to discover their connections and patronage from this source.

Johnson is consumed by ambition, as was Cameron befo