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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 Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Demexit Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Donald Trump
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Bernie Sanders Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

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

-- Leonard Pinkney

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

-- Daniel Estulin

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

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

 

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

Summary

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

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

There are also addition questions:

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

The fact that parties represent interests 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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[Feb 22, 2018] How the Washington Post Missed the Biggest Watergate Story of All Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... This is an abridgement of an article first published by Lobster Magazine ( ..."
"... www.lobster-magazine.co.uk ..."
"... ). Republished with permission. All rights reserved by the author. ..."
"... Setting aside that dubious charge, this author and others supporting this narrative claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

There could only be a very small number of White House figures privy to this precise set of information in mid-1974, and perhaps only one. Woodward's source was Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Still alive in 2018, Kissinger has maintained public silence about his knowledge of Nixon's Vietnam treason for half a century.

It is incomprehensible that neither Woodward nor Bernstein appeared to understand the information they were being told by Kissinger: the allegations against Nixon had swirled ever since he won the Presidency. On January 12, 1969, the Washington Post itself had carried a profile of Nixon's go-between, Anna Chennault, which stated: "She reportedly encouraged Saigon to 'delay' in joining the Paris peace talks in hopes of getting a better deal if the Republicans won the White House." Chennault was reported as making no comment on the allegations, which were entirely accurate.

Woodward and Bernstein had been handed the skeleton key that would have unlocked the entire Watergate affair. The reporters had been told – by no less a figure than Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger – about the real motive behind Nixon's plan to burgle the Brookings Institute. It was to destroy the evidence that Nixon had conspired to prolong a war with an official enemy of the United States in order to win the presidency in 1968; after which he deliberately prolonged – even escalated – the Vietnam War. And – for reasons that might never be known – Woodward and Bernstein stayed silent.

Bob Woodward and Henry Kissinger were contacted for comment on the specific disclosures made in this article. Neither of them replied.

This is an abridgement of an article first published by Lobster Magazine ( www.lobster-magazine.co.uk ). Republished with permission. All rights reserved by the author.


mike k , February 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Professional liars at work. Dirty games of the rich and powerful. Can anyone be so naïve as to think these power players care one bit about the rights and safety of ordinary people, even millions who have been murdered by their scheming? This is the truth about your government in action. These people are the enemies of mankind.

Antiwar7 , February 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Here's the great Robert Parry's take on this subject, back in 2014:
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/05/an-insiders-view-of-nixons-treason/

David Smith , February 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

The United States, through The Constitution, has the strictest definition of treason in the world. That is giving aid(material aid) and comfort(in its 18th century meaning) to a nation at war with the US. How Nixon's alleged action constitutes treason is not made clear by this article.

Setting aside that dubious charge, this author and others supporting this narrative claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion. Certainly, LBJ halted the bombing of N Vietnam as a good faith gesture, and invited the Hanoi regime to peace talks.

However there is no way a treaty could be negotiated in the six months before the Presidential elections. There were numerous issues that were very difficult, and in certain cases impossible to resolve with an agreement by all four parties such as a Ceasefire and agreed lines of control and composition of a Control Commission, future elections in S Vietnam, replacement of critical military equipment to respective parties, the complex particulars of POW exchange, permitted military activities of the US, and perhaps the stickiest, would the NVA agree to leave S Vietnam or would it insist to stay.

This last one was particularly offensive to the Saigon regime. Kissinger could not get the NVA to agree to leave, lied to Saigon about it(Saigon was wise to his lying) and in the end Nixon had to threaten cessation of all aid to get Saigon to sign. The negotiations for the Paris Accords were neccesarily complex and long as the US had to leave Saigon with a structure that gave it a chance for survival. The US violated the Accords by continuing B-52 raids in support of Saigon only halted by Congressional action in August 1973. Nixon was elected in 1968 on the promise to end the war and it is a false charge to accuse him of lying cynically with the intention to prolong the war. His actions in 1969, 1970, and 1971 were an attempt to give Saigon the best position possible. Nixon also had to deal with the rightists in America who would see the Paris Accords as a sellout. Originally, Hanoi proposed signing on October 1972, thinking they were giving Nixon a boost. Nixon however fearing the rightists didn't want the Accords known until after the election so he allowed Saigon to object to several clauses as a delaying tactic. Hanoi then walked out because they thought Nixon was buying time to ram in more materiel. This led to the infamous 1972 Christmas Bombing of Hanoi, to get Hanoi back to the table. In the end it was Saigon that balked, refusing to sign because the Accords left the NVA in the South. Nixon forced their hand by threatening to cease all aid. I have added this final narrative to illustrate the bizarre complexity of the absurd mess, and what mind boggling difficulties Nixon had to face. A simplistic narrative casting Nixon as a traitor and "war prolonger" is not justified by a balanced analysis of the facts.

Mike Lamb , February 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Back in April 2014 Lyndon Johnson's daughter Lynda Bird Johnson Robb was on the Pure Bull Shit Newshour (they have gone a long way from the days of McNeill Leher) and she brought up the fact that as her father was attempting to bring peace in Vietnam the South Vietnamese government was being told they would get a better deal under President Nixon.

Gwen Ifill, reporter for PBS essentially did her "Star Wars" line of nothing to see here, move on stating: "So much drama involving Vietnam, so much drama involving the Civil Rights Act. Robert Kimball, you were 24 years old " moving away from Lynda Bird Johnson Robb so she had no change to expand on the treason by Nixon supporters.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/civil-rights-act-opened-door-american-dream

David Smith , February 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm

1) Accurately define treason. 2) Explain how in the six or seven months between April 1968 and the November election LBJ could have negotiated and signed a peace treaty with North Vietnam.

Luke , February 21, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I'm so sick of these egotists who think that aggressively firing stupid questions at a commenter constitutes a reply or a counter argument.
Explain this, define that This isn't the 12th century anymore Gregory..

If we're harassing people into explaining arbitrary assertions, how about you explain how 'to give aid and comfort to the enemy' is the 'strictest definition of treason in the world'. And make sure you list every known definition in your answer.

In case you are capable of reason, here is a rebuttal to your assertions.

" claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion."

Your logic that a peace treaty is complex and that this complexity is why it was delayed is flawed. You are speaking of practicalities. The article speaks of intent.

"She reportedly encouraged Saigon to 'delay' in joining the Paris peace talks in hopes of getting a better deal if the Republicans won the White house".

Nixon intended to delay peace so he could win election on a platform of calling for peace.

By mine and apparently many others definition, this is treasonous manipulation of the electorate. If it troubles you that this definition doesn't correlate with the definition provided by your precious constitution, go buy a feckin dictionary like everyone else

David Smith , February 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm

Luke, if you want to accuse Nixon of treason, you are stuck with the definition of treason in The United States "precious constitution". Regarding the Paris Accords, practicalities are all that matter, negotiations in the political environment of the Vietnam War would absolutely be long and complex, and the history shows that they were, hence claiming a peace treaty could be signed in the six months before November 1968 is unrealistic, even delusional. In addition to the extreme time constraints, the US was in a poor negotiating position as around July 1968 it was forced to abandon the Khe Son complex, the Khan Duc complex, and many other positions under heavy NVA pressure. These positions near the Laotian border had been key to US plans to interdict NVA reinforcements and return the critical Central Highlands to Saigon control. Certainly not a time for the US to push for a swift settlement. Despite these mind boggling realities, this article claims that peace was lost because the South Vietnam government " delayed" something due to a guy who wasn't President asking Anna Chennault to visit Saigon.

Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:34 pm

Hey mike good of you to point that out, because what Ifill did there was classic redirection of a focal point to another one, which ends up being an omission of where convenient truths get purposely left out. Just thought I'd mention it, because one should really let your comment sink in. Joe

Annie , February 20, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Someone explain this to me. "At the height of the Watergate scandal, in summer 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tried to tell the world about Nixon's sabotage of the 1968 Paris peace talks, talks which – had they succeeded – could have spared the nation six more years of futile slaughter." Am I missing something?

What happened to the Kissinger, the war criminal, who worked to prolong the Vietnam war, advocating it should continue for as long as possible?.

What happened to the Kissinger who encouraged Nixon to wire tape and intimidate his political enemies?

What happened to the Kissinger who supported secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos, killing thousands, and eventually leading to a regime in Cambodia that killed millions.

What about the Kissinger who said, "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."

Lee Campbell , February 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Kissinger, knowing Nixon is going down, trying to save his own reputation. Birds of a feather

Annie , February 21, 2018 at 12:11 am

Yes, I agree, but there is something about this article which makes me uncomfortable, and maybe it's because the author does not indicate in any way that Kissinger was protecting his own reputation, or being very self serving. Maybe he was not to believed since his role in that war was notorious, and not the reliable source the author proclaims him to be.

Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:47 pm

Annie, what happened to a elderly Pablo Picasso who had admitted to a Japanese newspaper how he had been in the arts for only for the money? Well first is this statement true? How does little old me corroborate such news? Was Picasso drunk when he said this? So many questions, but where to find the truth.

I'm not doubting Garrick Alder because he does give adequate references to this Kissinger quote, but Annie haven't you on occasion read something by the legendary elite of our past, and sometimes present where they say the most off the wall things like think Joe Biden telling a West Point Class (I think it was there or Harvard) that our Saudi allies are backing ISIS. What goes on, or gets served, at those gushy luncheons they give speeches at.

I also believe that people like Henry are so encased into their own bubble world, that they get caught off guard with the most simplest of secrets. I once had a list of 7 people who either before they died, or on their death bed, had confessed to their knowing to who killed JFK need I tell you who they all singled out?

Broompilot , February 21, 2018 at 4:21 am

I seem to recall Kissinger being very complicit in sabotaging the Paris peace talks, maybe even the instigator. But, Hollywood and history is an oxymoron. Hollywood and truth is an oxymoron.

Fritzi Cohen , February 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm

What about Kissinger and Chile, and the overthrow of Allende. Not to be forgotten. And should we now take Kissinger's word about Dan Ellsberg, somewhat of a narcissist and pervert.

Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:27 pm

I recall Robert Parry speaking to LBJ's envelop marked with a big X, and how it had finally surfaced after being under a mattress, and I'm hard pressed to remember the name of this Johnson Aid who hid it for LBJ there. This envelope was a report on Chennault's goings on at the Paris Peace Talks, and her links to Nixon's campaign. Robert Mueller wasn't old enough to investigate this one.

I always thought of how with LBJ having this peace talk sabotage to hold over Nixon's head that LBJ was using this as insurance to keep Nixon quiet about what he knew of LBJ's secret to hide. This is why nobody in DC is held accountable.

Yes, going back to reveal Nixon's secret regarding Madam Chennault would have been a great starting point for a movie to lead up to not only the Pentagon Papers, but the telling of Watergate as well but then we are talking about our infamous Hollywood, and when did they ever get the story right?

geeyp , February 21, 2018 at 4:12 am

The only item new to me here is Daniel married a millionaires' daughter?

Tom W. , February 21, 2018 at 11:25 am

In a taped call of Nov. 2, 1968, LBJ called Republican Senator E. Dirksen and told him that Nixon was committing treason in regards to the Paris talks. I don't think we've ever seen the underlying intelligence that was the basis of this call.

Jon Dhoe , February 21, 2018 at 12:43 pm

This is not surprising. Woodward is comes from the Navy (Intelligence?). He's not a civilian reporter. And look at his reporting since then. Status quo stuff. The Pentagon Papers were just a distraction?

https://therulingclassobserver.com/2018/02/10/the-great-disparity-and-the-three-primordial-divisions/

xeno , February 21, 2018 at 12:59 pm

There's nothing new about this story, and there's nothing particularly condemnatory about Nixon in it.

US President Johnson wanted his VP (Humphrey) to win the 1968 election, which was very close.

Early in 1968, the US/S Viet side had defeated a Communist "go for broke" offensive (Tet) in which the Communists had expected the South Vietnamese populace to rise up and help defeat the US/South Vietnamese military. The populace did not rise up, and the Communist side took some very heavy losses. It was a big set back for them.

Some months later, US President Johnson, at a key time before the Nov. 1968 election, tried to pressure the S Vietnamese President to give some concessions to the N Vietnamese to get peace talks going.

This would not have stopped the fighting, but would have looked good to anti-war US voters, maybe getting Johnson's VP a victory.

Commonly, in most conflicts, when peace talks begin, both sides step-up fighting as each hopes to make gains to improve their negotiating position.

Nixon probably did take measures to thwart Johnson's pressure on the S. Vietnamese president.

In any case, the war would have gone on, just like it did for a long time after peace talks actually did get going.

nonsense factory , February 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Hey, no mention of the Shah of Iran and the Nixon Administration? It's the corporate states of America now, it was alway about the money. If you're not tracking the corporate system, you are irrelevant. At least Eisenhower was honest, about US interests in Vietnamese resources, about controlling Indonesian oil. . . People care about money. Not ideology. But that's more complex, isn't it?

Ullern , February 21, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Robert Parry found out and wrote about this treason by Nixon, of course. Except (?) that W&B's source was the wily Kissinger. Kissinger, 94, could still be tried for not disclosing the treason-crime by candidate Nixon.

Somebody should go for it, before Kissinger dies. Then at least the facts of the matter will be on public record.

Arby , February 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Gosh, If we can't nail Kissinger on openly calling for Genocide in Cambodia, then I don't think anything else will work. I'd love to see him official dishonored before he dies (completely), mind you.

peggy , February 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm

LBJ calling Dirksen and telling him Nixon was committing treason is rich considering the treason LBJ committed with the Tonkin incident to say nothing of the USS Liberty cover up.The US has been corrupt since Woodrow Wilson.The CIA controls the country since the Kennedy coup.

exiled off mainstreet , February 22, 2018 at 2:11 am

So they still are cashing in for getting the smaller story while failing to get the treason story that set up the creation of a dangerous world imperium and was a key step in the brushing aside of the rule of law and constitutional rule in the US

[Feb 22, 2018] Bill Binney explodes the rile of 17 agances security assessment memo in launching the Russia witch-hunt

Highly recommended!
A very interesting interview. It is almost one year old.
When intelligence agencies use the phase "with high confidence" means that they do not have evidence. This is one of the biggest lie intelligence agencies resort to. They are all professional liars and should be treated as such.
If DNC email offloading was done over Internet (which means it was a hack not an internal leak) NSA should have the direct evidence. They do not. So this is a progpaganda move by Brennan and Clapper to unleash MSM witch hunt, which is a key part of the color revolution against Trump.
Another question is who downloaded this information to Wikileaks. Here NSA also should have evidence. And again they do not.
They have already to direct attention from the main issues. Oversight of intelligence agencies is joke. They can lie with impunity.
BTW NSA has all Hillary emails, including deleted.
Mar 4, 2017 | www.youtube.com

He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.

John, 10 months ago

It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.

Nancy M, 10 months ago

The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue

[Feb 22, 2018] Ray McGovern's First Day as CIA Director

Notable quotes:
"... The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks." ..."
"... Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion. ..."
"... Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA. ..."
"... What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ. ..."
"... And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes. ..."
"... Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times ..."
"... Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent. ..."
"... More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made." ..."
"... Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." ..."
"... Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians. ..."
"... I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply. ..."
"... In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.

Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq , on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.

This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here's how Day One looks so far:

Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the "handpicked" CIA analysts who, with other "handpicked" analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."

When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on "Russian hacking" and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.

The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks."

Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion.

Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA.

Again, Binney says that the main conclusions he and his VIPs colleagues reached are based largely on principles of physics – simple ones like fluid dynamics. I want to hear what that's all about, how that applies to the "Russian hack," and hear what my own CIA analysts have to say about that.

I will have Binney's clearances updated to remove any unnecessary barriers to a no-holds-barred discussion at a highly classified level. After which I shall have a transcript prepared, sanitized to protect sources and methods, and promptly released to the media.

Like Sisyphus Up the Media Mountain

At that point things are bound to get very interesting. Far too few people realize that they get a very warped view on such issues from the New York Times . And, no doubt, it would take some time, for the Times and other outlets to get used to some candor from the CIA, instead of the far more common tendentious leaks. In any event, we will try to speak truth to the media – as well as to power.

I happen to share the view of the handful of my predecessor directors who believed we have an important secondary obligation to do what we possibly can to inform/educate the public as well as the rest of the government – especially on such volatile and contentious issues like "Russian hacking."

What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ.

The Paper of (Dubious) Record

I recall the banner headline spanning the top of the entire front page of the NYT on Jan. 7, 2017: "Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says;" and the electronic version headed "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." I said to myself sarcastically, "Well there you go! That's exactly what Mrs. Clinton – not to mention the NY Times, the Washington Post and The Establishment – have been saying for many months."

Buried in that same edition of the Times was a short paragraph by Scott Shane: "What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission."

Omission? No hard evidence? No problem. The publication of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment got the ball rolling. And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes.

Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times .

Sources

Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent.

Those whose memories go back more than 15 years may recall his promoting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as flat fact. In a July 29, 2002 article co-written with Them Shanker, for example, Iraq's (nonexistent) "weapons of mass destruction" appear no fewer than seven times as flat fact.

More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made."

Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds."

Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians.

I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply.

End of Day One

In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment.

I may decide to seek some independent, disinterested technical input, as well. But it should not take me very long to figure out which of the two interpretations of alleged "Russian hacking" is more straight-up fact-based and unbiased. That done, in the following days I shall brief both the Chair, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Chair and ranking member of its counterpart in the Senate. I will then personally brief the NYT's David Sanger and follow closely what he and his masters decide to do with the facts I present.

On the chance that the Times and other media might decide to play it straight, and that the "straight" diverges from the prevailing, Clapperesque narrative of Russian perfidy, the various mainstream outlets will face a formidable problem of their own making. Mark Twain put it this way: "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled."

And that will probably be enough for Day One.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Feb 19, 2018] Kim Dotcom Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn t Even A Hack Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... All fucking Kabuki. All of it. ..."
"... The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative. ..."
"... They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration. ..."
"... This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack"

by Tyler Durden Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:51 3.4K SHARES

Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In response, Dotcom tweeted " Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds! " alluding of course to Trump's "400 pound genius" comment.

Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator , who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC "hack" was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.

John Podesta's email was allegely successfully "hacked" (he fell victim to a phishing scam ) in March 2016, while the DNC reported suspicious activity (the suspected Seth Rich file transfer) in late April, 2016 according to the Washington Post.

On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks' source.

On May 19 2017 Dotcom tweeted "I knew Seth Rich. I was involved"

Three days later, Dotcom again released a guarded statement saying "I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK," adding:

"I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.

If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment."

Dotcom knew.

While one could simply write off Dotcom's claims as an attention seeking stunt, he made several comments and a series of tweets hinting at the upcoming email releases prior to both the WikiLeaks dumps as well as the publication of the hacked DNC emails to a website known as "DCLeaks."

In a May 14, 2015 Bloomberg article entitled "Kim Dotcom: Julian Assange Will Be Hillary Clinton's Worst Nightmare In 2016 ": "I have to say it's probably more Julian," who threatens Hillary, Dotcom said. " But I'm aware of some of the things that are going to be roadblocks for her ."

Two days later, Dotcom tweeted this:

Around two months later, Kim asks a provocative question

Two weeks after that, Dotcom then tweeted "Mishandling classified info is a crime. When Hillary's emails eventually pop up on the internet who's going to jail?"

It should thus be fairly obvious to anyone that Dotcom was somehow involved, and therefore any evidence he claims to have, should be taken seriously as part of Mueller's investigation. Instead, as Dotcom tweeted, "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. "

chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 21:59 Permalink

Pffft...this guy sounds like the reds with their "blockbuster" memo. Honest Hill'rey is laughing!

SethPoor -> chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8VaMbPjUU

Bes -> J S Bach Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17 Permalink

All fucking Kabuki. All of it.

The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative.

Meanwhile they keep enacting the most Pro Deep State/MIC/Police State/Zionist/Wall Street agenda possible. And they call it #winning

----

pathetic.

bigkahuna -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:58 Permalink

"Had to be a Russian mole with a computer stick. MSM, DNC and Muller say so."

They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration.

This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice.

StarGate -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

Don't forget the "hack" analysis of Russian owned "Crowdstrike" since the FBI did and continues to, refuse to analyze the DNC computers.

KuriousKat -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

Isn't Alperovitch the Only Russian in there?.. When you rule out the impossible...whatever remains probable.. probably is..

wildbad -> IntercoursetheEU Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:05 Permalink

Kim is great, Assange is great. Kim is playing a double game. He wants immunity from the US GUmmint overreach that destroyed his company and made him a prisoner in NZ.

Good on ya Kim.

His name was Seth Rich...and he will reach out from the grave and bury Killary who murdered him.

NumberNone -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

There are so many nuances to this and all are getting mentioned but the one that also stands out is that in an age of demands for gun control by the Dems, Seth Rich is never, ever mentioned. He should be the poster child for gun control. Young man, draped in a American flag, helping democracy, gunned down...it writes itself.

They either are afraid of the possible racial issues should it turn out to be a black man killing a white man (but why should that matter in a gun control debate?) or they just don't want people looking at this case. I go for #2.

Socratic Dog -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:09 Permalink

Funny that George Webb can figure it out, but Trump, Leader of the Free World, is sitting there with his dick in his hand waiting for someone to save him.

Whatever he might turn out to be, this much is clear: Trump is a spineless weakling. He might be able to fuck starlets, but he hasn't got the balls to defend either himself or the Republic.

verumcuibono -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

Webb's research is also...managed. But a lot of it was/is really good (don't follow it anymore) and I agree re: SR piece of it.

I think SR is such an interesting case. It's not really an anomaly because SO many Bush-CFR-related hits end the same way and his had typical signatures. But his also squeels of a job done w/out much prior planning because I think SR surprised everyone. If, in fact, that was when he was killed. Everything regarding the family's demeanor suggests no.

verumcuibono -> NumberNone Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:41 Permalink

MANY patterns in shootings: failure in law enforcement/intelligence who were notified of problem individuals ahead of time, ARs, mental health and SSRIs, and ongoing resistance to gun control in DC ----these are NOT coincidences. Nor are distractions in MSM's version of events w/ controlled propaganda.

Children will stop being killed when America wakes the fuck up and starts asking the right questions, making the right demands. It's time.

KJWqonfo7 -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:15 Permalink

Kim is awesome to watch, I remember his old website of pics of him on yachts with hot girls and racing the Gumball Rally.

verumcuibono -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

I don't think you know how these hackers have nearly ALL been intercepted by CIA--for decades now. DS has had backdoor access to just about all of them. I agree that Kim is great, brilliant and was sabotaged but he's also cooperating. Otherwise he'd be dead.

StarGate -> Billy the Poet Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

Bes is either "disinfo plant" or energy draining pessimist. Result is the same - to deflate your power to create a new future.

Trump saw the goal of the Fed Reserve banksters decades ago and spoke often about it. Like Prez Kennedy he wants to return USA economy to silver or gold backed dollar then transition to new system away from the Black Magic fed reserve/ tax natl debt machine.

The Globalist Cabal has been working to destroy the US economy ever since they income tax April 15th Lincoln at the Ford theater. 125 years. But Bes claims because Trump cannot reverse 125 years of history in one year that it is kabuki.

Pessimism is its own reward.

[Feb 19, 2018] The Free Market Threat to Democracy by John Weeks

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force. ..."
"... I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. ..."
"... The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. ..."
"... Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future. ..."
"... I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future. ..."
"... The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools. ..."
"... Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us. ..."
"... What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps. ..."
"... Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-) ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This Real News Network interview with professor emeritus John Weeks discussed how economic ideology has weakened or eliminated public accountability of institutions like the Fed and promote neo[neo]liberal policies that undermine democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/o9bXo1f5r0I

SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The concept of the [neo]liberal democracy is generally based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law. The rise of financial capital and its efforts to deregulate financial markets, however, raises the question whether [neo]liberal democracy is a sustainable form of government. Sooner or later, democratic institutions make way for the interests of large capital to supersede.

Political economist John Weeks recently gave this year's David Gordon Memorial Lecture at the meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia where he addressed these issues with a talk titled, Free Markets and the Decline of Democracy. Joining us now is John Weeks. He joins us from London to discuss the issues raised in his lecture. You can find a link to this lecture just below the player, and John is, as you know, Professor Emeritus of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. John, good to have you back on The Real News.

JOHN WEEKS: Thank you very much for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, let me start with your talk. Your talk describes a struggle between efforts to create a democratic control over the economy and the interest of capital, which seeks to subjugate government to the interest, its own interest. In your assessment, it looks like this is a losing battle for democracy. Explain this further.

JOHN WEEKS: Yeah, so I think that Marx in Capital, in the first volume of Capital, refers to a concept called bourgeois right, by which he meant that, you said it in the introduction, that in a capitalist society there is a form of equality that mimics the relationship of exchange. Every commodity looks equal in exchange and there is a system of ownership that you might say is the shadow of that. I think more important, in the early stages of development of capitalism, of development of factories, that those institutions or those factories prompted the growth of trade unions and workers' struggles in general. Those workers' struggles were key to the development, or further development of democracy, freedom of speech, a whole range of rights, the right to vote.

However, with the development of finance capital, you've got quite a different dynamic within the capitalist system. Let me say, I don't want to romanticize the early period of capitalism, but you did have struggles, mass struggles for rights. Finance capital produces nothing productive, it doesn't do anything productive. So, what finance capital does basically is it redistributes the income, the wealth, the, what Marx would call the surplus value, from other sectors of society to itself. And it employs relatively few people, so that dynamic of the capital, industrial capital, generating its antithesis So, that a labor movement doesn't occur under financial capital.

In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Before we get further into the relationship between neo[neo]liberalism and democracy, give us a brief summary of what you mean by neo[neo]liberalism. You say that it's not really about deregulation, as most people usually conceive of it. If that's not what it's about, what is it, then?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that if you think about the movements in the United States, and as much as I can, I will take examples from the United States because most of your listeners will be familiar with those, beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, in the United States you have reform movements, the breaking up of the large monopolies, tobacco monopoly, a whole range of Standard Oil, all of that. And then of course under Roosevelt you began to get the regulation of capital in the interests of the majority, much of that driven by Roosevelt's trade union support. So, that was moving from a system where capital was relatively unregulated to where it was being regulated in the interests of the vast majority. I also would say, though, I won't go into detail, to a certain extent it was regulated in the interest of capital itself to moderate competition and therefore, I'd say, ensure a relatively tranquil market environment.

Neo[neo]liberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital. These regulations, to get specific about them, restrictions on trade unions, as you, on Real News, a number of people have talked about this. The United States now have many restrictions on the organizing of trade unions which were not present 50 or 60 years ago, making it harder to have a mass movement of labor against capital, restrictions on the right to demonstrate, a whole range of things. Then within capital itself, the regulations on the movement of capital that facilitate speculation in international markets. We have a capitalism in which the form of regulation is shifted from the regulation of capital in the interest of labor to regulation of capital in the interest of capital.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, give us a brief summary of the ways in which neo[neo]liberalism undermines democracy.

JOHN WEEKS: Well, I think that there are many examples, but I'm going to focus on economic policy. For an obvious case is the role of the Central Bank, in the case of the United States' Federal Reserve System, in which reducing its accountability to the public, one way you can do that is by assigning goals to it, such as fighting inflation, which then override other goals. Originally, the Federal Reserve System, its charter, or I'll say its terms of reference, if you want me to use that phrase, included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation. Control of inflation basically means maintaining an economy at a relatively high level of unemployment or part-time employment, or flexible employment, where people have relatively few rights at work. And that the Central Bank becomes a vehicle for enforcing a neo[neo]liberal economic policy.

Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.

In summary, one way that the democracy has been undermined is to take away economic policy from the public realm and move it to the realm of experts. So, we have certain allegedly expert guidelines that we have to follow. Inflation should be low. We should not run deficits. The national debt should be small. These are things that are just made up ideologically. There is no technical basis to them. And so, in doing that, you might say, the term I like to use is, you decommission the democratic process and economic policy.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, speaking of ideology, in your talk you refer to the challenge that fascism posed or poses to neo[neo]liberal democracies. Now, it is interesting when you take Europe into consideration and National Socialist in Germany, for example, appeal mostly to the working class, as does contemporary far-right leaders in Poland and Hungary, that they support more explicit neo[neo]liberal agendas. Why would people support a neo[neo]liberal agenda that exasperate inequalities and harm public services that they depend on, including jobs?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that to a great extent it is country-specific, but I can make generalizations. First of all, I'm talking about Europe, because you raised a case in some European countries, and then I'll make some comments about the United States and Trump, if you want me to. I think in Europe, a combination of three things resulted in the rise of fascism and authoritarian movements which are verging on fascism. One is that the European integration project, which let me say that I have supported, and I would still prefer Britain not to leave the European Union, but nevertheless, the European Union integration project has been a project run by elites.

It has not been a bottom-up process. It has been a process very much run by elite politicians, in which they get together in closed door, and they make policies which they subsequently announce, and many of the decisions they come to being extremely, the meaning of them being extremely opaque. So, therefore, you have the development in Europe of the European Union which, not from the bottom up, but very much from the top down. You might suggest from the top, but I'm not sure how much goes down. That's one.
The second key factor, I would say, for about 20 years in European integration, it was relatively benign elitism because it was social democratic, it had the support of the working class, or the trade unions, at any rate. Then, increasingly, it began to become neo[neo]liberal. So, you have an elite project which was turning into a neo[neo]liberal project. Specifically, what I mean by neo[neo]liberal is where they're generating flexibility rules for the labor market, austerity policies, bank, balanced budgets, low inflation, the things I was talking about before.

Then the third element, toxic, the most toxic of them, but the other, they're volatile, is the legacy of fascism in Europe. Every European country, with the exception of Britain, had a substantial fascist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. I can go into why Britain didn't sometime. It had to do with the particular class struggle of the, I mean, class structure of Britain. Poland, ironically enough, though, is one of them. It was overrun by the Nazis, and occupied, and incorporated into the German Reich. Ironically, it had a very right-wing government with a lot of sympathies towards fascism when it was invaded in the late summer of 1939.

France had a strong fascist movement. Of course, Italy had a fascist government, and Hungary, where now you have a right-wing government, a very strong fascist movement. The incorporation of these countries into the Soviet sphere of influence, or the empire, as it were, did not destroy that fascism. It certainly suppressed it, but it didn't destroy it. So, as soon as the European project began to transform into a neo[neo]liberal project, and that gathered strength in the early 1990s, I mean, the neo[neo]liberal aspect of the European Union gathered strength in the early 1990s, exactly when you were getting the "liberation" of many countries from Soviet rule. And so, when you put those together, it led to, It was a rise of fascism waiting to happen and now it is happening.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, earlier, you said you'll factor in Trump. How does Trump fit into this phenomena?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. Now, though I wouldn't go too deeply into that, I think that that is the most serious offenses by Obama that have been carried on by Trump have to do with the use of drones and the military. But at any rate, but there's a big difference from Trump. For the most part, the previous Republican presidents, and Democratic presidents, accepted the framework of, the formal framework of [neo]liberal democracy in the United States. That is, formally accepted the constraints imposed by the Constitution.

Now, of course, they probably didn't do it out of the goodness of their heart. They did it because they saw that the things that they wanted to achieve, the neo[neo]liberal goals that they wanted to achieve were perfectly consistent with the Constitution's framework and guarantees of rights and so on, that most of those rights are guaranteed in a way that's so weak that you didn't have to repeal the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution in order to have repressive policies.

The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. What you have in Trump, I think, is a sea change. You have a, we've had right-wing presidents before, certainly. What the difference with Trump is, he is a right-wing president that sees no reason to respect the institutions of democratic government, or even, you might say, the institution of representative government. I won't even use a term as strong as "democratic." That lays the basis for an explicitly authoritarian United States, and I'd say that we're beginning to see the vehicle by which this will occur, the restriction on voting rights. Of course, that was going on before Trump, it does in a more aggressive way. I think the, soon, we will have a Supreme Court that will be quite lenient with his tendency towards authoritarian rule.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Let's end this segment with what can be done. I mean, what must be done to prevent neo[neo]liberal interests from undermining democracy? And who do you believe is leading the struggle for democracy now, and what is the right strategy that people should be fighting for?

JOHN WEEKS: Well, one thing, I think, where I'd begin is that I think progressives, as The Real News represents, and Bernie Sanders, and all the people that support him, and Jeremy Corbyn over here, I'll come back to talk about a bit about Jeremy. We must be explicit that we view democracy, by which we mean the participation of people at the grassroots, their participation in the government, we view that as a goal. It's not merely a technique, or a tool which, what was it that Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future.

I'm quite fortunate in that I live in perhaps the only large country in the world where there's imminent possibility of a progressive, left-wing, anti-authoritarian government. I think that is the monumental importance of Jeremy Corbyn and his second-in-command, John McDonnell, and others like Emily Thornberry, who is the Foreign Secretary. These people are committed to democracy. In the United States, Bernie Sanders is committed to a democracy, and a lot of other people are too, Elizabeth Warren. So, I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future.

... ... ...


JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

"Informed speculation" with lots of footnotes and offshoots in this Reddit skein: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1llyf7/about_how_much_in_todays_money_was_30_pieces_of/

"A lot of money" in those days- Some say JI "bought land" with the shekels. An early form of asset swap? A precursor to current financialist activities?

WobblyTelomeres , February 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

Good article. If it were any bleaker, I'd suspect Chris Hedges having a hand in writing it.

The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.

There it is, the Gorgon Thiel, surrounded by terror and rout.

James T. Cricket , February 18, 2018 at 3:46 am

I suppose you've read this.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/10/sam-altmans-manifest-destiny

Here's a quote:

"Altman felt that OpenAI's mission was to babysit its wunderkind until it was ready to be adopted by the world. He'd been reading James Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention for guidance in managing the transition. 'We're planning a way to allow wide swaths of the world to elect representatives to a new governance board,' he said."

I was having trouble choosing which of the passages in this article to provide a mad quote from. Some other choices were
Altman's going to work with the Department of Defense, then help defend the world from them.
Or:
OpenAI's going to take over from humans, but don't worry because they're going to make it (somehow) so OpenAI can only terminate bad people. Before releasing it to the world.
Or:
Altman says 'add a 0 to whatever you're doing but never more than that.'

But if this sort of wisdom (somehow) doesn't work out well for everybody and the world collapses, he's flying with Peter Thiel in the private jet to the New Zealand's south island to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse on a converted sheep farm. (Before returning to the Valley work with more startups?)

These are your new leaders, people

David , February 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

I think it's revealing that the only type of democracy discussed, in spite of the title, is "[neo]liberal democracy", which the host describes as "based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law."

I've always argued that [neo]liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms, and you can see why from that quotation. [neo]liberalism (leaving aside special uses of the term in the US) is about individuals exercising their personal economic freedom and personal autonomy as much as they can, with as little control by government as possible.

But given massive imbalances in economic power, the influence of media-backed single issue campaigns and the growth of professional political parties, policy is decided by the interventions of powerful and well-organised groups, without ordinary people being consulted. At the end, Weeks does start to talk of grassroots participation, but seems to have no more in mind than a campaign to get people to vote for Sanders in 2020, which hardly addresses the problem. The answer, if there is one, is a system of direct democracy, involving referendums and popular assemblies chosen at random.

This has been much talked about, but since you would have the entire political class against you, it's not going to happen. In the meantime, we are stuck with [neo]liberal democracy, whose contradictions, I'm afraid are becoming ever more obvious.

JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 8:45 am

"Contradictions?" One question for me at least would be whether the features and motions of the current regime are best characterized as "contradictions." If so, to what? And implicit in the use of the word is some kind of resolution, via actual class conflict or something, leading to "better" or at least "different." All I see from my front porch is more of the same, and worse. "The Matrix" in that myth gave some comforting illusions to the mopery. I think the political economy/collapsed planet portrayed in "Soylent Green" is a lot closer to the likely endpoints.

At least in the movie fable, the C-Suite-er of the Soylent Corp. as the lede in the film, was sickened of what he was helping to maintain, and bethought himself to blow his tiny little personal whistle that nobody would really hear, and got axed for his disloyalty to the ruling collective. I doubt the ranks of corporatists of MonsantoDuPont and LockheedMartin and the rest include any significant numbers of folks sickened by "the contradictions" that get them their perks and bennies and power (as long as they color inside the lines.)

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 17, 2018 at 9:33 am

I hope I am way off the mark, but within that genre & in terms of where we could be heading, the film " Snowpiercer " sums it up best for me- a dystopian world society illustrated through the passengers on one long train.

Michael C , February 17, 2018 at 8:46 am

Thanks for the Real News Network for covering issues that never see the light of day on the corporate media and never mentioned by the Rachel Maddow's of the "news" shows.

torff , February 17, 2018 at 10:02 am

Can we please put a moratorium on the term "free market"? It's a nonsense term.

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Yes, I wrote about that at length in ECONNED. I kept the RNN headline, which used it, but should have put "free market" in quotes.

Katz , February 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

I actually like the term and find it useful, insofar as it describes an ideology -- as oposed a real political-economic arrangement. The presence of "free markets" may not be a characteristic of the neo[neo]liberal phase, but the belief in them sure is.

(Which is not to say there aren't people who don't believe in free markets but do invoke them rhetorically for other ends. That's a feature of many if not most successful ideologies.)

Jim Haygood , February 17, 2018 at 10:59 am

' Originally, the Federal Reserve charter included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation.

Eh, this is fractured history. The Fed was set up in 1913 as a lender of last resort -- a discounter of government and private bills.

In late 1978 Jimmy Carter signed the Humphrey Hawkins Act instructing the Fed to pursue three goals: stable prices, maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates, though the latter is rarely mentioned now and the Fed is widely viewed as having a dual mandate.

The Fed's two percent inflation target it simply adopted at its own initiative -- it's not enshrined in no Perpetual Inflation Act.

' We had a world of fixed exchange rates which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool. '

LOL! This is totally inverted and flat wrong. The Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system prevented radical monetary experiments such as QE which would have broken the peg. Nixon unilaterally suspended fixed exchange rates in 1971 because he was unwilling to take the political hit of formally devaluing the dollar (or even more unlikely, sweating out Vietnam War inflation with falling prices to maintain the peg).

Floating rates are a new and potentially lethal monetary tool which have produced a number of sad examples of "governments gone wild" with radical monetary experiments and currency swings. Bad boys Japan & Switzerland come readily to mind.

To render history accurately requires getting hands dirty with dusty old books. Icky, I know. :-(

RBHoughton , February 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Yes but globalisation meant that all central banks and finance ministers had to act concertedly as in G-20 and similar meetings. While we may talk of floating exchange rates, each country fixes its interest rate to maintain parity with the others. Isn't that so?

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Ahem, you skip over that the full employment goal was added to the Fed mandate in 1946, long before the inflation goal was added.

The Rev Kev , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I think that the key piece of info is that the Federal Reserve was created on December 23rd, 1913. That sounds like that it was slipped in the legislative back door when everybody was going away for the Christmas holidays.

Steven Greenberg , February 17, 2018 at 11:26 am

===== quote =====
Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.
===== /quote =====

This makes absolutely no sense and seems to have the case exactly backward. Our federal government has no rule that the budget must be balanced. Fixed exchange rates were not a tool that could be used to affect trade and domestic policy in a good way.

Lee Robertson , February 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us.

Susan the other , February 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I enjoyed John Weeks' point of view. He's the first person I've read who refers to the usefulness of a fixed exchange rate. Useful for a sovereign government with a social spending agenda. We have always been a sovereign government with a military agenda which is at odds with a social agenda.

Guns and butter are a dangerous combination if you are dedicated to at least maintaining the illusion of a "strong dollar." That's basically what Nixon finessed. John Conally told him not to worry, we could go off the gold standard and it wasn't our problem since we were the reserve currency – it was everybody else's problem and we promptly exported our inflation all around the world. And now it has come home to roost because it was fudging and it couldn't last forever.

Much better to concede to some fix for the currency and maintain the sovereign power to devalue the dollar as necessary to maintain proper social spending. I don't understand why sovereign governments cannot see that a deficit is just the mirror image of a healthy social economy (Stephanie Kelton).

And to that end "fix" an exchange rate that maintains a reasonable purchasing power of the currency by pegging it to the long term health of the economy. What we do now is peg the dollar to a "basket of goods and services"- Ben Bernanke. That "basket" is effectively "the market" and has very little to do with good social policy.

There's no reason we can't dispense with the market and simply fiat the value of our currency based on the social return estimated for our social investments. Etc. Keeping the dollar stubbornly strong is just tyranny favoring those few who benefit from extreme inequality.

ebbflows , February 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Bancor. Then some got delusions of grandeur.

albert , February 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as unconstrained financial greed overrides public accountability ."

I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies. Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or 'corporatocracy'.
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.

Paul Cardan , February 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

What is this democracy of which you speak?

Tomonthebeach , February 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm

I had not given much thought to "Fascist" until the term was challenged as a synonym for "bully." So, I started reading Wikipedia's take on Fascismo. What I discovered was the foremost, my USA education did not teach jack s -- about Fascism – and I went to elite high school in libr'l Chicago.

Is Fascism right or left? Does it matter? What goes around comes around.

What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps.

Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-)

Synoia , February 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Left and right are more line circle that a line.

I view the extreme left and extreme right, meeting somewhere, hidden, at the back of a circle.

c_heale , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I always believed this too!

+1

flora , February 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Neoliberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital.

Prominent politicians in the US and UK have spent their entire political careers representing neoliberalism's agenda at the expense of representing the voters' issues. The voters are tired of the conservative and [neo]liberal political establishments' focus on neoliberal policy. This is also true in Germany as well France and Italy. The West's current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course." Voters are saying "change course." See:

'German Politics Enters an Era of Instability' – Der Speigel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-political-landscape-crumbling-as-merkel-coalition-forms-a-1193947.html

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord by AMANDA TAUB and MAX FISHER

Highly recommended!
Very weak analysis The authors completely missed the point. Susceptibility to rumors (now called "fake new" which more correctly should be called "improvised news") and high level of distrust to "official MSM" (of which popularity of alternative news site is only tip of the iceberg) is a sign of the crisis and tearing down of the the social fabric that hold the so social groups together. This first of all demonstrated with the de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite.
As such attempt to patch this discord and unite the US society of fake premises of Russiagate and anti-Russian hysteria look very problematic. The effect might be quite opposite as the story with Steele dossier, which really undermined credibility of Justice Department and destroyed the credibility o FBI can teach us.
In this case claims that "The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan " are just s a sign of rejection of neoliberalism by voters. Nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made. ..."
"... A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.

"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."

It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.

... ... ...

A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.

Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.

That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.

An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship

... ... ...

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.

This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

[Feb 18, 2018] Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.

Notable quotes:
"... The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe. ..."
"... The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Lee Anderson , February 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Your link to the Giraldi piece is appreciated, however, Giraldi starts off on a false premise: He claims that people generally liked and trusted the FBI and CIA up until or shortly after 9/11. Not so! Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.

The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe.

The political parties are theatre designed to fool the people into believing we are living in some sort of legitimate, representative system, when it's the same old plutocracy that manages to get elected because they've long figured out the art of polarizing people and capitalising on tribal alignments.

We should eliminate all government for a time so that people can begin to see that corporations really do and most always have run the country.

It's preposterous to think the stupid public is actually discussing saddling ourselves and future generations with gargantuan debt through a system designed and run by banksters!

it should be self evident a sovereign nation should maintain and forever hold the rights to develop a monetary/financial system that serves the needs of the people, not be indentured servants in a financial system that serves the insatiable greed of a handful of parasitic banksters and corporate tycoons!

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm

You are so right, in fact Robert Parry made quite a journalistic career out of exposing the CIA for such things as drug running. I gave up on that agency a longtime ago, after JFK was murdered, and I was only 13 then. Yeah maybe Phil discounts the time while he worked for the CIA, but the CIA has many, many rooms in which plots are hatched, so the valiant truth teller Giraldi maybe excused this one time for his lack of memory .I guess, right?

Good comment Lee. Joe

Annie , February 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Yes, but he's referring to the public's opinion of these agencies, and if they didn't continue to retain, even after 9/11, a significant popularity in the public's mind how would we have so many American's buying into Russia-gate? In my perception of things they only lost some ground after 9/11, but Americans notoriously have a short memory span.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm

And films that are supposed to help Americans feel good about the aims and efficacy of the agencies like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are in the popular imagination.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm

The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book.

[Feb 18, 2018] It pains me to once again be confronted with the fact that Sanders is a neocon hack

Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Zachary Smith

Congressmen Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff, Senator Bernie Sanders , popular commentators Preet Bharara and Joe Walsh have all joined in the pile-on .

It pains me to once again be confronted with the fact that Sanders is a neocon hack.

[Feb 17, 2018] Delegitimization of ruling elite is an approriate word for the current crisis

Notable quotes:
"... This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world." ..."
"... This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded". ..."
"... Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine? ..."
"... Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings. ..."
"... I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935. ..."
"... Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead. ..."
"... I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out. ..."
"... The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous. ..."
"... Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. ..."
"... Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great. ..."
"... Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists. ..."
"... But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further. ..."
"... The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do. ..."
"... The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building ..."
"... Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. ..."
"... The moderate catastrophic disasters like Trumps election cause much bigger disruptions to the civilizational equilibrium, but only for a time. We all know deep inside that what comes next in Brexit or say Trumps removal will actually be worse than what we have now. ..."
"... For me the frame changed with the restart of the Cold War. I remember "Duck and Cover, McCarthyism, John Birchers, and Who Lost China". It has all come back. The Democrats are idiots for scapegoating Russia. President Donald Trump is incompetent. ..."
"... Jones Marathon ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

HopeLB , February 16, 2018 at 8:43 am

All of the warnings, predictions, knowledge, tech advances and humor of sci-fi, real science, history, and literature alike has boiled down to this? This low quality "news" that reports on the latest predictable, preventable outrage/injustice when it not intentionally turning up the hysteria/fear tuner? It's like living in a simulation of a society ruled by the insane and hearing about its unwinding day after day.

This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world."

https://www.thenation.com/article/post-truth-and-its-consequences-what-a-25-year-old-essay-tells-us-about-the-current-moment/

Yeat's captures the inexorable feel of our times perfectly;

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 9:04 am

Thank you.

This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded".

This makes me wonder whether the US will exist in its current form. Is it desirable? Genuine questions from someone who visits annually, including "fly over", and enjoys doing so. I don't see the UK existing as currently constituted much beyond the next decade.

camelotkidd , February 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine?

Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings.

Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

I'm starting to think that what we are experiencing is the realization that we've spent way too much time expecting that explaining our selves, our diverse grievances, and our political insights would naturally result in growing an irresistible movement that would wash over, and cleanse our politics of the filth that is the status quo.

It is sobering to realize that it took almost four decades for the original Progressive Era organizers to bring about even the possibility of change.

I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935.

Government by the people, and for the people has been drowned in the bath-tub, and the murderers have not only taken the reigns of power, but have convinced half the population that their murderous act represents a political correction that will return America to greatness.

It remains to be seen whether we will find it in our hearts to embrace both the hard, and un-glamorous work of relieving the pain inflicted by the regime that has engulfed us, and the necessity of embracing as brothers and sisters those who haven't yet realized that it is the rich and powerful who are the problem, and not all the other poor and oppressed.

The difficulty of affecting political change might be explained the way Black-Smiths describe their problem;

Life so short the craft so long to learn.

Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead.

Eureka Springs , February 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

"that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

A nice excerpt from the non-binding Gettysburg address. Too bad he was referring to a system of governance which never existed.

In a conversation with several friends yesterday.. all of us found among our greatest despairs the behavior of our long time friends who are Democrats. Much more pig-headed and determined to stay that way than Republicans ever were during the Bush Jr. years. Pretending we live in some sort of system (much less a party) which could or would possibly represent. Seemingly incapable of listening, blinded by delusion and propaganda demanding anyone in their presence double down on what's failed so many of us for far longer than we have lived.

All of us men in our fifties. Hard working. None of us had kids of our own, but several are in relationships with women who did. None of us have anything close to high living standards. Barely getting by now with great uncertainty ahead. Hell, we all own our homes outright, drive ten to twenty year old cars, buy most clothes second hand, grow much of our own food, cut our own firewood, several live off the grid entirely. Only one has access to health care and that's because he's on disability due to spinal injury on the job and an inherited heart condition. He's also the only one who might be able to get by in 'retirement' years on what he will receive. Every one of the rest of us realized if we lose our current jobs we would be hard pressed to replace them at half the income we have now.

I went to orientation for jury duty this week. Out of a hundred and fifty people I was the only man wearing a button down shirt and a sport coat. The only man who removed his hat in the courtroom. And I felt like a freak. It was all I could do to not ask the judge about jury nullification. The only reason I held back is because I knew every citizen in the joint just wanted out of there.

I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.

Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 11:20 am

Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.

So there is our hope. Personally, I suspect that Trump's working-class supporters will join us sooner than the deluded, diehard Clintonista faction of the democratic base. And let's hope the false battles don't turn into real battles. It's obvious there are some who would love to have us throwing rocks at each other, or worse.

juliania , February 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Yes, indeed, you have it. Delegitimization is the appropriate word. My thought on seeing the headline that 17 died in the Florida school shooting was how many months to go before the school year ends. I won't read anything about the shooter, or the deaths, or the bravery and self sacrifice. There have been too many; there will be far too many more.

It is an end-of-Vietnam moment. It is a moment for poems such as the above mentioned, and for me T.S.Eliot's 'Four Quartets'.

Petter , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

Book: The Administration of Fear – Paul Virilio. From the back cover: We are facing the emergence of a real, collective madness reinforced by the synchronization of emotions: the sudden globalization of affects in real time that hits all of humanity at the same time, and in the name of Progress. Emergency exit: we have entered a time of general panic.
-- --

suffer , February 16, 2018 at 8:46 am

what is your suffering of choice?

http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

Thank you to Yves and the NC community.

Perhaps because I live in the UK, I echo particularly what Clive, Windsock and Plutonium Kun say.

Having spent much of the winter in Belgium, Mauritius, Spain and France, so none Anglo-Saxon, it was a relief to get away from the UK in the same way as JLS felt. Although these countries have their issues, I did notice their MSM appear not as venal as the UK and US MSM and seem more focused on local bread and butter. Brexit and Trump were mentioned very briefly, the latter nothing as hysterical and diversionary as in the UK and US. There were little identity politics on parade. Locals don't seem as worn out, in all respects, as one observes in Blighty.

With regard to PK's reference about Pearl Harbour, I know some well informed remainers who want a hard Brexit just for the relief that it will bring. Others, not necessarily remainers, have no idea what's going on and think Trump is a bigger threat. I must confess to, often, sharing what the former think, if only to bring the neo-liberal house down once and for all.

All this makes me think whether anglo-saxon countries are in a class of their own and how, after Brexit, the EU27 will evolve, shorn of the UK. This is not to say that the UK (the neo-liberal bit) is the only rotten apple in the EU.

If it was not for this site and community, I know of no other place where I would get a better source of news, insight and sanity. I know a dozen journalists, mainly in London, well and echo what Norello said.

Quentin , February 16, 2018 at 11:43 am

The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous.

Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. What was this school shooting? The 13th or something since the beginning of the year. War. Nuclear war. A fear of war is the undertone which has been droning (!) on long before Donald Trump took power. Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great.

LizinOregon , February 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm

Is pretending all is well a rational defense against the overwhelming feeling that there is nothing an individual can do to deflect the trajectory we are on? And the emotional energy it takes to keep up that pretense is exhausting.

Jane , February 16, 2018 at 9:30 am

I understand she's eager to leave but where to?! Isnt everywhere infected with this angst?

Yves Smith Post author , February 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

She spends a lot of time in Asia .

Steve , February 16, 2018 at 9:37 am

I think for myself and others that the complete hopelessness of our situation is starting to take more of a toll. The amount of personal and social capital used to finally get some sanity back in government after Bush and the disastrous wasted opportunity of Obama that led to Trump is overwhelming. The complete loss of fairness is everywhere and my pet one this week is how Experian after losing over 200 million personal financial records is now advertising during the Olympics as the personal security service experts instead of being prosecuted out of business.

DJG , February 16, 2018 at 9:52 am

Yesterday was peculiar, Yves Smith. You should have sent me an e-mail! My colleagues were having meltdowns (overtired, I think). My computers were glitchy. The WWW seemed to switch on and off all day long. I am of a mind that it has to due with the false spring: We had a thaw in Chicago.

Like Lambert, and I won't speak for Lambert, who can speak for himself, I am guardedly optimistic: I have attended Our Revolution meetings here in Chicago as well as community meetings. There are many hardworking and savvy people out there. Yet I also believe that we are seeing the collapse of the old order without knowing what will arise anew. And as always, I am not one who believes that we should advocate more suffering so that people "learn their lesson." There is already too much suffering in the world–witness the endless U.S. sponsored wars in the Middle East. (The great un-covered story of our time: The horrors of the U.S.-Israeli-Saudi sponsored massacres from Algeria to Pakistan.)

I tend to think that the Anglo-American world is having a well-deserved nervous breakdown.

I note on my FB page that a "regular Democrat" is calling for war by invoking Orwell. When someone has reached that point of rottenness, not even knowing that Orwell was almost by nature anti-war, the rot can only continue its collapse.

So I offer Antonio Gramsci, who in spite of everything, used to write witty letters from prison. >>

My state of mind brings together these two sentiments and surpasses them: I am pessimistic because of intelligence, but a willed optimist. I think, in every circumstance, of the worst scenario so I can marshal all of my reserves of will and be ready to overcome the obstacle. I never allow myself illusions, and I have never had disappointments. I am always specially armed with endless patience, not passive or inert, but patience animated by perseverance.
–Antonio Gramsci, letter to his brother Gennaro, December 1929. Translation DJG.

Every collapse brings intellectual and moral disorder in its wake. So we must foster people who are sober, have patience, who do not despair when faced with the worst horrors yet who do not become elated over every stupid misstep. Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.
–Antonio Gramsci, first Prison Notebook, 1929-1930. Translation DJG.

So: Commenting groundlings and comrades, we must be alert, somewhat severe in our judgments of people and of the news, and yet open to a revolution that includes bread and roses.

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

Nice find, DJG: "Our intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists."

Too big for a bumper sticker . but good for a bedside table or the bathroom mirror. To remind us that, for the realists, being optimistic takes an effort of will, a determined reach every single morning to find just one small thing that will keep us going for that day and give us hope for the future. It could be a rosy sunrise, or the imminent arrival of a grandchild, or a packet of seeds ready to be sown. Or meeting a good friend for coffee, or mastering a new dance step or a difficult passage on the fiddle.

Not denial of the world's shameful faults and of our increasingly precarious position within it, but a refusal to allow them to grind us down completely.

Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.

My favorite quote. What else is there?

And if you want to know who the enemy is, it is all those whose cure for what ails us is either "Just going on living your life (i.e. shopping)" or "just vote". I view the current period of disquiet and all of us wondering what we can and should do, and who will be alongside us, or opposed to us, when we do.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

> Pessimism of the the intellect, optimism of the will

I think -- call me Pollyanna if you wish -- that optimism of the intellect is warranted as well. My only concern is that collapse will come (or be induced) when "the good guys,"* let us say, are still to weak to take advantage of the moment. That's why I keep saying that gridlock is our friend.

* Who in the nature of the case have been unaccustomed to wielding real power.

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

I have been fortunate, in the past decade, to have 'hung out' with lots of 20-somethings (and a few older beings) who have been passionately optimistic about what they can accomplish against the forces of darkness. From the environmentalists who are fighting the corporations who would build pipelines and LNG terminals to activists building tiny houses for the homeless and working with the city to find land to place them on, and those who happily get arrested for sleeping under a blanket, in protest against 'urban camping' bans, to a woman who for the last five years has served Friday night meals for all, on sidewalks in front of businesses supporting the urban camping ban.

And, I have been constantly in awe of those who, in the face of centuries of being relocated, dispossessed, despised and massacred, will not give up on protecting their lands and their way of life. These Lakota and Kiowa and Dineh people are truly optimistic that they will prevail. Or, perhaps fatalistic is a better description; hey know they may die trying.

The Rev Kev , February 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

Looks like this article has a lot of legs on it but will wait to read more commentator's thoughts and ideas before doing so myself. Too much to take in. In the meantime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WatQeG5fMU

R , February 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

As a New Zealander living in the USA for around 7 years now (but routinely spending Christmas months back in NZ, and often multi month stints remote working in Europe) the 'tension' just living in the USA – NYC / LA is through the roof.

I can remember being in Vienna some time after trump won, a few days shy of returning to the US and wondering what the hell I was thinking – and that's related to people / media's reaction to trump just as much as trump being in charge.

It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is – partly just the 'big metropolis' thing.. but there's also something else nasty in the air.

Similar (but amplified) feeling at work last week at the office as one quarter of the company were sacked on a days notice – a downsizing at a start up that supposedly has 'great culture'.

It's that nasty squeeze of fast capitalism I believe that has a grip on everyone's psyche – elevated fear levels, etc.

Re-read Ames' 'going postal' a few weeks back, which covers brilliantly the vicious cultural turn under Reagan.

Ps – Naked Capitalism has become my 'News refuge' having dropped off social media entirely, and wanting to avoid the general insanity of the news cycle but not disengage, thank you!

tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

It's not so much the presence of angst that I see, among my working brethren we're pretty numb to the current hopeless future and tend to focus instead on the present for efficiencies sake, for if one thinks too much about the hopeless future it's hard to get up and get going on fighting back the tide and muddling through the hopeless present that will be more hopeless if you don't do anything. (as an aside my opinion is that this psychology has much to do with the current homeless crisis it takes confidence to try and those who can delude themselves into doing so seem to be a little better off) But now the angst is in the the 10%er's in my acquaintance, who claim to be really worried about nuclear war. Not surprisingly they're mostly informed by npr, which as far as I can see makes people really stupid. The trump as crazy fascist narrative has them in it's clutches so much so that his weekend I had to give the "don't be too pessimistic b/c if the world doesn't end you will be unprepared for it, and if it ends who cares?" speech normally reserved for youngsters who see no point in trying due to end of the world thinking (as anecdote since when I was in college in the early '80's I was pretty certain there would be a nuclear war and made different choices than the best ones,, anyone remember the star wars missile defense system?). That said I think the "we're all gonna die" theme is just more bs sour grapes and more proof that the residence of hopelessness is actually the democrat partisans who refuse to live in the present, so denial is where they are at. But isn't that the thing about angst, it doesn't have to be real to effect one's life negatively, and I'm hearing it from people who I think should know better, but I read nc daily and live out in the woods (highly recommended, almost as good as being in another country as the rural areas of the US are actually another country) and npr was so unhinged this weekend that I felt that even the reporters were having a hard time mustering the outrage. As Hope said commenting on the uber series
"What a pleasure it is to read a genuine (and all too rare) piece of financial analysis."
I couldn't agree more, and I might send it on to a 10%er, but they seem kind of fragile lately and I don't know if they could handle "uber is a failing enterprise", they might not get out of bed

tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

oops sorry that was hana not hope

Travis Bickle , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

Don't know if I'm any more sensitive than you guys, and I'm certainly not that good at articulating what's going in with something this subtle.

I will say that when the dogs stop barking its time to start getting REALLY worried. What we may now be hearing, or not hearing, may be a sign of fatigue, but more depressingly, impending resignation. EVERY day for the past year there's been yet another affront, and the opposition has been ineffective in any meaningful sense. Trump has apparently learned that the way to parry any thrust is to counter with something even more outrageous, literally in a matter of minutes. The initiative he is thus able to maintain is scary, and something I see no way to surmount.

But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further.

Hence, having the means, though by no means being rich, I began my move off-shore over ten years ago. I now have 3 passports and permanent residency on as many continents. What Jerri-Lynn senses is very, very real, as I learned in the US over Xmas past in a series of vignettes I'll spare anyone reading this. I was sharing my experiences there to a local student recently (here in South America) who had once lived in the US and who continues to be enamored of the now frayed, and largely repudiated, American Dream. As I explained to him, it's not a pretty picture, and hardly one to succumb to.

My sense is that the media has succeeded in instilling into the North American zeitgeist a sense of the US being At War against the rest of the world, not unlike that of the mentality of Israel, which has a far more real situation to contend with. The tragedy, in the case of the US, is that it really, really does not have to be like this. This is a hole we have begun digging ourselves into only recently, as opposed to Israel, which at this point can hardly see the light of day.

At some point this mentality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and while the US could easily turn itself around, the momentum is strong and decidedly in the other direction. The vision of the fascists and the imperatives of the media pretty much guarantee the US, and by extension the world, is on a collision course with negative time and space.

Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Everything holds until it doesn't.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Herbert Stein disagrees with Godot's Vladimir: ""If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 10:33 am

I'm probably the last person able to comment on this topic having spent the last three months ignoring the news and not even reading Naked Capitalism daily. I was never bothered by the big stories like the drama over North Korea which I thought of as nothing more than a psy-op incidentally aimed at the American populace. Nor did I find Liberal Hezbollah (The Resistance) or #Metoo to be anything more than a joke. I kinda suspected that American culture would be plagued by another round of hysterical superstition driven by Calvinist social-jihadism.

If there seems to be a lack of consequential events it's because history doesn't move as swiftly as we might want. It doesn't mean that we aren't moving towards more worldview shattering events which will challenge the ability of our body politic to react to them. The United States continues to collapse driven by external and internal factors. The lack of clarity and unity of action will eventually usher in the end of the empire aboard. The inability of our ruling class to respond to Trump's election in such a manner which would constructively restore faith in our institutions will only accelerate the process at home. There isn't a lack of stories which serve as a useful guide through history. The story about American troops being ambushed and dying in Niger was significant.

A few years before the Islamic State steamrolled through Iraq and Syria it was mostly unnoticed that the French were contending with rebels marauding through their African protection racket in Mali and the Central African Republic. The fact that the US is having to prop up the French and that the chaos has been migrating southward is significant especially given the economic factors at stake. Another story I found interesting was a recent DW article about the woeful state of readiness of the German military given it is assuming leadership of a prominent position in NATO. It notably reveals that in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis and euro crisis the Germans, but probably the European countries as a whole, have been strip-mining their military budgets which is something that America did during the Great Depression. I'm sure there is even more stories out there that are little pieces of a much larger puzzle but to be honest I've mostly spent my downtime playing video games.

Don't judge me.

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm

True enough. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Obama was calling for NATO nations to increase their military spending 'til they reach 2% of their GDP. The Germans wouldn't theoretically have any trouble meeting under normal circumstances. It's also a far cry from what Germany spent on the eve of both World Wars.

kareninca , February 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm

"Basically everything and anything anti-Republican & anti-Trump that gets published on Facebook gets re-posted on our church Facebook page."

Hmmm. Are you losing parishioners as a result? Or gaining them? It doesn't seem to me like what people would be looking for in a faith community – an overload of politics – but what do I know.

Oh, I see that you've already sort of answered that question.

CalypsoFacto , February 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm

the tendency to excessive rage when identity is questioned is a feature of narcissism. excessive, misplaced, out of proportion rage (at being denied what was expected, at being wrong, at being seen as incompetent, whatever conflicts with the rager's identity) is what this sounds like to me. which is I guess another form of not thinking enough, unfortunately narcissism isn't curable.

in fact so much of this thread makes me feel like we're all suffering a bit as grey rocks in a narcissistic abuse scenario. the narcissism is at the individual level and at the societal level; we're all just trying to keep our heads down and avoid the maelstrom, which keeps increasing in intensity to get our attention back.

freedeomny , February 16, 2018 at 11:36 am

What I have noticed is: a sense of powerlessness and not being able to control basic aspects of your life .that at any moment things could spiral widely out of control; people have become more enraged, meaner and feel they don't even have to be polite anymore (my friends and I have noticed this even with drivers); people who normally would be considered comfortable are feeling more and more financially insecure. Almost everyone I know feels this tension and is trying to figure out what they need to do to survive – I know several who are exploring becoming expats. I think we are rapidly moving towards a breaking point .

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/cheer-up-the-apocalypse-isn-t-coming-and-life-s-getting-better-a3768606.html

PKMKII , February 16, 2018 at 11:58 am

The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do.

The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building. Same for the security agencies, whose invasive practices feel less like a preparation for a 1984-style security state, and more a cover for their own incompetence and inability to do proper legwork, as these mass shootings seem to inevitably come with the revelation about how authorities were alerted prior to the fact of the shooter's warning signs and did no follow up. Meanwhile, standards of living decline for the vast majority of Americans, the sense of national unity is eroding as regional and rural/urban identities are superseding that of country. Not to mention the slow simmer that is global warming and climate change.

So yeah, nothing that translates to a flashy headline or all-at-once collapse, but definitely an angst of a slow slide down, with too much resistance to the change needed to reverse it.

polecat , February 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

My feeling is that the U$A, along with various sovereign entities around much the planet will, within a decade or so, cease to exist in their current form. When people coalesce and societies reform, is when one gets/is forced .. to choose their 'new' afilliation(s) !

It will be facinating to behold, if one is alive to partake in it ! As for positive, or negative outcomes who knows ?

Wyoming , February 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Yves

I believe that what is happening is that slowly but surely the numbers of people who are subconsciously reacting to the ongoing collapse of civilization are growing. They are uneasy, anxious, deflated, waiting for Godot, in depression and so on.

Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. Numbness to new is bad news. Or what used to be bad news has to be Trumped by exceedingly bad news before folks can rise to deal with them, but for a shorter time than they had the ability they used to. As the number of people grows who have reached their capacity to tolerate the stress we will find more and more of them just shut down as their subconscious tells them there is no point in caring anymore as things are just going to get worse.

We all see things getting worse.

So we have little collapses on a regular basis which hardly ruffle anyone's feathers anymore. The moderate catastrophic disasters like Trumps election cause much bigger disruptions to the civilizational equilibrium, but only for a time. We all know deep inside that what comes next in Brexit or say Trumps removal will actually be worse than what we have now. And we know that such will be the trend for the duration. Each time we seem to overcome a disaster we will be presented with another building disaster. A worse one. As we continue to stair step down the long slope that our civilization climbed during the renaissance and the enlightenment. Trump and Brexit are medium steps down.

The Black Swan is out there somewhere watching us. The big step down. We can feel it coming and we cannot stop it. We know that what seems bad now is going to be a lot worse in the future. We know this and it makes us helpless.

Skip above has the word on this.

"The centre does not hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".

Oregoncharles , February 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm

"The Second Coming," 1919: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html

akaPaul LaFargue , February 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

The Worst Well-Being Year on Record for the U.S. – Gallup

"Americans' well-being took a big hit nationally in 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, which recorded declines in 21 states. Why did well-being drop, and where were the declines most pronounced?"

OK- no endorsement from me re the validity of this Index, BUT the podcast raises an important point vis a vis 2009 downturn in their Index.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/gallupstrengthscenter/the-worst-well-being-year-on-record-for-

Loneprotester , February 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

I think what we have here is a Mexican standoff the likes of which has perhaps never been seen. I am 51 years old. For most of my life there has been a polite changing of the guards to no great effect every four years. Trump rode into Washington on a bridge burning mission and all that has changed. Or were the bridges burned upon his approach, after which he was framed for the crime? This is the essence of the problem we face as a country, and the world watching on with bated breath.

I still do not know what is "true" about any of this "Russiagate" contretemps. Perhaps none of it. Perhaps all of it. I suspect both parties and candidates were hand fed dubious information then tried to hide the wrappers from the "authorities" who (naturally) were only interested in how any of it impacted them personally and institutionally, and so on and so forth, etc. etc.

But where does that get us a nation? If you are a child and you walk into your parent's bedroom to find your mother screwing the gardener you may be upset. But then if you run down the hall to your brother's room to tell him and find your father en flagrante with the nanny, well where do you go from there?

We have to find a way to deescalate with each other as Americans. I find myself repeatedly smiling blankly in conversations with family, friends, and strangers who will all equally complain vociferously about someone who is definitely destroying the planet/country/children. But that only gets you so far. If you do not engage after a few minutes you are viewed with great suspicion. And then only the strongest bonds of love can save you from being cast aside or worse.

Deescalate now. I'm gonna put it on a tshirt.

By the way, reading a lot of Jung right now. Anyone else?

Blitz , February 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm

For the better part of the last 45 years I have traveled the world, worked with individuals in different cultures, walked among and shared bread and stories with many people in their living quarters and the news of today is not so much (occasionally) about the depth of love that exists around the world but only about the evils we are told about in pages of the WaPo, NYTimes and even the WST. So sad because there is so much good to view but good rarely delivers headlines and headlines sell news and make journalists.

The news is slow because the liberal media just can't dig out that one great story or smokin' gun that brings down Trump & Co. This whole story is stale and at the point of "who cares" ..well, the liberals seem to be the only interested parties. I am not a Republican or Conservative or aligned with any party but an American who looks for the best talent of any party to represent us .citizens of the U.S.A. I laugh at the whole 'Russian Thing' . like this is NEW news when it's as old as the Roman Empire. There are many of us true Americans that if our democracy was every challenged, threatened or in trouble would rise up against any threat–and more than likely not with guns but with our minds, our knowledge and our ability to talk calmly and rationally rather than shout threats on Twitter.

The media needs to get over itself and quit trying to be the type of police we all despise .manipulated headlines are part of the problem with the 'stillness' today. If you can't dig up any worthy headlines that will sell the news, then go home and close the cover of your computer and find someone to hug ..God knows we can all use an extra level of love in today's seemingly gloomy lack of news world.

Wyoming , February 16, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Well put.

Clif , February 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

a pretty good question in the face of all the noise.

i believe it is in response to the saturated level of cognitive dissonance. an inverse reaction to the lack of transparency and unresponsiveness of both commercial and governmental activities.

the sensitivity of untoward persuasion on social media an indication of the fallibility of the centralized narrative?

Jeremy Grimm , February 16, 2018 at 2:06 pm

I have felt an eery disquiet for the last several years, more or less since the year I retired. I think retirement finally offered me the time I needed to see and think about the world. For the last few years I have felt a strong need to move away to higher ground and a smaller community further out from the cities. Churchill's book title "Gathering Storm" seems apt, but war seems only one of the many possible storms gathering and I think one of the least likely at present although the actions and qualities of those who rule us make even nuclear war seem possible. And I take little comfort from learning how close we came to nuclear war in the past and how the unstable mechanisms guiding us toward this brink remain in place with new embellishments for greater instability.

The economy is ambling a drunkard's walk climbing a knife's edge. The Corporations remain hard at work consolidating and building greater monopoly power, dismantling what remains of our domestic jobs and industry, and building ever more fragile supply chains. The government is busy dismantling the safety net, deconstructing health care, public education and science, bolstering the wealth of the wealthy, and stoking foreign wars while a tiff between factions within those who rule us fosters a new cold war and an arms build-up including building a new nuclear arsenal. In another direction Climate Disruption shows signs of accelerating while the new weather patterns already threaten random flooding and random destruction of cities. It already destroyed entire islands in the Caribbean. The government has proven its inability and unwillingness to do anything to prepare for the pending disasters or help the areas struck down in the seasons past. The year of Peak Oil is already in our past and there is nothing to fill its place. The world populations continue to grow exponentially. Climate Disruption promises to reduce food production and move the sources for fresh water and the worlds aquifers are drying up. It's as if a whole flock of black swans is looking for places to land.

I quit watching tv, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers long ago. The news desert isn't new or peculiar to this moment. I haven't seen much of interest in the news from any source since the election. The noise of social media and celebrity news does seem turned up higher recently, although I base this judgment on occasional peeks at magazines or snatches of NPR. After the last election I gave up on the possibility that we still had a democracy in this country. Over the last several years I've had some expensive and unpleasant dealings with local government, the schools, law enforcement, the courts, and government agencies in helping one and then the other of my children through difficulties which confirmed in the particular all my worst beliefs about the decay of our government and legal systems. In short my personal anxiety has been at a high level for some time now and I can't say its peaked lately. I don't get out and around enough to get a good sense of how others feel and certainly can't judge whether this moment is a moment of peaking anxiety. When I've been in the City and nearby cities I've long had a feeling of passing through a valley between mountains of very dry tender. I hold my head low and walk quickly to my destinations. Every so often I warn my children to move out, but they don't listen.

VietnamVet , February 16, 2018 at 10:11 pm

This is an excellent post and valid observations. Things don't seem right. I blame old age and being awaken by F-16s on combat patrols out of Andrews. For me the frame changed with the restart of the Cold War. I remember "Duck and Cover, McCarthyism, John Birchers, and Who Lost China". It has all come back. The Democrats are idiots for scapegoating Russia. President Donald Trump is incompetent. Scott Pruitt must fly first class because he cannot sit next to riff-raft like me who worked at his Agency for 37 years and hear that he has sold out the earth for short term gain and profit. America is at war, inside and out, with no way of winning.

The Rev Kev , February 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

I am going to try to see if I can make sense of what has been happening the past few years but I could easily be as wrong as the next person but will try nonetheless. In reading the comments I can see the tension seeping through so to try to come to terms with it I will use the US as my focus though I could just as easily be talking about any other western country like the UK, Germany, Australia, France, etc. The US though is at the forefront of these changes so should be mentioned first.

The American people are now in what the military call a fire-sac and the door has been slammed shut behind them. What is more, I think they realize it. A few threads need mentioning here. A study that came out last year showed that what Americans wanted their government to do never becomes a consideration unless it aligned what some upper echelon also wanted. People want a military pull-back but are ignored and now find that American troops are digging into Syria and are scattered in places like Africa with the military wanting to go head-to-head with North Korea, Russia, China and a host of other nations. It has become blatantly obvious too that their vaunted free media has become little more than Pravda on the Potomac and in fact has aligning with the wealthy against the interests of the American people. The media is even helping bring in censorship as they know that their position is untenable. The entire political establishment is now recognized as a rigged deck with radical neoliberal politicians in charge and at the last election the best candidates that they could find out of 330 million Americans were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The massive industry that built America has been mostly disassembled and shipped overseas and without the wealth and skills that it generated, infrastructure has been left to rack and ruin when it should be a core government function. Climate change cannot be ignored anymore and is starting to bite. Even the Pentagon is realising that some of its vaunted bases will be underwater in decades. I am sure other commentators can list yet more trends here but you get the picture.

OK, so there are massive problems but they can be faced and taken on but here is the kicker. The political establishment in your country does not want anything to change but to keep doing what is generated these problems. There is too much money at stake to change for them. In fact, one of the two presidential candidates in 2016 was specifically chosen to keep things going they way that they are. So where does that leave the American people? British officers have always been taught that when their men were complaining and bitching, that that was how it was but when the men were very quiet, that was the time to watch them carefully. I think something similar is at work here. It has not yet coalesced but what I think we are seeing is the beginnings of a phase shift in America. The unexpected election of Trump was a precursor but as nothing changed after he was elected the pressure is still building.

Now here is the part where I kick over everybody's tea wagon. In looking for a root cause to how all these challenges are being pushed down the road to an even worse conclusion, I am going to have to say that the problem lies in the fact that representative democracy no longer works. In fact, the representatives in the form of Senators, Reps, Judges and even the President have been almost totally dislocated from the will of the people. The connection is mostly not there anymore. It is this disconnection that is frustrating change and is thus building up pressure. I am all for democracy but the democracy we have is not the only form there is of democracy. There are others.
What this means is that somehow this is going to have to be changed and if not done peacefully, then I suspect that it will be done in some other way. That lull in the news may represent a general milling around if you will until some unknown catalyst appears to give the beginnings of a push in another direction. How it will work out in practice I do not know but if a mass of independents were elected in your mid-terms then that may be a good sign of change coming. If both parties clamp down and continue to keep all others out and continue with neoliberal policies, well, game on.

Erling , February 16, 2018 at 10:28 pm

We have for the last generation or two, (maybe three?) been relentlessly conditioned (name your puppet-master of choice) to equate happiness and contentment with the never ending pursuit of keeping up with the Joneses. The competitive underpinnings encouraging our participation in this futile contest fit well with our innate drives for "success". The race was over-subscribed by throngs of enthusiastic participants yearning for glory.

For decades many of us did well. We ran strong and felt rewarded with the material enhancements to our lives, which encouraged many of us to run faster, even if that motivation was rooted more in the fear of being passed by Ron and Nancy Jones than it was for improving our chances of ending up on the podium.

Even though we never seemed to catch or pass Ron or Nancy, surely they must have been out there ahead in the haze somewhere? After all, this was the race that we so eagerly had trained for. Plus, life was going well while we chased, so we figured it was a fruitful one to be a part of. All the effort and toil would be worth it in the end.

The slow arc of realization and barely perceptible sense over time (coupled with the self delusion that comes with resisting acceptance) that we have been duped that this Jones Marathon has actually been taking place on a treadmill which gradually (hardly noticeable, but cumulatively significant) has been ratcheted up in both speed and incline, has now hit home. We have been running for years, but going nowhere. We can't find the stop button, and don't even want to think what will happen to us if we were to slow down or stop running! Problem is not only are we are growing physically weary, we are dejected and defeated in spirit knowing that all our efforts have yielded little other than illusionary gains.

[Feb 17, 2018] Neo-McCarthyite Hysteria at US Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech. ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech.

Senator Mark Warner

The performance of Senator Mark Warner , the ranking Democrat on the committee, was particularly obscene. Warner, whose net worth is estimated at $257 million, appeared to be doing his best impersonation of Senator Joe McCarthy . He declared that foreign subversion works together with, and is largely indistinguishable from, "threats to our institutions from right here at home."

Alluding to the publication of the so-called Nunes memo, which documented the fraudulent character of the Democratic-led investigation of White House "collusion" with Russia, Warner noted,

"There have been some, aided and abetted by Russian Internet bots and trolls, who have attacked the basic integrity of the FBI and the Justice Department."

Responding to questioning from Warner, FBI Director Christopher Wray praised the US intelligence agencies' greater "engagement" and "partnership" with the private sector, concluding,

"We can't fully police social media, so we have to work with them so that they can police themselves."

Wray was referring to the sweeping measures taken by social media companies, working directly with the US intelligence agencies, to implement a regime of censorship, including through the hiring of tens of thousands of "content reviewers," many with intelligence backgrounds, to flag, report and delete content.

The assault on democratic rights is increasingly connected to preparations for a major war, which will further exacerbate social tensions within the United States. Coats prefaced his remarks by declaring that "the risk of inter-state conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War."

As the hearing was taking place, multiple news outlets were reporting that potentially hundreds of Russian military contractors had been killed in a recent US air strike in Syria. This came just weeks after the publication of the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy, which declared,

"Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."

However, the implications of this great-power conflict are not simply external to the US "homeland." The document argues that "the homeland is no longer a sanctuary," and that "America is a target," for "political and information subversion" on the part of "revisionist powers" such as Russia and China.

Since "America's military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield," the only way the US can prevail in this conflict is through the "seamless integration of multiple elements of national power," including "information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement and military."

In other words, America's supremacy in the new world of great-power conflict requires the subordination of every aspect of life to the requirements of war. In this totalitarian nightmare, already far advanced, the police, the military and the intelligence agencies unite with media and technology companies to form a single seamless unit, whose combined power is marshaled to manipulate public opinion and suppress political dissent.

The dictatorial character of the measures being prepared was underscored by an exchange between Wray and Republican Senator Marco Rubio , who asked whether Chinese students were serving as spies for Beijing.

"What is the counterintelligence risk posed to US national security from Chinese students, particularly those in advanced programs in the sciences and mathematics?" asked Rubio.

Wray responded that

"the use of nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it's professors, scientists, students, we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country, not just in major cities, small ones as well, basically every discipline."

This campaign, with racist overtones, recalls the official rationale -- defense of "national security" -- used to justify the internment of some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

In its open letter calling for a coalition of socialist, antiwar and progressive websites against Internet censorship, the World Socialist Web Site noted that

"the ruling class has identified the Internet as a mortal threat to its monopolization of information and its ability to promote propaganda to wage war and legitimize the obscene concentration of wealth and extreme social inequality."

It is this mortal threat -- and fear of the growth of class conflict -- that motivate the lies and hypocrisy on display at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

The original source of this article is World Socialist Web Site Copyright © Andre Damon , World Socialist Web Site , 2018

[Feb 16, 2018] Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy Consortiumnews

Feb 16, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy February 16, 2018

New U.S. policy on nuclear retaliatory strikes for cyber-attacks is raising concerns, with Russia claiming that it's already been blamed for a false-flag cyber-attack – namely the election hacking allegations of 2016, explain Ray McGovern and William Binney.

By Ray McGovern and William Binney

Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb. 2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Explaining the shift in U.S. doctrine on first-use, the NPR cites the efforts of potential adversaries "to design and use cyber weapons" and explains the change as a "hedge" against non-nuclear threats. In response, Russia described the move as an "attempt to shift onto others one's own responsibility" for the deteriorating security situation.

Moscow's concern goes beyond rhetoric. Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call "false-flag" operations. These can be highly destabilizing – not only in the strategic context, but in the political arena as well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has good reason to believe he has been the target of a false-flag attack of the political genre. We judged this to be the case a year and a half ago, and said so. Our judgment was fortified last summer – thanks to forensic evidence challenging accusations that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee and provided emails to WikiLeaks. (Curiously, the FBI declined to do forensics, even though the "Russian hack" was being described as an "act of war.")

Our conclusions were based on work conducted over several months by highly experienced technical specialists, including another former NSA technical director (besides co-author Binney) and experts from outside the circle of intelligence analysts.

On August 9, 2017, investigative reporter Patrick Lawrence summed up our findings in The Nation. "They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation," he explained.

As we wrote in an open letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the NSA's programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. "We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks," our letter said. "If NSA cannot produce such evidence – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any."

A 'Dot' Pointing to a False Flag?

In his article, Lawrence included mention of one key, previously unknown "dot" revealed by WikiLeaks on March 31, 2017. When connected with other dots, it puts a huge dent in the dominant narrative about Russian hacking. Small wonder that the mainstream media immediately applied white-out to the offending dot.

Lawrence, however, let the dot out of the bag, so to speak: "The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble Framework that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to."

If congressional oversight committees summon the courage to look into "Obfus-Gate" and Marble, they are likely to find this line of inquiry as lucrative as the Steele "dossier." In fact, they are likely to find the same dramatis personae playing leading roles in both productions.

Two Surprising Visits

Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it.

In retrospect, the Pompeo-Binney meeting appears to have been a shot across the bow of those cyber warriors in the CIA, FBI, and NSA with the means and incentive to adduce "just discovered" evidence of Russian hacking. That Pompeo could promptly invite Binney back to evaluate any such "evidence" would be seen as a strong deterrent to that kind of operation.

Pompeo's closeness to President Donald Trump is probably why the heads of Russia's three top intelligence agencies paid Pompeo an unprecedented visit in late January. We think it likely that the proximate cause was the strategic danger Moscow sees in the nuclear-hedge-against-cyber-attack provision of the Nuclear Posture Statement (a draft of which had been leaked a few weeks before).

If so, the discussion presumably focused on enhancing hot-line and other fail-safe arrangements to reduce the possibility of false-flag attacks in the strategic arena -- by anyone – given the extremely high stakes.

Putin may have told his intelligence chiefs to pick up on President Donald Trump's suggestion, after the two met last July, to establish a U.S.-Russian cyber security unit. That proposal was widely ridiculed at the time. It may make good sense now.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, was chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and briefed the President's Daily Brief one-on-one from 1981-1985. William Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.


mike k , February 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Those Russians had a strange mission coming to CIA headquarters to try to negotiate with soulless mass murderers in the name of maintaining a precarious semblance of peace, knowing full well that these men's words and assurances were worth less than nothing. Ah well, I guess in a mad situation one is reduced to making desperate gestures, hoping against hope .

Mild-ly -Facetious , February 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm

F Y I :> Putin prefers Aramco to Trump's sword dance

Hardly 10 months after honoring the visiting US president, the Saudis are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the upcoming Aramco IPO

By M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
FEBRUARY 16, 2018

[extract]

In the slideshow that is Middle Eastern politics, the series of still images seldom add up to make an enduring narrative. And the probability is high that when an indelible image appears, it might go unnoticed – such as Russia and Saudi Arabia wrapping up huge energy deals on Wednesday underscoring a new narrative in regional and international security.

The ebb and flow of events in Syria – Turkey's campaign in Afrin and its threat to administer an "Ottoman slap" to the United States, and the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet – hogged the attention. But something of far greater importance was unfolding in Riyadh, as Saudi and Russian officials met to seal major deals marking a historic challenge to the US dominance in the Persian Gulf region.

The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering – and the Saudis acknowledging the offer. Even bigger news, surely, is that Moscow is putting together a Russian-Chinese consortium of joint investment funds plus several major Russian banks to be part of the Aramco IPO.

Chinese state oil companies were interested in becoming cornerstone investors in the IPO, but the participation of a Russia-China joint investment fund takes matters to an entirely different realm. Clearly, the Chinese side is willing to hand over tens of billions of dollars.

Yet the Aramco IPO was a prime motive for US President Donald Trump to choose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. The Saudi hosts extended the ultimate honor to Trump – a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Hardly 10 months later, they are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the Aramco IPO.

Riyadh plans to sell 5% of Saudi Aramco in what is billed as the largest IPO in world history. In the Saudi estimation, Aramco is worth US$2 trillion; a 5% stake sale could fetch as much as $100 billion. The IPO is a crucial segment of Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom's economy.

MORE : http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/

Anna , February 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

"Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it."

That was about some Dm. Alperovitch for CrowdStrike fame, who had discovered the "hacking" in 10 sec. Guess Alperovitch, as an "expert" at the viciously Russophobic Atlantic Council (funded by the State Dept., NATO, and a set of unsavory characters like Ukrainian oligrach Pinchuk) decided to show his "understanding" of the task. The shy FBI did not even attempt to look at the Clinton's server because the bosses "knew better."

Alperovitch must be investigated for anti-American activities; the scoundrel has been sowing discord into the US society with his lies while endangering the US citizenry.

[Feb 16, 2018] The Russiagate Intelligence Wars What We Do and Don t Know

Steele dossier became hot potato for anti-Trump color revolution plotters. That's why probably 13 Russians were extracted from the back pocket
Feb 16, 2018 | www.thenation.com

In a recent interview, James Clapper, who served as President Obama's director of national intelligence, said explicitly that the Intelligence Community Assessment itself had nothing whatsoever to do with the dossier. "We briefed, John [Brennan, then CIA director] and I, briefed the president-elect [Trump] at the time, on January 6. He viewed what we presented to him, which had very high confidence levels in what we presented him, which by the way, a point I'll make, had nothing to do with the dossier. We did not draw on the dossier. The dossier, the infamous dossier, was not a part of our Intelligence Community Assessment," said Clapper. "His first reaction to it was that this caused a question about the legitimacy of his election."

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

It's interesting that the Russians set this all up to boost Trump and disparage Three Names before Trump even announced he was running. The basic set up for this was going on in 2014 whereas Trump announced in 2015.

Carla Skidmore says: February 16, 2018 at 7:29 pm

No, not really. Trump was making gestures of interest in the presidency in 2012

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 8:30 pm

Pfui. He also made noises about running in the 2012 election. People don't set up organizations to do stuff just on the off chance that some politician or wannabe is going to run. These guys ain't got nothin'.

It's been a year since Mueller went to work and what's he got? A couple of Republican political operatives being political operatives. Their crime was not reporting to the USG that they were working for Ukraine.

Now we're down to social media posts. You're probably one of those people who say, I saw it on the internet so it must be true. If the government is going to be upset about crap they see on social media from foreign parties, they need to start by telling said social media that they can't solicit advertising from foreign entities with political overtones as facebook did of RT.

Francis Louis Szot says: February 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Apparently, it comes down to trolls who planted various "fake news" stories.

Stipulate to all of that; the worst of it.

How does THAT begin to stack–up against the murderous coup that the USA OPENLY fomented in the Ukraine a couple of years earlier by bankrolling dozens of Non-governmental organizations whose sole purpose was "regime change"?

Maybe come back to me about all of this when the FBI can convincingly prove that the Russian government armed and funded a Neo–nazi para–military group that assaulted and burned–down the North Carolina State House.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm

I'm hoping the hush-money passed on to two of Trump's romantic caprices, during the election, gets traction.

Tell me, as soon as you can, when having skepticism on the Russia/Election Meddling story is finally permitted. I heard tell, we've lately dropped the "Treason" narration. Now the spin du jour is that Trump & Co were all duped by them clever Ruskies.

Whatever floats your boat.

[Feb 16, 2018] The Pathetic Inadequacy of the Trump Opposition The American Conservative by Paul Brian

Notable quotes:
"... Dancing With The Stars ..."
"... The Washington Post. ..."
"... Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com . ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The hawks and internationalists who set our house on fire don't now deserve the contract to rebuild it.

While it may have significant popular support, much of the anti-Trump "Resistance" suffers from a severe weakness of message. Part of the problem is with who the Resistance's leading messengers are: discredited neoconservative poltroons like former president George W. Bush, unwatchable alleged celebrities like Chelsea Handler, and establishment Republicans who routinely slash and burn the middle class like Senator Jeff Flake. Furthermore, what exactly is the Resistance's overriding message? Invariably their sermonizing revolves around vague bromides about "tolerance," diversity, unrestricted free trade, and multilateralism. They routinely push a supposed former status quo that was in fact anything but a status quo. The leaders of the Resistance have in their arsenal nothing but buzzwords and a desire to feel self-satisfied and turn back to imagined pre-Trump normality. A president like Donald Trump is only possible in a country with opposition voices of such subterranean caliber.

Remember when Trump steamrolled a crowded field of Republicans in one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history? Surely many of us also recall the troupes of smug celebrities and Bushes and Obamas who lined up to take potshots at Trump over his unacceptably cruel utterances that upset their noble moral sensibilities? How did that work out for them? They lost. The more that opposition to Trump in office takes the same form as opposition to him on the campaign trail, the more hypocritical and counterproductive it becomes. Further, the resistance to Trump's policies is coming just at the moment when principled opposition most needs to up its game and help turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. It's social conservatives who are also opposed to war and exploitation of the working class who have the best moral bona fides to effectively oppose Trump, which is why morally phrased attacks on Trump from the corporate and socially liberal wings of the left, as well as the free market and interventionist conservative establishment, have failed and will continue to fail. Any real alternative is going to have to come from regular folks with hearts and morals who aren't stained by decades of failure and hypocrisy.

A majority of Democrats now have favorable views of George W. Bush, and that's no coincidence. Like the supposedly reasonable anti-Trump voices on their side, Bush pops up like a dutiful marionette to condemn white supremacy and "nativism," and to reminisce about the good old days when he was in charge. Bush also lectures about how Russia is ruining everything by meddling in elections and destabilizing the world. But how convincing is it really to hear about multilateralism and respect for human rights from Bush, who launched an unnecessary war on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left thousands of American servicemen and women dead and wounded? How convincing is it when former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who famously remarked that an estimated half a million Iraqis dead from our 1990s sanctions was "worth it," haughtily claims that she's "offended" by Trump's travel ban ? "Offended" -- is that so, Madame Secretary? I have a feeling millions of Muslims in the Middle East may have also been "offended" when people like you helped inflame their region and turned it into an endless back-and-forth firestorm of conflict between U.S.-backed dictators and brutal jihadists, with everyone else caught in between.

Maybe instead of being offended that not everyone can come to America, people like Albright, Kerry, and Bush shouldn't have contributed to the conditions that wrecked those people's homes in the first place? Maybe the U.S. government should think more closely about providing military aid to 73 percent of the world's dictatorships? Sorry, do excuse the crazy talk. Clearly all the ruthless maneuvering by the U.S. and NATO is just being done out of a selfless desire to spread democratic values by raining down LGBT-friendly munitions on beleaguered populations worldwide. Another congressman just gave a speech about brave democratic principles so we can all relax.

Generally, U.S. leaders like to team up with dictators before turning on them when they become inconvenient or start to upset full-spectrum dominance. Nobody have should been surprised to see John Kerry fraternizing in a friendly manner with Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad and then moralistically threatening him with war several years later, or Donald Rumsfeld grinning with Saddam Hussein as they cooperated militarily before Rumsfeld did an about-face on the naïve dictator based on false premises after 9/11. Here's former president Barack Obama shaking Moammar Gaddafi's hand in 2009 . I wonder what became of Mr. Gaddafi?

It's beyond parody to hear someone like Bush sternly opine that there's "pretty clear evidence" Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Even if that were deeply significant in the way some argue, Bush should be the last person anyone is hearing from about it. It's all good, though: remember when Bush laughed about how there hadn't been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2004? It's all just a joke; don't you get it? (Maybe Saddam Hussein had already used all the chemical weapons the U.S. helped him get during the 1980s on Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, which killed over one million people by the time the coalition of the willing came knocking in 2003). That's the kind of thing people like Bush like to indirectly joke about in the company of self-satisfied press ghouls at celebratory dinners. However, when the mean man Mr. Trump pals around with Russian baddie Vladimir Putin, mistreats women, or spews out unkind rhetoric about "shitholes," it's far from a joke: it's time to get out your two-eared pink hat and hit the streets chanting in righteous outrage.

To be fair, Trump is worthy of opposition. An ignorant, reactive egotist who needs to have his unfounded suppositions and inaccuracies constantly validated by a sycophantic staff of people who'd be rejected even for a reality show version of the White House, he really is an unstable excuse for a leader and an inveterate misogynist and all the other things. Trump isn't exactly Bible Belt material despite his stamp of approval from Jerry Falwell Jr. and crew; in fact he hasn't even succeeded in getting rid of the Johnson Amendment and allowing churches to get more involved in politics, one of his few concrete promises to Christian conservatives. He's also a big red button of a disaster in almost every other area as commander-in-chief.

Trump's first military action as president reportedly killed numerous innocent women and children (some unnamed U.S. officials claim some of the women were militants) as well as a Navy SEAL. Helicopter gunships strafed a Yemeni village for over an hour in what Trump called a "highly successful" operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A senior military official felt differently, saying that "almost everything went wrong." The raid even killed eight-year-old American girl Nawar al-Awlaki, daughter of previously killed extremist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, whose other innocent child, 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also droned while eating outdoors at a restaurant in 2010 (with several friends and his 17-year-old cousin). The Obama administration dismissed Abdulrahman's death at the time as no big deal .

The list goes on with the Trump administration, a hollow outfit of Goldman Sachs operatives and detached industry and financier billionaires helping out their hedge fund friends and throwing a small table scrap to the peasants every now and then. As deformed babies are born in Flint, Michigan , Ivanka grandstands about paid parental leave . Meanwhile, Trump and Co. work to expand the war in Afghanistan and Syria. It's a sad state of affairs.

So who are the right voices to oppose the mango man-child and his cadre of doddering dullards? Not degenerate celebrities, dirty politicians of the past, or special interest groups that try to fit everyone into a narrow electoral box so mainline Democrats can pass their own version of corporate welfare and run wars with more sensitive rhetoric and politically correct messaging. Instead, the effective dissidents of the future will be people of various beliefs, but especially the pro-family and faith-driven, who are just as opposed to what came before Trump as they are to him. The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies. It's possible, for example, to be socially conservative, pro-worker, pro-environment, and anti-war. In fact, that is the norm in most countries that exist outside the false political paradigm pushed in America.

If enough suburbanite centrists who take a break from Dancing With The Stars are convinced that Trump is bad because George W. Bush and Madeleine Albright say so, it shows that these people have learned absolutely nothing from Trump or the process that led to him. These kind of resistors are the people nodding their heads emphatically as they read Eliot Cohen talk about why he and his friends can't stomach the evil stench of Trump or Robert Kagan whine about fascism in The Washington Post. Here's a warning to good people who may not have been following politics closely prior to Trump: don't get taken in by these charlatans. Don't listen to those who burned your town down as they pitch you the contract to rebuild it. You can oppose both the leaders of the "Resistance" and Trump. In fact, it is your moral duty to do so. This is the End of the End of History As We Know It, but there isn't going to be an REM song or Will Smith punching an alien in the face to help everyone through it.

Here's a thought for those finding themselves enthusiastic about the Resistance and horrified by Trump: maybe, just maybe , the water was already starting to boil before you cried out in pain and alarm.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .


Fran Macadam February 16, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Trump is definitely a castor oil antidote. But if not him, then them.
Frank , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Now this is TAC material!
Kent , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm
"The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies."

They will have to lose their faith in "Free Market God" first. I don't believe that will happen.

Aaron Paolozzi , says: February 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm
I enjoyed the heat. The comments made are on point, and this is pretty much what my standard response to reactionary trump dissidents are. Trump is terrible, but so is what came before him, he is just easier to dislike.

Keep it coming.

One Guy , says: February 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm
Even with inadequate opposition, Trump has managed to be the most unpopular president after one year, ever. I'm guessing this speaks to his unique talent of messing things up.
RVA , says: February 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Wow! Paul! Babylon burning. Preach it, brother! Takes me back to my teenage years, Ramparts 1968, as another corrupt infrastructure caught fire and burned down. TAC is amazing, the only place to find this in true form.

Either we are history remembering fossils soon gone, or the next financial crash – now inevitable with passage of tax reform (redo of 2001- the rich got their money out, now full speed off the cliff), will bring down this whole mass of absolute corruption. What do you think will happen when Trump is faced with a true crisis? They're selling off the floorboards. What can remain standing?

And elsewhere in the world, who, in their right mind, would help us? Good riddance to truly dangerous pathology. The world would truly become safer with the USA decommissioned, and then restored, through honest travail, to humility, and humanity.

You are right. Be with small town, front porch, family and neighborhood goodness, and dodge the crashing embers.

The Flying Burrito Brothers: 'On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain '

God Bless.

Donald , says: February 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm
I agree with Frank. This was great.

The depressing thing to me is how hard it is to get people to see this. You have people who still think Trump is doing a great job and on the other side people who admire the warmongering Resistance and think Hillary's vast experience in foreign policy was one of her strengths, rather than one of the main reasons to be disgusted by her. Between the two categories I think you have the majority of American voters.

[Feb 16, 2018] Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist by Doug Bandow

One year later we can say with confidence, yes he morphed into a neocon in foreign policy.
What is especially bad is that Trump executed "bait and switch" maneuver as smoothly as Obama. Devastating.
Notable quotes:
"... So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? ..."
"... Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view. ..."
"... I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street. ..."
"... It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start... ..."
"... While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative. ..."
"... Stop those wars. They don't serve us. ..."
"... Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam. ..."
"... Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle! ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Why Is Trump Abandoning the Foreign Policy that Brought Him Victory The National Interest Blog

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration "those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war." And he's generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: "unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct."

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn't appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America's international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss's unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist-Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He's long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The United States is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won't be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits. Trump does not seem prepared to acknowledge this, at least rhetorically. Indeed he has brought on board virulent opponents of free trade such as Peter Navarro.

The administration's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. Trump's decision embarrassed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who had offered important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People's Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda. In this instance, what's good for China is bad for the United States.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America's Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his March foreign policy speech, he complained that "our allies are not paying their fair share." During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO's Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the very same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: "based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning" to "meet their financial obligations." Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that "the money is pouring in," no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent.

Trump's signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Contrary to neocon history, Russia and America have often cooperated in the past. Moreover, President Trump's attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump's first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow's withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman's views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy, which is at best unimaginative and at worst actively obstructionist.


taavitheman , March 10, 2017 4:04 PM

"Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America."

I did my due diligence on the writer after this absolutely baffling argument that has no basis on certain fundamental laws of geopolitics. Referring to this: https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? Figures...

Eric Zuesse , March 14, 2017 8:24 AM

Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view.

Sarastro92 Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 11:43 AM

And other say you're a sap for believing a bunch of half-baked one-liners that Trump often contradicted in the same sentence... He never had a coherent policy on anything, no less foreign policy... so don't complain now that he's showing his true colors

tom Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 10:28 AM

The USA should FORCE other nations to use DIPLOMACY as a means to preventing wars. If they don't, they lose all support, financial and otherwise, from the USA. This would include Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing Trump should take a look at in all this is the INHUMANE policies that previous administrations have used to placate the military/industrial clique's appetite for money and blood! If it's going to be "America First" for Trump's administration, it better start diverting this blood money to shore up America's people and infrastructures!

America2028 , March 12, 2017 1:19 PM

Most of these issues come down to the fact that President Trump doesn't have anything resembling a "grand strategy", or even a coherent foreign policy. His views are often at odds with each other (his desire to counter China economically and his opposition to the TPP, for example), and I suspect that most were motivated by a desire to get votes more than any kind of deep understanding of global affairs.

R. Arandas , March 10, 2017 9:36 PM

Most of his supporters, at least from what I can tell, are actually quite resolutely against entering a new war, and are strongly condemnatory of the neo-conservatism that involved the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, according to the polls taken at the time, more Democrats favored military intervention in Syria than Republicans did.

olde reb R. Arandas , March 21, 2017 5:53 PM

I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street.

Ref. http://farmwars.info/?p=15338 . A FACE FOR THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

mladenm , March 11, 2017 8:45 AM

It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start...

Mark Thomason , March 11, 2017 11:13 AM

While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative.

That does not excuse doing more of the same, but just asserts that we did get some of what we voted for/against.

We should get the rest of it. Stop those wars. They don't serve us.

richardvajs Guest , March 19, 2017 1:46 PM

There are similarities between Trump and Putin . The GOP and its rich corporate members have decided to use Trump as the oligarchs in Russia used Yeltsin. The oligarchs used a drunken Yeltsin to pry the natural resources out of the public commons for the grabbing by the oligarchs. Likewise, our rich are going to use an unwitting Trump to lower their taxes to nothing while delivering austerity to the 99%.
To the oligarchs' surprise and dismay, Yeltsin's incompetence led to Putin and his scourge of the oligarchs. So will Trump's incompetence lead to the end of our system of crony capitalism and the rebirth of socialism such as the New Deal, and higher taxes.
The crooked bastards can never be satisfied even with 3/4 ths of the whole pie, so no-one should pity them for being hoisted on their own petard.

Asia at War , April 30, 2017 12:52 AM

Trump forgot what he promised to the people. He sold his soul to the devil. I hope he doesn't send more of our children to die for the "Deep state."

Doug Nusbaum , March 21, 2017 5:17 PM

I'm sorry --- Trump had a foreign policy? As near as I can tell, he just said whatever the crowd in front of him wanted to hear. Or do you have evidence to the contrary? Remember that this is a man who can be shown, in his own words, to have been on all sides of almost every issue, depending on the day of the week, and the phase of the moon.

Stefan Reich , March 20, 2017 6:13 AM

You really take all that time to analyze the guy instead of just seeing he is a madman? Wouldn't that be faster?

gentry_gee , March 20, 2017 3:41 AM

He, they, the US, that is, must obey Israel. Israel wants Assad gone in the end for their territorial expansion. It also helps the oil companies and isolates Russia further into a geostrategic corner.

dieter heymann , March 19, 2017 11:58 AM

This headline is way over the top. The first and foremost foreign policy statement which brought numerous voters to Trump was the US-Mexico wall and at least some of that wall will be constructed. Hence it is the only promise which has not (yet) changed except for who will pay for it.

OBTUSEANGLE , March 19, 2017 9:39 AM

The truth can be buried, but eventually it will be exposed. Only a matter of time.

Harold Smith , March 19, 2017 12:34 AM

Why must we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume that his campaign presentations were made in good faith? That is a very generous assumption.

There's a simple and more logical explanation for what's going on with "foreign policy" in the "Trump" administration: Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam.

freewheelinfranklin543 , March 18, 2017 4:03 PM

Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle!

dieter heymann , March 18, 2017 9:35 AM

The fundamental problem of exonerating Trump and blaming this non-reversal on the non-existing "deep state" is believing that anything a candidate said on the campaign trail can be executed when that candidate becomes president. Such reversal has happened so frequently in our history that it is truly amazing that " he does not do what he promised" still has adherents.

There is no reversal. I see reality clashing with words. I do not blame Trump for reversals. I see some shift from unrealistic to more realistic. It is called learning on the job.

Elelei Guhring , March 11, 2017 8:06 AM

Every political position on the planet is stuck in the 80s. There is no one with a will to change what is happening, mostly because no one wants to get tarred and feathered once the:

a) economy implodes upon itself in the most glorious Depression to ever happen, and;

b) world war 3 erupts but engaging such a variety of opponents, from Islam to China and Russia and even minor trivial players such as North Korea, and;

c) civil disobedience in the western world rivals that of even third world revolutions as people revolt against a failure to protect them from Islamic violence, to preserve their standard of living and their perceived futures. Lots of change coming, but nothing that any politician is promising.

Politicians are dinosaurs. We are entering a world where large numbers of people will make things happen. It's called Democracy.

An Eastern European , March 11, 2017 2:10 AM

Trump will remain close to Putin ideologically and he might continue to admire the man as a strong leader BUT there is one thing that neither Putin nor Trump can change and it is that Russia and America are natural rivals. Geopolitics. Land vs Sea. Eurasia vs Atlantic. Heartland vs Outer Rim.

Trump is hawk, don't be mislead. You cannot have a great country if you're not willing to kill and die for it. Russia knows that. Which is why Putin made Russia great again after the horror of the Yeltsin years. Now America knows that too.

[Feb 16, 2018] Mueller Indicts 13 Russians For Interfering In US Election

False flag or real ?
Is not "included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . " (or vise versa) by posting on social media an example of free speech ?
But usage of fake identities clearly is not: "The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities."
The question is how those unquestionable very talented Russians managed to learn English language without living in the USA and operate such a sophisticated operation from oversees? English is a very difficult language for Russians to master and Russian immigrants who came to the USA being older then 16 and living in the USA for ten or twenty years typically still have horrible accent and bad or very bad grammar (tenses, "a" and "the" usage, you name it). Actually Russian woman are noticeably better then men in this area, especially if they are married to a US spouse. Ass to this dismal understanding of the USA politics including differences between Democratic and Republican parties (you probably need to live in the USA for ten years to start appreciate those differences ;-) . How they managed to learn local political culture to be effective? That's a strong argument in favor of false flag operation -- in case they have puppeteers from the USA everything is more or less rationally explainable.
Notable quotes:
"... It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts. ..."
"... The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said. ..."
"... The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities. ..."
"... Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . ..."
"... Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016 ..."
"... Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users. ..."
"... As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time . ..."
"... 13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success. ..."
"... Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit . ..."
"... It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't. ..."
"... Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive. ..."
"... Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/ ..."
"... The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??" ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Mueller charges "defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."

It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts.

Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump.

In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election.

The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said.

The Russians "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system," according to the indictment in Washington.

The Russians also reportedly bought advertisements on U.S. social media, created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.

The full list of named defendants in addition to the Internet Research Agency, as well as Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, include:

Mueller's office said that none of the defendants was in custody.

So how is Trump involved? Well, he isn't, as it now seems that collusion narrative is dead, and instead Russian involvement was unilateral. Instead, according to the indictment, the Russian operations were unsolicited and pro bono, and included " supporting Trump... and disparaging Hillary Clinton,' staging political rallies, buying political advertising while posing as grassroots U.S. groups. Oh, and communicating " with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities. "

Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton .

Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.

Furthermore, the dastardly Russians created fake accounts to pretend they are Americans:

Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016

Mueller also alleges a combination of traditional and modern espionage...

Certain Defendants traveled to the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of collecting intelligence to inform Defendants' operations. Defendants also procured and used computer infrastructure, based partly in the United States, to hide the Russian origin of their activities and to avoid detection by U.S. regulators and law enforcement.

Mueller also charges that two of the defendants received US visas and from approximately June 4, 2014 through June 26, 2014, KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA " traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence, After the trip, KRYLOVA and BURCHIK exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip."

* * *

The indictment points to a broader conspiracy beyond the pages of the indictment, saying the grand jury has heard about other people with whom the Russians allegedly conspired in their efforts.


Joe Davola -> Pandelis Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Concord Catering - what, were they offering chicken wings and pigs ears at the polling places?

Never One Roach -> Joe Davola Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

So how often does Mueller hear those demon voices in his head?

Billy the Poet -> Never One Roach Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

I wonder if any of these Russians were behind the anti-Trump rallies of November 2016? Thousands attended protest organized by Russians on Facebook.

Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election.

The demonstration in New York City, which took place a few days after the election, appears to be the largest and most successful known effort to date pulled off by Russian-linked groups intent on using social media platforms to influence American politics.

Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users.

As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time .

The BlackMattersUS-organized rally took advantage of outrage among groups on the left following President Trump's victory on Nov. 8 to galvanize support for its event. The group's protest was the fourth consecutive anti-Trump rally in New York following election night, and one of many across the country.

"Join us in the streets! Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!" reads the Facebook event page for the rally. "Divided is the reason we just fell. We must unite despite our differences to stop HATE from ruling the land."

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/358025-thousands-attended-protest-

Belrev -> Billy the Poet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:07 Permalink

13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success.

SamAdams -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit .

Belrev -> SamAdams Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

That is a regime change in DC proposition.

IH8OBAMA -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:21 Permalink

If Mueller is going outside the Trump organization to indict Russians, when is he going to indict some equally criminal Democraps?

I also see that one of the 13 Russians was Valdimir. ( VLADIMIR VENKOV ) LOL

Shillinlikeavillan -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:24 Permalink

Soooooooo...

They basically indicted the $100,000 facebook ad russian group... Bravo! Ur really on the path to impeaching trump now!
LULZ!

overbet -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:34 Permalink

Boy Hillary sure didnt get her money's worth. She shoulda hired these people.

Is it ok for MSM for to make all of their disparaging commentary, but not ok for people to do the same? Mueller mustve forgot about the craigslist ads hiring protesters to attack Trump rallies. What a fucking clown show.

I guess that's it Mueller gets his indictments to save face and Trump is pleased its over.

El Vaquero -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

This ties directly into the October 31, 2017 testimony from Facebook, Twitter and Google regarding Russian media presence on social media. Mueller is grasping here, and given that it talks about visas granted for short visits, I'm led to believe that most of these people are actually not on US soil to be arrested. This means political grandstanding via an indictment that is never going to see a courtroom where the evidence can be examined and witnesses can be cross examined. It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't.

I'm going to get called a Russian bot over this elsewhere. Well, maybe facetiously here. #WeAreAllRussianBotsNow

spanish inquisition -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive.

FoggyWorld -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

And set us up for war.

Shemp 4 Victory -> FoggyWorld Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/

pods -> Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:22 Permalink

Wow, I am going to have to keep the radio off for a couple of days. They are going to be wall to wall on this. Maybe even bump the stories where fakely sympathetic reporter cunts (FSRC) ask mother's if they miss their dead kids.

This is a fucking clownshow anymore. Jesus, THIS is what the investigation brought home? Holy fuckshit, this is a joke. Some guy had 100k followers? Really? Like anyone GAF about that? We have AIPAC making candidates kneel before them and yet some guys on Tweeter fucked around. I think that is even bullshit. If Russians really did that, they wouldn't "work in shifts" they would program some fucking bots to do this.

I can just imagine the fake outrage that that worthless kike from NY Chuckie "don't get between me and a camera" Schumer has to say about this.

This is a Matrix alright, and a cheap ass one at that.

Mueller should be taken out and horsewhipped for bringing this shit home.

Hey Mueller, I read a comment on Yahoo news that was in broken English. Go get um!

pods

stizazz -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:30 Permalink

They HATE Russia because PUTIN OPENLY derided the American Empire.

BennyBoy -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:38 Permalink

The Russians duped me.

I was gonna vote for Hillary then I read tweets where she bullied the woman her husband raped to keep quiet. And how her foundation got hundreds of $millions from countries with business before her at the state dept. ALEKSANDRA YURYEVNA KRYLOVA mislead me.

BennyBoy -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

Its probably nothing....

CHINESE STATE-OWNED CHEMICAL FIRM JOINS DARK MONEY GROUP POURING CASH INTO U.S. ELECTIONS

Lee Fang February 15 2018, 10:10 a.m.

WANHUA CHEMICAL, A $10 billion chemical company controlled by the Chinese government, now has an avenue to influence American elections.

On Monday, Wanhua joined the American Chemistry Council, a lobby organization for chemical manufacturers that is unusually aggressive in intervening in U.S. politics.

The ACC is a prominent recipient of so-called dark money -- that is, unlimited amounts of cash from corporations or individuals the origins of which are only disclosed to the IRS, not the public. During the 2012 , 2014 , and 2016 election cycles, the ACC took this dark money and spent over $40 million of it on contributions to super PACs, lobbying, and direct expenditures. (Additional money flowed directly to candidates via the ACC's political action committee.).....

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/15/chinese-state-owned-chemical-firm-j

ThanksChump -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Duped by facts and truth is no way to go through life, son.

JimmyJones -> ThanksChump Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:59 Permalink

Obama, "I can do more after I'm reelected" to Putin caught on a hot mic.

I always knew Hillary was as pure as the first winter's snow.

Theosebes Goodfellow -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

~" In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "~

Wait, does this mean that "disparaging Hillary" was just for the witless? I've been doing that for years, (without any Russian influence at all), and have found it to be rather witty virtually all the time.

Can we NOW get to the point where we appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary?

rwe2late -> Theosebes Goodfellow Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:09 Permalink

not yet ...

any of us who spread "fake news" are now "conspirators" who gave "support" to foreign agents with the goal of undermining the "democratic process" by denying Hillary the presidency.

tsk, tsk.

ignorance can be no excuse for such wanton lawlessness.

rwe2late -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:36 Permalink

oh, oh

I almost forgot. "conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord" obvious "proof" of "cooperating" with the Russians

Boxed Merlot -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

..."conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord"...

Yep, so on top of being "Deplorable", I'm also without wit.

His name was Seth.

Squid Viscous -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:57 Permalink

well said pods, i wish i could upvote you like, 13 times

Machbet -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:32 Permalink

Well said, my brother. "A fucking clownshow..." A clownshow run by juvenile, idiotic fallen angels.

sixsigma cygnu -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

I'm just relieved they didn't get Boris. Not this time.

Telling people the truth makes one a very desirable target.

BigCumulusClouds -> sixsigma cygnu Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:06 Permalink

The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??"

eatthebanksters -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

So this is all they have?

Bubba Rum Das -> Citizen in 1984 Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:08 Permalink

Yes, Mueller is a clown show, but he came up w/ this crap in an attempt to divert media attention away from his & McCabes direct involvement in trying to cover up Uranium 1 for Hillary...The Truth!

Boxed Merlot -> eatthebanksters Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:48 Permalink

...all they have?...

Sure hope they weren't bettin' the farm.

jmo.

DosZap -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

He has to INDICT someone,since he can't get Trump except on adultery.(the only thing NOT under his purview)

I see a distant MELANIA in his near future.

eclectic syncretist -> DosZap Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:43 Permalink

The FBI going DEEP (#sarc) into its playbook for this one.

Simultaneously distracting from their incompetencies with regards to domestic threats (school shooters/government collusion to subvert presidential election), and exonerating Hillary AGAIN.

"Using lies and deception to cover our lies and deceptions, so that we can enslave the populace to our will" (visualize Meuller/Comey/Strzok/Page/Ohr/Rosenstein/Obama/Rice/ with left hands on Satanic Bible and right arms extended giving oath in Temple of Mammon before upside down American flag).

ebear -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:17 Permalink

"#WeAreAllRussianBotsNow"

Ich bin ein Russe!

agNau -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

Hillary hired the entire Russian government with the Uranium one deal.

BigCumulusClouds -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:04 Permalink

Protestors?? HRC hired thugs who beat people up at Trump rallies. That's a felony. Some people got hurt real bad.

IH8OBAMA -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:37 Permalink

I wonder if Mueller is going to indict Obama for interfering in the Israeli election?

giovanni_f -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

1. CNN can now say Russian interference is a "proven fact".

2. "13 individuals" and "3 companies" - this is a casus belli even for the most pacifist peaceniks on ZH

3. US can now continue to meddle in Russian elections as they did since 1919 pointing to the existential thread those 13 individuals posed.

rwe2late -> giovanni_f Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

worse than 3.meddling in Russian elections,

anyone who objects to US military and economic aggression,

will be further branded/dismissed (prosecuted?)

as a "proven dupe" of Russia/Putin.

caconhma -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:08 Permalink

The US Constitution. RIP

The DoJ and Miller activities are anti-American. What else is new in occupied America?

PS

Note Trump does nothing about this unprecedented assault on Freedom of Speech and Assembly in the USA. Therefore, Trump is a willing player in these criminal activities.

commiebastid -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:21 Permalink

and Brexit and the French election and Venezuela election and The Ukraine; Libya; Palestinian Territories..... lmao

DownWithYogaPants -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

Ohhh fake social accounts.........the horror!

( If I had known they were the equivalent of Harry Potters magic wand I would have opened a few long ago! )

Seems like Mr Mueller is in face saving mode.

What is Rod Rosenstein doing still at the FBI. He should be in prison.

MEFOBILLS -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Mueller is going to go until he gets some meat. Maybe this lean and stringy meat is enough to satisfy. Of course, nobody will look at AIPAC and all of the foreign influence money funneling into senators coffers.

Endgame Napoleon -> carni Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

He said they stole identities, posting anti-Hillary remarks on Russian-controlled sites, using the stolen identities. They must do that through hacking, which is illegal.

They also organized rallies, he said. There were ads on job sites, advertising for paid [leftist] protestors, long before Trump emerged as a candidate. People posted them on American sites. Some attribute it to Soros. I am a little skeptical that Soros controls the world, anymore than Russians, but that is what people often believe, when it is leftist ads.

Advertisements are all over the Internet. Is that illegal? He called it fraud, referring to the misrepresentation of identity, I guess. They should not be manipulating unknowing people.

But, I wonder if he has the same vigilance when illegal aliens use fake SS cards to acquire jobs, while their girlfriends use real SS cards of US-born kids to get $450 on average in EBT food assistance, in addition to other welfare, making it easy for illegal aliens to undercut American citizens in jobs. Using a fake SS number -- i.e. posing as an American to get a job -- is fraud.

As long as the illegal aliens have sex after illegal border crossings, reproduce and say they misrepresent their identities for the good of their kids, this is legal and deserving of pay-per-birth welfare / child-tax-credit freebies and citizenship, whereas these Russians are committing fraud.

They should not be doing that in either case, but the double standard is interesting.

And if people cannot post freely on the internet without revealing their real names, a lot of internet activity (and a lot of related commerce) will cease. Many people post anonymously, often due to jobs or other factors that have nothing to do with elections.

In fact, FBI agents post under identities (personas) that are not their own. There are many articles, describing how police agencies use fake identities on the internet to track down criminals, including those who abuse children. They do the same thing to monitor terrorists; they use fake identities.

[Feb 16, 2018] Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Vote up! 2 Vote down! 0

Mike Masr Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:41 Permalink

Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

The US has been meddling and interfering in other countries elections and internal affairs for decades. Not only does the US meddle and interfere in other countries elections it overthrows democratically elected governments it simply doesn't like, and then installs its own puppet leaders. Our deep-state MIC owned neocons casually refer to this as "regime change".

I can only imagine the hell that would break loose if Russia fomented, paid for, and assisted in a violent overthrow of the legitimately and democratically elected government in Mexico. Imagine Russian spymasters working from the Russian Embassy in Mexico City training radicals how to use social media to bring out angry people and foment violent pubic unrest. Then Russian Duma members in Mexico City handing out tacos, and tamales emboldening and urging these angry people to riot, and overthrow the government and toss the bums out. Then Putin's executive group hand picking all the new (anti-USA) drug cartel junta puppet leaders and an old senile Russian senator in Mexico City stating at a podium on RT, there are no drug cartels here, that's all propaganda!

On the other side of the world Obama's neocon warmongers spent billions doing exactly this. Instead of drug cartels it was Banderist Neo-Nazis. Obama and our neocons, including John McCain intentionally caused all of this fucking mess, civil war and horrific death in Ukraine on Russia's border and then placed the blame on Putin and Russia.

Thanks to John McCain and our evil fucking neocons - the regime change policy implemented by Obama, Clinton and Nuland's minions, like Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ukraine today is totally fucked. It is now a corrupt banana republic embroiled in a bloody civil war. For the US and NATO the golden prize of this violent undemocratic regime change was supposed to be the Crimea. This scheme did not play out as intended. No matter what sanctions the warmongering neocons place on Russia they will NEVER give back the Crimea!

Our neocon fuck heads spent billions of our hard earned taxpayer dollars to create pain, suffering, death and a civil war in Ukraine on the border with Russia.

This is a case of don't do what we do, only do what we tell you to do. It's perfectly okay when we meddle. We don't like it when we think it may have been done to us. It's hypocrisy and duplicity at its finest!

Tech Camp NGO - operating out of US Embassy in Kiev

(using social media to help bring out radicals-and cause civil war-pre Maidan 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9hOl8TuBUM

Nuland talks about $5 billion spent on Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaR1_an9CnQ

Nuland plotting(on intercepted phone call) the new handpicked puppet leaders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o

US Support of Banderist Neo-Nazis in Ukraine 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw

Lavrov reminds the UN a West-inspired coup d'état started Ukraine crisis, not Russia

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/404247-un-lavrov-ukraine-sanctions/

[Feb 16, 2018] What is the definition of a fake social media account ? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?

Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Genby Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:51 Permalink

Mueller effectively called himself an idiot and degenerate.

13 people won against the whole apparatus of FBI (including Mueller). That makes FBI a herd of idiots and degenerates (including Mueller).

SirBarksAlot -> rgraf Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:44 Permalink

What crime?

Impersonating an American?

Practicing freedom of speech?

Trying to influence an election?

I don't see any crimes.

Joiningupthedots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

When does Mueller get charged?

He is part of the fabric of the Clinton Gang along with Comey and others.

How many people have posted derogatory comments about Clinton on ZH alone.

This sounds like when they ludicrously charged and entire unit of the Chinese PLA.

FringeImaginigs Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

Agreed, it's against the law to steal identities and operate bank accounts and all that. But really, compared to the fraud committed by just one bank - Wells Fargo- this is smal small potatoes. And did I miss it or did the indictment not even mention the value of the ads bought on Facebook - $100,000. (nope, not missing any zeros). And it all started in 2014 while Donald was playing golf and sticking his dick in some whore. And a few ruskies got into the good ol USofA with false statements on their visas. While the courts fought Trump on the fact that immigration from a few countries need to be stopped because there was not way of checking data. I get it - somebody driving too fast gets a speeding ticket, and Muellers investigation gets to issue an indictment. I'm sure we all feel better now.

Lostinfortwalton Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

So, did Mueller address the crime committed by the then FBI head who refused to allow a FBI informant to address Congress on the Uranium One scam before it was authorized? Uh, that would be Mueller, his very self, so the answer is no.

soyungato Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:33 Permalink

Bob honey, the people are laughing.

But but but those Russians, they call me names.

Grandad Grumps Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:35 Permalink

What is the definition of a "fake social media account"? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?

Or is it that Mueller has NOTHING and is too big of a corrupt idiot to admit it.

Rick Cerone Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

Putin should define what a NGO is.

He should tell the world how the US uses NGO's to destabilize elections.

He wont do it because he's digging tunnels for the big day.

BigPunny Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

"In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "

No, not "in other words." That's not what he said at all. Idiot propagandist.

devnickle Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

And Hillary has done nothing criminal in the last 40 years. All of the evidence has been a fabrication. The Russians perfected time travel technology in the 70's, and have been conspiring against her and planting evidence since then.

What planet am I living on again? We have now stepped into the twilight zone. Facepalm.....

moneybots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:55 Permalink

"Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump."

The goal of the MSM was the opposite. To unfairly disparage Trump and assist the election of Hillary Clinton. So why no indictments of members of the American MSM?

Montana Cowboy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

What a bunch of horseshit. Mueller did nothing to locate just as much foreign or Russian support for Hillary. Grand Jury is just another one-sided court that passes judgment without any input from the other side. Now where have we seen that before? FISA.

What is wrong with anyone doing what they want to support a candidate? If that is somehow illegal interference, why is Soros running loose in the world?

I have a friend that was a US Federal Prosecutor. He once told me that the most un-American concepts that exist are grand juries and conspiracy laws. I'm sure he would have included FISA if it existed then.

dot_bust Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."

Criticizing Hillary Clinton constitutes election interference? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Over half the United States said she was corrupt and morally bankrupt. Does that mean all those Americans interfered in the election?

Son of Captain Nemo Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:04 Permalink

"Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."

I thought this was our "shtick" for subverting and overthrowing government(s) since 194_?... Fast forward to 2012 and subverting sovereign foreign government(s) using other means then election(s) ( https://jasirx.wordpress.com/ )

Just ask this person ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o ) who handed out cookies before starting an "overthrow of a sovereign government" right before a Winter Olympics?... And while we're on the subject of subversion of sovereign Nation(s) "OCONUS" ask this fat shit how it's going in the Middle East with it's "partners" ( https://southfront.org/meeting-between-us-state-secretary-and-lebanese- ) Nor should we forget 22 within the Russian diplomatic community in the last 6 years "eliminated" for early retirement courtesy of the U.S. government...

And if all this is true why isn't Muelller indicting government officials within the FBI Department of immigration and Homeland Security that would allow "some defendants" to impersonate Americans after 9/11 and the security infrastructure we built around U.S. to prevent "future attacks" that were obviously (here illegally)???...

On second thought DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!

atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

Our enemies are not overseas. They are right here at home.

Son of Captain Nemo -> atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

That did this ( http://www.ae911truth.org/ ) to their own to grab oil everyplace else they didn't control it!

Concertedmaniac Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

What a complete load of horseshit. Waste of time and money while the crimes of the clintons and collaborators remain unpunished, including Mueller himself.

wobblie Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

"Mueller describes a sweeping, years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump"

Only in the idiot world of Liberalism and Conservatism is this not a laughable statement.

Stupid fucks.

https://therulingclassobserver.com/

Obamaroid Ointment Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

13 Russian bots to get life sentences in Twitter jail? Is a prisoner exchange with Putin for American bots a possibility?

[Feb 16, 2018] The idea that these "selected" analysts really understand "Russian thinking" and "Russian interests" is highly questionable. The bottom line remains that Russia had ZERO POSSIBILITY of actually influencing the election in favor of Trump at any point up the night of the election itself. Moreover in no way this is in Russia's interests, whether they got caught or not.

Feb 16, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Richardstevenhack -> The Twisted Genius ... , 15 February 2018 at 11:43 PM

And IIRC Scott Ritter ripped that report a new one as being totally speculative and without an ounce of fact behind it.

After Nine Months, Only Stale Crumbs in Russia Inquiry
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/after-nine-months-only-stale-crumbs-in-russia-inquiry/

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

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

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

The idea that these "selected" analysts really understand "Russian thinking" and "Russian interests" is highly questionable. The bottom line remains that Russia had ZERO POSSIBILITY of actually influencing the election in favor of Trump at any point up the night of the election itself.

And the Russians would know that. And they also know that despite the US' more extensive efforts to influence Russian elections that the US has no chance of influencing the upcoming election. Which means they understand this fact better than you do.

Richardstevenhack -> Clueless Joe... , 15 February 2018 at 11:49 PM
It's an interesting theory, but it pales in probability to the likelihood that Russiagate is actually a disinformation operation run by the CIA.

It also fails to take into account the inevitable hiking of US hostility to Russia which Putin has shown zero evidence of wanting to have happen and which would be the obvious result of such a plan. Which as I say is precisely why he wouldn't do it because it is in no way in Russia's interests, whether they got caught or not.

This is far more logical than the ICA and TTG's notions that Russia's interests would be served by trying to do the impossible and actually mess with a US election.

And of course, there have been NO "solid clues" to any of this - just innuendo and unsupported assertions by a pack of liars including Clapper, Brennan, and others.

[Feb 16, 2018] Bernie Sanders Hits on Winning Message He Avoided in 2016 by David Swanson

Notable quotes:
"... wants you to declare peace at ..."
"... http://WorldBeyondWar.org ..."
"... His new book is ..."
"... War No More: The Case for Abolition ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
A video has shown up on Senator Bernie Sanders' Facebook page, with his name on it and his face in it making all the familiar (to a small number of people) points about U.S. military spending (how much it is, how it compares to the rest of the world, how it does not produce jobs, what wonders could be achieved with a small fraction of it, etc.).

I wish there were mention of the fact that it kills huge numbers of people, or that it risks apocalypse, or that it damages the earth's environment. I wish the alternatives proposed were not all of the bring-our-war-dollars-home variety, as if the amount of money under consideration were not enough to radically transform this and every other country.

Still, had Sanders put out this video in 2015, tens of thousands of people wouldn't have had to petition him in vain to oppose militarism, to fill the glaring gap in his website . I wouldn't have had to write this or this or even this .

Sanders willingly subjected himself to endless accusations of raising taxes, rather than declare that he would push for a small cut in military spending. Jeremy Corbyn has had greater success -- albeit in a different country -- by taking the other approach. I continue to think Sanders is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

It's not as if Sanders doesn't know the issues. A half-century back he would have said something very close to what I want to hear. There's no reason why he can't do so now. But I'm afraid that this video may have slipped through because there's not a presidential election this year, and that such things will be nowhere to be found in the years ahead.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope that Sanders actually declares himself in favor of a serious transfer of resources from militarism to human and environmental needs. As soon as he does, I'll start advocating for all of us to work for his election. He can keep promoting the Russiagate nonsense that was primarily invented to distract from the story of the DNC cheating him. He can publicly commit to allowing the DNC to cheat him again. He can ask Saudi Arabia again to kill even more people. But if he comes out against the military budget, that's the big one. He will deserve the support he could have had last time.

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition .

[Feb 16, 2018] Stephanie Savell The Hidden Costs of America's Wars by Tom Engelhardt

Feb 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

If anything, recent weeks have offered remarkable evidence of just how victorious this country's losingest commanders and their colleagues really are in our nation's capital. In the bipartisan style that these days usually applies only to the U.S. military, Congress has just settled on giving an extra $165 billion to the Pentagon over the next two years as part of a formula for keeping the government open. As it happens, the 2017 Pentagon budget was already as large as the defense spending of the next seven nations combined. And that was before all those extra tens of billions of dollars ensured that the two-year military budget (for 2018 and 2019) would crest at a total of more than $1.4 trillion .

That's the sort of money that only goes to winners, not losers. And if this still seems a little strange to you, given that military's dismal record in actual war-fighting since 9/11, all I can say is: don't bring it up. It's no longer considered polite or proper to complain about our wars and those who fight them or how we fund them, not in an age when every American soldier is a " hero ," which means that what they're doing from Afghanistan to Yemen , Syria to Somalia , must be heroic indeed.

In a draft-less country, those of us not in or connected to our military are expected to say " thank you " to the warriors and otherwise go about our lives as if their wars (and the mayhem they continue to generate abroad) were not a fact of global life. This is the definition of a demobilized public. If you happen to be that rarest of all creatures in our country these days -- someone in active opposition to those wars -- you have a problem. That means Stephanie Savell, who co-runs the Costs of War Project , which regularly provides well-researched and devastating information on the spread of those wars and the money continually being squandered on them, does indeed have a problem. It's one she understands all too well and describes vividly today.

[Feb 15, 2018] On Tuesday the Senate intelligence committee grilled leaders of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DIA and NGA over the contents of the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon | Feb 14, 2018 9:47:45 AM | 10

I guess this is an open thread. . . .from The Cipher Brief--

On Tuesday the Senate intelligence committee grilled leaders of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DIA and NGA over the contents of the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

[comment: Not surprisingly, the assessment identified other countries as threats to world peace, but not the United States.]

DNI Dan Coats warned the U.S. is under cyberattack, by hacking campaigns backed by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, as well as terrorists and transnational criminals. He listed North Korea as presenting the most volatile and confrontational weapons of mass destruction threat. He said terrorists like ISIS, al Qaeda and Hezbollah would continue to be dangerous. And he warned that Russia, China and Iran are all trying to find ways to expand their reach, from land to sea to space.

Coats also mentioned a key warning from the Worldwide Threat Assessment: "The risk of interstate conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War.

The most immediate threats of regional interstate conflict in the next year come from North Korea and from Saudi-Iranian use of proxies in their rivalry." . . . here

[Feb 14, 2018] The Anti-Trump Coup by Michael S. Rozeff

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Mainly, unnamed intelligence officials and operatives who are in the CIA or recently retired from such. A number of media outfits are exceptionally active in propagating negative headlines and stories about Trump and his administration. Elements of other intelligence agencies and departments of government are possibly involved. We do not know the names of those operating against Trump, and this is a weakness of the coup hypothesis. ..."
"... Its foundation was laid in 2016 by accusations of Russian interference in the election. The coup began in earnest as soon as the election in November 2016 made Trump the winner. ..."
"... On Jan. 14, 2017, a news report states that the CIA set up a task force in 2016 to investigate possible Russian funding of Trump's campaign. The task force included the FBI, the Treasury, and Justice Departments, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Agency (NSA). ..."
"... On February 24, 2016, ex-CIA chief Hayden said he'd be "frightened" of a Trump presidency. He said, "I would be incredibly concerned if President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign." A news report told us "Former CIA director Michael Hayden believes there is a legitimate possibility that the U.S. military would refuse to follow orders given by Donald Trump if the Republican front-runner becomes president and decides to make good on certain campaign pledges." ..."
"... There is ample evidence in the form of sharp public bickering between Trump and these two CIA chiefs, present and the past, that the CIA set up a task force to investigate Trump's campaign as a weapon against Trump and his possible election. The motive behind the investigation was not to ensure a clean campaign free of Russian influence but to work against Trump's election chances. The CIA was dismayed by what appeared to them to be a possible president who was aiming to work with Putin and not against him. ..."
"... The excuse was an allegation that three of Trump's associates had received campaign money from the Kremlin. This allegation came from a Baltic state and it was processed by the CIA and made into something worthy of following up. We read that the task force " was set up after the director of the CIA, John Brennan, received a recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into Trump's campaign coffers, the BBC's Paul Wood reported. The recording was apparently passed to the CIA by the intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States." ..."
"... According to this, John Brennan is the key player in the anti-Trump movement. He wants to see Trump's presidency brought to a quick end or otherwise neutered and made compliant to rule by the CIA. By their control over information and its interpretation, the leaders of the CIA have gained considerable power within the government. They've enhanced this by developing operational forces in the field. ..."
"... As occurred during the propaganda campaign that preceded Bush 2's attack on Iraq and as in the Ukraine case noted above, we again observe murky foreign sources that are given credence and validity by the CIA. The public and media have no viable way of checking on the story of Kremlin money except perhaps through off the record sources. Such stories can't be traced through public hearings without subpoena power and a will to wash a lot of dirty linen in public. They are perfect for propaganda and cover-ups. ..."
"... On January 3, 2016, Charles Schumer said that Trump was "being really dumb" for arguing against the assessments of the intelligence community on Russian hacking. He adds ominously: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you." ..."
"... On January 15, 2017, we read "CIA Director John Brennan on Sunday had a stern parting message for Republican Donald Trump days before he assumes the U.S. presidency, cautioning him against loosening sanctions on Russia and warning him to watch what he says. Brennan rebuked the president-elect for comparing U.S. intelligence practices to Nazi Germany in comments that laid bare the friction between Trump and the intelligence community he has criticized and is on the verge of commanding." ..."
"... In 2016 Trump and the CIA became foes of one another because of vast policy differences. Past and present CIA directors went public against Trump. They instigated a series of reports and leaks to discredit Trump and to link his campaign to Russian meddling in the election. They went after several of his aides, causing Paul Manafort to resign. After the election, they produced new anti-Trump material and managed to get his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, to resign. This adds up to an attempted coup that has had some success. ..."
Feb 21, 2017 | www.lewrockwell.com

...

Q. Who is behind the coup attempt ?

A. Mainly, unnamed intelligence officials and operatives who are in the CIA or recently retired from such. A number of media outfits are exceptionally active in propagating negative headlines and stories about Trump and his administration. Elements of other intelligence agencies and departments of government are possibly involved. We do not know the names of those operating against Trump, and this is a weakness of the coup hypothesis.

Q. When did the coup attempt begin?

A. Its foundation was laid in 2016 by accusations of Russian interference in the election. The coup began in earnest as soon as the election in November 2016 made Trump the winner.

Q. What evidence points to the CIA's role in the coup attempt?

A. A news report from September 5, 2016, reports that "U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence, and congressional officials said."

On Jan. 14, 2017, a news report states that the CIA set up a task force in 2016 to investigate possible Russian funding of Trump's campaign. The task force included the FBI, the Treasury, and Justice Departments, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Q. Why did the CIA set up a task force to investigate Trump's campaign?

A. Why did the CIA not set up a task force to investigate Hillary Clinton's activities during and after being Secretary of State in response to receipt of mammoth amounts of foreign money that were laundered through the Clinton Foundation? The reason is that she was the candidate favored by the CIA leadership and Trump was not.

Early in 2016, Trump was raising very strong doubts in the intelligence community that he'd govern as they saw fit.

On February 24, 2016, ex-CIA chief Hayden said he'd be "frightened" of a Trump presidency. He said, "I would be incredibly concerned if President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign." A news report told us "Former CIA director Michael Hayden believes there is a legitimate possibility that the U.S. military would refuse to follow orders given by Donald Trump if the Republican front-runner becomes president and decides to make good on certain campaign pledges."

A month later, Hayden opined that Trump was a larger threat to national stability on security matters than Hillary Clinton.

On April 11, 2016, we learn that CIA Director "Brennan said on NBC News Sunday that he would not allow enhanced interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, even if a future president ordered it." Trump wasted no time responding: "Donald Trump is taking on CIA Director John Brennan on torture, saying Brennan's pledge not to allow waterboarding is 'ridiculous.'"

On July 13, 2016, Brennan testified that he'd consider quitting rather than obey a president's order to reinstate waterboarding, something that Trump had suggested. Another article says that even before that date, "[Brennan] has already expressed his distaste for Trump."

There is ample evidence in the form of sharp public bickering between Trump and these two CIA chiefs, present and the past, that the CIA set up a task force to investigate Trump's campaign as a weapon against Trump and his possible election. The motive behind the investigation was not to ensure a clean campaign free of Russian influence but to work against Trump's election chances. The CIA was dismayed by what appeared to them to be a possible president who was aiming to work with Putin and not against him.

Q. But wasn't the CIA doing the right thing to investigate possible Russian funding of the Trump campaign?

A. The idea of Russian funding of Trump's campaign was absurd. This investigation had no reason to be started other than a goal of smearing Trump and preventing a Trump presidency. It was absurd because foreign money given to American political campaigns is illegal and everyone knows it. Trump would not jeopardize his campaign for some trivial amount of money nor would his campaign officials; and a large amount would easily be spotted through the banking system. It was also absurd because the Kremlin would not operate and does not operate in this way. It would not risk being found out blatantly violating American law in this way, as that would greatly diminish its credibility. "Doing the right thing" for the American system was strictly a plausible and disingenuous device.

Q. If the investigation was absurd, what leads or allegations did the CIA have to set it up?

A. The excuse was an allegation that three of Trump's associates had received campaign money from the Kremlin. This allegation came from a Baltic state and it was processed by the CIA and made into something worthy of following up. We read that the task force " was set up after the director of the CIA, John Brennan, received a recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into Trump's campaign coffers, the BBC's Paul Wood reported. The recording was apparently passed to the CIA by the intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States."

According to this, John Brennan is the key player in the anti-Trump movement. He wants to see Trump's presidency brought to a quick end or otherwise neutered and made compliant to rule by the CIA. By their control over information and its interpretation, the leaders of the CIA have gained considerable power within the government. They've enhanced this by developing operational forces in the field.

As occurred during the propaganda campaign that preceded Bush 2's attack on Iraq and as in the Ukraine case noted above, we again observe murky foreign sources that are given credence and validity by the CIA. The public and media have no viable way of checking on the story of Kremlin money except perhaps through off the record sources. Such stories can't be traced through public hearings without subpoena power and a will to wash a lot of dirty linen in public. They are perfect for propaganda and cover-ups.

John Brennan has the CIA initiate an investigation on a flimsy basis and gets away with it. We know from his public statements at that time and later that he's thoroughly anti-Trump and anti-Russia. This is why such an investigation went forward. Brennan had nothing to lose. If he found some dirt on Trump or his associates, he'd discredit Trump and lose him votes. If he didn't find anything, the investigation itself would still raise suspicions about Trump and provide Hillary Clinton and her aides with anti-Trump ammunition. In fact, her campaign did use the alleged Russian connection against Trump.

Q. What else do we know of Brennan's differences with Trump?

A. On Sept. 11, 2016, Brennan disagreed with Trump publicly: "CIA Director John Brennan pushed back against Donald Trump's claim that he could read disapproval of President Barack Obama's policies in the body language of the intelligence officers who gave him a confidential national security briefing."

On November 30, 2016, we read that Brennan expressed another difference with Trump: "The director of the CIA has issued a stark warning to President-elect Donald J. Trump. Tearing up the Iran nuclear deal would be 'the height of folly' and 'disastrous.'"

On January 3, 2016, Charles Schumer said that Trump was "being really dumb" for arguing against the assessments of the intelligence community on Russian hacking. He adds ominously: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

On January 15, 2017, we read "CIA Director John Brennan on Sunday had a stern parting message for Republican Donald Trump days before he assumes the U.S. presidency, cautioning him against loosening sanctions on Russia and warning him to watch what he says. Brennan rebuked the president-elect for comparing U.S. intelligence practices to Nazi Germany in comments that laid bare the friction between Trump and the intelligence community he has criticized and is on the verge of commanding."

Q. What became of the allegations against the three associates of Trump?

A. The three accused men each strongly denied allegations of being paid by the Kremlin. On October 15, the FISA court granted a warrant to intercept communications from two Russian banks. The investigators were looking for evidence that money passed from Russia to the three Trump associates. No such evidence was found.

On January 19, 2017, the continuing investigation by "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies" was confirmed, and Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, was mentioned:

"The counterintelligence investigation centers at least in part on the business dealings that some of the president-elect's past and present advisers have had with Russia . Mr. Manafort has done business in Ukraine and Russia. Some of his contacts there were under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia's Federal Security Service, one of the officials said."

Mr. Manafort has done nothing illegal, we learn. He has merely done some business in Ukraine and Russia. He merely came into contact with people with suspected links to a Russian intelligence outfit. They weren't even known spies. Mr. Manafort has fallen victim to suspicion by association two or three times removed even from guilt by association.

The other two being investigated are Carter Page and Roger Stone, and we learn that they too are innocent of wrongdoing.

"The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department's financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said."

So, we know that a concerted effort has been made to investigate three of Trump's close aides. We know that the CIA was the instigator and that it used its typical murky and unverifiable tips to gain credibility. Finally, we know that this inquiry has produced no evidence of any illegal activities of Trump or his aides.

Q. What other evidence is there of an attempted coup against Trump?

A. On Oct. 7, 2016, there was released the "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security". This brief statement on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies linked the Russian government to hacking: "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations." It stated its belief "that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."

On Nov. 30, 2016, an outfit named PropOrNot with links to the U.S. intelligence community published a report that named 200 websites as propagators of Russian propaganda: "Russia Is Manipulating US Public Opinion through Online Propaganda".

On Dec. 9, 2016, it was reported that "The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency "

Dec. 29, 2016, arrived the FBI-DHS report: "Grizzly Steppe – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity". This was widely denounced as lacking even persuasive circumstantial evidence, never mind direct evidence of Russian involvement.

On Jan. 10, 2017, the Golden Showers report was leaked, accusing Trump of having been compromised by Russian agents and therefore subject to blackmail. This report had been circulating for weeks in intelligence and media circles. It had supposedly been written between July and December by former British MI-6 agent, Christopher Steele.

Once again we observe that a spurious anti-Trump report is purported or arranged to have a foreign origination; but that it is carried to the public by means of the CIA and leaks within the U.S.

On February 13, 2017, the coup perps drew fresh blood when Michael Flynn resigned, despite no evidence of wrongdoing. Their success is attributable to their use of wiretapped phone calls and to leaking these to the media. Since intelligence agents have access to these calls that the NSA collects, we once again observe that intelligence circles are active in seeking to undermine Trump. This is consistent with the conclusion that a coup attempt is ongoing.

Q. Could you summarize, please?

A. In 2016 Trump and the CIA became foes of one another because of vast policy differences. Past and present CIA directors went public against Trump. They instigated a series of reports and leaks to discredit Trump and to link his campaign to Russian meddling in the election. They went after several of his aides, causing Paul Manafort to resign. After the election, they produced new anti-Trump material and managed to get his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, to resign. This adds up to an attempted coup that has had some success.

Q. What happens next?

A. The future is guesswork. We will be surprised at what happens, but here are some guesses. The coup attempt will not cease. There is nothing presently opposing it unless Trump is counterattacking behind the scenes, of which there is no evidence. Trump will eventually sense the coup's efficacy and devise ways to stop it. The anti-Trump media will keep the pot boiling. They will need new stories to exploit. Anti-Trump elements in the CIA can be expected to come up with new, dubious and devious revelations aimed at discrediting Trump's handling of foreign affairs. We can expect former intelligence officials to speak out against Trump at critical times and to recruit allies who will add what appears to be an even more independent criticism of Trump. The coup may transform into an effort to control Trump's policies from outside his administration.

Michael S. Rozeff [ send him mail ] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline .

[Feb 13, 2018] Susan Rice Admits Unmasking Trump Team After Denying Knowing Anything by Kristina Wong

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
Sep 14, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

Susan Rice admitted to lawmakers last week that she unmasked Trump transition team officials even though earlier this year she denied knowing anything about it.

Rice was asked by PBS Newshour 's Judy Woodruff on March 22 about allegations that Trump transition officials were swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration.

"I know nothing about this," Rice had said at the time.

However, last week, she told the House intelligence committee that she had unmasked Trump transition team members in order to understand why the Emrati crown prince was visiting New York late last year, according to a CNN report.

She said the Obama administration "felt misled" by the United Arab Emirates, who had not mentioned that the crown prince was visiting the country.

Rice's admission also showed that Trump transition team members were indeed caught up in surveillance of a foreign target, confirming President Trump's suspicions that his transition team was being surveilled.

The foreign target in this case was apparently the Emiratis, who call themselves "close friends and strong allies" with the U.S. on its Washington, D.C., website.

Rice's justification -- feeling misled -- was nowhere near a hypothetical scenario Rice laid out for a reason to unmask during an MSNBC interview on April 4.

During that April interview, Rice laid out a hypothetical scenario of a foreign agent attempting to buy bomb-making materials from a U.S. citizen.

"Is this some kook sitting in his living room communicating via the internet, offering to sell something he doesn't have? Or is it a serious person or company or entity with the ability to provide that technology perhaps to an adversary? That would be an example of a case where knowing who the U.S. person was, was necessary to assess the information," Rice said.

An unnamed senior Middle East official told CNN that the UAE did not "mislead" the Obama administration about the crown prince's visit, but acknowledged not telling the US government about it in advance.

The official told CNN the meeting took place on December 15, and was "simply an effort to build a relationship with senior members of the Trump team who would be working in the administration to share assessments of the region."

"The meeting was about ascertaining the Trump team's view of the region and sharing the UAE's view of the region and what the US role should be," the official told CNN. "No one was coming in to sell anything or arrange anything."

Sources told CNN that the crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, met with several top Trump officials including Michael Flynn, the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his top strategist Steve Bannon.

CNN noted that the meeting took place before an effort by the UAE to faciliate a "back-channel communication" between Russia and the incoming administration.

Sources told CNN that the discussion focused on a range of issues, including Iran, Yemen and the Mideast peace process, but that opening up a back-channel with Russia was not discussed.

The alleged back-channel meeting set up by the UAE was at the Seychelles Island between Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, whose sister is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and an "associate of Vladimir Putin."

The purpose of the meeting was reportedly an effort by the UAE to persuade Russia to curtail its relationship with Iran.

The senior Middle East official told CNN that Prince was not discussed at the Trump Tower meeting, and Prince has said himself he was there for business.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) told CNN that he did not hear anything to believe that Rice did anything "illegal."

Unmasking is not illegal, although leaking unmasked names are illegal. Intelligence involving Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn was leaked to the Washington Post earlier this year, and it is not yet publicly known who leaked it.

[Feb 13, 2018] Declassified Susan Rice Email Obama Contemplated Hiding Russia Intel from Incoming Trump Administration

Notable quotes:
"... The Senate Judiciary Committee obtained the email from the National Archives as part of its investigation into potential political bias and influence in the FBI's handling of the "Russia investigation" and the infamous Fusion GPS "dossier" that was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on one-time Trump associate Carter Page. ..."
"... It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation. In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed "by the book," substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed "by the book." ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | www.breitbart.com

Two leading Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee released a redacted top secret email Monday that Obama administration National Security Advisor Susan Rice appears to have sent herself just minutes after President Donald Trump took office.

The email contains Rice's impressions from a January 5, 2017 meeting on "Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election" between then-President Barack Obama, then-FBI Director James Comey, and "intelligence community leadership."

According to Rice, President Obama and Comey had a "follow-on conversation" after the formal meeting during which Obama told Comey that "from a national security perspective" he wanted "to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia." President Obama then asked Comey to inform him of any changes that would affect how his White House should share classified information with the incoming Trump administration.

Separately, Rice claims Obama told Comey that he wanted the Russia investigation handled "by the book" and that "from a law enforcement perspective" he was not "asking about, initiating or instructing anything."

Rice herself claims to have been present at the meeting and to have stayed for this "follow-on conversation," along with then-Vice President Joe Biden, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who weeks later would become a darling of the left-leaning press after she was fired over her refusal to enforce President Trump's first travel ban on certain terror-prone Muslim majority countries.

The Senate Judiciary Committee obtained the email from the National Archives as part of its investigation into potential political bias and influence in the FBI's handling of the "Russia investigation" and the infamous Fusion GPS "dossier" that was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on one-time Trump associate Carter Page.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee chairman, announced their discovery of the email Monday when they released a letter they addressed to Rice on February 8. The two senators tell Rice:

It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation. In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed "by the book," substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed "by the book."

The public version of the letter includes a redacted version of Rice's email indicating it once held a "top secret" classification. The letter makes reference to an unredacted still-classified version of the email.

2018-02-08 CEG LG to Rice (Russia Investigation Email) by Breitbart News on Scribd Grassley and Graham are demanding Rice provide their Committee answers about her email by a February 22 deadline. The questions included are as follows:

1. Did you send the email attached to this letter to yourself? Do you have any reason to dispute the timestamp of the email?

2. When did you first become aware of the FBI's investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia?

3. When did you become aware of any surveillance activities, including FISA applications, undertaken by the FBI in conducting that investigation? At the time you wrote this email to yourself, were you aware of either the October 2016 FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page or the January 2017 renewal?

4. Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama's meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation? If so, who and why?

5. Is the account of the January 5, 2017 meeting presented in your email accurate? Did you omit any other portions of the conversation?

6. Other than that email, did you document the January 5, 2017 meeting in any way, such as contemporaneous notes or a formal memo? To the best of your knowledge, did anyone else at that meeting take notes or otherwise memorialize the meeting?

7. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier? If so, what did they say?

8. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey describe the status of the FBI's relationship with Mr. Steele, or the basis for that status?

9. When and how did you first become aware of the allegations made by Christopher Steele?

10. When and how did you first become aware that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Mr. Steele's efforts?

11. You wrote that President Obama stressed that he was "not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective." Did President Obama ask about, initiate, or instruct anything from any other perspective relating to the FBI's investigation?

12. Did President Obama have any other meetings with Mr. Comey, Ms. Yates, or other government officials about the FBI's investigation of allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russia? If so, when did these occur, who participated, and what was discussed?

The January 5, 2017 meeting Rice references in her email would have occurred just months after, as Rice herself has admitted , she "unmasked" certain Trump campaign members' communications during the transition.

Rice, who in her retirement from public service has taken up a research post at American University, has remained critical of the Trump administration's foreign policy, but has largely refrained from weighing in on the Russia investigation.

[Feb 12, 2018] I am wondering why it is that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How did Simpson know with such confidence what the "Intelligence Community" was "saying", and who were Simpson's and Steele's sources in the "Intelligence Community"? Rooney failed to inquire. Instead, he and Simpson exchanged question and answer regarding the approach Simpson and Steele made to the FBI when they delivered their dossier. In the details of that, Simpson repeated what he had already told the Senate Judiciary Committee. ..."
"... Another reported version of the FIFA contract is that Steele, Burrows and Orbis were hired by the British Football Association to collect materials on FIFA corruption, and provide them to the FBI and other US investigators, and then to the press. The scheme's objective was reportedly to advance the British bidding for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 by discrediting the rival bids from Russia and Qatar. Click to read . Were MI6 and CIA sources mobilized by Orbis to feed the FBI with evidence the US investigators were unable to turn up, or was Orbis the conduit through which disinformation targeting Russia was fed to make it appear more credible to the FBI, and to the media? ..."
"... US Congressional investigators have so far failed to notice the similarities between the FIFA and the Trump dossier operations. Early this month two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that they have called for a Justice Department and FBI investigation of Steele for providing false information to the FBI. The provision of the US code making lying a federal crime requires the falsehoods occur "within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States." Simpson has testified that when Steele briefed the FBI on the dossier, he did so at meetings in Rome, Italy. ..."
"... With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is some evidence that Clinton and Co. actually wanted to run against Donald Trump, and tried to get their allies to manipulate the Republican primary in favor of a Trump victory (hence all the free corporate media coverage of the Donald). The dossier, fabricated or not, seems to have been one of many 'ace in the holes' that the Clinton campaign thought they could use to discredit Trump (including the Access Hollywood tape, etc.) in the general election. If so, this strategy really blew up in their face – they thought they could manipulate the process, so they could ignore the Rust Belt concerns, and that's what handed Trump the presidency. ..."
"... If the Clintonites were to admit this, however, they'd have to step down from party leadership and let the Sanders Democrats take over, and that's what this is really all about now, their effort to prevent that outcome. ..."
"... And I say "fed to him" when I'm in a generous mood, giving him the benefit of the doubt, because usually I am of the opinion that he's either a really crappy CIA agent posing as a journalist or just a garden variety rat f*!@er. A black job political operative, stitching together a few almost-believable "facts" and out-and-out fabrications with squishy words like "collusion" and "ties." ..."
"... The London experts believe the Senate Committee transcript shows Simpson and Steele were hired for the black job of discrediting the target of their research, Trump; did a poor job; failed in 2016; and now are engaged in bitter recriminations against each other to avoid multi-million dollar court penalties. ..."
"... A source at a London firm which is larger and better known than Steele's Orbis says "standard due diligence means getting to the truth. It's confidential to the client, and not leaked. There are also black jobs, white jobs, and red jobs. Black means the client wants you to dig up dirt on the target, and make it look credible for publishing in the press. White means the client wants you to clear him of the wrongdoing which he's being accused of in the media or the marketplace; it's also leaked to the press. A red job is where the client pays the due diligence firm to hire a journalist to find out what he knows and what he's likely to publish, in order to bribe or stop him. The Steele dossier on Trump is an obvious black job. Too obvious." ..."
"... A bigger bombshell, which of course none of them mentioned, is that Simpson, with his client's consent, was secretly briefing Clinton-friendly reporters on information from Steele's memos, and they used it to write stories based on "unnamed sources." He even admitted that he didn't verify the information before feeding it to the media, said he didn't feel he needed to, because it came from a trustworthy source. Where have we heard that before? ..."
"... I'm wondering why it's that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing. It's well-established that the State Department often acts as a cover for the CIA, and the agency under Secretary Clinton had a strong anti-Russia faction that's on the record as meddling in Ukraine's presidential election. And how much doubt could there be that both Clintons kept the CIA connections they made while in office? ..."
"... Then there was the whole "Grizzly Steppe" report just before Trump's inauguration, presented as a consensus among "17 intelligence agencies" that the Russians "hacked the election" to help Trump win. ..."
"... I'm not 100-percent convinced that U.S. intelligence was behind the dossier, but it's enough of a possibility that I'm not writing it off as some nutty "conspiracy theory." ..."
"... Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I'm wondering why it's that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing. ..."
"... In fact I am fairly certain that it is the case, although from what I understand the FBI and MI6 were also involved. ..."
Feb 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

According to Simpson, "foreign intelligence services hacking American political operations is not that unusual, actually, and there's a lot of foreign intelligence services that play in American elections." He mentioned the Chinese and the Indians, not the Israelis. The Mossad, Simpson did tell the Committee, was his source for his belief that Russian intelligence has been operating through the Jewish Orthodox Chabad movement, and the Russian Orthodox Church. "The Orthodox church is also an arm of the Russian State now the Mossad guys used to tell me about how the Russians were laundering money through the Orthodox church in Israel, and that it was intelligence operations."

There are just two references in the Committee transcript to the CIA. One was a passing remark to imply the Russians cannot "break[ing] into the CIA, [so instead] you are breaking into, you know, places where, you know, an open society leaves open."

The second was a bombshell. It dropped during questioning by Congressman Thomas Rooney (right), a 3-term Republican representative from Florida with a career as an army lawyer. Rooney asked Simpson: "Do you or anyone else independently verify or corroborate any information in the dossier?"

Simpson replied by saying, "Yes. Well, numerous things in the dossier have been verified. You know, I don't have access to the intelligence or law enforcement information that I see made reference to, but, you know, things like, you know, the Russian Government has been investigating Hillary Clinton and has a lot of information about her."

Then Simpson contradicted himself, disclosing what he had just denied. "When the original memos came in saying that the Kremlin was mounting a specific operation to get Donald Trump elected President , that was not what the Intelligence Community was saying. The Intelligence Community was saying they are just seeking to disrupt our election and our political process, and that this is sort of kind of just a generally nihilistic, you know, trouble-making operation. And, you know, Chris turned out to be right, it was specifically designed to elect Donald Trump President."

How did Simpson know with such confidence what the "Intelligence Community" was "saying", and who were Simpson's and Steele's sources in the "Intelligence Community"? Rooney failed to inquire. Instead, he and Simpson exchanged question and answer regarding the approach Simpson and Steele made to the FBI when they delivered their dossier. In the details of that, Simpson repeated what he had already told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rooney then asked what contact had been made with the CIA or "any other intelligence officials". Simpson claimed he didn't understand the question at first, then he stumbled.

Source: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD002.pdf -- page 61 .

What Simpson was concealing in the two pauses, reported in the transcript as hyphens, Rooney did not realize. Simpson was implying that noone from Fusion GPS, his consulting company, had been in contact with the CIA, nor him personally. But Simpson left open that Steele had been in contact with the CIA. Rooney followed with a question about "anyone", but that was so imprecise, Simpson recovered his confidence to say "No". That was a cover-up -- and the House Intelligence Committee let it drop noiselessly.

Intelligence community sources and colleagues who know Simpson and Steele say Simpson was notorious at the Wall Street Journal for coming up with conspiracy theories for which the evidence was missing or unreliable. He told the Committee that disbelief on the part of his editors and management had been one of his reasons for leaving the newspaper. "One of the reasons why I left the Wall Street Journal was because I wanted to write more stories about Russian influence in Washington, D.C., on both the Democrats and the Republicans eventually the Journal lost interest in that subject. And I was frustrated that was where I left my journalism career."

When Simpson was asked "do you -- did you find anything to -- that you verified as false in the dossier, since or during?" Simpson replied: "I have not seen anything -- ". Note the hypthen, the stenographer's signal that Simpson was pausing.

"[Question]. So everything in that dossier, as far as you're concerned, is true or could be true?"

"MR. SIMPSON: I didn't say that. What I said was it was credible at the time it came in. We were able to corroborate various things that supported its credibility."

Sources in London are divided on the question of where Steele's sources came from -- CIA, MI6, or elsewhere. What has been clear for the year in which the dossier's contents have been in public circulation is that the sources the dossier referred to as "Russian" were not. For details of the sourcing . The subsequent identification of the Maltese source Joseph Mifsud, and the Greek-American George Papadopoulos, corroborates their lack of direct Russian sources. Instead, the sources identified in the dossier were either Americans, Americans of Russian ethnic origin, or Russians with no direct knowledge repeating hearsay three or four times removed from source.

So were the allegations of the dossier manufactured by a CIA disinformation unit, and fed back to the US through the British agent, Steele? Or were they a Simpson conspiracy theory of the type that failed to pass veracity testing when Simpson was at the Wall Street Journal? The House Intelligence Committee failed to inquire.

One independent clue is what financial and other links Simpson and Steele and their consulting firms, Fusion GPS and Orbis Business Intelligence, have had with US Government agencies other than the FBI, and what US Government contracts they were paid for, before the Republican and Democratic Party organizations commissioned the anti-Trump job?

The House Committee has subpoenaed business records from Fusion, but Simpson's lawyers say they will refuse to hand them over. The financial records of Steele's firm are openly accessible through the UK government company registry, Companies House. Click to read here .

Because the Trump dossier work ran from the second half of 2015 to November 2016, the financial reports of Orbis for the financial years ending March 31, 2016, and March 31, 2017, are the primary sources. For FY 2016 and FY 2017, open this link to read.

The papers reveal that Orbis was a small firm with no more than 7 employees. Steele's business partner and co-shareholder, Christopher Burrows, is another former MI6 spy. They had been hoping for MI6 support of their private business, but it failed to materialize, says an London intelligence source. "Chris Burrows is another from the same background. They all hope to be Hakluyt [a leading commercial intelligence operation in London] but didn't get the nod on departure."

They do not report the Orbis income. Instead, for 2016 the company filings indicate £155,171 in cash at the bank, and income of £245,017 owed by clients and contractors. Offsetting that figure, Orbis owed £317,848 -- to whom and for what purposes is not reported. The unaudited accounts show Orbis's profit jumped from £121,046 in 2015 to £199,223 in 2016, and £441,089 in 2017.

The financial data are complicated by the operation by Steele and Burrows of a second company, Orbis Business Intelligence International, a subsidiary they created in 2010, a year after the parent company was formed. Follow its affairs here .

According to British press reports , Orbis and Steele were paid £200,000 for the dossier. Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee the sum was much less -- $160,000 (about £114,000). Simpson's firm, he also testified, was being paid at a rate of about $50,000 per month for a total of about $320,000. If the British sources are more accurate than Simpson's testimony, Steele's takings from the dossier represented roughly half the profit on the Orbis balance-sheet.

British sources also report that a US Government agency paid for Orbis to work on evidence and allegations of corruption at the world soccer federation, Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA). Indictments in this case were issued by the US Department of Justice in May 2015 , and the following December . What role the two-partner British consultancy played in the complex investigations by teams from the Justice Department, the FBI and also the Internal Revenue Service is unclear. That Steele, Burrows and Orbis depended on US government sources for their financial well-being appears to be certain.

Another reported version of the FIFA contract is that Steele, Burrows and Orbis were hired by the British Football Association to collect materials on FIFA corruption, and provide them to the FBI and other US investigators, and then to the press. The scheme's objective was reportedly to advance the British bidding for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 by discrediting the rival bids from Russia and Qatar. Click to read . Were MI6 and CIA sources mobilized by Orbis to feed the FBI with evidence the US investigators were unable to turn up, or was Orbis the conduit through which disinformation targeting Russia was fed to make it appear more credible to the FBI, and to the media?

US Congressional investigators have so far failed to notice the similarities between the FIFA and the Trump dossier operations. Early this month two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that they have called for a Justice Department and FBI investigation of Steele for providing false information to the FBI. The provision of the US code making lying a federal crime requires the falsehoods occur "within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States." Simpson has testified that when Steele briefed the FBI on the dossier, he did so at meetings in Rome, Italy.

Now then, Part I and this sequel of the Simpson-Steele story having been read and thoroughly mulled over, what can the meaning be?

In the short run, this case was a black job assigned by Republican Party candidates for president, then the Democratic National Committee, for the purpose of discrediting Trump in favour of Hillary Clinton. It failed on Election Day in 2016; the Democrats are still trying.

In the long run, the case is a measurement of the life, or the half-life, of truth. Giuseppe di Lampedusa wrote once that nowhere has truth so short a life as in Sicily. On his clock, that was five minutes. He didn't know the United States, or shall we say the stretch from Washington through New York to the North End of Boston. There, truth has an even shorter life. Scarcely a second.


nonsense factory , January 22, 2018 at 3:35 pm

"The primary reason I generally don't believe in conspiracies is that they can usually be better explained as the result of sheer incompetence and hubris."

I divide conspiracy notions into two categories: grand mal and petit mal . The former are generally implausible due to the large number of participants involved and while occassionally attempted, they are typically exposed pretty quickly. They may still have significant effects – for example, there was a large conspiracy to sell the Iraqi WMD story to the public, involving top levels of the British and American governments and a good section of the corporate media. That's the grand mal version.

Petit mal is your typical small criminal conspiracy. The FBI, for example, almost always includes 'conspiracy to commit mail fraud' on the list of federal charges.

With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is some evidence that Clinton and Co. actually wanted to run against Donald Trump, and tried to get their allies to manipulate the Republican primary in favor of a Trump victory (hence all the free corporate media coverage of the Donald). The dossier, fabricated or not, seems to have been one of many 'ace in the holes' that the Clinton campaign thought they could use to discredit Trump (including the Access Hollywood tape, etc.) in the general election. If so, this strategy really blew up in their face – they thought they could manipulate the process, so they could ignore the Rust Belt concerns, and that's what handed Trump the presidency.

If the Clintonites were to admit this, however, they'd have to step down from party leadership and let the Sanders Democrats take over, and that's what this is really all about now, their effort to prevent that outcome.

Rhondda , January 22, 2018 at 3:57 pm

I pay pretty close attention to this topic and I must say I sometimes wonder if the Russians haven't sold the rope to the American political elite. I read all 311 pages of Simpson's testimony. I was struck that much of what he was "fed" by Steele confirmed his "OMG Russia corruption" biases.

And I say "fed to him" when I'm in a generous mood, giving him the benefit of the doubt, because usually I am of the opinion that he's either a really crappy CIA agent posing as a journalist or just a garden variety rat f*!@er. A black job political operative, stitching together a few almost-believable "facts" and out-and-out fabrications with squishy words like "collusion" and "ties."

From the embedded link in Helmer's text above: http://johnhelmer.net/glenn-simpson-chases-his-shadow-into-a-black-hole/

London due diligence firms say the record of Simpson's firm Fusion GPS and Steele's Orbis Business Intelligence operations in the US has discredited them in the due diligence market. The London experts believe the Senate Committee transcript shows Simpson and Steele were hired for the black job of discrediting the target of their research, Trump; did a poor job; failed in 2016; and now are engaged in bitter recriminations against each other to avoid multi-million dollar court penalties.

A source at a London firm which is larger and better known than Steele's Orbis says "standard due diligence means getting to the truth. It's confidential to the client, and not leaked. There are also black jobs, white jobs, and red jobs. Black means the client wants you to dig up dirt on the target, and make it look credible for publishing in the press. White means the client wants you to clear him of the wrongdoing which he's being accused of in the media or the marketplace; it's also leaked to the press. A red job is where the client pays the due diligence firm to hire a journalist to find out what he knows and what he's likely to publish, in order to bribe or stop him. The Steele dossier on Trump is an obvious black job. Too obvious."

Emphasis mine.

3.14e-9 , January 22, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Rhondaa writes:

I read all 311 pages of Simpson's testimony. I was struck that much of what he was "fed" by Steele confirmed his "OMG Russia corruption" biases.

Same here, but not just about what he was fed by Steele. Simpson claimed to have done some of his own research and said it was consistent with what he got from Steele.

I'm about three-quarters of the way through the transcript of Simpson's interrogation by the House Intelligence Committee, and I've read all 312 pages of the Senate Judiciary Committee transcript, which bears little resemblance to what was reported in the major media – shocking, I know.

Among the "bombshells" the mainstream reported was "proof" that it wasn't the dossier that launched the FBI's investigation of Trump, and therefore the dossier couldn't have been used as justification for a FISA warrant. A bigger bombshell, which of course none of them mentioned, is that Simpson, with his client's consent, was secretly briefing Clinton-friendly reporters on information from Steele's memos, and they used it to write stories based on "unnamed sources." He even admitted that he didn't verify the information before feeding it to the media, said he didn't feel he needed to, because it came from a trustworthy source. Where have we heard that before?

Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I'm wondering why it's that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing. It's well-established that the State Department often acts as a cover for the CIA, and the agency under Secretary Clinton had a strong anti-Russia faction that's on the record as meddling in Ukraine's presidential election. And how much doubt could there be that both Clintons kept the CIA connections they made while in office?

Then there was the whole "Grizzly Steppe" report just before Trump's inauguration, presented as a consensus among "17 intelligence agencies" that the Russians "hacked the election" to help Trump win.

I'm not 100-percent convinced that U.S. intelligence was behind the dossier, but it's enough of a possibility that I'm not writing it off as some nutty "conspiracy theory."

integer , January 23, 2018 at 4:16 am

Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I'm wondering why it's that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing.

FWIW this NC commenter has never had any problem believing that this may be the case. In fact I am fairly certain that it is the case, although from what I understand the FBI and MI6 were also involved.

Adding: Heh. I posted this before looking at Rev Kev's link to the Raimondo article, which comes to the same conclusions. Interesting times!

Scott1 , January 22, 2018 at 4:37 pm

I believe that Seth Abramson or someone put photographs to the Steele dossier showing people in the places & at the times delineated in the Steele dossier. From the very first Steele said he would not & could not reveal his sources. It was from the first indicated that it would be to the FBI & CIA to discover. He said he believed that his sources were credible.

When I was studying Intelligence services the CIA was said to be the private army of the CIA. These days I don't know exactly who the CIA works for, or answers to. I certainly don't think well of the CIA believing they are wrapped up working for their Front businesses more than focusing on the mission of spying in the interests of the American people. Of private intelligence companies I get what I can from IHS Jane's. That the CIA lost 20 assets, human beings, in China for incompetent secret communications methods would lead professionals to withhold as much of identities as possible.

For awhile there I believe Steele was worried about his own health.

David Corn at Mother Jones was reticent to break the story. So now what I see to look for is what Steele said needed to be done, & that being what Mueller is doing at the behest of the DOJ.

The US has been at war, albeit Hybrid war since the imposition of sanctions for their violations of international law as regarded the annexation of Crimea & the attack on the Ukraine. Sanctions are Economic Warfare.

That the US feels the right to engage in warfare of any kind Economic or Hot over violations of International Law leads me to believe that the UN will fail to prevent the apocalyptic riot. But that as regards Trump becomes neither here nor there, correct?

The Rev Kev , January 23, 2018 at 12:29 am

Justin Raimondo has weighed in on this story at https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/01/22/russsia-gate-implodes/ and he does not sound like a happy camper.

John Gilberts , January 24, 2018 at 12:25 am

William Binney, former NSA technical official and whistleblower, comments on the FISA memo, that has apparently just been released. Obviously, a major development in 'Russia-gate'.

William Binney Exposes Secret FISA Memo
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48650.htm

[Feb 11, 2018] How Russiagate fiasco destroys Kremlin moderates, accelerating danger for a hot war

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The pro-Hillary warmongering media, the ones that pushed for war in Iraq and elsewhere, through big lies and false evidence, are the vanguard of this ugly machine that supports the most terrible Trump administration bills, yet, this machine can't stop accusing him for 'colluding' with Russia that 'interfered' in the 2016 US election. Of course, no evidence presented for such an accusation and no one really can explain what that 'interference' means. ..."
"... They're accusing the President of the United States of being a Russian agent, this has never happened in American history. However much you may loathe Trump, this is a whole new realm of defamation. For a number of years, there's been a steady degradation of American political culture and discourse, generally. There was a time when I hoped or thought that it would be the Democratic Party that would push against that degradation ..."
"... Now, however, though I'm kind of only nominally, a Democrat, it's the Democratic Party that's degrading our political culture and our discourse. So, this is MSNBC, which purports to be not only the network of the Democratic Party, but the network of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is now actually because this guy was a semi-anchor was asking the question to an American senator, " Do you think that Representative Nunes, because he wants the memo released, has been compromised by the Kremlin? " ..."
"... And by the way, if people will say, " Well, it's a weak capitulation of McCarthyism, " I say no, it's much more than that because McCarthy was obsessed with Communist. That was a much narrower concept than being obsessed with anybody who might be under Russian influence of any kind. The so-called affinity for Russia. Well, I have a profound affinity for Russian culture and for Russian history. I study it all the time. This is something new. And so, when you accuse a Republican or any Congressman of being a Kremlin agent, this has become a commonplace. We are degraded. ..."
"... We are building up our military presence there, so the Russians are counter-building up, though within their territory. That means the chances of hot war are now much greater than they were before. ..."
"... Every time Trump has tried with Putin to reach a cooperative arrangement, for example, on fighting terrorism in Syria, which is a necessary purpose, literally, the New York Times and the others call him treasonous. Whereas, in the old days, the old Cold War, we had a robust discussion. There is none here. We have no alert system that's warning the American people and its representatives how dangerous this is. And as we mentioned before, it's not only Nunes, it's a lot of people who are being called Kremlin agents because they want to digress from the basic narrative. ..."
"... Meanwhile, people in Moscow who formed their political establishment, who surround Putin and the Kremlin, I mean, the big brains who are formed policy tankers, and who have always tended to be kind of pro-American, and very moderate, have simply come to the conclusion that war is coming. ..."
"... The Democrats couldn't had downgrade their party further. This disgusting spectacle would make FDR totally ashamed of what this party has become. Not only they are voting for every pro-plutocracy GOP bill under Trump administration, but they have become champions in bringing back a much worse and unpredictable Cold War that is dangerously escalating tension with Russia. ..."
Feb 06, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

How Russiagate fiasco destroys Kremlin moderates, accelerating danger for a hot war with Russia globinfo freexchange

Corporate Democrats can't stop pushing for war through the Russiagate fiasco.

The party has been completely taken over by the neocon/neoliberal establishment and has nothing to do with the Left. The pro-Hillary warmongering media, the ones that pushed for war in Iraq and elsewhere, through big lies and false evidence, are the vanguard of this ugly machine that supports the most terrible Trump administration bills, yet, this machine can't stop accusing him for 'colluding' with Russia that 'interfered' in the 2016 US election. Of course, no evidence presented for such an accusation and no one really can explain what that 'interference' means.

But things are probably much worse, because this completely absurd persistence on Russiagate fiasco that feeds an evident anti-Russian hysteria, destroys all the influence of the Kremlin moderates who struggle to keep open channels between Russia and the United States.

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NY University and Princeton University, explained to Aaron Maté and the Real News the terrible consequences:

They're accusing the President of the United States of being a Russian agent, this has never happened in American history. However much you may loathe Trump, this is a whole new realm of defamation. For a number of years, there's been a steady degradation of American political culture and discourse, generally. There was a time when I hoped or thought that it would be the Democratic Party that would push against that degradation.

Now, however, though I'm kind of only nominally, a Democrat, it's the Democratic Party that's degrading our political culture and our discourse. So, this is MSNBC, which purports to be not only the network of the Democratic Party, but the network of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is now actually because this guy was a semi-anchor was asking the question to an American senator, " Do you think that Representative Nunes, because he wants the memo released, has been compromised by the Kremlin? "

I think all of us need to focus on what's happened in this country when in the very mainstream, at the highest, most influential levels of the political establishment, this kind of discourse is no longer considered an exception. It is the norm. We hear it daily from MSNBC and CNN, from the New York Times and the Washington Post, that people who doubt the narrative of what's loosely called Russiagate are somehow acting on behalf of or under the spell of the Kremlin, that we aren't Americans any longer. And by the way, if people will say, " Well, it's a weak capitulation of McCarthyism, " I say no, it's much more than that because McCarthy was obsessed with Communist. That was a much narrower concept than being obsessed with anybody who might be under Russian influence of any kind. The so-called affinity for Russia. Well, I have a profound affinity for Russian culture and for Russian history. I study it all the time. This is something new. And so, when you accuse a Republican or any Congressman of being a Kremlin agent, this has become a commonplace. We are degraded.

The new Cold War is unfolding not far away from Russia, like the last in Berlin, but on Russia's borders in the Baltic and in Ukraine. We are building up our military presence there, so the Russians are counter-building up, though within their territory. That means the chances of hot war are now much greater than they were before. Meanwhile, not only do we not have a discussion of these real dangers in the United States but anyone who wants to incite a discussion, including the President of the United States, is called treasonous. Every time Trump has tried with Putin to reach a cooperative arrangement, for example, on fighting terrorism in Syria, which is a necessary purpose, literally, the New York Times and the others call him treasonous. Whereas, in the old days, the old Cold War, we had a robust discussion. There is none here. We have no alert system that's warning the American people and its representatives how dangerous this is. And as we mentioned before, it's not only Nunes, it's a lot of people who are being called Kremlin agents because they want to digress from the basic narrative.

Meanwhile, people in Moscow who formed their political establishment, who surround Putin and the Kremlin, I mean, the big brains who are formed policy tankers, and who have always tended to be kind of pro-American, and very moderate, have simply come to the conclusion that war is coming. They can't think of a single thing to tell the Kremlin to offset hawkish views in the Kremlin. Every day, there's something new. And these were the people in Moscow who are daytime peacekeeping interlockers. They have been destroyed by Russiagate. Their influence as Russia is zilch. And the McCarthyites in Russia, they have various terms, now called the pro-American lobby in Russia 'fifth columnists'. This is the damage that's been done. There's never been anything like this in my lifetime.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CpVBA4OIfb8

The Democrats couldn't had downgrade their party further. This disgusting spectacle would make FDR totally ashamed of what this party has become. Not only they are voting for every pro-plutocracy GOP bill under Trump administration, but they have become champions in bringing back a much worse and unpredictable Cold War that is dangerously escalating tension with Russia.

And, unfortunately, even the most progressives of the Democrats are adopting the Russiagate bogus, like Bernie Sanders, because they know that if they don't obey to the narratives, the DNC establishment will crush them politically in no time.

[Feb 10, 2018] It s Time for This Nightmare to End AG Jeff Sessions Must be Fired or He Must Resign – It s the Only Way to Save the Republic

Notable quotes:
"... essions may well be intimidated or over his head -- his inaction has been maddening. ..."
"... The fisagate people are being wormed out without sessions. Trump obviously thinks he's better with sessions than without. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | www.thegatewaypundit.com

For months it's been clear that AG Sessions is a total failure. He recused himself and then hired crook Rod Rosenstein as Asst AG who then created the crooked Mueller investigation. If this republic is to continue, Sessions must go!

The US cannot have multiple layers of laws. It's impossible to have some individuals who do not have to abide by the same laws as the rest of the population. We also cannot stand for the corrupt FBI, DOJ and State Departments (amongst others) that are able to spy, lie and assault Americans for faulty crimes. Obama's Administration was corrupt and dishonest at all levels and so it's no surprise that the entire federal government is corrupt. These people must be swept out. It's starts with AG Sessions!

AG Sessions praised Asst AG Rosenstein the same day Rosenstein was identified in the FISA memo as one of the individuals who signed off on the slanderous FISA memo to spy on President Trump. Mueller's investigation is full of former Clinton and Obama corrupt cronies. The FBI and DOJ continue to delay and prevent Congress from seeing information requested for month. Much of the information is unnecessarily redacted from the individuals (Congress) who has the mandate to oversee these same institutions.

Many Congressman are calling for Jeff Sessions to resign or be replaced and have for months –


lowell2 , February 10, 2018 11:20 PM

I don't think he is deep state. Keep in mind that Trump has praised people he clearly didn't trust and later fired. Sessions may well be intimidated or over his head -- his inaction has been maddening.

Yet by standing to one side, those who are part of the cabal have revealed themselves and damned themselves . We've now gotten three layers. At some point, hopefully, there will be an honest person in the DC FBI office.

Trump could fire sessions, but whoever else he hired would first have to endure the confirmation firestorm and then land in the toxin laden swamp of the DC FBI.

It may be sessions is off doing drug interdiction, and he's apparently moving, if slowly, on the sanctuary cities issue. The fisagate people are being wormed out without sessions. Trump obviously thinks he's better with sessions than without.

[Feb 08, 2018] Disinformation Warfare

Highly recommended!
Actually an interesting interview. Of course, interviewer is a regulate presstitute, but still answers on provocative (and predictable) questions based on State Department talking points were pretty interesting and sometimes unexpected.
Jan 07, 2018 | www.cbsnews.com

Margarita Simonyan is the head of RT, Russia's state-run television network. She's also been referenced 27 times in a U.S. intelligence report that assesses that Russian President Vladimir Putin, "ordered an influence campaign aimed at the U.S . election."

Simonyan has a simple response to that.

"There's nothing illegal that we did," Simonyan tells 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl. "There's nothing murky. There's no weird activity that we're involved in. Nothing."

[Feb 07, 2018] M>ust read book: Watergate: The Hoax

Feb 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Pa Kettle Feb 7, 2018 11:40 AM Permalink

Must, must, must read book: Watergate: The Hoax. It was all CIA. All of it. That includes Daniel Ellsberg:

"CIA Crimes: 1971 -- Daniel Ellsberg and The Fielding Farce

ThunderStruck Feb 7, 2018 11:55 AM Permalink

I have zero confidence that the "deep state" will ever allow itself to be prosecuted. To me the "deep state" is anyone inside the perimeter of Washington D.C. They all talk tough about each other but when push comes to shove, they all have each others' backs.

[Feb 04, 2018] Operation Condor How NSA Director Mike Rogers Saved The U.S. From a Massive Constitutional Crisis

Feb 04, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com

This outline is the story of how the FBI Counterintelligence Division and DOJ National Security Division were weaponized. This outline is the full story of what House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes is currently working to expose. This outline exposes the biggest political scandal in U.S. history. This outline is also the story of how one man's action likely saved our constitutional republic.

His name is Admiral Mike Rogers.

I'm calling the back-story to the 2016 FISA 702(16)(17) political corruption by the Obama administration "Operation Condor". Those of you familiar with the film " Three Days of The Condor " will note how the real life storyline almost mirrors the Hollywood film. For the real life version, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers plays the role of "Condor".

[Feb 03, 2018] How Did Trump Win Follow the Dark Money

Feb 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Altandmain , February 2, 2018 at 1:42 am

To be honest at this point, the US is a plutocracy pretending to be a democratic society.

Both parties are responsible for the damage of the US living standards. To fight the Republicans and Trump, there is also the matter that the Democratic Establishment has to be taken on first. They both are in bed with dark money. Basically the ultra rich run the show.

The illusion of the whole charade has begun to wear off on a critical mass of people, which is why we are seeing the current situation. There are still those who believe that the status quo is alright. That is especially important for the upper 10 percent of the population that make up the wealthy upper middle class. It is a club that you are probably not invited to.

sd , February 2, 2018 at 2:20 am

Does dark money actually vote? People vote. Angry people, excited people, frustrated people, motivated people vote. I know I personally was motivated to vote for anyone other than Clinton. This article is less about dark money than it is more about Labor.

Democrats ignored the working class – in particular, unions – while Obama was in office. Hilary went on to ignore Labor even going so far as to actively campaign against $15/hour minimum wage (seriously think about that for a moment) 2016, the Democrats lose the White House.

I don't doubt there was dark money in large quantities on both sides and that it influenced voters. In the end, Hilary Clinton was a candidate who was so horrible, she needed her friends to rig the game in her favor. How bad do you have to be that your supporters feel the need to hand you debate questions in advance? Good lord.

At this point, my concern is the allure of the catch phrase 'dark money' is going to become just yet another excuse for the DNC to ingore Labor. Just watch, they will rollout a fundraising campaign to 'defeat' Dark Money.

The Rev Kev , February 2, 2018 at 6:32 am

"a big wave of money from casinos"

That sounded like Sheldon Adelson money. In checking back I founded that Trump was actually promised $100 million by him alone back about May of 2016. I guess that a deal was struck to support Trump if Trump supported Israel wholeheartedly. Promising to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem may be paying back this debt.
Hard to say if any of this money was sourced by Netanyahu's colleagues indirectly but it may be more of a case where the US gives Israel billions in both military aid and foreign aid each year and this is some of that money making its way back home.

readerOfTeaLeaves , February 2, 2018 at 10:35 am

And add in who was Finance Chair of the RNC? Steve Wynn.
And where was Steve Wynn heavily investing? Macau.
And who else was investing? Private equity.

If it is true that 35% of US stocks are owned by non-US entities, then is it the case that the GOP tax cut bonanza basically accelerated transfer of US-based wealth to overseas investors? Am I missing something here .?
And if hedge funds are a great way to 'invest' in not only companies, but politics, they seem to be squaring the circle.

One reason that Bernie was so extraordinary was his emphasis on getting $$$ (by which, at this point, I mean rubles, yuan, rials, euros, yen, and heaven only knows what else) out of American politics. Too many people think that Bernie was saying, "Get the 'dollars' out of politics", but IMVHO that is a hopelessly naive view of things.

Why the Dems can't do enough research to argue that Trump is 'the best president global casinos and hedge funds can buy' is testament to their ineptitude at this point.

[Feb 03, 2018] Sanders on Trump s State of the Union: Not a word on Nuclear War threat, anti-Russian and anti-Iranian crusades!

Jan 30, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Watch: Bernie Sanders' Response to Trump State of the Union

"Here's the story that Trump failed to mention "

Following President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered a response.

"I want to take a few minutes of your time to respond to Trump's State of the Union speech," Sanders announced. "But I also want to talk to you about the major crises facing our country that, regrettably, Trump chose not to discuss."

And, he added, "I want to offer a vision of where we should go as a nation which is far different than the divisiveness, dishonesty, and racism coming from the Trump Administration over the past year."

Watch:

... ... ...

The complete text of Sanders' prepared remarks follow:

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight , I want to take a few minutes of your time to respond to President Trump's State of the Union speech. But I want to do more than just that. I want to talk to you about the major crises facing our country that, regrettably, President Trump chose not to discuss. I want to talk to you about the lies that he told during his campaign and the promises he made to working people which he did not keep.

Finally, I want to offer a vision of where we should go as a nation which is far different than the divisiveness, dishonesty, and racism coming from the Trump Administration over the past year.

President Trump talked tonight about the strength of our economy. Well, he's right. Official unemployment today is 4.1 percent which is the lowest it has been in years and the stock market in recent months has soared. That's the good news.

But what President Trump failed to mention is that his first year in office marked the lowest level of job creation since 2010. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 254,000 fewer jobs were created in Trump's first 11 months in office than were created in the 11 months before he entered office.

Further, when we talk about the economy, what's most important is to understand what is happening to the average worker. And here's the story that Trump failed to mention tonight .

Over the last year, after adjusting for inflation, the average worker in America saw a wage increase of, are you ready for this, 4 cents an hour, or 0.17%. Or, to put it in a different way, that worker received a raise of a little more than $1.60 a week. And, as is often the case, that tiny wage increase disappeared as a result of soaring health care costs.

Meanwhile, at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the rich continue to get much richer while millions of American workers are working two or three jobs just to keep their heads above water. Since March of last year, the three richest people in America saw their wealth increase by more than $68 billion. Three people. A $68 billion increase in wealth. Meanwhile, the average worker saw an increase of 4 cents an hour.

Tonight , Donald Trump touted the bonuses he claims workers received because of his so-called "tax reform" bill. What he forgot to mention is that only 2% of Americans report receiving a raise or a bonus because of this tax bill.

What he also failed to mention is that some of the corporations that have given out bonuses, such as Walmart, AT&T, General Electric, and Pfizer, are also laying off tens of thousands of their employees. Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex and Huggies, recently said they were using money from the tax cut to restructure -- laying off more than 5,000 workers and closing 10 plants.

What Trump also forgot to tell you is that while the Walton family of Walmart, the wealthiest family in America, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon, the wealthiest person in this country, have never had it so good, many thousands of their employees are forced onto Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing because of the obscenely low wages they are paid. In my view, that's wrong. The taxpayers of this country should not be providing corporate welfare to the wealthiest families in this country.

Trump's Broken Promises

Now, let me say a few words about some of the issues that Donald Trump failed to mention tonight , and that is the difference between what he promised the American people as a candidate and what he has delivered as president.

Many of you will recall, that during his campaign, Donald Trump told the American people how he was going to provide "health insurance for everybody," with "much lower deductibles."

That is what he promised working families all across this country during his campaign. But as president he did exactly the opposite. Last year, he supported legislation that would have thrown up to 32 million people off of the health care they had while, at the same time, substantially raising premiums for older Americans.

The reality is that although we were able to beat back Trump's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 3 million fewer Americans have health insurance today than before Trump took office and that number will be going even higher in the coming months.

During his campaign, Trump promised not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

As president, however, he supported a Republican Budget Resolution that proposed slashing Medicaid by $1 trillion and cutting Medicare by $500 billion. Further, President Trump's own budget called for cutting Social Security Disability Insurance by $64 billion.

During Trump's campaign for president, he talked about how he was going to lower prescription drug prices and take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry which he said was "getting away with murder." Tonight he said "one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs."

But as president, Trump nominated Alex Azar, a former executive of the Eli Lilly Company -- one of the largest drug companies in this country -- to head up the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump spoke about how in other countries "drugs cost far less," yet he has done nothing to allow Americans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from abroad or to require Medicare to negotiate drug prices – which he promised he would do when he ran for president.

During the campaign, Donald Trump told us that: "The rich will not be gaining at all" under his tax reform plan.

Well, that was quite a whopper. As president, the tax reform legislation Trump signed into law a few weeks ago provides 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent, drives up the deficit by $1.7 trillion, and raises taxes on 92 million middle class families by the end of the decade.

During his campaign for president, Trump talked about how he was going to take on the greed of Wall Street which he said "has caused tremendous problems for us.

As president, not only has Trump not taken on Wall Street, he has appointed more Wall Street billionaires to his administration than any president in history. And now, on behalf of Wall Street, he is trying to repeal the modest provisions of the Dodd-Frank legislation which provide consumer protections against Wall Street thievery.

What Trump Didn't Say

But what is also important to note is not just Trump's dishonesty. It is that tonight he avoided some of the most important issues facing our country and the world.

How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change? No, Mr. Trump, climate change is not a "hoax." It is a reality which is causing devastating harm all over our country and all over the world and you are dead wrong when you appoint administrators at the EPA and other agencies who are trying to decimate environmental protection rules, and slow down the transition to sustainable energy.

How can a president of the United States not discuss the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allows billionaires like the Koch brothers to undermine American democracy by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who will represent the rich and the powerful?

How can he not talk about Republican governors efforts all across this country to undermine democracy, suppress the vote and make it harder for poor people or people of color to vote?

How can he not talk about the fact that in a highly competitive global economy, hundreds of thousands of bright young people are unable to afford to go to college, while millions of others have come out of school deeply in debt?

How can he not talk about the inadequate funding and staffing at the Social Security Administration which has resulted in thousands of people with disabilities dying because they did not get their claims processed in time?

How can he not talk about the retirement crisis facing the working people of this country and the fact that over half of older workers have no retirement savings? We need to strengthen pensions in this country, not take them away from millions of workers.

How can he not talk about the reality that Russia, through cyberwarfare, interfered in our election in 2016, is interfering in democratic elections all over the world, and according to his own CIA director will likely interfere in the 2018 midterm elections that we will be holding. How do you not talk about that unless you have a very special relationship with Mr. Putin?

What Trump Did Talk About

Now, let me say a few words about what Trump did talk about.

Trump talked about DACA and immigration, but what he did not tell the American people is that he precipitated this crisis in September by repealing President Obama's executive order protecting Dreamers.

We need to seriously address the issue of immigration but that does not mean dividing families and reducing legal immigration by 25-50 percent. It sure doesn't mean forcing taxpayers to spend $25 billion on a wall that candidate Trump promised Mexico would pay for. And it definitely doesn't mean a racist immigration policy that excludes people of color from around the world.

To my mind, this is one of the great moral issues facing our country. It would be unspeakable and a moral stain on our nation if we turned our backs on these 800,000 young people who were born and raised in this country and who know no other home but the United States.

And that's not just Bernie Sanders talking. Poll after poll shows that over 80 percent of the American people believe that we should protect the legal status of these young people and provide them with a path toward citizenship.

We need to pass the bi-partisan DREAM Act, and we need to pass it now.

President Trump also talked about the need to rebuild our country's infrastructure. And he is absolutely right. But the proposal he is bringing forth is dead wrong.

Instead of spending $1.5 trillion over ten years rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, Trump would encourage states to sell our nation's highways, bridges, and other vital infrastructure to Wall Street, wealthy campaign contributors, even foreign governments.

And how would Wall Street and these corporations recoup their investments? By imposing massive new tolls and fees paid for by American commuters and homeowners.

The reality is that Trump's plan to privatize our nation's infrastructure is an old idea that has never worked and never will work.

Tonight , Donald Trump correctly talked about the need to address the opioid crisis. Well, I say to Donald Trump, you don't help people suffering from opioid addiction by cutting Medicaid by $1 trillion. If you are serious about dealing with this crisis, we need to expand, not cut Medicaid.

Conclusion/A Progressive Agenda

My fellow Americans. The simple truth is that, according to virtually every poll, Donald Trump is the least popular president after one year in office of any president in modern American history. And the reason for that is pretty clear. The American people do not want a president who is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation.

That is not what the American people want. And that reality is the bad news that we have to deal with.

But the truth is that there is a lot of good news out there as well. It's not just that so many of our people disagree with Trump's policies, temperament, and behavior. It is that the vast majority of our people have a very different vision for the future of our country than what Trump and the Republican leadership are giving us.

In an unprecedented way, we are witnessing a revitalization of American democracy with more and more people standing up and fighting back. A little more than a year ago we saw millions of people take to the streets for the women's marches and a few weeks ago, in hundreds of cities and towns around the world, people once again took to the streets in the fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.

Further, we are seeing the growth of grassroots organizations and people from every conceivable background starting to run for office – for school board, city council, state legislature, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

In fact, we are starting to see the beginning of a political revolution, something long overdue.

And these candidates, from coast to coast, are standing tall for a progressive agenda, an agenda that works for the working families of our country and not just the billionaire class. These candidates understand that the United States has got to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare for All, single-payer program.

They understand that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when the top one-tenth of one percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, we should not be giving tax breaks for billionaires but demanding that they start paying their fair share of taxes.

They know that we need trade policies that benefit working people, not large multi-national corporations.

They know that we have got to take on the fossil fuel industry, transform our energy system and move to sustainable energies like wind, solar and geothermal.

They know that we need a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and universal childcare.

They understand that it is a woman who has the right to control her own body, not state and federal governments, and that woman has the right to receive equal pay for equal work and work in a safe environment free from harassment.

They also know that if we are going to move forward successfully as a democracy we need real criminal justice reform and we need to finally address comprehensive immigration reform.

Yes. I understand that the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2018 mid-term elections supporting the Trump agenda and right-wing Republicans. They have the money, an unlimited amount of money. But we have the people, and when ordinary people stand up and fight for justice there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. That has been the history of America, and that is our future.

Thank you all and good night.

Published at https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/30/watch-bernie-sanders-response-trump-state-union

[Jan 31, 2018] Is Trump yet another "bait and switch" artist?

Jan 31, 2018 | www.unz.com

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment January 31, 2018 at 8:37 am GMT

@Harold Smith

That was always one of the things that most unnerved me about Trump from the start: what, exactly, motivated him to run? (The other thing about him that bothered me was his overweening Zionism.) The idea that he was some kind of plant certainly did occur to me, but the MSM didn't treat him the way they usually treat 'The Chosen One'. Compare him with the treatment the MSM gave that other 'outside, nontradional' candidate, Emmanuel Macron.

So what did motivate Trump? Ego? Vainglory? Some burning conviction somewhere? I still don't know. One way or the other, though, I'm pretty sure that MAGA is dead.

Harold Smith , Next New Comment January 31, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

"So what did motivate Trump? Ego? Vainglory? Some burning conviction somewhere? I still don't know."

Several lines of reasoning point me to the conclusion that Orange Clown is a "deep cover" or "sleeper" agent that's been "waiting in the wings" for his Zionist masters' call.

I believe that the political ascendancy of Orange Clown should be seen as a sign of Zionist desperation.

Anyway, one valid line of reasoning, IMO, is to rule out anything else. At 70 years old, Orange Clown is no spring chicken. So why would he run run NOW?

If he had actually followed through on his campaign rhetoric, or at least some of it, he'd be considered a true American hero, IMO. He's going to finally get us out of NATO? He's going to pull out of the hopeless war in Afghanistan and cut out the costly and self-destructive nation building crap? He's going to collaborate with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and finally investigate the worst crime in U.S. history?

If so he'd go down in history as a modern American revolutionary. The guy that single-handedly saved America from the "beast". And he's going to begin this herculean task at the age 70 years old? Seriously? How many historical examples are there where a 70 year old all of a sudden became a political visionary and led a revolution?

He's at the age where most people suffer cognitive decline, prostate problems, etc., but he's going to square off against "the powers that be", put himself at risk of assassination and lead a revolution in American politics? I just can't accept that.

Okay, but what about if he wanted to be president "just for a taste of power"? And that's a fair question, IMO.

That may explain why he wouldn't necessarily give a damn about following through on his campaign promises, but it doesn't explain why he would reverse himself on everything of major

[Jan 29, 2018] Watergate -- 40 years later, questions endure about CIA's role in the break in Fox News

Notable quotes:
"... Prior to obtaining his job as chief of security for the Committee to Re-Elect, James W. McCord, the wiretapping expert who had hired Baldwin – and who had personally insisted the break-in move forward that night, even after the burglary team discovered that a Watergate security guard had detected their initial movements – had toiled for years at CIA's shadowy Office of Security. ..."
"... Similarly, an Air Force colonel who participated in CIA's covert operations recalled in 1973: "McCord was just not somebody's little wiretapper or debugging man He's a pro, he's a master. [CIA Director] Allen Dulles introduced him to me and said: 'This man is the best man we have.'" ..."
"... That McCord's loyalties on the night of June 16, 1972 were not aligned with the political well-being of Richard Nixon has long been theorized by Watergate researchers. ..."
"... Baldwin got to know the taciturn McCord better than any other member of the break-in team. "There was something about Richard Nixon," Baldwin told me, summarizing McCord's view of the president they served, "that Richard Nixon wasn't a team player, wasn't an American, wasn't, you know, 'one of us.'" ..."
"... According to Rob Roy Ratliff, the officer who signed the affidavit, Hunt's packages were often addressed to CIA Director Richard Helms and were regularly hand-delivered to agency headquarters until mid-June 1972: when the Watergate arrests occurred. After Hunt's name surfaced in the scandal, CIA's receipts for these packages were destroyed. ..."
"... Previously unpublished testimony taken in executive session by the Senate Watergate committee, and declassified in 2002 pursuant to my Freedom of Information Act request, suggested that Hunt and McCord had indeed traveled in the same circles long before Liddy "introduced" them. ..."
"... Felipe DiDiego was a Cuban Bay of Pigs veteran who took part in both the Ellsberg and Watergate operations. He was questioned in executive session in June 1973 by committee counsels R. Phillip Haire and Jim Hershman, who asked if he had ever met James McCord prior to 1972. ..."
"... Where did Martinez get this key from? What did he expect to find in the DNC secretary's desk? Why was the telephone used by Wells and her boss, Spencer Oliver, wiretapped in the Watergate mission? Why did Baldwin, testifying years later about the conversations he overheard on the DNC wiretap, say that "eight out of ten" listeners "would have said, 'That's a call girl ring. This is a prostitution ring'"? Why did a veteran prosecutor, the assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, testify that he was ordered by his boss, then-U.S. Attorney Harold Titus, to drop an investigation into the DNC's purported links to a prostitution ring? How could so many ex-CIA men, with such conflicted loyalties, have converged on Gordon Liddy's rinky-dink covert operation? And how could such experienced operators have wound up so badly "bungling" the mission? Or were their missteps the result of intentional sabotage? ..."
"... The first answers started appearing in Hougan's landmark of principled revisionism, "Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA" (1984); more evidence surfaced in Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin's controversial bestseller "Silent Coup: The Removal of a President" (1991) and my own book, published, after seventeen years of research, in 2008, sought to advance the story further, on several fronts. ..."
"... Let this, then, be the chief "lesson" of Watergate: that facts matter most of all, and that our lone duty to history, as Oscar Wilde once said, is continually to rewrite it. ..."
Jan 29, 2018 | www.foxnews.com

Forty years ago this Sunday, in the pre-dawn darkness of June 17, 1972, the late Carl Shoffler and two other plainclothes Washington, D.C. police officers, Paul Leeper and John Barrett, were sitting in police cruiser 727, an unmarked vehicle parked at the intersection of 30th and K Streets N.W. At 1:47 a.m., a Metropolitan Police dispatcher issued an urgent call for officers to respond to a burglary in progress at 2600 Virginia Avenue N.W., the Watergate office complex in Foggy Bottom.

Guns drawn, the lawmen started their search on the eighth floor, home to offices of the Federal Reserve, itself the site of a recent break-in. Finding no trouble there, the policemen checked the ninth floor, then meticulously made their way down until they reached the sixth. That entire floor, all 16,000 square feet of office space, was occupied by the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

It remains unsettled as to whether any of the policemen knew in advance what they would find on the sixth floor: the doomed team of five burglars, wearing business suits and rubber gloves, with traceable ties to the Committee to Re-Elect the President and the Central Intelligence Agency. Leeper and Shoffler, for example, had already put in two hours of overtime, and each had forsaken personal obligations to continue working that night. And when the dispatcher's call rang out, it just happened their car was parked less than four-tenths of a mile from the Watergate – about a minute away.

We do know the cops were not moving about undetected. Observing them from a perch across the street, at the Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge – and with rising alarm – was an ex-FBI agent named Alfred C. Baldwin III. Portly and unexceptional, Baldwin had been hired by the Watergate burglars to wear headphones 'round the clock, to monitor the wiretap they had installed, three weeks earlier, in the telephone used by Ida "Maxie" Wells. She was the secretary to an obscure DNC official named R. Spencer Oliver, Jr., whose official title was executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen. Another wiretap, installed on the telephone of Fay Abel, the secretary to Lawrence F. O'Brien, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had never worked properly. The Oliver/Wells office inside the sixth-floor suites was located right on the façade of the Watergate office building, complete with doors that opened up to a balcony overlooking Virginia Avenue. Baldwin's line of sight – both in monitoring the wiretap transmissions across the three-week surveillance operation, and as he observed the cops' progress across the street that fateful night – was perfect.

[pullquote]

He saw two of the officers emerge onto the balcony across the street, shining their flashlights; a third walked into the office directly adjacent. "This is, by the way, Oliver's secretary's office," Baldwin later told the Los Angeles Times. "The entire room lights [up], and [the officer] is going around behind the desks with a gun." Determined to help his confederates, whom he had understood to be performing some top-secret national security mission, Baldwin called out on his walkie-talkie: Base to any other unit, do you read me? "What have you got?" replied the burglars' superior officer, G. Gordon Liddy, the general counsel to the finance arm of the Committee to Re-Elect. Liddy was ensconced in a separate room at the Watergate Hotel with his co-conspirator, White House consultant and former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt. Are our people in suits or dressed casually? Baldwin asked. "Suits," Liddy answered. "Why?" "We got a problem," Baldwin said. "There is a bunch of guys up here and they have guns." Liddy ordered Baldwin to stay put; Hunt was on his way to Baldwin's room.

"Now there is all kinds of police activity," Baldwin recalled later. "We got motorcycles, we got paddy wagons. Guys are jumping out of the cars, running in, uniformed police, bike policemen." Within seconds, Baldwin could hear, over the walkie-talkie, the sound of someone on the team whispering: They have got us.

While the consequences of that morning's events would prove historic and profound – Richard Nixon's resignation from the presidency; the United States' measurable loss, towards the end of its Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union, of global prestige and influence; and the ensuing emasculation of America's intelligence agencies – precious little investigative or scholarly attention was ever focused on the actual break-in and wiretapping operation that touched off the great scandal.

The final report of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972, better known as the Senate Watergate committee, devoted only four of its 1,250 pages to the break-in. "I think we all know what happened on the early morning of June 17," the committee's baldly partisan chief counsel, Samuel Dash, once interjected during an early interrogation of Howard Hunt. But Dash was wrong. After four decades of hearings, trials, investigations, books, films, plays, and documentaries, exploring the details of what happened on June 17, 1972 remains one of the most fruitful areas for further research in the still-nascent field of Nixon and Watergate Studies.

At the time, most of the authorities' investigative energies were focused, not surprisingly, on the burglars' ties to the Nixon re-election campaign: 1972 was, after all, an election year, and that seemed, on the face of things, the swiftest route to tying the president or his top aides to the crime. But the burglars' ties to CIA, which Republicans on the Senate Watergate committee probed with only middling results, warrant continuing scrutiny.

Prior to obtaining his job as chief of security for the Committee to Re-Elect, James W. McCord, the wiretapping expert who had hired Baldwin – and who had personally insisted the break-in move forward that night, even after the burglary team discovered that a Watergate security guard had detected their initial movements – had toiled for years at CIA's shadowy Office of Security. It was this office, at the height of the Cold War, that spearheaded the U.S. government's forays into mind control (Projects Bluebird and Artichoke); assassination attempts, with the aid of the Mafia, on a foreign head of state (Fidel Castro); the use of prostitutes to service and compromise, as needed, the state's assets and enemies; and a vast array of domestic surveillance projects, undisclosed until Watergate, targeting antiwar and radical groups. James Jesus Angleton, the agency's deputy director of counterintelligence, observed that McCord "was an operator, not merely a technician." Similarly, an Air Force colonel who participated in CIA's covert operations recalled in 1973: "McCord was just not somebody's little wiretapper or debugging man He's a pro, he's a master. [CIA Director] Allen Dulles introduced him to me and said: 'This man is the best man we have.'"

That McCord's loyalties on the night of June 16, 1972 were not aligned with the political well-being of Richard Nixon has long been theorized by Watergate researchers. These suspicions were confirmed by the lengthy, previously unpublished interview that I conducted with Al Baldwin, the wiretap monitor, in September 1995. Having spent many hours in May-June 1972 being instructed in the dark arts of surveillance by his boss, Baldwin got to know the taciturn McCord better than any other member of the break-in team. "There was something about Richard Nixon," Baldwin told me, summarizing McCord's view of the president they served, "that Richard Nixon wasn't a team player, wasn't an American, wasn't, you know, 'one of us.'"

Now, that's divulging a little of the personal conversations that Jim and I would have [McCord would say] "You know the people we're dealing with..." And he wasn't talking about the Democrats .I mean, it would be phrased in that kind of a terminology that Richard Nixon was -- not that he was a liar, but that was something -- that he wasn't an American .

Such was the attitude of the former CIA man then serving as chief of security for Nixon's re-election campaign. Questions remain, too, about Howard Hunt. An acerbic and tweedy career CIA officer – and the author, under various pseudonyms, of more than forty spy novels – Hunt had lived a glamorous life of covert adventure. He ran missions behind enemy lines in China for the Office of Strategic Services, CIA's fabled predecessor in World War II, before serving as chief of station in exotic locales like Mexico City and Uruguay.

Hunt made it a point, while working for the Nixon White House, to keep in regular contact with his old chums at CIA, from which he had ostensibly retired in April 1970. In a sworn affidavit submitted to the House Judiciary Committee when it was investigating Nixon's proposed impeachment, a career CIA officer who was detailed to the Executive Office Building described how Hunt in those days "frequently transmitted sealed envelopes via our office to the agency."

According to Rob Roy Ratliff, the officer who signed the affidavit, Hunt's packages were often addressed to CIA Director Richard Helms and were regularly hand-delivered to agency headquarters until mid-June 1972: when the Watergate arrests occurred. After Hunt's name surfaced in the scandal, CIA's receipts for these packages were destroyed. Ratliff claimed the transmitted materials featured "gossip" about members of the Nixon administration. A congressional source confirmed to author Jim Hougan that Hunt's gossip was "very graphic almost entirely of a sexual nature," and that some of it concerned "people who worked in the White House." Such were the activities of the former CIA man then serving Nixon's special counsel, the late Charles Colson, as a consultant on national security.

Hunt and McCord insinuated themselves into the Nixon orbit -- either the White House or the Committee to Re-Elect -- at critical junctures: Hunt, just around the time that the Plumbers were created, in July 1971, to conduct covert investigations and operations aimed at plugging damaging news leaks; McCord, shortly after the Plumbers' break-in at the offices of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, in September 1971, which was carried out by much the same cast of covert characters that was arrested at Watergate, and which had also been organized by Hunt and Liddy.

There is persuasive evidence that Hunt and McCord, despite their disclaimers, first met each other long before Gordon Liddy supposedly introduced them in the spring of 1972. Enrique "Harry" Ruiz-Williams, a Cuban Bay of Pigs veteran, later recalled having met "dozens" of times with Hunt and McCord, together, in New York and Washington, in the years after the failed 1961 invasion. Despite Ruiz-Williams's inherent credibility -- he even remembered Hunt and McCord accidentally using each other's aliases, a mistake repeated, but not widely reported, during Watergate -- his account remained uncorroborated for nearly two decades.

Previously unpublished testimony taken in executive session by the Senate Watergate committee, and declassified in 2002 pursuant to my Freedom of Information Act request, suggested that Hunt and McCord had indeed traveled in the same circles long before Liddy "introduced" them.

Felipe DiDiego was a Cuban Bay of Pigs veteran who took part in both the Ellsberg and Watergate operations. He was questioned in executive session in June 1973 by committee counsels R. Phillip Haire and Jim Hershman, who asked if he had ever met James McCord prior to 1972.

DeDIEGO: Yes, sir. Let me explain to you how it was. I did not tell him anything about it. And this is the first time I am going to tell anyone about this. A long time ago, McCord, working for the CIA, did work with a group of Cubans down in Florida. So I saw him at that time. And I did not talk to him, but I recognized his face when I first saw him here in Washington. But I did not tell him anything about that first day. It was a long time ago down in Florida. And he did work with another name, of course, for the CIA, [with] another group of Cubans down in the Keys.

HAIRE: How long ago was that prior to the date you saw him over at the Watergate?

DeDIEGO: [I]t probably was in 1962, right after the Bay of Pigs invasion.

HERSHMAN: What group of Cubans was he working with?

DeDIEGO: The infiltration group .It was a group of Cubans working for the CIA I would rather not involve these people

There is more, much more: the fact, for example, that one of the Cuban-born burglars on the break-in team, Bay of Pigs veteran Eugenio R. Martinez, was still on the CIA payroll, and had been providing to his agency case officer regular updates on the progress of Liddy's unfolding operation. At the moment the burglars were arrested – at gunpoint – Martinez struggled unsuccessfully to conceal an item on his person; the FBI laboratory later determined it to be a key that fit Ida Wells's desk.

Where did Martinez get this key from? What did he expect to find in the DNC secretary's desk? Why was the telephone used by Wells and her boss, Spencer Oliver, wiretapped in the Watergate mission? Why did Baldwin, testifying years later about the conversations he overheard on the DNC wiretap, say that "eight out of ten" listeners "would have said, 'That's a call girl ring. This is a prostitution ring'"? Why did a veteran prosecutor, the assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, testify that he was ordered by his boss, then-U.S. Attorney Harold Titus, to drop an investigation into the DNC's purported links to a prostitution ring? How could so many ex-CIA men, with such conflicted loyalties, have converged on Gordon Liddy's rinky-dink covert operation? And how could such experienced operators have wound up so badly "bungling" the mission? Or were their missteps the result of intentional sabotage?

These are important questions, for they conjure, like unwelcome ghosts, the enduring mysteries of the momentous events we lump under the catch-call name of "Watergate." The deaths of Nixon and many of his top aides in the intervening decades render the pursuit of these questions no less important or urgent; what mattered to a nation of laws in 1972 should matter today, too. And the answers to these questions will not be found in the collected works of Woodward and Bernstein. Neither of their Watergate books – the now - much - discredited "All the President's Men" (1974) and "The Final Days" (1976) – even mentions Wells or Oliver. The first answers started appearing in Hougan's landmark of principled revisionism, "Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA" (1984); more evidence surfaced in Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin's controversial bestseller "Silent Coup: The Removal of a President" (1991) and my own book, published, after seventeen years of research, in 2008, sought to advance the story further, on several fronts.

Anniversaries like this tend to trigger a lot of pontification about the "lessons" or "myths" of Watergate, but not much reexamination of, or search for, the facts. Let this, then, be the chief "lesson" of Watergate: that facts matter most of all, and that our lone duty to history, as Oscar Wilde once said, is continually to rewrite it.

James Rosen is Fox News' Chief Washington Correspondent and author of The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate. He will discuss his book and its findings on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 17. James Rosen joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 1999 and is the network's chief Washington correspondent.

[Jan 29, 2018] All the President's Men, Revisited - YouTube

Jan 29, 2018 | www.youtube.com

IrenaMV 7 months ago (edited)

Similarities are astounding. Not in circumstances of committing the crime but the way of dealing with the press (Washington Post was shoddy, shoddy, reporters were enemy of the country), denial, obstruction of justice, and most significantly, unfolding the dark side of President personality. But you have to give it to Nixon, he was a smart man, a seasoned politician and prior to Watergate, a patriot. And yes, this quote is worthy to remember, "Dislocated relationship with truth".

[Jan 28, 2018] Robert Parry's Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews by Nat Parry

RIP. He was a very talented and courageous journalist.
Notable quotes:
"... The Reagan administration immediately began exploring ways to circumvent those legal restrictions, which led to a scheme to send secret arms shipments to the revolutionary and vehemently anti-American government of Iran and divert the profits to the contras. In 1985, Bob wrote the first stories describing this operation, which later became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. ..."
"... In particular, the U.S. media's approach to Russia and related issues, such as the violent ouster in 2014 of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, became "virtually 100 percent propaganda," Bob said. ..."
"... He noted that the full story was never told when it came to issues such as the Sergei Magnitsky case , which led to the first round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, nor the inconvenient facts related to the Euromaidan protests that led to Yanukovych's ouster – including the reality of strong neo-Nazi influence in those protests – nor the subsequent conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine. ..."
"... Bob's stories on Ukraine were widely cited and disseminated, and he became an important voice in presenting a fuller picture of the conflict than was possible by reading and watching only mainstream news outlets. Bob was featured prominently in Oliver Stone's 2016 documentary "Ukraine on Fire," where he explained how U.S.-funded political NGOs and media companies have worked with the CIA and foreign policy establishment since the 1980s to promote the U.S. geopolitical agenda. ..."
"... Bob regretted that, increasingly, "the American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the 'other side of the story.'" Indeed, he said that to even suggest that there might be another side to the story is enough to get someone branded as an apologist for Vladimir Putin or a "Kremlin stooge." ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... It did appear for some time at least that a good number of Trump supporters were reading Consortiumnews, which could probably be attributed to the fact that the website was one of the few outlets pushing back against both the "New Cold War" with Russia and the related story of "Russiagate," which Bob didn't even like referring to as a "scandal." (As an editor, he preferred to use the word "controversy" on the website, because as far as he was concerned, the allegations against Trump and his supposed "collusion" with Russia did not rise to the level of actual scandals such as Watergate or Iran-Contra.) ..."
Jan 28, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

It is with a heavy heart that we inform Consortiumnews readers that Editor Robert Parry has passed away. As regular readers know, Robert (or Bob, as he was known to friends and family) suffered a stroke in December, which – despite his own speculation that it may have been brought on by the stress of covering Washington politics – was the result of undiagnosed pancreatic cancer that he had been unknowingly living with for the past 4-5 years.

He unfortunately suffered two more debilitating strokes in recent weeks and after the last one, was moved to hospice care on Tuesday. He passed away peacefully Saturday evening. He was 68.

Those of us close to him wish to sincerely thank readers for the kind comments and words of support posted on recent articles regarding Bob's health issues. We read aloud many of these comments to him during his final days to let him know how much his work has meant to so many people and how much concern there was for his well-being.

I am sure that these kindnesses meant a lot to him. They also mean a lot to us as family members, as we all know how devoted he was to the mission of independent journalism and this website which has been publishing articles since the earliest days of the internet, launching all the way back in 1995.

With my dad, professional work has always been deeply personal, and his career as a journalist was thoroughly intertwined with his family life. I can recall kitchen table conversations in my early childhood that focused on the U.S.-backed wars in Central America and complaints about how his editors at The Associated Press were too timid to run articles of his that – no matter how well-documented – cast the Reagan administration in a bad light.

One of my earliest memories in fact was of my dad about to leave on assignment in the early 1980s to the war zones of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and the heartfelt good-bye that he wished to me and my siblings. He warned us that he was going to a very dangerous place and that there was a possibility that he might not come back.

I remember asking him why he had to go, why he couldn't just stay at home with us. He replied that it was important to go to these places and tell the truth about what was happening there. He mentioned that children my age were being killed in these wars and that somebody had to tell their stories. I remember asking, "Kids like me?" He replied, "Yes, kids just like you."

Bob was deeply impacted by the dirty wars of Central America in the 1980s and in many ways these conflicts – and the U.S. involvement in them – came to define the rest of his life and career. With grisly stories emerging from Nicaragua (thanks partly to journalists like him), Congress passed the Boland Amendments from 1982 to 1984, which placed limits on U.S. military assistance to the contras who were attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government through a variety of terrorist tactics.

The Reagan administration immediately began exploring ways to circumvent those legal restrictions, which led to a scheme to send secret arms shipments to the revolutionary and vehemently anti-American government of Iran and divert the profits to the contras. In 1985, Bob wrote the first stories describing this operation, which later became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

... ... ...

Political Realignment and the New McCarthyism

Although at the beginning of the Obama era – and indeed since the 1980s – the name Robert Parry had been closely associated with exposing wrongdoing by Republicans, and hence had a strong following among Democratic Party loyalists, by the end of Obama's presidency there seemed to be a realignment taking place among some of Consortiumnews.com's readership, which reflected more generally the shifting politics of the country.

In particular, the U.S. media's approach to Russia and related issues, such as the violent ouster in 2014 of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, became "virtually 100 percent propaganda," Bob said.

He noted that the full story was never told when it came to issues such as the Sergei Magnitsky case , which led to the first round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, nor the inconvenient facts related to the Euromaidan protests that led to Yanukovych's ouster – including the reality of strong neo-Nazi influence in those protests – nor the subsequent conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

Bob's stories on Ukraine were widely cited and disseminated, and he became an important voice in presenting a fuller picture of the conflict than was possible by reading and watching only mainstream news outlets. Bob was featured prominently in Oliver Stone's 2016 documentary "Ukraine on Fire," where he explained how U.S.-funded political NGOs and media companies have worked with the CIA and foreign policy establishment since the 1980s to promote the U.S. geopolitical agenda.

Bob regretted that, increasingly, "the American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the 'other side of the story.'" Indeed, he said that to even suggest that there might be another side to the story is enough to get someone branded as an apologist for Vladimir Putin or a "Kremlin stooge."

This culminated in late 2016 in the blacklisting of Consortiumnews.com on a dubious website called "PropOrNot," which was claiming to serve as a watchdog against undue "Russian influence" in the United States. The PropOrNot blacklist, including Consortiumnews and about 200 other websites deemed "Russian propaganda," was elevated by the Washington Post as a credible source, despite the fact that the neo-McCarthyites who published the list hid behind a cloak of anonymity.

"The Post 's article by Craig Timberg," Bob wrote on Nov. 27, 2016, "described PropOrNot simply as 'a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds [who] planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns.'"

As Bob explained in an article called "Washington Post's Fake News Guilt," the paper granted PropOrNot anonymity "to smear journalists who don't march in lockstep with official pronouncements from the State Department or some other impeccable fount of never-to-be-questioned truth."

The Post even provided an unattributed quote from the head of the shadowy website. "The way that this propaganda apparatus supported [Donald] Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy," the anonymous smear merchant said. The Post claimed that the PropOrNot "executive director" had spoken on the condition of anonymity "to avoid being targeted by Russia's legions of skilled hackers."

To be clear, neither Consortiumnews nor Robert Parry ever "supported Trump," as the above anonymous quote claims. Something interesting, however, did seem to be happening in terms of Consortiumnews' readership in the early days of the Trump presidency, as could be gleaned from some of the comments left on articles and social media activity.

It did appear for some time at least that a good number of Trump supporters were reading Consortiumnews, which could probably be attributed to the fact that the website was one of the few outlets pushing back against both the "New Cold War" with Russia and the related story of "Russiagate," which Bob didn't even like referring to as a "scandal." (As an editor, he preferred to use the word "controversy" on the website, because as far as he was concerned, the allegations against Trump and his supposed "collusion" with Russia did not rise to the level of actual scandals such as Watergate or Iran-Contra.)

In his view, the perhaps understandable hatred of Trump felt by many Americans – both inside and outside the Beltway – had led to an abandonment of old-fashioned rules of journalism and standards of fairness, which should be applied even to someone like Donald Trump.

"On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump 'Resistance,'" Bob wrote in his final article for Consortiumnews.

"The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster," he said. "Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal."

He marveled that even senior editors in the mainstream media treated the unproven Russiagate allegations as flat fact.

"No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government's institutions," Bob wrote. "Anti-Trump 'progressives' were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies."


George Eliason , January 28, 2018 at 3:21 pm

Please accept our condolences for your loss which is a loss for all of us. Robert Parry approached investigative journalism with courage and standards that very few people hold. That's what made him a legend. Thank you for inspiring us and raising the bar so journalists hold the standard even higher in the era of fake news because now more than ever that means something.
Thank you.

JWalters , January 28, 2018 at 8:49 pm

"Thank you for inspiring us"

Robert Parry had an invaluable, inspiring combination of integrity and courage. The GREAT work of Robert Parry is an inspiration to double down on the fight against the evils of greed and corruption that are attacking our press and democracy.

Over centuries the human race is making moral progress, though slowly and with setbacks. It requires patience with the fortitude. Working for the truth and justice, while sometimes thankless and often condemned, is a noble work that can bring a deep satisfaction, transcending this world. Robert Parry's light will continue, inspiring other lights.

Mark Rosati , January 28, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Bob was one of the best journalists with whom I ever had the privilege to work, and one of the finest our country has produced. We have lost an insightful, essential voice. He was a superb reporter, writer and editor, highly ethical, and courageous. I deeply regret his passing and wish his family and close friends all the best. -30-

Colin Brace , January 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm

I have been reading Robert Parry since the newsletter days, and this is devastating news. I greatly admired Robert Parry for not only his formidable talents as an investigative journalist but also his great skills as an publisher and editor, without which this site would never have become the indispensable outlet for so many fine independent writers and analysts that it is today. My most profound condolences to the Parry family.

David Smith , January 28, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Through the establishment of Consortiumnews, your father has attained immortality in his profession. Considering the evil vector of 21st century history, in the next 15 years Consortiumnews will be doing some of its most important work.

Anonymot , January 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm

A man who dug deep and documented it all, who went many places where others feared to go, and honest with wherever his research took him, Parry had few equals in this time of junk journalism. He saw through the false facades of the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

Nat, I can only hope that you have inherited those qualities and the journalistic drive of your father.

Susana , January 28, 2018 at 6:47 pm

In these days of malevolent deception and shameless hoodwinkery, dear Bob, you courageously defended truth and honesty. Why is that such a rarity now? Why is this exceptional? Those who would deceive and take advantage of others are far too plentiful. And yet voices of justice arise and break through the cacophony of falsehoods.. voices like yours, Bob. And you continue to resonate onward, amplified by our collective chorus.
The invaluable gift you've given us, beyond your tireless efforts and precious words, is the inspiration to carry on in pursuit of truth. And it is a gift we will always cherish and which we lovingly leave in legacy to our own children.

Rest in peace, Bob.

Barbara Honegger , January 28, 2018 at 9:22 pm

It is with tremendous shock and sadness that we've learned of Bob's passing. He was a brilliant light in the dark world of covert U.S. Government perfidy.

In celebration of that light and knowing that from his new position of enhanced awareness he would want the FULL truth to come to light, the record must note that ConsortiumNews missed 'the' biggest story of the 21st Century which, ironically, is the real reason for the horrendous illegal and unilateral wars beginning with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that Bob so rightly abhored: the truth about who attacked this country on 9/11, the overwhelming compelling facts of which he either refused to look at or, if he did, refused to take seriously.

See: 'Behind The Smoke Curtain' and the '9/11 Museum Virtual Walking Tour' on YouTube. Exposing the Big Lie of the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 was 'the' story that, tragically, 'slipped under the ConsortiumNews radar' because, had it not, Bob's expose of Official 9/11 Big Lie could well have averted what Nat refers to merely as 'the 9/11 Tragedy'. Like the October Surprise, 9/11 was not just a tragedy -- it was High Treason. Also in the spirit of full truth, I know that Bob would want it to be corrected that it wasn't he who 'discovered that there was more to the story' of the origins of Irangate 'than commonly understood'. I was the original source of the October Surprise research and revelations -- my book 'October Surprise' was the first by almost three years before Gary Sick's of the same title, which was in turn followed by Bob's 'Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery'.

Bob was absolutely right about the Tea Party, but I believe the public record will soon show that his skepticism on Trump-Russia collusion was misplaced.

Barbara Honegger

Former White House Policy Analyst and Author of 'October Surprise', Tudor Press, 1989

[Jan 27, 2018] Mainstream Media and Imperial Power

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In my experience as a journalist, the public have always been ahead of the media. And yet, in many news outlets there has always been a kind of veiled contempt for the public. You find young journalists affecting a false cynicism that they think ordains them as journalists. The cynicism is not about the people at the top, it's about the people at the bottom, the people that Hillary Clinton dismissed as "irredeemable." ..."
"... CNN and NBC and the rest of the networks have been the voices of power and have been the source of distorted news for such a long time. They are not circling the wagons because the wagons are on the wrong side. These people in the mainstream have been an extension of the power that has corrupted so much of our body politic. They have been the sources of so many myths. ..."
"... Media in the West is now an extension of imperial power. It is no longer a loose extension, it is a direct extension. Whether or not it has fallen out with Donald Trump is completely irrelevant. It is lined up with all the forces that want to get rid of Donald Trump. He is not the one they want in the White House, they wanted Hillary Clinton, who is safer and more reliable. ..."
"... I have found that those who voted for Clinton are very quick to swallow what mainstream media has to say, and those that voted for Trump, at this moment, hold the media in contempt, however they also very willingly accept Trump's policies and his lies ..."
"... I would like to add, that In the US most of Americans are usually ignorant of politics and government. Many believe that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about the subject. So we have a country of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know. ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Randy Credico: A lot of mainstream journalists complain when Trump refers to them as the enemy of the people, but they have shown themselves to be very unwilling to circle the wagons around Assange. What is the upshot for journalists of Assange being taken down?

John Pilger: Trump knows which nerves to touch. His campaign against the mainstream media may even help to get him re-elected, because most people don't trust the mainstream media anymore.

In my experience as a journalist, the public have always been ahead of the media. And yet, in many news outlets there has always been a kind of veiled contempt for the public. You find young journalists affecting a false cynicism that they think ordains them as journalists. The cynicism is not about the people at the top, it's about the people at the bottom, the people that Hillary Clinton dismissed as "irredeemable."

CNN and NBC and the rest of the networks have been the voices of power and have been the source of distorted news for such a long time. They are not circling the wagons because the wagons are on the wrong side. These people in the mainstream have been an extension of the power that has corrupted so much of our body politic. They have been the sources of so many myths.

This latest film about The Post neglects to mention that The Washington Post was a passionate supporter of the Vietnam War before it decided to have a moral crisis about whether to publish the Pentagon Papers. Today, The Washington Post has a $600 million deal with the CIA to supply them with information.

Media in the West is now an extension of imperial power. It is no longer a loose extension, it is a direct extension. Whether or not it has fallen out with Donald Trump is completely irrelevant. It is lined up with all the forces that want to get rid of Donald Trump. He is not the one they want in the White House, they wanted Hillary Clinton, who is safer and more reliable.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .


Annie , January 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

I've always liked Mr. Pilger, and Mr. Parry, of course, and Hedges and so on However in this statement made by Mr. Pilger, "Trump knows which nerves to touch. His campaign against the mainstream media may even help to get him re-elected, because most people don't trust the mainstream media anymore." I would really disagree based on my own personal experiences. I have found that those who voted for Clinton are very quick to swallow what mainstream media has to say, and those that voted for Trump, at this moment, hold the media in contempt, however they also very willingly accept Trump's policies and his lies, like his climate change denial and his position on Iran. It's more about taking sides then it is in being interested in the truth.

Annie , January 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm

I would like to add, that In the US most of Americans are usually ignorant of politics and government. Many believe that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about the subject. So we have a country of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know.

Joe Tedesky , January 24, 2018 at 6:28 pm

You got that right Annie. In fact I know people who voted for Hillary, and they wake up every morning to turn on MSNBC or CNN only to hear what Trump tweeted, because they like getting pissed off at Trump, and get even more self induced angry when they don't hear his impeachment being shouted out on the screen.

I forgive a lot of these types who don't get into the news, because it just isn't their thing I guess, but I get even madder that we don't have a diversified media enough to give people the complete story. I mean a brilliant media loud enough, and objective enough, to reach the mass uncaring community. We have talked about this before, about the MSM's omission of the news, as to opposed just lying they do that too, as you know Annie, and it's a crime against a free press society. In fact, I not being a lawyer, would not be surprised that this defect in our news is not Constitutional.

Although, less and less people are watching the news, because they know it's phony, have you noticed how political our Late Night Talk Show Host have become? Hmmm boy, sometimes you have to give it to the Deep State because they sure know how to cover the market of dupes. To bad the CIA isn't selling solar panels, or something beneficial like that, which could help our ailing world.

We are living in a Matrix of left vs right, liberal vs conservative, all of us are on the divide, and that's the way it suppose to be. You know I don't mean that, but that's what the Deep State has done to us, for a lack of a better description of their evil unleashed upon the planet.

I like reading your thoughts, because you go kind of deep, and you come up with angles not thought of, well at least not by me so forgive me if I reply to often. Joe

Annie , January 24, 2018 at 10:18 pm

I know I keep referring to Facebook, but it really allows you to see how polarized people have become. Facebook posts political non issues, but nonetheless they will elicit comments that are downright hateful. Divide and conquer is something I often think when I view these comments. I rarely watch TV, but enough to see how TV Talk Show hosts have gotten into the act, and Trump supplies them with an endless source of material, not that their discussing core issues either.

I don't remember whether I mentioned this before in a recent article on this site, but when a cousin posts a response to a comment I made about our militarism and how many millions have died as a result that all countries do sneaky and underhanded things, I can only think people don't want to hear the truth either, and that's why most are so vulnerable to our propaganda, which is we are the exceptional nation that can do no wrong. Those who are affluent want to maintain the status quo, and those that live pay check to pay check are vulnerable to Trump's lies, and the lies of the Republican party whose interest lie with the top 1 percent.

Kiza , January 25, 2018 at 12:36 am

Talking about lies you mention only Trump and the Republicans Annie. Is this because the Democrats are such party of criminals that you consider them worth mentioning only in the crime chronic not in the context of lies?

About that "Climate Change" religion of yours: how much does it make sense that people around US are freezing but TPTB still want to tax fossil fuels, the only one thing which can keep people warm? Does that not look to your left-wing mind as taking from the poor to give to the Green & Connected ? Will a wind-turbine or a solar-panel keep you warm on a -50 degree day? I am yet to live to see one green-scheme which is not for the benefit of the Green & Connected, whilst this constant braying about global warming renamed into climate change is simply as annoying as the crimes of the Israelis hidden by the media (Did you see that photo of a 3-year old Palestinian child whose brain was splattered out by an Israeli sniper's bullet? She must have been throwing stones or slapping Israeli soldiers, right?).

I am not a US voter and I do not care either way which color gang is running your horrible country, because it always turns out the same. But the blatant criminality of your Demoncrats is only surpassed by their humanitarian sleaze – they always bomb, kill and rape for the good of humanity or for the greenery or for some other touchy-feelly bull like that, which the left-wing stupidos can swallow.

Annie , January 25, 2018 at 2:15 am

Oh, Kiza, are you one of those people that patrol the internet for people who dare mention climate change? I have no intentions of changing your mind on the subject, even though my background is in environmental science with a Masters degree in the subject. I am not a registered democrat, but an independent and didn't vote for Clinton, or Trump. I'm too much of a liberal. I'm very aware of the many faults of the democratic party, and you're right about them. They abandoned their working class base decades ago and they pretty much shun liberals within their own party, and pander to the top 10 percent in this country. Yes, both parties proclaim their allegiance to their voting base, but both parties are lying, since in my opinion their base is the corporate world and that world pretty much controls their agenda, and both parties have embraced the neocons that push for war.

P. S. However being fair, the Republican base is the top 1 percent in this country.

Kiza , January 25, 2018 at 6:46 am

Hello again Annie, thank you for your response. I must admit that your mention of climate change triggered an unhappy reaction in me, otherwise I do think that our views are not far from each other. Thank you for not trying to change my mind on climate change because you would not have succeeded no matter what your qualifications are. My life experience simply says – always follow the money and when I do I see a climate mafia similar to the MIC mafia. I did think that the very cold weather that gripped US would reduce the climate propaganda, but nothing can keep the climate mafia down any more – the high ranked need to pay for their yachts and private jets and the low ranks have to pay of their house mortgages. But I will never understand why the US lefties are so dumb – to be so easily taken to imperial wars and so easily convinced to tax the 99% for the benefit of 1% yet again. Where do you think the nasty fossil fuel producers will find the money to pay for the taxes to be or already imposed? Will they sacrifice their profits or pay the green taxes from higher prices?

Other than this, I honestly cannot see any difference between the so called Democrats and the so called Republicans (you say that the Republicans are for the 1%). Both have been scrapping the bottom of the same barrel for their candidates, thus the elections are always a contest between two disasters.

Sam F , January 25, 2018 at 7:02 am

Good that you both see the bipartisan corruption and can table background issues.

Joe Tedesky , January 25, 2018 at 9:09 am

Yeah Sam I was impressed by their conversation as well. Joe

Bob Van Noy , January 25, 2018 at 11:05 am

I agree, an excellent thread plus a civil disagreement. In my experience, only at CN. Thanks to all of you.

Realist , January 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm

I am with you, Annie, when you state that "They [the Democrats] abandoned their working class base decades ago and they pretty much shun liberals within their own party, and pander to the top 10 percent in this country." And yet they are so glibly characterised as "liberal" by nearly everyone in the media (and, of course, by the Republicans). Even the Nate Silver group, whom I used to think was objective is propagating the drivel that Democrats have become inexorably more liberal–and to the extreme–in their latest soireé analysing the two parties:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-the-democratic-party-getting-more-extreme/

In reality, the Dems are only "liberal" in contrast to the hard right shift of the Republicans over the past 50-60 years. And what was "extreme" for both parties is being sold to the public as moderate and conventional by the corporate media. It's almost funny seeing so much public policy being knee-jerk condemned as "leftist" when the American left became extinct decades ago.

Virginia , January 25, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Annie, it's not just the Democrats who are bought and paid for.

Annie , January 25, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Virginia, I didn't say that only the democrats were bought and paid for, but said, " yes, both parties proclaim their allegiance to their voting base, but both parties are lying, since in my opinion their base is the corporate world and that world pretty much controls their agenda, and both parties have embraced the neocons that push for war." I also mentioned that the republicans pander to the top 1 percent in this country.

Virginia , January 25, 2018 at 3:04 pm

And my reply was meant to say,

It's not just the Democrats who pander to the 1% who have bought and paid for them!

NeoCons and NeoLiberals -- same thing!

Otherwise, yep!

[Jan 24, 2018] Destroying, suppressing evidence is FBI standard procedure by James Bovard

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The FBI-issued cell phone of Peter Strzok, whose previous texts to his mistress (also an FBI employee) showed fierce hostility to Trump, suddenly had problems due to "software upgrades" and other issues -- and voila -- all the messages between the two from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017 vanished. ..."
"... Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, notified a Senate committee that "data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected." The missing texts could have obliterated the remnants of credibility of the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign. ..."
"... Conservatives are caterwauling about the vanished evidence but this type of tactic has long been standard procedure for the FBI. Acting FBI chief Patrick Gray was forced to resign in 1973 after it was revealed that he had burned incriminating evidence from the White House in his fireplace shortly after the Watergate break-in by Nixon White House "plumbers." Gray claimed he was resigning to preserve the "reputation and integrity" of the FBI -- but that hasn't worked out so well. ..."
"... The FBI has a long history of "losing" evidence that would tarnish its halo. And for most of the agency's history, judges and Congress have let the FBI sweep its dirt under the rug. ..."
"... Evidence disposal is no problem for politically-favored targets of FBI investigation. A month before the 2016 election, Americans learned that the FBI agreed to destroy the laptops of top Hillary Clinton aides after a limited examination of their contents (including a promise not to examine any emails or content after January 31, 2015) in its investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server. Four Republican congressional committee chairmen complained to Attorney General Lynch that the FBI agreement was " simply astonishing given the likelihood that evidence on the laptops would be of interest to congressional investigators." The FBI shrugged off the Clinton team's subsequent use of bleachbit software to erase thousands of her emails. ..."
"... Jeff Sessions, who was then a U.S. senator and is now Attorney General, condemned the FBI's behavior as "breathtaking ..."
"... Will the FBI face any consequences for its latest lost evidence debacle? In our high-tech era, it is no longer necessary to toss damning evidence into a fireplace. "Software upgrades" sounds so innocuous that only conspiracy theorists could wonder about missing smoking guns. But the FBI is no closer to being compelled to operate openly than when Patrick Gray ignited those White House files. ..."
"... James Bovard is ..."
"... a USA Today columnist ..."
"... and the author of 10 books, including " ..."
"... Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty ..."
"... " (St. Martin's Press, 1994). ..."
Jan 24, 2018 | thehill.com

Congressional investigators were rocked this weekend when the FBI notified them that five months of text messages from a top FBI investigator into the Trump campaign's Russian connections had mysteriously vanished.

The FBI-issued cell phone of Peter Strzok, whose previous texts to his mistress (also an FBI employee) showed fierce hostility to Trump, suddenly had problems due to "software upgrades" and other issues -- and voila -- all the messages between the two from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017 vanished. Strzok, who oversaw the Trump investigation from its start in July 2016, was removed from Mueller's Special Counsel investigation last summer after the Justice Department Inspector General discovered his anti-Trump texts.

Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, notified a Senate committee that "data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected." The missing texts could have obliterated the remnants of credibility of the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign.

Conservatives are caterwauling about the vanished evidence but this type of tactic has long been standard procedure for the FBI. Acting FBI chief Patrick Gray was forced to resign in 1973 after it was revealed that he had burned incriminating evidence from the White House in his fireplace shortly after the Watergate break-in by Nixon White House "plumbers." Gray claimed he was resigning to preserve the "reputation and integrity" of the FBI -- but that hasn't worked out so well.

The FBI has a long history of "losing" evidence that would tarnish its halo. And for most of the agency's history, judges and Congress have let the FBI sweep its dirt under the rug.

In the Ruby Ridge case, when an FBI sniper gunned down an Idaho mother holding her baby in 1992, the chief of the FBI's Violence Crimes division was sent to prison for destroying evidence. When a Senate committee held hearings three years later, four FBI agents took the Fifth Amendment rather than tell the incriminating truth about their activities on the Ruby Ridge case. A subsequent Senate report concluded that the five successive FBI reports of internal investigations of the episode "are variously contradictory, inaccurate, and biased. They demonstrate a reluctance on the part of the FBI initially to take the incidents at Ruby Ridge seriously." Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.) complained, "I would be asked by the FBI to believe (Ruby Ridge) was almost a model of (good) conduct. The conclusion, is drawn, from ... all the people we've heard, that no one did anything wrong of significance or consequence."

The FBI suppressed mounds of evidence regarding its final assault on the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993. The FBI had always vehemently denied that it had any blame for a fire that killed nearly 80 people; six years after the attack, investigators found pyrotechnic rounds the FBI fired into the building before the conflagration erupted. Attorney General Janet Reno lashed out at the FBI for destroying her credibility.

Newsweek reported that, according to a senior FBI official, "as many as 100 FBI agents and officials may have known about" the military-style explosive devices used by the FBI at Waco, despite Reno's and the FBI's repeated denials that such devices were used. The FBI deceived Congress and a federal judge by withholding information that it had six closed-circuit television cameras monitoring the Davidians' home throughout the siege. The resulting films could have the key information that could resolve the major issues of Waco but the FBI withheld the tapes for years, until they were impounded by U.S. marshals.

FBI evidence shenanigans destroyed the prosecution of Cliven Bundy, the Nevadan rancher who was involved in a high-profile standoff with federal agents in 2014. The feds charged the Bundy family with conspiracy in large part because the ranchers summoned militia to defend them after they claimed that FBI snipers had surrounded their ranch. Justice Department lawyers scoffed at this claim in prior trials involving the standoff but newly-released documents confirm that snipers were in place prior to the Bundy's call for help. Federal judge Gloria Navarro slammed the FBI last month for withholding key evidence in the case.

Evidence disposal is no problem for politically-favored targets of FBI investigation. A month before the 2016 election, Americans learned that the FBI agreed to destroy the laptops of top Hillary Clinton aides after a limited examination of their contents (including a promise not to examine any emails or content after January 31, 2015) in its investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server. Four Republican congressional committee chairmen complained to Attorney General Lynch that the FBI agreement was " simply astonishing given the likelihood that evidence on the laptops would be of interest to congressional investigators." The FBI shrugged off the Clinton team's subsequent use of bleachbit software to erase thousands of her emails.

Jeff Sessions, who was then a U.S. senator and is now Attorney General, condemned the FBI's behavior as "breathtaking " :

"I really don't see how Congress can issue a subpoena for records and they then destroy those records. I am telling you that every business knows that if they get a subpoena for business records, and they destroy those records, they are subject to criminal prosecution and will be prosecuted."

Will the FBI face any consequences for its latest lost evidence debacle? In our high-tech era, it is no longer necessary to toss damning evidence into a fireplace. "Software upgrades" sounds so innocuous that only conspiracy theorists could wonder about missing smoking guns. But the FBI is no closer to being compelled to operate openly than when Patrick Gray ignited those White House files.

James Bovard is a USA Today columnist and the author of 10 books, including " Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty " (St. Martin's Press, 1994).

[Jan 24, 2018] Adam Schiff Don't Release FISA Memo Because 'American People to Dumb to Understand it''

Notable quotes:
"... wow!!!!... hes gonna lie to the bitter end, isnt he?.... what a piece of schiff!!! ..."
"... Hey Schiff for Brains, the Public might just be a little bit smarter than you are! Don't underestimate us! ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Democrat Adam Schiff insists the American people are not intelligent enough to understand the FISA memo.


Junior Mudd , 2 days ago

wow!!!!... hes gonna lie to the bitter end, isnt he?.... what a piece of schiff!!!

Junior Mudd , 2 days ago

a "talking point"?... seriously schiff?... how are you even in office with lies like that spewing from your tater trap?

TheGaelicgypsy , 2 days ago

No....... you Adam Schiff are a disservice to the American People, in my opinion.

Kurt Harer , 2 days ago

Hey Schiff for Brains, the Public might just be a little bit smarter than you are! Don't underestimate us!

[Jan 24, 2018] Devin Nunes - Will Expose Robert Mueller

Notable quotes:
"... Comey and the rest know who paid for Dossier but can't say because they know it will bring charges to Hillary and Obama and if they go down so do the rest of them...Mueller and Rosenstien even Sessions knows who paid for the Dossier. ..."
"... The sleazy crossdressing so-called agency was not created for the benefit to the citizens...it was created as a shield for the deep state to hide their dirty deeds...would love to see The U.S Marshal Service raid their putrid dens...but then again...the Marshals might be a part of the swamp as well.... ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Pinned by HeydonMusicpage


Charles Butterfield , 2 weeks ago

The FBI has become little more than a corrupt political protection racket for the Clintons and the Obamas. It is time for President Trump to pump this Cesspool of corruption and incompetence.

George Fitzgibbons , 2 weeks ago

Please do this asap - the cost of this phony investigation is really not right to do to the American public.

BLANCHE JONES , 1 week ago

Laura, Please stop interrupting and let your guests answer the questions.

Some Thought , 1 week ago

Just one question, when is someone going to jail?

Edward Garrison , 1 week ago

Gowdy is all talk and no action.

Kendra Carter , 1 week ago

Lost all faith in the FBI

Sea Shells , 2 weeks ago

DEVIN NUNES....Wonderful!

Stanky Fish Gutz , 1 week ago

lol gullible Trumptard.

Just Saying , 1 week ago

Trey Gowdy is not the man I thought he was. He knows exactly what went on and what's going on.

Kim Coughlin , 1 week ago (edited)

Comey and the rest know who paid for Dossier but can't say because they know it will bring charges to Hillary and Obama and if they go down so do the rest of them...Mueller and Rosenstien even Sessions knows who paid for the Dossier... Come on...keep up the good work guys...I can't see any of the corrupt mungrals giving over anything though ...they wanted more time to try cover up...Obama was part of it...

Marilyn Shealy , 1 week ago

Shouldn't the players in all of this corruption be removed from from the FBI, put on leave until it all gets settled? This is a failed state , who has the right to shut them down?

Matthew Mcgrory , 1 week ago

Not very good intel if they did not know who paid for For dossier. But they know it was 10 million. Yea right.

Harry Weeks , 1 week ago

Hey big mouth Laura , let the man talk. We really don't care what you think.

Terry Shinneman , 1 week ago

You people reps need to have everyone fired that is involved right now

carol marshall , 1 week ago

Yes he is dirty and his gang

shallow depth charge , 1 week ago

The sleazy crossdressing so-called agency was not created for the benefit to the citizens...it was created as a shield for the deep state to hide their dirty deeds...would love to see The U.S Marshal Service raid their putrid dens...but then again...the Marshals might be a part of the swamp as well....

Executive Travel of Nashville , 4 days ago

Who would the people be that are giving this a thumbs down this guy is getting to the truth and finding out how crooked are FBI and Department of Justice is and somebody wants to give it a thumb down like you don't want to know the truth that's crazy but then again liberalism is a disease so maybe that's it

[Jan 24, 2018] Nones: who is wantching the watchmen

Dec 12, 2017 | www.youtube.com

SOS DD , 4 weeks ago

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

J.P. Man , 4 weeks ago

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

Walter Knight , 1 week ago

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

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

Mar 22, 2017 | www.youtube.com

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

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

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

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

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

Michelle The Security Guard , 17 minutes ago (edited)

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

THERE ARE NO TEXTS MISSING!

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

mrmavaw70 , 1 hour ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dennis Rawley , 2 days ago

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

Jane Vanden Heuvel , 2 days ago

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

T 63 , 2 days ago

Awesome speech Trey!!

Ben Safronovitz , 2 days ago

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

Therese Lambela , 1 day ago

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

Sean Bergeron , 2 days ago

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

whispers_hope , 2 days ago

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

Wise Woman , 2 days ago

Love the speech. Respect to Trey Gowdy.

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

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

Rick W , 1 day ago

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

Charles H , 1 day ago

Breathtaking information. Thanks so much for airing.

Walter 1408 , 1 day ago

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

Caleb Engineering, LLC , 1 day ago

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

Patricia Herman , 1 day ago

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

Teddy Dunford , 1 day ago

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

The last iconoclast , 1 day ago

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

Elisabeth Vancamp , 1 day ago

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

James Stamulis , 1 day ago

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

eh10000 , 1 day ago

RELEASE THE MEMO

Peter Sprague , 1 day ago

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

Wide Awake , 1 day ago

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

Pat Defeo , 15 hours ago

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

Robin Ricks , 1 day ago

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

David Gray , 1 day ago

# Release The Memo.

FindLiberty , 1 day ago

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

Thomas Rocco , 1 day ago

Fantastic interview. Saw it's entirety

Jeffrey Robert-Dicken , 1 day ago

treason

Samuel Anderson , 1 day ago

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

Jerk Joker , 1 day ago

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

John Brooks , 1 day ago

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

Jeffrey Robert-Dicken , 1 day ago

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

Giant Sequoia , 1 day ago

Excellent, excellent, excellent report Bill!!!

Rachael SOJ , 1 day ago

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

james goodwin , 1 day ago

Thank god she didn't win

FilthyMcDumpin'Clips , 1 day ago

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

DrewTronics , 1 day ago

Holy wow, thanks for posting Bill!

Noel B , 1 day ago (edited)

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

Granville Higgins , 1 day ago

Trump let them dig their own graves.

Suzie Smith , 1 day ago

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

snowbunny20328 , 1 day ago

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

Jeffrey Robert-Dicken , 1 day ago

can someone wake sessions up?

James Pope , 1 day ago

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

Susan Bennett , 1 day ago

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

JUNITO84 , 1 day ago

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

Tom Smith , 1 day ago

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

AVALON DEJAVU , 1 day ago

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

ak6781fan , 1 day ago

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

Rich P , 1 day ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article was originally published by RT -

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

Jan 22, 2018 | www.washingtonexaminer.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

FBI: OOPS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court the Military Against the Spooks

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those days of standing by are gone.

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

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

And so here we are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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