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Bernie Sanders Election Bulletin, 2017

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[Dec 23, 2017] Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt.

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. ..."
"... And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. ..."
"... Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

Liverpool , December 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm GMT

I was raised by Democrats, and used to vote for them. But these days, I think heck would freeze over before I'd vote Democrat again. From my point of view, Bernie tried to pull them back to sanity. But the hard core Clinton-corporate-corrupt Democrats have declared war on any movement for reform within the Democratic Party. And there is no way that I'm voting for any of these corrupt-corporate Democrats ever again.

Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. We saw the way the corrupt-corporate Democrats colluded and rigged the last Presidential Primaries so that Corrupt-Corporate-Clinton was guaranteed the corrupt-corporate Democrat nomination. That's a loud and clear message to anyone who thinks they can achieve change within the corrupt-corporate-colluding-rigged Democratic Party.

Since I've always been anti-war, I've been forced to follow what anti-war movement there is over to the Republicans. And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. That never happened, and by 2012 I was convinced that even the fake-reformers within the corrupt-corporate Democrats were fakes who only wanted fund-raising but didn't really fight for reform.

Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live.

Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt. Someone needs to fight them. And I sure as heck won't vote for the corrupt and the crooked. Since the Democrats are doubling down on corrupt and crooked and telling such big lies that even Goebbels would blush, it doesn't look like I'll ever vote Dem0crat again.

[Dec 16, 2017] Seth Rich murder: The facts so far by Kit

Aug 11, 2016 | OffGuardian

Last month Seth Rich, a data analyst who worked for the DNC, was shot near his home in Washington DC. He was on the phone to his girlfriend when it happened. Police were called to the scene and discovered the young man's body at roughly 4.20am. It was reported that Rich was "covered in bruises", shot "several times" and "at least once in the back".

The New York Daily News reported:

" police have found little information to explain his death. At this time, there are no suspects, no motive and no witnesses in Rich's murder.

While initial theories were that the killing was robbery or mugging gone wrong, the Washington Post said:

" There is no immediate indication that robbery was a motive in the attack but it has not been ruled out as a possibility."

Rich's family have also reported that nothing was taken:

" [Rich's] hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything."

On August 9th Julian Assange gave an interview on Dutch television in which he seemed to imply that Rich's death was politically motivated, and perhaps suggest he had been a source for the DNC e-mail leak:

That same day wikileaks tweeted that they were offering a $20,000 dollar reward for information on the killing of Mr Rich.

These are the facts of the case, so far. And they are undisputed.

I'm not going to take a position on the motive for Mr Rich's killing, or possible suspects. But I do want to point out the general level of media silence. Take these facts and change the names – imagine Trump's email had been hacked, and then a staffer with possible ties to wikileaks was inexplicably shot dead. Imagine this poor young man had been a Kremlin whistleblower, or a Chinese hacker, or an Iranian blogger.

If this, as yet unsolved, murder had ties to anyone other than Hillary Clinton, would it be being so ritually and rigourously ignored by the MSM?

[Dec 11, 2017] Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up by Alexander Mercouris

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them. ..."
"... The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light. ..."
"... There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; ..."
"... There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy. ..."
"... If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists. ..."
"... Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions . It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in. ..."
"... Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said. ..."
"... Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved? ..."
"... My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos. ..."
"... Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign. ..."
"... It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions. ..."
"... It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared. ..."
"... By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide. ..."
"... They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans. ..."
"... Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing. ..."
"... Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade. ..."
"... once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months... ..."
"... This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alexander Mercouris via TheDuran.com,

Almost eighteen months after Obama's Justice Department and the FBI launched the Russiagate investigation, and seven months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the investigation over, the sum total of what it has achieved is as follows

(1) an indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates which concerns entirely their prior financial dealings, and which makes no reference to the Russiagate collusion allegations;

(2) an indictment for lying to the FBI of George Papadopoulos, the junior volunteer staffer of the Trump campaign, who during the 2016 Presidential election had certain contacts with members of a Moscow based Russian NGO, which he sought to pass off – falsely and unsuccessfully – as more important than they really were, and which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations; and

(3) an indictment for lying to the FBI of Michael Flynn arising from his perfectly legitimate and entirely legal contacts with the Russian ambassador after the 2016 Presidential election, which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations, and which looks as if it was brought about by an act of entrapment .

Of actual evidence to substantiate the claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election Mueller has so far come up with nothing.

Here I wish to say something briefly about the nature of "collusion".

There is no criminal offence of "collusion" known to US law, which has led some to make the point that Mueller is investigating a crime which does not exist.

There is some force to this point, but it is one which must be heavily qualified:

(1) Though there is no crime of "collusion" in US law, there most certainly is the crime of conspiracy to perform a criminal act.

Should it ever be established that members of the Trump campaign arranged with the Russians for the Russians to hack the DNC's and John Podesta's computers and to steal the emails from those computers so that they could be published by Wikileaks, then since hacking and theft are serious criminal acts a criminal conspiracy would be established, and it would be the entirely proper to do to bring criminal charges against those who were involved in it.

This is the central allegation which lies behind the whole Russiagate case, and is the crime which Mueller is supposed to be investigating.

(2) The FBI is not merely a police and law enforcement agency. It is also the US's counter-espionage agency.

If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them.

Since impeachment is a purely political process and not a legal process, should it ever be established that there were such secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy, then I have no doubt that Congress would say that there were grounds for impeachment even if no criminal offences had been committed during them.

The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light.

Specifically:

(1) There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; and

(2) There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy.

Such contacts as did take place between the Trump campaign and the Russians were limited and innocuous and had no effect on the outcome of the election. Specifically there is no evidence of any concerted action between the Trump campaign and the Russians to swing the election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.

As I have previously discussed, the meeting between Donald Trump Junior and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is not such evidence .

If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists.

Why then is the investigation still continuing?

Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions. It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in.

How else to explain the strange decision to subpoena Deutsche Bank for information about loans granted by Deutsche Bank to Donald Trump and his businesses?

Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said.

Yet in the desperation to find some connection between Donald Trump and Russia it is to these absurdities that Mueller is reduced to.

Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved?

My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos.

Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign.

The indictment against Manafort and Gates looks sloppy and rushed. Perhaps I am wrong but there has to be at least a suspicion that the indictments were issued in a hurry to still criticism of Mueller of the kind that was now appearing in the Wall Street Journal.

Presumably the reason the indictment against Flynn was delayed was because his lawyers had just signaled Flynn's interest in a plea bargain, and it took a few more weeks of negotiating to work that out.

It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions.

In fact the Wall Street Journal was more right than it perhaps realised. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the FBI's actions are open to very serious criticism to say the least, and that Mueller is simply not the person who can be trusted to take an objective view of those actions.

Over the course of the 2016 election the FBI cleared Hillary Clinton over her illegal use of a private server to route classified emails whilst she was Secretary of State though it is universally agreed that she broke the law by doing so.

The FBI does not seem to have even considered investigating Hillary Clinton for possible obstruction of justice after it also became known that she had actually destroyed thousands of her emails which passed through her private server, though that was an obvious thing to do.

It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared.

By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide.

In other words it was because of the FBI's actions in the first half of 2016 that Bernie Sanders is not now the President of the United States.

In addition instead of independently investigating the DNC's claims that the Russians had hacked the DNC's and John Podesta's computers, the FBI simply accepted the opinion of an expert – Crowdstrike – paid for by the DNC, which it is now known was partly funded and was entirely controlled by the Hillary Clinton campaign, that hacks of those computers had actually taken place and that the Russians were the perpetrators.

As a result Hillary Clinton was able to say during the election that the reason emails which had passed through those computers and which showed her and her campaign in a bad light were being published by Wikileaks was because the Russians had stolen the emails by hacking the computers in order to help Donald Trump.

It is now known that the FBI also met with Christopher Steele, the compiler of the Trump Dossier, who is now known to have been in the pay of the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign. The first meeting apparently took place in early July 2016, shortly before the Russiagate investigation was launched.

Whilst there is some confusion about whether the FBI actually paid Steele for his information, it is now known that Steele was in contact with the FBI throughout the election and continued to be so after, and that the FBI gave credence to his work.

Recently it has also come to light that Steele was also directly in touch with Obama's Justice Department, a fact which was only disclosed recently.

The best account of this has been provided by Byron York writing for The Washington Examiner

The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.

Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.

Word that Ohr met with Steele and Simpson, first reported by Fox News' James Rosen and Jake Gibson, was news to some current officials in the Justice Department. Shortly after learning it, they demoted Ohr, taking away his associate deputy attorney general title and moving him full time to another position running the department's organized crime drug enforcement task forces.

It is also now known that over the course of the election the FBI – on the basis of information in the Trump Dossier – obtained at least one warrant from the FISA court which made it possible for it to undertake surveillance during and after the election of persons belonging to involved the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

In response to subpoenas issued at the instigation of the Congressman Devin Nunes the FBI has recently admitted that the Trump Dossier cannot be verified .

However the FBI and the Justice Department have so far failed to provide in response to these subpoenas information about the precise role of the Trump Dossier in triggering the Russiagate investigation.

The FBI's and the Justice Department's failure to provide this information recently provoked an angry exchange between FBI Director Christopher Wray and Congressman Jim Jordan during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing Jordan said to Wray the following

Let's remember a couple of things about the dossier. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage and it's been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document -- that it became the basis for a warrant to spy on Americans.

In response Wray refused to say officially whether or not the Trump Dossier played any role in the FBI obtaining the FISA warrants.

This was so even though officials of the FBI – including former FBI Director James Comey – have slipped out in earlier Congressional testimony that it did.

This is also despite the fact that this information is not classified and ought already to have been provided by the Justice Department and the FBI in response to Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

There is now talk of FBI Director Christopher Wray and of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein being held in contempt of Congress because of the failure of the Justice Department and the FBI to comply with Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

During the exchanges between Wray and Jordan at the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Jordan also had this to say

Here's what I think -- I think Peter Strozk (sic) Mr. Super Agent at the FBI, I think he's the guy who took the application to the FISA court and if that happened, if this happened , if you have the FBI working with a campaign, the Democrats' campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document so they can take it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign, if that happened, that is as wrong as it gets

Peter Strzok is the senior FBI official who is now known to have had a leading role in both the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of her private server and in the Russiagate investigation.

Strzok is now also known to have been the person who changed the wording in Comey's statement clearing Hillary Clinton for her misuse of her private email server to say that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless'" as opposed to "grossly negligent".

Strzok – who was the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence – is now also known to have been the person who signed the document which launched the Russiagate investigation in July 2016.

Fox News has reported that Strzok was also the person who supervised the FBI's questioning of Michael Flynn. It is not clear whether this covers the FBI's interview with Flynn on 24th January 2017 during which Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. However it is likely that it does.

If so then this is potentially important given that it was Flynn's lying to the FBI during this interview which made up the case against him and to which he has now pleaded guilty. It is potentially even more important given the strong indications that Flynn's interview with the FBI on 24th January 2017 was a set-up intended to entrap him by tricking him into lying to the FBI.

As the FBI's deputy director of counter-intelligence it is also highly likely that it was Strozk who was the official within the FBI who supervised the FBI's contacts with Christopher Steele, and who would have been the official within the FBI who was provided by Steele with the Trump Dossier and who would have made the first assessment of the Trump Dossier.

Recently it has been disclosed that Special Counsel Mueller sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation supposedly after it was discovered that Strzok had been sending anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton messages to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair.

These messages were sent by Strzok to his lover during the election, but apparently only came to light in July this year, when Mueller supposedly sacked Strzok because of them.

It seems that since then Strzok has been working in the FBI's human resources department, an astonishing demotion for the FBI's former deputy director for counter-intelligence who was apparently previously considered the FBI's top expert on Russia.

Some people have questioned whether the sending of the messages could possibly be the true reason why Strzok was sacked. My colleague Alex Christoforou has reported on some of the bafflement that this extraordinary sacking and demotion has caused.

Business Insider reports the anguished comments of former FBI officials incredulous that Strzok could have been sacked for such a trivial reason. Here is what Business Insider reports one ex FBI official Mark Rossini as having said

It would be literally impossible for one human being to have the power to change or manipulate evidence or intelligence according to their own political preferences. FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

This is obviously right. Though the ex-FBI officials questioned by Business Insider are clearly supporters of Strzok and critics of Donald Trump, the same point has been made from the other side of the political divide by Congressman Jim Jordan

If you get kicked off the Mueller team for being anti-Trump, there wouldn't be anybody left on the Mueller team. There has to be more

Adding to the mystery about Strzok's sacking is why the FBI took five months to confirm it.

Mueller apparently sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation in July and it was apparently then that Strzok was simultaneously sacked from his previous post of deputy director for counter-espionage and transferred to human resources. The FBI has however only disclosed his sacking now, five months later and only in response to demands for information from Congressional investigators.

There is in fact an obvious explanation for Strzok's sacking and the strange circumstances surrounding it, and I am sure that it is the one which Congressman Jordan had in mind during his angry exchanges with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Recently the FBI has admitted to Congress that it has failed to verify the Trump Dossier.

I suspect that Congressman Jordan believes that the true reason why Strzok was sacked is that Strzok's credibility had become so tied to the Trump Dossier that when its credibility collapsed over the course of the summer when the FBI finally realised that it could not be verified his credibility collapsed with it.

If so then I am sure that Congressman Jordan is right.

We now know from a variety of sources but first and foremost from the testimony to Congress of Carter Page that the Trump Dossier provided the frame narrative for the Russiagate investigation until just a few months ago.

We also know that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report about supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election which was shown by the US intelligence chiefs to President elect Trump during their stormy meeting with him on 8th January 2017.

The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth.

The June 2017 article in the Washington Post (discussed by me here ) also all but confirms that it was the Trump Dossier that provided the information which the CIA sent to President Obama in August 2016 which supposedly 'proved' that the Russians were interfering in the election.

As the BBC has pointed out , it was also the Trump Dossier which Congressman Adam Schiff – the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Community, who appears to be very close to some of the FBI investigators involved in the Russiagate case – as well as the FBI's Russiagate investigators were using as the narrative frame when questioning witnesses about their supposed role in Russiagate.

These facts make it highly likely that it was indeed the Trump Dossier which provided the information which the FBI used to obtain all the surveillance warrants the FBI obtained from the FISA court during the 2016 election and afterwards.

Strzok's position as the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence makes it highly likely that he was the key official within the FBI who decided that the Trump Dossier should be given credence, whilst his known actions during the Hillary Clinton private server investigation and during the Russiagate investigation make it highly likely that it was he who was the official within the FBI who sought and obtained the FISA warrants.

Given Strzok's central role in the Russiagate investigation going back all the way to its start in July 2016, there also has to be a possibility that it was Strzok who was behind many of the leaks coming from the investigation which so destabilised the Trump administration at the start of the year.

This once again points to the true scandal of the 2016 election.

On the strength of a fake Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community carried out surveillance during the election of US citizens who were members of the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

Given the hugely embarrassing implications of this for the FBI, it is completely understandable why Strzok, if he was the person who was ultimately responsible for this debacle – as he very likely was – and if he was responsible for some of the leaks – as he very likely also was – was sacked and exiled to human resources when it was finally concluded that the Trump Dossier upon which all the FBI's actions were based could not be verified.

It would also explain why the FBI sought to keep Strzok's sacking secret, so that it was only disclosed five months after it happened and then only in response to questions from Congressional investigators, with a cover story about inappropriate anti-Trump messages being spread about in order to explain it.

This surely is also the reason why in defiance both of evidence and logic the Russiagate investigation continues.

Given the debacle the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community are facing, it is completely understandable why they should want to keep the Russiagate investigation alive in order to draw attention away from their own activities.

Put in this way it is Robert Mueller's investigation which is the cover-up, and the surveillance which is the wrongdoing that the cover up is trying to excuse or conceal, which is what I said nine months ago in March .

Congressman Jordan has again recently called for a second Special Counsel to be appointed .

When the suggestion of appointing a second Special Counsel was first floated last month the suggestion was that the focus of the second Special Counsel's investigation would be the Uranium One affair.

That always struck me as misconceived not because there may not be things to investigate in the Uranium One case but because the focus of any new investigation should be what happened during the 2016 election, not what happened during the Uranium one case.

Congressman Jordan has now correctly identified the surveillance of US citizens by the US national security bureaucracy during the election as the primary focus of the proposed investigation to be conducted by the second Special Counsel.

In truth there should be no second Special Counsel. Since there is no Russiagate collusion to investigate the Russiagate investigation – ie. the investigation headed by Mueller – should be wound up.

There should be only one Special Counsel tasked with looking into what is the real scandal of the 2016 election: the surveillance of US citizens carried out during the election by the US national security bureaucracy on the basis of the Trump Dossier.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

BennyBoy -> MozartIII , Dec 10, 2017 1:29 PM

Top Clinton Aides Face No Charges After Making False Statements To FBI

Neither of the Clinton associates, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, faced legal consequences for their misleading statements, which they made in interviews last year with former FBI section chief Peter Strzok.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/clinton-aides-went-unpunished-after-making-false-statements-to-anti-trump-fbi-supervisor/

zorba THE GREEK -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 12:53 PM

These are acts to overthrow the legitimate government of the USA and therefore constitute treason. Treason is still punishable by death. It is time for some public hangings. Trump should declare martial law. Put Patraeus and Flint in charge and drain the swamp like he promised...

Oldwood -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 2:57 PM

Absolutely. This is not political, about justice or corruption or election coercion, this is about keeping the fires lit under Trump, no matter how lame or lying, in the hopes that something, anything, will arise that could be used to unseat Trump. Something that by itself would be controversial but ultimately a nothing-burger, but piled upon the months and years of lies used to build a false consensus of corruption, criminality and impropriety of Trump. Their goal has always been to undermine Trump by convincing the world that Trump is evil and unfit using nothing but lies, that without Trump's endless twitter counters would have buried him by now. While they know that can't convince a significant majority that these lies are true, what they can do is convince the majority that everyone else thinks it true, thereby in theory enabling them to unseat Trump with minimal resistance, assuming many will simply stand down in the face of a PERCEIVED overwhelming majority.

This is about constructing a false premise that they can use minimal FACTS to confirm. They are trying and testing every day this notion with continuing probes and jabs in hopes that something....anything, sticks.

Hikikomori -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 3:26 PM

Just part of the War on Men. Trump is a man. He lost to It's Her Turn. Therefore he must be taken down.

robertsgt40 -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

Solve the Seth Rich murder and we'll know who "hacked" the DNC emails. Paging John Podesta.

Lumberjack -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 12:44 PM

More Clinton ties on Mueller team: One deputy attended Clinton party, another rep'd top aide

https://www.google.com/amp/www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/08/more-clin...

turbojarhead -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 2:12 PM

I have a question, if someone could answer.

Mueller is a lot of things, but he is a politician, and skilled at that, as he has survived years in Washington.

So why choose KNOWN partisans for your investigation? He may not have known about Strzok, but he surely knew about Weitsmann's ties to HRC, about Rhee being Rhodes personal attorney,..so why put them on, knowing that the investigations credibility would be damaged? No way most of this would not come out, just due to the constant leaks from the FBI/DOJ.

What is the real goal, other than taking Trump down and covering up FBI/DOJ/Obama Admin malfeasance? These goons are all highly experienced swamp dwellers, so I think there is something that is being missed here..

MissCellany , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

" The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth. "

Oh, bull crap. None of them believed a word of it, and at least some of them were in on the dossier's creation.

They just wanted to put over their impeach/resist/remove scam on us deplorables so they could hang on to power and maintain secrecy over all their years of criminal activity.

lester1 , Dec 10, 2017 1:33 PM

Obama weaponized the NSA and FBI to try and take out Trump.

Obama figured Hillary would win and everything would be swept under the rug.

Hopefully Trump fires Mueller over the Christmas weekend!

Reaper , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

The FBI is a fraud on the sheeple. Indoctrinated sheeple believe FBI testimony. The M.O. of the FBI is entrapment of victims and entrapped witnesses against victims using their Form 302 interrogations. The FBI uses forensic evidence from which gullible juries trust the FBI financed reports. Power corrupts. The power to be believed because of indoctrination corrupts absolutely.

https://boingboing.net/2013/05/07/dont-ever-speak-to-the-fbi-w.html

https://www.nationofchange.org/2015/04/21/doj-admits-fbi-forensic-examin...

Trump as Chief Executive can end the FBI policy of interviews without recordings being used to entrap victims and witnesses.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

EXCELLENT ANALYSIS! A+++

Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up

It makes perfect sense.

Stopdreaming -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 1:54 PM

They have the goods on Sessions...he was blackmailed. No other logical explanation for his lack of fortitude.

thebigunit -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:03 PM

Keep your powder dry. Hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

All this crap comes down to ONE THING: Sessions ... why he refuses to fire a mega-conflicted and corrupt POS Mueller...

Investigative reporter Sarah Carter hinted (last Friday?) that something big would be happening "probably within the next forty-eight hours". She related this specifically to a comment that Sessions had been virtually invisible.

I will make a prediction:

THE COMING WEEK WILL BE A TUMULTUOUS WEEK FOR THOSE OBSESSED BY THE "RUSSIA COLLUSION CONSPIRACY" .

First, Sessions will announce significant findings and actions which will directly attack the Trump-Russia-Collusion narrative.

And then, the Democrats/Media/Hillary Campaign will launch a hystierical, viscious, demented political counter attack in a final onslaught to take down Trump.

Expect to see Soros mobs in the streets.

Either Mueller goes, or Trump goes.

turbojarhead -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:37 PM

They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans.

When Trump tries to get out of the trap by leaking he is thinking about firing Sessions, Lispin Lindsey goes on television to say that will not be allowed too happen. If he fires Sessions, Congress would not approve ANY of Trump's picks for DOJ-leaving Rosenstein in charge anyway.

Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:40 PM

There is good reason for optimism: Trumpus Maximus is on the case.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

The design has been exposed. It is now fairly clear WHAT the conspirators did.

We now enter the neutralization and mop-up phase.

And, very likely, people who know things will be EAGER to talk:

FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 1:51 PM

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

thebigunit -> ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 2:02 PM

EXACTLY!

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade.

Mzhen , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

Bloomberg fed a fake leak that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank. Democrats (Schiff) on the House Intelligence Committee fed fake information about Don Jr. that was leaked to CNN. Leading to an embarrassing retraction. ABC's Brian Ross fed a fake leak about the Flynn indictment. Leading to an embarrassing retraction.

Maybe the operation that Sessions set up some time ago to catch leakers is bearing fruit after all. And Mueller should realize that the ice is breaking up all around him.

Angelo Misterioso , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months...

Nunyadambizness , Dec 10, 2017 2:34 PM

This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did, in the classic method of diversion. Sideshow magicians have been doing it for millenia--"Look over there" while the real work is done elsewhere. The true believers don't want to believe that Hitlary and the Democrap party are complicit in the selling of Uranium One to the Ruskies for $145 million. No, no, that was something completely different and Hitlary is not guilty of selling out the interests of the US for money. Nope, Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election. Yep, that's it.

Mueller is now the official head of a shit show that's coming apart at the seams. He was too stupid to even bring on ANY non-Hitlary supporting leftists which could have given him a smidgen of equibility, instead he stacked the deck with sycophant libtard leftists who by their very nature take away ANY concept of impartiality, and any jury on the planet would see through the connivance like glass. My guess is he's far too stupid to stop, and I happily await the carnage of his actions as they decimate the Democrap party.

Show's on, who's bringing the chips?

[Dec 09, 2017] DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party

Currently in the USA only nationalist politicians display some level of courage and authenticity. That's why they attract people.
The problem with superdelegates in Democratic Party is just the tip of the iceberg of the "Clinton transformation" of the party. The Part is now neoliberal party that have nothing to do with the democracy. At best it would qualify as a moderate Republican wing.
Notable quotes:
"... This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime. ..."
"... If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement. ..."
"... No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories). ..."
"... I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic. ..."
"... Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors. ..."
"... under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate. ..."
"... In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited? ..."
"... This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth. ..."
"... See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance). ..."
"... I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. ..."
"... What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan. ..."
"... The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism. ..."
"... And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine. ..."
"... The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People. ..."
"... While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention. ..."
"... I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem. ..."
"... So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole. ..."
"... Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JCC , December 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

Having just read the Autopsy report at https://democraticautopsy.org/wp-content/uploads/Autopsy-The-Democratic-Party-In-Crisis.pdf I couldn't agree more.

The Report is fair, but supporting things like reduction of Super Delegates from the mid-700s to mid-200s is wrong! Complaining about lack of democracy within the Party means getting rid of them altogether! That's just one small example.

This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime.

John k , December 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

Reducing to 200 supers is a good start. Bernie woulda likely won on that basis.

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It is a good start. If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement.

No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories).

Jeremy Grimm , December 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I can't point to any particulars -- but I felt something disingenuous about Norman Solomon -- something 'off'. An even meaner thought came to mind as I listened to his complaints and details of the DNC machinations -- Norman Solomon would be perfect to work for unity in the Green Party. He could make theater of herding the Green cats and accomplish nothing in particular.

I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic.

But this time the DNC has no dying Roosevelt to tack a Truman onto.

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Aye! and you can't burn a thing down by continuing to send it money, or lend it undying support, or by continuing to vote for their horrible lesser evil moderate republican candidates.

I quit the damned party as loudly as i could in november 2016 emails to all and sundry, chewing them all new ones, as it were.

i never heard a word back, of course and the AI that runs the damned thing keeps sending me emails begging for cash; and surveys,lol which i send back to them with my chicken scratch all in the margins with my outrage and my considered opinions. i assume all that goes unread, as well. perhaps if i incorporated and obtained a po box in the caymans or pulau or somewhere

Ted Whittemore , December 9, 2017 at 8:38 am

Short-term (2018)–Norman Solomon is right. Only the Democratic party is in a position to defeat the rightists. In the longer term, Howie Hawkins's recent argument for a new, genuinely working-class party is more convincing to me. It's a lot more work, though.

John Wright , December 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

What may push the Democrats to eventual reform is poor fundraising. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/21/the-dncs-abysmal-fundraising/ But one wonders if Dems will amp up their willingness to do the bidding of the donor class in a last ditch effort to increase their personal wealth.

The DNC may be becoming irrelevant, but individual Democratic politicians can monetize their current positions as they stock their personal lifeboats before the Bernie Sanders mentioned Titanic goes down..

Sid_finster , December 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors.

WobblyTelomeres , December 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Substitute R for D and your statement remains true.

oh , December 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

Instead of thinking short term and trying stay in the Dim party real left wing people need to take the long term view and start a new party which will be the only way forward.

lb , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

I peeked at the News Hour coverage from PBS to check the official line:

In the draft proposal, a special national party commission calls for keeping some 400 members of the Democratic National Committee as automatic delegates to the convention.

But under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate.

And yet

Cohen and other Democrats stressed, however, that commission members have been busy circulating amendments ahead of the commission's weekend gathering in metro Washington.

So, which superdelegates will remain and with what actual constraints, and how far does this move the system away from the status quo? In light of Solomon's interview, I do wonder about actuarial sleigh-of-hand here. Is there a way of affecting a likely purge of 2020 Sanders/"grass-roots" aligned superdelegates now? Is there a way of suggesting that the superdelegates must vote as the states' primaries/caucuses (thus defanging them) but then not actually imposing any real penalty of these "party elders" and such? (Will 2020 be about "unfaithful superdelegates voting their conscience against the party rules for the greater good"?)

In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited?

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

The report itself is worth reading. I downloaded it a while back when Lambert and Yves first posted it.

Solomon gets Moore wrong. Moore is not a neo-fascist or fascist. Moore represents some very deep-seated religious ideas that are prevalent in the South and in the border states. When Naked Capitalism and other sources report a bishop of an African-American church making rather ambiguous comments about the rock with the Ten Commandments, we see an ancient religious attitude emerging:

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/roy_moore_speaks_at_a_black_ch.html

Yet as many Southerners point out, the South has a progressive / populist tradition. And where are the Democrats? To me, this is part of the thorough corruption of the party and its deterioration into a fan club. Too many Democrats are looking for fascists and Rooskies. People are fleeing the party, and various Democrats living the "Don't know much about history" aspect of U.S. culture are desperately trying to pin the fascist label on people. And what is the solution being offered? Fly in Jon Ossoff? He didn't live in the congressional district where he ran anyway, going counter to another deeply held U.S. tradition, that you live in your district.

This isn't about "smart" or not smart thinking. This is about people being so thoroughly corrupt in their thinking that they can only frame questions corruptly and give corrupt answers. Maybe I'm being hard on Solomon, but looking for Benito Mussolini in Alabama is wrong history, wrong metaphor, wrong diagnosis, wrong meme.

Next up? The question and and answer of "gentle" "entitlement" "reform." Corrupt from its very inception.

This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

/\x2

See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance).

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Watt4Bob: You refer here and below to the states along the inland sea, in a sense, the rather eccentric Great Lakes States. I'd add:

–Chicago agitators and the Haymarket "Riot" (which the police caused)
–The United Auto Workers (Flint strike among others).
–Unions and Youngstown.
–Jane Addams and her own ideas about building community and building peace.
–The Milwaukee Socialists and the mayoralty there.
–The whole rambunctious structure (if it's a structure) of neighborhood associations in Chicago, where many of those involved in the Harold Washington campaign got their start.
–Henry Gerber, the Society for Human Rights, and the first agitation for acceptance of gay people, 1924, Chicago. Who even knew that midwesterners thought about politico-sexual themes?

Yes, there is very talented group of people here who simply have to cut down on the distractions and get back to work.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Socialism was actually a powerful movement -- with elected officials -- all throughout the Upper Midwest during the so-called Progressive Era and the 1920s. Part of this was a result of German settlements; any Midwestern town with a significant population of Germans (especially from Hamburg) had a strong socialist impulse. Often this was manifest in the elected officials, but even where the Socialists didn't win elections, they were able to influence policy.

I have little patience for the so-called "Democrats" who, as you said above "don't know much about history".

Rosario , December 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Thank you for bringing those points up. I'd say that buzzwords like fascist and Nazi are bull horned (as opposed to Republican dog whistles) only as a means to distract from actual policy issues (vis-a-vis Bernie), but I wonder if it is the case that even the most cynical Clintonites believe their own BS at this point. These narratives have taken on a life of their own.

I don't think Norman Solomon has bad intentions. If anything he is appealing to pragmatism and reason too strongly in a political environment that is unreasonable. Bernie does a much better job at blowing the emotional horn just enough to fit the political zeitgeist while maintaining an engine of actual policy issues to move his political machine. Historically, this has always been a successful strategy for socialists, Americans love fire-brands.

As far as Norman's claims of fascism I just don't see how tossing around those terms adds any strategic value to the political struggle against the right. It just comes across as preaching to the choir. We (the left) all know Moore is an ass, calling him fascist doesn't make that any more evident. The trick is trying to understand why he is still viable politically to a significant number of people despite being an ass. This was the mistake made with Trump. To loosely paraphrase Adolph Reed, calling something fascist or Nazi and $2.25 will get me a ride on the subway but it does nothing to develop action to counter right wing agendas. The normalization of the right (Republicans) does not occur because they have "better ideas" (their current tax bill shows they aren't even trying to appeal to 99% of society) it is because the current left option in the USA (Democrats) are offering no ideas , or certain members are not allowed to express ideas because of corporate power and corporate-supported political power. Assuming I am directing this at the DNC, then who is actually supporting the so-called fascists?

As goes fascism in the United States, I don't really think anyone has a good definition. Some see it as a politics that are largely aesthetic as opposed to based on discourse or debate. Some see it as a marriage of corporate power with state power with police and military supremacy. By those two measures I think the USA is already deeply fascist. Though it seems by the current measures, the only thing that make someone unequivocally fascist (or Nazi) is their being a bigot. This simplistic view of fascism is an insult to history, and all the people that either died fighting fascism or were sacrificed at its political altar.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm

I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Jack , December 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think a little history would be useful at this point to help us understand that we've been this way before.

As concerns the Minnesota Farmer-Labor party which later merged with the Minnesota Democratic Party to form the DFL, which has lately devolved, IMO, Wellstone and Franken not withstanding, to much more closely resemble the party of Clintonism than the party of the young Hubert Humphrey.

Quotes are from Wikipedia ;

The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party emerged from the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota and the Union Labor Party in Duluth, Minnesota, on a platform of farmer and labor union protection, government ownership of certain industries, and social security laws.[2] One of the primary obstacles of the party, besides constant vilification on the pages of local and state newspapers, was the difficulty of uniting the party's divergent base and maintaining political union between rural farmers and urban laborers who often had little in common other than the populist perception that they were an oppressed class of hardworking producers exploited by a small elite.

That 'divergent base' thing ring a bell anyone?

"The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.

At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state."

The upper-midwest was fly-over land long before the Wright brothers, and it makes perfect sense that the the Minnesota Farmer-Labor, and its predecessor, the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota should sprout here, where the effects of elite neglect/abuse and the related Great Depression had left We the People feeling mis/unrepresented by the two national parties.

Of course it's good to remember that Hubert Humphrey, and the Minnesota Democratic party did not embrace the populist revolt until it had been successful on its own, in electing multiple Minnesota Governors, Senators, and Representatives in the 1920-30's, but embrace it they did, and from 1944 until the 1970's, the DFL stood for something a bit more than the local franchise of the National Party.

I strongly encourage you to follow the links in the quotes above, you'll find the history of, among other things, the Bank of North Dakota, still the only state-owned bank in the country, founded in 1919 to allow ND farmers to break the strangle-hold that banks in Minneapolis and Chicago held over the farmers of the northern plains, and demand of working people for free, universal health-care.

So far, the Democratic party, sadly, including the DFL, seems dedicated to putting down the populist revolt by its neglected base, but with some hard work maybe this time around we can figure out how to shorten the time between being resisted and being embraced.

The enemies are perennial, so are the solutions, but populism did have a season of successes in the first half of the 20th century, and there is no reason to think it couldn't happen again.

Remember too, the Non Partisan League of Alberta Canada, and was one of the principal champions of universal healthcare that Canadians now enjoy.

Jerry , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think incumbent Governors and Congress members have earned the right to be a super delegate by virtue of having won their own election. Their re-election will be affected by the top of the ticket.

If Repubs had been blessed with super delegates, would Trump have still won?

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Yes! I missed your comment when I posted a reply to another comment at 1:02 pm.

flora , December 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

July 2016, after the primaries were over, the WaPo, that bastion of Dem estab groupthink, suggested the GOP adopt super delegates to avoid another surprise primary outcome. And we see how well not having super delegates turned out for the GOP.

"There are probably a few missteps I am forgetting. Priebus's spinelessness may well result in an irretrievably divided party, not to mention a humiliating loss in a critical, entirely winnable election. Priebus's successor had better learn some lessons from 2016. He or she might also consider using super delegates. It turns out party grownups are needed. This cycle they've been AWOL."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/08/ten-mistakes-reince-priebus-made/?utm_term=.0c7187bd122d

Fast forward to today. Yeah, not having super delegates really cost the GOP in the general election. not.

Sluggeaux , December 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism.

They're not going to let go of the self-licking ice cream cone that the Democrat Party has become until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. That day may be coming soon; however, the current coup d'etat in Washington may render a party of $27 donors irrelevant

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

This: "until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. "^^^

A similar sentiment was included in all of the flurry of angry emails i sent hither and yon when I quit the demparty right after the election. ie: the current course of pleasing the donors is unsustainable if they continue to chase off their own base. what are the donors paying for?

one would presume a voice in gooberment .meaning won seats,lol.
without voters, why would any self respecting conglomerate continue to shell out dough to the demparty?
of course, all the hippie-punching and other abuse of their base makes perfect sense if the demparty is, in truth, a ringer party for the oligarchs a pressure relief valve, like on the side of a water heater
if, in other words, they pretend to be the "opposition" and "for the people"(tm) so all us'n's don't go rabid and Wobbly.
This seems a more and more likely explanation every week.

Blue Pilgrim , December 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Perhaps old age and failing memory is to blame, but I can't remember not hearing the nonsense arguments of 'vote for the lesser of two evils and reform from within', and the fear mongering about the right or Republicans winning. (Republicans used to have sort-of 'liberal' members, like Lowell Weicker, who would make current Democrats look like fascists -- well, a lot of them are really ). It never worked and everything just gets worse.

And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine.

I've given up on both parties, and their phony elections -- there are no solutions there. What is needed is to see through the games and destroy the machine. Not easy but there is no other way. Solomon is part of the machine, and the so-called 'progressives' are not progressive. We are at the point where the only possible solutions are radical -- striking at the root. The collapse of the empire and capitalism (corporatism -- just a larval stage of fascism) is coming one way or another because it is not sustainable -- and that which cannot be sustained will not be. It's like how slavery and feudalism reached a point where they could no longer survive as dominant systems, nor returned to as such (similar to how the gold standard, or non-tech agricultural society can not be universally restored). The writing finger moves on.

We can either see how the global wind of history and culture is blowing and intelligently move ahead with it, or we can destroy ourselves. The action must be on the streets, in the workplace, from the masses, in collective consciousness, and world wide. Democrat shills like Solomon and clowns like Trump should be ignored as symptomatic noise.

Interview of Richard Wolff by Jimmy Dore has some hints:
https://subtletv.com/baajhiq/Jimmy_Dore_Show_goes_full_socialist_with_Prof_Richard_Wolff

Chauncey Gardiner , December 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People.

Thank you for shining the light on this latest episode of their actions for their financial benefactors.

Arizona Slim , December 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Just got back from running errands. While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention.

JBird , December 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

it's really not possible for the leaders at the national level of the Democratic Party to have a close working relationship with the base when it's afraid of the base.

And strangely, this is a big reason for why after three plus decades, I am no longer an active member of the party. If you treat the majority of American nation as dangerous, deplorable, or at best just dumb, please don't be shocked when people start either start ignoring you, or just try to get rid of.

I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem.

So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole.

Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop.

[Dec 08, 2017] Republican 'Deficit Hawks'

Notable quotes:
"... The Demopublican War Party: United to shovel more money into the maw of the oligarch class while stealing dollars, services, and servitude from the working class. Reverse Robin Hood/Reverse Socialism in full effect. ..."
"... Currently, we have $20T debt but the U.S. govt is borrowing at short term rates in order to get this amazingly low debt service. ..."
"... Does anyone else believe that this is the game the U.S. govt is playing? If it is then I wonder what the consequences are in keeping short term interest rates at artificially low levels in perpetuity. ..."
"... I'll start taking the "deficit hawks" seriously when they start talking Defense procurement reform. Until then, its just "balance the budget on the backs of widows and orphans". ..."
"... For those who are fortunate enough not to live in these Benighted States: have pity upon us, especially those of us who done our best to fight against this horror show. Democraps are either just as bad or worse bc of their duplicity. The GOP is, at least, totally loud and proud of who they are, and no more dog whistles for them. ..."
"... poll end of October 2017 shows widespread fed up with government policies and war https://www.charleskochinstitute.org/news/cki-real-clear-politics-foreign-policy-poll/ ..."
"... It is impressive how the Democrats do nothing, but nothing at all against the catastrophic tax 'reform', instead - me too! ..."
"... I am still waiting on my Reagan trickle down. Reagan and fellow thieves stole social security funds to make their deficit look lower. Those funds have not been paid back....approximately $3,000,000,000,000. Now the dead beats are planning on slipping out of town. ..."
"... We should go back to the 1960 tax structure , the one in place after eight years of Eisenhower, so it should get plenty of Republican support, yes? ..."
"... You are already seeing the consequences of artificially low short term rates. Negative yielding sovereign European debt - meaning you pay to lend to some European governments. ..."
"... People don't understand what money is our how it is and can be created. They imagine it is like gold and limited in supply so that government can spend only from a finite supply which they must obtain by taxes or loans that require interest to be paid. This fable is about as true as Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Money has no value but as an instrument of exchange. It can be created by government to pay for benefit of a nation. Instead we allow private bankers to create money via loans (no printing press needed its just a line item on a spread sheet on their computers which shows up in the borrowers account) The privately owned central bank system limits or increases the supply by various means in a cyclical manner which leads to boom and bust cycles in the economy. The rich get richer after each bust cycle since they have cash to acquire assets available at depressed prices ..."
"... There's no reason why with the current state of technology so much money is needed to campaign for office. Almost as if the MSM is conditioning us to believe it necessary. There's no reason some one can't run a campaign using social media, YouTube and video conferencing instead of advertising (on same MSM) travelling long distances to campaign rallies and broadcast advertising. Microdonations and volunteering assistance can take care of the rest. If there is a will, there's a way to run an outsider as a candidate. The recent death of Anderson reminded me of his difficulties running, but he ran at a time when none of these technologies existed. ..."
"... Churning out extra dosh works when it is part of a larger plan to increase productivity by encouraging people outta pointless 'shit industry' service jobs into either outright production like manufacturing or primary industry, or infrastructure investment like railways, roads, bridges & renewable energy projects. Just pumping fresh new bills into health n education will be great for those who work in these sectors, but is unlikely to create much flow on to the rest of the population. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Republican way of governing.

Ryan: Tax cuts have to be deficit neutral to conform with reconciliation - Sep 28 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday said the tax cuts included in the tax reform package Republican lawmakers crafted in conjunction with the Trump Administration have to be deficit neutral so as to conform with budget reconciliation rules.

GOP tax plan unlikely to swell deficit: Speaker Ryan tells Reuters - October 25, 2017

The U.S. Republican tax cut plan that President Donald Trump wants passed by the end of the year is unlikely to trigger a big deficit expansion because it will spur more investment and job growth, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Ryan: I'm a deficit hawk and 'a growth advocate' - Nov 5 2017

"Paul Ryan deficit hawk is also a growth advocate. Paul Ryan deficit hawk also knows that you have to have a faster growing economy, more jobs, bigger take-home pay, that means higher tax revenues ," Ryan told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

Ryan Dismisses Deficit Concerns to Chase a Political Win on Taxes - Nov 27 2017

The tax overhaul legislation that Ryan shepherded through the House -- the Senate takes up its version this week -- would add at least $1 trillion to budget deficits over the next decade, even when accounting for economic growth, according to independent tax analysts.

CBO: Senate tax plan would increase deficit by $1.4T over 10 years - Nov 27 2017

The Senate GOP's tax plan would increase the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 - Dec 6 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday said House Republicans will aim to cut spending on Medicare, Medicaid and welfare programs next year as a way to trim the federal deficit .

"We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit ," Ryan said during an interview on Ross Kaminsky's talk radio show.

And no. The Democrats aren't any better. Look at the trillions Obama handed to Wall Street. That wasn't even a tax cut, it was a give-away. Obamacare is a sham, willfully constructed in way that makes sure it can't survive. The Democrats only pretend to care for the people. As soon as they again have a majority and fake intent for pro-social reforms the Repubs will again whine about the deficit and the Democrats will be happy to fold.

WorldBLee , Dec 7, 2017 2:37:31 PM | 3
The Demopublican War Party: United to shovel more money into the maw of the oligarch class while stealing dollars, services, and servitude from the working class. Reverse Robin Hood/Reverse Socialism in full effect.
NemesisCalling , Dec 7, 2017 2:37:55 PM | 4
Indeed. Two faces, same coin. The msm desperately wants to keep the relevant the age-old rope-a-dope of the Demotards vs. Rethuglicans 2K17! Jesus, ever-loving-Christ, though, you fuck with social security and Medicare and you bring on the wrath of AARP's membership.

Release the BLUE-HAIRS!

Can't wait, but that is another struggle for another day. In the mean time, I notice that even the mention of Paul Ryan elicits a shudder. Such a slime.

Christian Chuba , Dec 7, 2017 3:57:35 PM | 5
The annual debt service on $20T Debt

It [was] a remarkably low $240B as of 2016. Does this mean that the Fed can just keep short term rates low or even reduce them, vis-a-vis the Japanese model, and allow U.S. govt debt to grow to arbitrarily high levels?

Currently, we have $20T debt but the U.S. govt is borrowing at short term rates in order to get this amazingly low debt service. Now let's suppose over the next 50yrs our national debt grows to a ridiculous $100T, if the fed puts short term rates at 0.1% then our annual debt service will still be at the same levels or less.

Does anyone else believe that this is the game the U.S. govt is playing? If it is then I wonder what the consequences are in keeping short term interest rates at artificially low levels in perpetuity.

Antithesis , Dec 7, 2017 4:05:18 PM | 6
Here's to the evolving True Political Awakening . Move beyond the two-faced monkeys; the 2-faced division-makers; the 2 lying parties. Move beyond them into yourself, your own mind and thoughts, owned by no-one; a critical and independent thinker who seeks the truth.
DMC , Dec 7, 2017 4:07:07 PM | 7
I'll start taking the "deficit hawks" seriously when they start talking Defense procurement reform. Until then, its just "balance the budget on the backs of widows and orphans".
Whyawannaknow1 , Dec 7, 2017 4:18:08 PM | 8
There was a large mound formed recently over the grave of former Republican senator from WI Bob Lafollette Sr., this protrusion was caused by his rapidly spinning corpse.
RUKidding , Dec 7, 2017 4:18:32 PM | 9
For those who are fortunate enough not to live in these Benighted States: have pity upon us, especially those of us who done our best to fight against this horror show. Democraps are either just as bad or worse bc of their duplicity. The GOP is, at least, totally loud and proud of who they are, and no more dog whistles for them.

The Democrats, all while the GOP Tax SCAM was being shoved down our gobs, wasted all of their time and "emotions" on a witch hunt to toss Al Franken outta the Senate. Franken is not my favorite Senator by a long shot, but this is yet another chapter of the Democraps ACORNing their own purportedly in the name of "taking the moral high ground." My Aunt Fanny.

Complicit, greedy, conniving, venal, deplorable bastards the whole d*mn lot with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders (no great shakes but the pick of the litter).

Ugh. Don't get me started on all of those dual Israeli/USA citizens in riddling our Congress. They are ALL in favor of this Jerusalem travesty with Schmuck Schumer leading the charge. That's not about Trump... or not much about Trump. I place blame on worthless scum like Schumer.

This is why people voted for Trump: they could see the worthlessness of both parties. Of course, voting for Trump was a complete Mug's game, as for sure, the way things have turned out was a foregone conclusion.

We are so screwed.

Sid2 , Dec 7, 2017 4:25:30 PM | 10
poll end of October 2017 shows widespread fed up with government policies and war https://www.charleskochinstitute.org/news/cki-real-clear-politics-foreign-policy-poll/
Pnyx , Dec 7, 2017 5:01:53 PM | 13
Agree 200 % B. It is impressive how the Democrats do nothing, but nothing at all against the catastrophic tax 'reform', instead - me too!
ger , Dec 7, 2017 5:06:38 PM | 14
I am still waiting on my Reagan trickle down. Reagan and fellow thieves stole social security funds to make their deficit look lower. Those funds have not been paid back....approximately $3,000,000,000,000. Now the dead beats are planning on slipping out of town.
nonsense factory , Dec 7, 2017 5:18:09 PM | 15
We should go back to the 1960 tax structure , the one in place after eight years of Eisenhower, so it should get plenty of Republican support, yes?

top rate on regular income: 91%
top rate on capital gains: 25%
top rate on corporate tax: 52%

The top income tax tier back then was $400,000 - adjusted for inflation to 2017 dollars, that's about $10 million. So anyone with an income of $10 million would still get a take-home pay of $1 million a year. Seems like the right thing to do, doesn't it?

jo6pac , Dec 7, 2017 5:49:00 PM | 16
Good one b, the demodogs will stoop their feet point figures so they can raise lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$ to pay their friends the consultants and lose more seats. It's what they do best.

https://shadowproof.com/2017/12/01/history-suggests-democrats-unlikely-to-repeal-unpopular-tax-bill-if-it-passes/

If they did get power back they won't be giving anything back to us on Main Street for they have the same puppet masters as the repugs.

Debsisdead , Dec 7, 2017 7:10:03 PM | 17
I've almost given up. It's not just amerika; lookit Australia this week where the citizens are being distracted by a same sex marriage beatup which should have been settled in 5 minutes years ago - meanwhile the last vestiges of Australia's ability to survive as a sovereign state are being flogged off to anyone with a fat wedge in their kick.

Aotearoa isn't much better the 'new' government which was elected primarily because the citizens were appalled to discover that for about the first time in 150 years, compatriots - compatriots with jobs in 'the gig economy' were homeless in huge numbers, has just announced that the previous government's housing policy was a total mess, and that fixing the problem will be difficult -really Jacinda we never woulda guessed, I guess what yer really trying to say is nothing is gonna change.

The englanders are in even worse trouble with their brexit mess, the political elite is choosing to ignore a recent Northern Ireland poll which revealed that most people in the north would rather hook up with Ireland than stay with an non EU UK, so the pols there are arguing over semantics about the difference between "regulatory alignment" and "regulatory equivalence" as it applies to Ulster while the pound is sinking so fast it is about to establish equivalence with the euro by xmas.

No one is paying attention to what is really happening as in between giving us the lowdown on which 2nd rate mummer was rude to a 3rd rate thespian and advertorials about the best chronometer (who even wears a watch in 2017?) for that man in your life, the media simply doesn't have the time much less the will to tell the citizens how quickly their lives are about to go down the gurgler.

The only salient issue is - will the shit hit the fan before the laws are in place to silence, lock up and butcher dissenters, or will there be a brief period where we hit the barricades and have a moment of glory before humanity gets to enjoy serfdom Mk2?

ab initio , Dec 7, 2017 7:48:17 PM | 18
b, have you really taken a look at federal government spending? What is the ratio of spending by the German government between social programs and discretionary spending for defense, agriculture subsidies, infrastructure, etc?

The majority of federal government spending is non-discretionary social entitlement spending with the biggest being health care spending. Just Medicare & Medicaid is a third of all federal government spending. Then you have to add health care spending for federal government employees and members of Congress, Tricare and VA. With health care costs growing at 9% each and every year as it has for the past 30 years, medical related expenditures as a share of total federal government spending will continue to rise.

Deficits will continue to grow as these entitlement programs grow automatically as eligibility grows. Even if all defense expenditures were zeroed out, the federal government would still run a deficit.

ab initio , Dec 7, 2017 8:04:06 PM | 19
Christian Chuba @5

You are already seeing the consequences of artificially low short term rates. Negative yielding sovereign European debt - meaning you pay to lend to some European governments.

European junk bonds with 10 year duration yielding less than 10 yr US Treasury bond. Loss making, junk rated European companies raising even more intermediate term debt at 0.001%. Corporations borrowing to buy back stock. The Swiss National Bank creating money out of thin air and owning $85 billion of US equity in major US companies like Apple & Google. The Bank of Japan owning a third of all Japanese government bonds outstanding and the Top 10 holder of the companies in the Nikkei 100 index. Financial speculation off the charts across the globe.

Pft , Dec 7, 2017 8:24:12 PM | 20
People don't understand what money is our how it is and can be created. They imagine it is like gold and limited in supply so that government can spend only from a finite supply which they must obtain by taxes or loans that require interest to be paid. This fable is about as true as Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Money has no value but as an instrument of exchange. It can be created by government to pay for benefit of a nation. Instead we allow private bankers to create money via loans (no printing press needed its just a line item on a spread sheet on their computers which shows up in the borrowers account) The privately owned central bank system limits or increases the supply by various means in a cyclical manner which leads to boom and bust cycles in the economy. The rich get richer after each bust cycle since they have cash to acquire assets available at depressed prices

As for the debt owed by the US the privately owned Fed will ensure the government can borrow whatever is needed for interest payments since they can create an infinite supply of money by acquiring junk and calling them assets. Out pal OPEC (Saudis) keeps Petro dollar (USD ) in demand and exchange rates are set within agreed upon limits by the worlds central banks under the BIS, with input from various shadowy groups like Bilderbergers, trilaterals and CFR. And if all else fails, an attack on the USD will result in the military option being used

To remain in power corrupt governments rely on a citizen base that is uneducated or misinformed, busy surviving to pay taxes and daily expenses, is dependent on government and in debt and is well entertained. They must also be divided by religion, race, social, gender, age and party (secular religion) and given a common external enemy to fear.

The system is working to perfection. Neoliberal economics is the icing on the cake and is the gift that keeps on giving to the chosen ones.

Check out the pdf on money creation by the Bank of England

666 Fifth Av , Dec 7, 2017 8:33:36 PM | 21

There's no reason why with the current state of technology so much money is needed to campaign for office. Almost as if the MSM is conditioning us to believe it necessary. There's no reason some one can't run a campaign using social media, YouTube and video conferencing instead of advertising (on same MSM) travelling long distances to campaign rallies and broadcast advertising. Microdonations and volunteering assistance can take care of the rest. If there is a will, there's a way to run an outsider as a candidate. The recent death of Anderson reminded me of his difficulties running, but he ran at a time when none of these technologies existed.

I think people are just too lazy to make the effort. Most elections people are just too lazy to even vote.

Debsisdead , Dec 7, 2017 9:05:18 PM | 22
@Pft | Dec 7, 2017 8:24:12 PM | 20

While I agree that money can just be created there is a limit to that particularly when low constraints on consumable supplies run parallel to established shortfalls on finite goods such as houses, land, food etc. Inflation runs rampant and we weak humans distract ourselves with cheap baubles instead of creating useful shit and putting a roof over the heads of our children - "waddaya want for xmas kid, a freehold shithole or a new VR headset?" "I'll take the vive Dad".

Churning out extra dosh works when it is part of a larger plan to increase productivity by encouraging people outta pointless 'shit industry' service jobs into either outright production like manufacturing or primary industry, or infrastructure investment like railways, roads, bridges & renewable energy projects. Just pumping fresh new bills into health n education will be great for those who work in these sectors, but is unlikely to create much flow on to the rest of the population.

[Dec 03, 2017] Another Democratic party betrayal of their former voters. but what you can expect from the party of Bill Clinton?

Highly recommended!
Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

And I feel like the Democrats get so distracted. They have been talking about sexual harassment and stuff instead of the TAX BILL. It is so damn easy to get them to take their eyes off the ball! and get played again and again. . . and TRAGIC given the consequences . . .

Big River Bandido , December 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

It's the perfect "distraction". Allows them to engage in virtue-signaling and "fighting for average Americans". It's all phony, they always "lose" in the end getting exactly what they wanted in the first place, while not actually having to cast a vote for it.

Kabuki theater in every respect.

jrs , December 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It's all related, less safety net and more inequality means more desperation to take a job, *ANY* job, means more women putting up with sexual harassment (and workplace bullying and horrible and illegal workplace conditions etc.) as the price of a paycheck.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Horrible Toomey's re-election was a parallel to the Clinton/Trump fiasco. The Democrats put up a corporate shill, Katie McGinty that no-one trusted.

"Former lobbyist Katie McGinty has spent three decades in politics getting rich off the companies she regulated and subsidized. Now this master of the revolving-door wants Pennsylvania voters to give her another perch in government: U.S. Senator." Washington Examiner.

She was a Clintonite through and through, that everyone, much like $Hillary, could see through.

Expat , December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

To paraphrase the Beatles, you say you want a revolution but you don't really mean it. You want more of the same because it makes you feel good to keep voting for your Senator or your Congressman. The others are corrupt and evil, but your guys are good. If only the others were like your guys. News flash: they are all your guys.

America is doomed. And so much the better. Despite all America has done for the world, it has also been a brutal despot. America created consumerism, super-sizing and the Kardashians. These are all unforgivable sins. America is probably the most persistently violent country in the world both domestically and internationally. No other country has invaded or occupied so much of the world, unless you count the known world in which case Macedonia wins.

This tax plan is what Americans want because they are pretty ignorant and stupid. They are incapable of understanding basic math so they can't work out the details. They believe that any tax cut is inherently good and all government is bad so that is also all that matters. They honestly think they or their kids will one day be rich so they don't want to hurt rich people. They also believe that millionaires got their money honestly and through hard work because that is what they learned from their parents.

Just send a blank check to Goldman Sachs. Keep a bit to buy a gun which you can use to either shoot up a McDonalds or blow your own brains out.

And some people still ask me why I left and don't want to come back. LOL

tony , December 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

Macedonia of today is not the same are that conquered the world. They stole the name from Greeks.

That being said, the US is ripe for a change. Every policy the current rulers enact seems to make things better. However, I suspect a revolution would kill majority of the population since it would disrupt the all important supply chains, so it does not seem viable.

However, a military takeover could be viable. If they are willing to wipe out the most predatory portions of the ruling class, they could fix the healthcare system, install a high-employment policy and take out the banks and even the military contractors. Which could make them very popular.

False Solace , December 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

> a military takeover could be viable

Yeah, right. Have you seen our generals? They're just more of the same leeches we have everywhere else in the 0.01%. Have you seen any of the other military dictatorships around the world, like actually existing ones? They're all brilliantly corrupt and total failures when it comes to running any sort of economy. Not to mention the total loss of civil rights. Americans have this idiotic love of their military thanks to decades of effective propaganda and think the rule of pampered generals would somehow be better than the right to vote. Bleh.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

This is a military dictatorship. The fourth and sixth amendments have been de facto repealed. Trump cared about one thing and one thing only, namely to repeal the estate tax. He is the ultimate con man and this was his biggest con. It is truly amazing how he accomplished this. He has saved his family a billion $$$. He will now turn over governing to the generals and Goldman Sachs. He may even retire. Truly amazing. One has to admire the sheer perversity of it all. When will the American electorate get tired of being conned? The fact is they have nothing but admiration for Trump. We live in a criminal culture, winner take all. America loves its winners.

John Wright , December 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

There is an old 2003 David Brooks column in which he mentions that

"The Democrats couldn't even persuade people to oppose the repeal of the estate tax, which is explicitly for the mega-upper class. Al Gore, who ran a populist campaign, couldn't even win the votes of white males who didn't go to college, whose incomes have stagnated over the past decades and who were the explicit targets of his campaign. Why don't more Americans want to distribute more wealth down to people like themselves?"

Then Brooks goes on to explain

"The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/opinion/the-triumph-of-hope-over-self-interest.html

The Republicans have conditioned people to believe government services (except for defense/military) are run poorly and need to be "run like a business" for a profit.

The problem is that not all government services CAN be profitable (homeless care, mental health care for the poor, EPA enforcement, OSHA enforcement). And when attempts are made to privatize some government operations such as incarceration, the result is that the private company tries to maximize profits by pushing for laws to incarcerate ever more people.

The history of the USA as viewed by outsiders, maybe 50 years hence, will be that of a resource consuming nation that spent a vast fortune on military hardware and military adventures when it had little to fear due to geography, a nation that touted an independent press that was anything but, a nation that created a large media/entertainment industry which helped to keep citizens in line, a nation that fostered an overly large (by 2 or 3 times per Paul Whooley) parasitical financial industry that did not perform its prime capital allocation task competently as it veered from bubble to bubble and a nation that managed to spend great sums on medical care without covering all citizens.

But the USA does have a lot of guns and a lot of frustrated people.

Maybe Kevlar vests will be the fashion of the future?

Steve , December 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the great link on how sadly uninformed average Americans are! I've been looking for it for a while and great comment!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

The provision to do away with the estate tax, if not immediately, in the current versions (House and Senate) is great news for the 1%, and bad for the rest of us.

And if more people are not against that (thanks for quoting the NYTImes article), it's the failure of the rest of the media for not focusing more on it, but wasting time and energy on fashion, sports, entertainment, etc.

Vatch , December 2, 2017 at 7:24 pm

he provision to do away with the estate tax . . . is great news for the 1%

I think it's even a little more extreme than that. The data is a few years old, but it is only the top 0.6% who are affected by estate taxes in the United States. See the data at these web sites:

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-17

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-estate-tax-statistics-year-of-death-table-1

Sydney Conner , December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the succinct, accurate eloquent description of our nightmare reality.

DHG , December 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

https://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

JTMcPhee , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

The military adventures were largely in support of what Smedley Butler so accurately called the Great "Racket" of Monroe Doctrine colonialism and rapacious extractive "capitalism" aka "looting."

For those who haven't encountered Maj. Gen. Butler's take on his 33 years of serving the Oligokleptocracy, here's a link: https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

A smart and honest fellow, who even declined as a "war hero" to serve as the oligarchs' figurehead in an earlier and clumsier plot to get rid of the trappings and regulation of "democracy:" The Business Plot, https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/smedley-butler-and-the-business-plot/

It took longer and costed the rich a bit more to buy up all the bits of government, but the way they've done will likely be more compendious and lasting. Barring some "intervening event(s)".

Jonathan Holland Becnel , December 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

Doomed?

Project Much?

While Republicans show their true colors, im out there seeing a resurgence of civil society. And im starting to reach Hard core Tea Party types. Jobs, Manufacturing, Actual Policy.

IOW The Revolution Is Nigh.

2018 will be a Fn watershed.

[Dec 03, 2017] The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money.

Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim Haygood , December 2, 2017 at 8:29 am

Renegade ( ex-? ) Republican David Stockman NAILS IT TO THE WALL:

To be sure, some element of political calculus always lies behind legislation. For instance, the Dems didn't pass the Wagner Act in 1935, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as exercises in pure civic virtue -- these measures targeted huge constituencies with tens of millions of votes at stake.

Still, threadbare theories and untoward effects are just that; they can't be redeemed by the risible claim that this legislative Rube Goldberg contraption being jammed through sight unseen ( in ACA redux fashion ) is for the benefit of the rank and file Republican voters, and most especially not for the dispossessed independents and Dems of Flyover America who voted for Trump out of protest against the failing status quo.

To the contrary. The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money. Period.

There is no higher purpose or even nugget of conservative economic principle to it. The battle cry of "pro-growth tax cuts" is just a warmed over 35-year-old mantra from the Reagan era that does not remotely reflect the actual content of the bill or disguise what it really is: namely, a cowardly infliction of more than $2 trillion of debt on future American taxpayers in order to fund tax relief today for the GOP's K Street and Wall Street paymasters.

On a net basis, in fact, fully 97% of the $1.412 trillion revenue loss in the Senate Committee bill over the next decade is attributable to the $1.369 trillion cost of cutting the corporate rate from 35% to 20% (and repeal of the related AMT). All the rest of the massive bill is just a monumental zero-sum pot stirring operation.

https://tinyurl.com/yal6ls89

Stockman, who knows federal budgeting better than most of us know the contents of our own homes, goes on to shred the tax bill item by item, leaving a smoking, scorched-earth moonscape in his deadly rhetorical wake. And he's not done yet.

But Lordy, how he scourges the last hurrah of the know-nothing R party, just before it gets pounded senseless at the polls next year. Bubble III is the last hope of the retrograde Republican Congressional rabble. But it's a 50/50 proposition at best that our beloved bubble lasts through next November. :-(

tegnost , December 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

thanks Jim, yes, this looks like it will knock the legs out of the "main st" economy, but over at versailles on the potomac they'll be listening to/playing the fiddle and watching the country burn while guzzling 300 dollar scotch and and admiring their campfire.

ambrit , December 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

Right next to "Versailles on the Potomac" is the site of the former Bonus Army camp, Anacostia Flats. The burning of the Bonus Army camp at Anacostia Flats could be seen, as a red glow, from the White House. Historians charitable to Herbert Hoover suggest that Gen. Douglass MacArthur 'conned' Hoover into letting the Army 'disperse' the Bonus Army. The resulting spectacle can be said to be one of the prime reasons why the American public rejected Hoover when he ran for re-election against Franklin Roosevelt.
I don't know if Hoover played the fiddle, but MacArthur was known to be able to play politicians like one.
The lesson here, if there is one, is that the present occupant of the White House had better be very circumspect about taking advice from Generals.

nonclassical , December 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

"anacostia flats" bonus army raided by Wall Street General MacArthur which is reason in previous iteration of Wall Street power grab by "American Liberty League", ("The Plot To Seize the White House"-Jules Archer) Marine General Smedley Butler felt forced play whistle-blower, providing FDR leverage he needed to prosecute banksters.


Big River Bandido December 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

The gist of the commenter's statement was true - Democrats are totally complicit in the end result of Republican economic and foreign policy. Until now, Republicans could only deliver on their promises when Democrats helped them out. The Democrats' enabling strategy eventually alienated their own core supporters. With this tax cut, the Republicans have shown, for the first time, the ability to enact and sign their own legislation.

The Democrats basically accommodated the Republicans long enough to ensure their own irrelevance. They will not rise again until their "mixed stances" and those who encourage them are purged.

[Nov 22, 2017] How Despair Helped Drive Trump to Victory

Notable quotes:
"... By Shannon Monnat, Associate Professor, Syracuse University and David L. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
"... Economic, social and health decline in the industrial Midwest may have been a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, Monnat and Brown's INET research finds, with people living in distressed areas swinging behind Trump in greater numbers. Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems. ..."
"... The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs ..."
"... didn't bother to vote at all ..."
Nov 22, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 18, 2017 by Yves Smith By Shannon Monnat, Associate Professor, Syracuse University and David L. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Economic, social and health decline in the industrial Midwest may have been a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, Monnat and Brown's INET research finds, with people living in distressed areas swinging behind Trump in greater numbers. Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems.

The role of the rural vote in Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. Presidential election has received widespread coverage . But suggesting that rural frustration with political insiders and years of perceived neglect was in itself enough to deliver Trump to the White House overlooks other key factors that saw the Republican candidate out-perform in areas ravaged by decay.

To be sure, Donald Trump received a much larger share of the rural vote than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Electoral data shows he won the countryside by 63.2 percent to 31.3 percent, with the vote share increasing in the most rural areas. But this advantage hardly signals a new trend. Republican candidates have long won larger shares of the rural vote , particularly in Appalachia, the Great Plains, and parts of the South. In addition, rural voters account for only about 15 percent of the total U.S. population, and provided a similar share of votes in the 2016 presidential election.

Although Trump's rural edge certainly contributed to his victory, it was not sufficient to swing the election on its own or to support a theory that a " rural revolt " handed him the win. Instead, Trump's combined rural and small city over-performance, and Clinton's under-performance, particularly in the industrial Midwest, was key to Trump's unanticipated victory. To understand the election outcome it is critical to understand what drove voters in those areas to cast a ballot for Trump.

Election Results: The Predicable and The Unexpected

Of course, Clinton won the U.S. popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes. Trump not only lost the national popular vote; he also under-performed relative to Mitt Romney four years earlier, receiving 45.9 percent of votes in 2016 compared to Romney's 47.1 percent in 2012.

Trump nonetheless won because the U.S.' electoral college system places more importan ce on some states over others when it comes to the outcome . Small advantages in key places enabled Trump to accumulate sufficient electors to claim victory. Like Romney in 2012, Trump garnered large vote shares throughout Appalachia, the rural South, the Great Plains, and Mountain West.

The Republican stronghold in these areas is not new. What was unexpected though, was how well Trump performed, and conversely how poorly Hillary Clinton performed, in the industrial Midwest. Ultimately, Trump's win came down to a difference of just 77,744 votes spread across three states: Michigan, which he took by 10,704 votes; Pennsylvania, by 44,292; and Wisconsin, with a 22,748 margin.

Trump also garnered substantially larger vote shares than Romney in the other industrial states including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana – as well as in Appalachia, parts of New England, upstate New York, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Trump won more votes than Romney in these regions; Clinton also received far fewer votes and a smaller share than Obama in these areas, even in counties and states she won.

Although the industrial Midwest is home to just over 16 percent of U.S. counties, nearly a third of the 206 pivot counties – those that went for Trump after going for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 – were in the industrial Midwest. In nearly all pivot counties, Obama's victory margin declined between 2008 and 2012, perhaps foreshadowing their shift to a Republican candidate in 2016. Importantly, Trump's advantage in the industrial Midwest was not confined to rural counties; it also included small urban counties like Montgomery County in Ohio and Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and even larger urban counties like Michigan's Macomb County, which is located in the Detroit metropolitan area.

How Despair Drove Trump Votes

To understand the electoral shift in these and similar places outside of the industrial Midwest, it is important to understand the economic, social, and health declines that have plagued them over the past three decades. In many of the rural areas and small cities where Trump performed better than expected or where Clinton performed worse than expected, economic distress had been building and social conditions breaking down for decades . The places that experienced the largest voter shifts in 2016 were not all among the poorest places in America, though Appalachia certainly holds that distinction. But they are places that are generally worse off today than they were a generation or two ago, with far fewer manufacturing and natural resource industry jobs that once provided reliable, livable wages and benefits to those without a college degree. Certainly de-industrialization is not a new phenomenon in the U.S., but its impacts have been unevenly distributed.

Our INET research, published in the Journal of Rural Studies , used county-level election data from 2012 and 2016 alongside demographic, economic, and health research from multiple sources to probe key sources of Trump's support. We found that nationally, and especially in the industrial Midwest, Trump's average over-performance – defined as the difference between his percentage share of the vote compared to that of Romney four years earlier – was greater in areas of higher economic, social, and health distress.

Comparing the difference in Trump over-performance between counties in the top and bottom quartiles for economic, demographic, and health characteristics helps us understand what drove voters in areas including the industrial Midwest to swing to Trump. The percentage of residents without a four-year college degree had the strongest association with Trump over-performance, but indicators of despair also helped to explain his success in the industrial Midwest. In particular, economic distress (based on rates of poverty and unemployment, and the percentage of people collecting disability payments or lacking health insurance), health distress (determined by rates of disability, obesity, those rating their own health fair or poor, smoking, and drug-induced, alcohol-induced and suicide mortality), and social distress (accounting for factors like rates of separation/divorce, single parent families, vacant housing units and persistent population loss), were strong predictors of Trump over-performance. Notably, Trump's average over-performance was 12% higher in counties with the highest poverty rates compared to those with the lowest poverty rates. These relationships held even when controlling for metropolitan status.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of factors that likely influenced the election, and many of these factors are strongly correlated, making it difficult to disentangle and rank in terms of influence. We also don't know from the data whether the most economically distressed residents voted for Trump, or if it was comparatively less distressed residents who, out of anxiety and frustration with the deprivation they saw around them, went for the Republican nominee.

Ultimately, what these descriptive findings suggest is that Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems. Just as decades of declines in secure and livable wage jobs, resource-disinvestment, and social decay have made some places in the U.S. more vulnerable to the opioid sco urge , the same forces made some places more susceptible to Trump's quick-fix populist messages.

Mean Difference in Trump Over-performance (%) between Counties in the Top Quartile vs. Bottom Quartile of Each County Characteristic, Industrial Midwest N=504 counties in Industrial Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). The bars represent the difference in mean Trump over-performance (percent difference in Trump vote share in 2016 vs. Romney vote share in 2012) between counties in the top 25th percentile (Q4) vs. bottom 25th percentile (Q1) for all characteristics except non-metro county and persistent population loss (which are both dichotomous). All estimates are from unadjusted linear regression models, but all models use clustered standard errors to account for nesting of counties within states.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of factors that likely influenced the election, and many of these factors are strongly correlated, making it difficult to disentangle and rank in terms of influence. We also don't know from the data whether the most economically distressed residents voted for Trump, or if it was comparatively less distressed residents who, out of anxiety and frustration with the deprivation they saw around them, went for the Republican nominee.

Ultimately, what these descriptive findings suggest is that Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems. Just as decades of declines in secure and livable wage jobs, resource-disinvestment, and social decay have made some places in the U.S. more vulnerable to the opioid sco urge , the same forces made some places more susceptible to Trump's quick-fix populist messages.

Schofield , November 18, 2017 at 6:19 am

"globalisation shock without compensation"

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2870313

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2904105

cnchal , November 18, 2017 at 6:37 am

Globalization -> Trump.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm

The most important thing that happened last year (2016) was that globalization, vampire though it could be, was exposed and repudiated, even if it still lives on.

That ought to maintain its own momentum going forward.

When we look at human beings or personalities, it has been obviously one man is just one man. There are other power centers in DC. Proposed bills coming out of Congress do not have to correlate with the party platform or campaign promises. Then, there are those who operate in the dark. If there was a Man of the Year for 2016, it would be the despaired ones, the Deplorables, the previously ignored, etc. It's never about one man.

Kokuanani , November 18, 2017 at 7:42 am

I see that "not having health insurance" is an indicia person is more likely to vote for Trump. I guess that's another reason they're so hell-bent to kick folks off even the feeble ACA coverage.

Collins , November 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

23% of the US population is on Medicaid. The 'insurance expansion' of the ACA was mostly expansion of Medicaid (the private policies are unaffordable and the insurance companies do not compete with each other, as they continue to exit the 'market'). And ~ 65% of Medicaid is now Managed Medicaid (& growing ), where the govt money goes to 'non-profit' companies such as Superior Star Plus Medicaid which are actually owned by Fortune 500 companies, Centene in this example. Guess how well that's working out for funding actual delivery of health care. Obama's original concept included the 'public option' of Medicare, the Insurance lobby gutted that and rewrote the bill to their benefit, and being a professional politician Obama signed it consistent with the crony capitalism rulebook whether you're neo-con or neo-liberal.
Many of the Trump voters could 'sense' this as their life experience even without knowing the actual data above. Writing them off as illogical dullards is not accurate.

Anon , November 18, 2017 at 11:40 am

I don't believe the voters that gave Trump his Electoral College victory are illogical dullards. But many were likely persuaded by a Siren call from a politician who had no history (or intent) of meeting their wants/needs. (They still have no new job, health care, or relief from the opioid epidemic.)

While the economic decline began in these areas in the late 70's (Oil Shock 1973; Japan Auto Market intrusion, etc.), the call for greater pursuit of more education to survive in a changing world was also clearly stated. Some likely ignored the call and gambled on a liveable wage/family formation right out of high school. Unfortunately, fortune and the political system didn't serve their choice well.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm

While true, many people are not suited for a four college degree because their talents are best outside of a desk, and it has gotten so bad economically that one needs at least a bachelors, or more probably a masters degree just to stay even financially; that only works were there are actually jobs.

If you are better as a machinist, or a chef, what use is a college degree. If you do have the talents, and inclination, to work that requires a four year degree, can you pay for it, and if you can, will you be able to find work? If you are disabled, or have family to take care of, or are stuck deep in one of those growing both in size and numbers, economic wastelands, being told that you shoulda, coulda gotten a degree is not good.

Anon , November 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm

I didn't say "four year college". I said more education. Learning to operate a digital lathe (Machinist) takes education/training. Learning to be an electrician/cable installer takes focused training. These are relatively well-paying jobs versus assembly line work requiring simply a high school education.

My point is that some folks chose what worked for their parents and started "life" right out of high school. (During a period when many warned that that may not be good enough in the future.)

The overarching issue is that manipulating the political system for their personal economic advantage is not a broadly acquired skill set in the US.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 9:41 pm

My apologies for the misunderstanding.

oh , November 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I would also blame the elites who praised Obamacare which they never needed/or used themselves, bought all the latest and the greatest electronic toys (made in China). They kept drinking the Obama Kool Aid and allowed more control by neo-liberal Dims and Repigs. Now the poor people are truly screwed with gutting of any kind of public assistance, public transportation and low interest loans (if there were any).
It's time for all of us to work toward ending the two party rule and bring in a stronger third party. It will take time. Until that time, more crooks like Trump will get in.

Vatch , November 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm

23% of the US population is on Medicaid.

I was skeptical when I saw that number -- could it really be so high? Yes, you are correct, tragically. For Medicaid enrollment:

https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/program-information/medicaid-and-chip-enrollment-data/report-highlights/total-enrollment/index.html

In August, 2017, there were 74,305,276 Medicaid enrollees.

Census data:

https://www.census.gov/

The U.S. population in November, 2017, is about 326,290,400 people. On May 7 , it was about 325,000,000 people. So in August, it was approximately 325,700,000. 74,305,276 divided by 325,700,000 equals about 0.228. In other words, with a small rounding adjustment, the percentage of the US population on Medicaid is 23%! That's a national embarrassment! I don't expect sociopathic billionaires to be embarrassed, but there is a surprising number of people who respect or even admire billionaires, because the billionaires are so "hard working" or "talented" or "creative". Those admirers should be ashamed.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Obama never wanted a public option. That was a foam-rubber velcro-decoy Obama pretended to hold out to distract and confuse people, raise their enthusiasm and lower their guard.

S M Tenneshaw , November 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm

And in the end, utterly demoralize them.

Notorious P.A.T. , November 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm

And it shows why the Democrats are so eager to push single payer oh, right. Sigh.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 8:03 am

Trump is no rocket scientist but he can learn from experience

When Bill Clinton passed NAFTA millions of US jobs went to Mexico.

What happened?

Labour is cheaper in Mexico and you can make more profit there, when there are no tariffs and you have the free movement of capital it is better to move jobs out of the US to Mexico.

Why is labour cheaper in Mexico?

Wages have to cover the cost of living and the cost of living is much lower in Mexico.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

The repeal of the Corn Laws ushered in the era of Laissez-Faire.

The businessmen wanted lower corn prices, to lower the cost of living, so they could pay lower, internationally competitive wages.

Remember now?

It's all about the cost of living and the US cost of living is horrendous, they can't compete.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 8:10 am

It's what Michael Hudson has been trying to tell people but condensed.

Capitalism – back to basics

It comes down to one equation:

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

Workers want more disposable income
Business wants to pay lower wages for higher profits
The rentiers look to push up the cost of living.
The government take taxes.

Ned , November 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

You forgot an important part;

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living PLUS interest payments on debt)

The rentiers look to push up the cost of living TO help make their ever larger interest payments to the banks that harvest much of their rents as interest.

Don't complain about high rents, complain about the ever larger share of rents that go to banks who lend to more and more uncreditworthy apartment house owners thanks to low interest rates and financialization.

Hudson't my hero, but it's still godawful complicated to understand what's not meant to be discussed in our society.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Business wants to lower wages to make higher profits . . .

But Henry Ford paid higher wages in what he thought would be a long term road to higher profits for Ford Motor Company. Perhaps he thought it would lead to long-term higher profits for every thing-making business. I have read that he was considered correct in his thinking.

If business overall would make higher total profits ( even if less profit per unit thing item produced) in a setting of overall higher wages, then what explains business's desire to lower wages in order to "raise profits"? Mere short sightedness? Or a sadistic delight in making workers poor and making poor workers suffer?

nonsense factory , November 18, 2017 at 7:51 pm

But the econometric models of 1992! They mostly said NAFTA would be good for everyone. . . What went wrong?

Most of the CGE models expect the NAFTA to have virtually no impact on U.S. labor markets. With constant returns to scale in production, and under the best-case assumptions described above, none of the CGE models predicts a long-run increase in U.S. wages of more than 0.4 percent, in U.S. employment of more than 0.2 percent, and in U.S. output of more than 0.5 percent; in most cases, the effects are much smaller.u Spread out over the many years of adjustment to free trade that are assumed by the model, none of these changes would be perceptible.

1993 Economists' Assessments of the Likely Employment and Wage Effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement
http://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1173&context=hlelj

The academic economists who promoted NAFTA (almost all of them) made the error of faithfully projecting David Ricardo and comparative advantage theories without considering all the variables. . . That article does a good job of discussing this, however:

.the potential shift of investment expenditure from the U.S. to Mexico is analyzed, with estimates of negative effects on U.S. employment and wages. This investment shift, of course, will increase employment and wages in Mexico's export-processing industries. However, the authors also note the possible impact of the liberalization of agricultural trade policy on the Mexican labor force. If, as seems likely, this forces a portion of Mexico's huge small-scale farming population into urban labor markets, the negative impact of NAFTA on agricultural employment could outweigh the positive impact on manufacturing jobs, with an overall decline in Mexican employment and wages. On this basis, the authors fear that a NAFTA could have a negative impact on labor markets in both countries.

So, a few economists got it right, but even they failed to predict the massive migration of desperate Mexicans across the border in search of jobs.

flora , November 19, 2017 at 12:28 am

NAFTA gave us the three D's : de-industrialization, debt, and despair.

And the economists who prompted Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage without also addressing Ricardo's theory of the Iron Law of Wages were ignoring an important aspect.

flora , November 19, 2017 at 12:41 am

correction: iron law of wages was Lassalle's work, not Ricardo's. Any academic economist should have been familiar with it.

David S , November 18, 2017 at 8:52 am

Mexico couldn't compete with the US pre-NAFTA in corn agriculture. Regardless of US cost structure, the shear scale and efficiency of US operations enabled it to be the lower cost provider. Companies like Archer Daniels Midland was the real winner in the deal. The problem was the US and Mexican ag worker received none of the upside.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

Isn't US agriculture subsidised by the state?
This is what makes it hard to compete.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 18, 2017 at 5:49 pm

And we received millions of Mexican ag workers.

The Mexican ag worker was never meant to receive any upside. The whole point of dumping American corn on Mexico was to bankrupt millions of Mexican corn farmers and the more millions of Mexicans whom their steady corn-based incomes supported. The reason for deliberately bankrupting all those Mexicans was to drive them off the land and into the border maquiladoras. That was a key goal of NAFTA all along.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 10:32 am

Roll out a half-baked ideology globally and you the same problem globally, the real estate boom.

The housing boom features all the unknowns in today's thinking, which is why they are global.

This simple equation is unknown.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

You can immediately see how high housing costs have to be covered by wages; business pays the high housing costs for expensive housing adding to costs and reducing profits. The real estate boom raises costs to business and makes your nation uncompetitive in a globalised world.

The unproductive lending involved that leads to financial crises.

The UK:
https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

The economy gets loaded up with unproductive lending as future spending power has been taken to inflate the value of the nation's housing stock. Housing is more expensive and the future has been impoverished.

US:
https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

Unproductive lending is not good for the economy and led directly to 1929 and 2008.

Neoliberalism's underlying economics, neoclassical economics, doesn't look at private debt and so no one really knew what they were doing.

The housing boom feels good for a reason that is not known to today's thinkers.

Monetary theory has been regressing since 1856, when someone worked out how the system really worked.

Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory

"A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence" Richard A. Werner

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477

" banks make their profits by taking in deposits and lending the funds out at a higher rate of interest" Paul Krugman, 2015. He wouldn't know.

Bank lending creates money, which pours into the economy fuelling the boom; it is this money creation that makes the housing boom feel so good in the general economy. It feels like there is lots of money about because there is.

The housing bust feels so bad because the opposite takes place, and money gets sucked out of the economy as the repayments overtake new lending. It feels like there isn't much money about because there isn't.

They were known unknowns, the people that knew weren't the policymakers to whom these things were unknown.

UserFriendly , November 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I site that lost century paper all the time. Also this one that Stiglitz co-authored which essentially admits MMT.
http://yildizoglu.fr/resources/Files-unprotected/Gaudin-Towards-a-benchmark-model.pdf
I found it by searching papers that cited the lost century one.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:39 pm

need question "neoliberal economics" without historical documentation, found here:

"The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

Scott , November 18, 2017 at 1:51 pm

"50 percent of our Community College students drop out to go to work to buy a car."
In most of the nation you cannot function without a personal vehicle.
Even professionally in NYC transportation by taxi was necessary whenever the issue of time was non negotiable.
(I was trapped underground in the Subway from Brooklyn's Bergen stop on the Red line to Tribeca. Was then late for the call, and lost the client.)
The working classes of America literally have as their fortune their time, time on earth, and not much more than that.

There is little way for the working classes to see their experiences over 10 or 20 years of work into viable Certifications competitive with the all for HR gate out of the University or 4 year colleges anymore.

The prospect for Americans who lived an ethos of "You can work your way up the ladder." is nil.

To those for whom time as slipped away, spent, not so near to the paper mills, but with the experiences that would make them efficiency kings in most systems, there is the anger at the Greenspan Retraining Edict, used to blame the American Worker.
I am glad I was so incensed I have become a "Creative Economist".

When I say I am a Librarian of Work, it is with a point that I am not the only one.

Incensed by this idea abroad in the mental landscape with no means to move and not even wanting to at some point along with the house ball & chain trap that has arisen the anger is pushing an entire demographic into shared intellectual and mental landscape of the pathological.
They helped elect a pathological liar.

As regards the alteration of the American lifestyle & culture that involved a great deal of mobility, when Americans moved an average of every two years to one of being trapped, tricked & Trapped at every turn there is one book I would write to attack the sociologically shared pathology of despair & desperation.
That would be the Book of Tests.

It would be a challenge to the doom of debt in ascendency caused by a Human Resources Bureaucracy so married to the discrimination that all accept blindly against those who did go to the "school of hard knocks". I am a Zappa School Independent Scholar for instance.

In Aviation I have Seen the Mechanics with the Airframe & Powerplant Certification Test to read in the break room till they can pass the Test. Making this sort of Certification System more general, would lead the US, & its America of Post War GI Bill leaps into the "best of all world".

Within the Territory, the Geography, the US cannot any longer afford loser geographic territories of such size.

Keynes is the man. & Marx, who saw the banks as of utility.
If Mahan could change the world & start the America that became Rome, then there have been more than the One Book events to change the world.
I want a world with another name than Rome, that does not degenerate.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm

It was George HW Bush who signed and sealed NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, prior clinton inauguration, Dec. 17, 1992. Dems disliked NAFTA, and clinton and majority of dems wouldn't go along till added labor and environmental regulation were in force. Clinton signed expansion of NAFTA, having added those new regulations to republican legislation. Here's video of George HW Bush signing NAFTA with Canada and Mexico:

http://abcnews.go.com/Archives/video/dec-17-1992-pres-bush-signs-nafta-15205420

(people should remember HW Bush campaign was confronted on NAFTA by Ross Perot, who made NAFTA his primary campaign issue..)

Yves Smith Post author , November 19, 2017 at 1:01 am

Bullshit. What "Dems" are you talking about? Clinton was a big backer of NAFTA and his labor secretary Robert Reich stumped for it, claiming NAFTA would create jobs . Bush the senior the deal with the heads of three other nations was not a binding commitment. NAFTA became law when Clinton signed it in 1993.

This is from a history of NAFTA :

In 1992, NAFTA was signed by President George H.W. Bush, Mexican President Salinas and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

It was ratified by the legislatures of the three countries 1993. The U.S. House of Representatives approved it by 234 to 200 on November 17, 1993. The U.S. Senate approved it by 60 to 38 on November 20, three days later.

President Bill Clinton signed it into law December 8, 1993. It entered force January 1, 1994. It was a priority of President Clinton's, and its passage is considered one of his first successes. (Source: "NAFTA Signed Into Law," History.com, December 8, 1993.)

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 18, 2017 at 9:08 am

I took the time to read several links, and I would encourage everyone -- irrespective of your political perspective -- to click on the link to ' opiod scourge '. It's one of the most insightful, explanatory, compassionate explanations that I've read in the last two years about what we might call 'the Trump Factor' in the US.
Breathtaking.

Robert Hahl , November 18, 2017 at 1:28 pm

A point I have not seen made before is that people who can't pass a drug test may not be counted in the work force, which reduces the official unemployment rate.

This suggests a new "Misery Index" = unemployment rate + addiction rate

Ep3 , November 18, 2017 at 9:17 am

Great post.
Having lived in the heartland of despair of Michigan, in a manufacturing town, here is my 2 cents. I did not vote for trump, but family members, who were life long democrats, did.
And what people want is something to be done.
Example: I lose my job, but get another with less pay and higher health insurance. I am upset but not mad. Politicians tell me it will take a little time, but they will fix the cost of health care. So I wait, expecting an uptick. But I lose this job. And now I am working in retail. I am running out of patience with the current democrats (and all politicians in general). Nothing is being done, that I see. What I see is bickering and name calling and "gridlock". I want something done. I am now losing my rationality because my retail job is not paying the bills. I am falling hopelessly behind. And when I hear politicians are fighting over whatever, I want them all thrown out of office. So along comes trump. He says "F all of them, I will tell them all to go to hell". He plays as an outsider. He says he will get things done.
Who do you think I am going to choose now? I am sick of waiting. I cannot wait. My children are hungry and need medicine. I am getting older and need more medical care. Here's someone who says he will get things done, regardless if whether those things actually benefit me (cuts to Medicare,etc). I see claims that minorities are coming to the country and getting "free stuff". He says he will kick those freeloaders out. I see millionaire sports players complaining.
Now that he is hired, trump has become just as do-nothing as all the other career politicians. His current tax reform and simplification is just as watered down and convoluted and confusing as other "reforms". What happened to filing with a postcard?
Wasn't this what happened in Germany in the 1920s? People became desperate. They elected somebody that did "something", even tho it was bad. I am not comparing trump to that guy. I am comparing the desperation and lack of rational judgement. And that is what I see and hear from people in my community. That's from both lower class citizens to upper class. And people don't realize it is a "war" between the 1% and the rest of us. Put people in this desperate situation, tell them they can't afford social security and Medicare, the people say "this is for the greater good", they cancel those programs, then the money is redirected to the 1%. Then people are still paying 15.2% of their wages govt. but now, they are paying for a huge wealth transfer in the form of tax cuts (and defense spending) instead of paying for their health care & retirement when they are old and can't work no more.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 9:56 am

+1. Thanks for this report from the frontlines of despair.

Scott , November 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

I thank Ep3 as well, for they confirm my thesis of generalized mental landscape pathology. They confirm it with the "loss of the rational" to paraphrase within range.

Andrew Dodds , November 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Actually, it's rational. According to game theory, when you are put in a position where you cannot win whatever you do, the only rational action is to flip the board over; throw the pieces on the floor; stop playing. Elect Trump or vote Brexit.

Those who are on the always-winning side may fail to understand this. It is in their interests to keep everyone playing the game. The results could get messy.

Eclair , November 18, 2017 at 11:20 am

Ep3, your description echoes what I see in western New York state and its adjacent corner of Pennsylvania. Despair hangs over the area. Thank you for bearing witness.

The gutted mills (Jamestown was once the premier manufacturer of wood furniture in the US), the caved-in dairy barns and the rotting late 19th and early 20th century houses, testify to no jobs or minimum wage work in MacDonald's and Walmart. Add to this mix the existence of a truly awful, poverty-based, local food culture; meat, mainly fried, and carbs, also fried, and one begins to understand why the only flourishing enterprises are healthcare related.

A ray of light, there seem to be no homeless people. Not like the growing numbers one sees in Denver, Salt Lake City, or Seattle. Probably due to the low housing costs and the conversion of the big downtown hotels in SRO's.

It's Trump country.

Alfred , November 18, 2017 at 11:41 am

I drove through much of northwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio in October 2016, and afterward told everyone who would listen that I had seen incontrovertible proof that Trump would win in November.

Sam Adams , November 18, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Desperation changes soon or it's the scaffolds or its trading serfs by an overclass.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

Great article.

"To understand the electoral shift in these and similar places outside of the industrial Midwest, it is important to understand the economic, social, and health declines that have plagued them over the past three decades."

I think this also explains why Trump, not Jeb, won the GOP primary.

HotFlash , November 18, 2017 at 11:40 am

Good point. Too bad about the Dem primary

ger , November 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Desperate people do desperate things. By 2020 the desperate will be at near exponential expansion. The democrat leaders apparently believe all they should do is sit on their hands. Like the last time!! Some how the desperate have not been impressed by which restroom people pee in.

Livius Drusus , November 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

Yes there were many Obama-Trump voters especially in the Midwest and they likely won Trump the election. This explodes the theory that Trump's win was all about racism. I doubt that people who voted for Obama in the past were extreme white identity voters.

In addition to the despair highlighted in this piece and in the comments I will also point out that many people were disappointed in Obama. I am from the Midwest and I know people who voted for Obama twice but voted for Trump in 2016. The feeling is that Obama betrayed them and turned out to be a "phony." They thought that Clinton would be Obama 2.0 so they took a gamble on Trump. Contrary to the way they are portrayed in the media, many Midwestern working-class white Trump voters were not very enthusiastic about him. They know Trump is a shady guy but were willing to take a risk on him because from their perspective he talked sense on issues like trade and seemed to notice that not everything is going well in America.

Trump bucked the "everything is fine" message coming from Clinton and the mainstream media. One of the worst slogans to come out of the Clinton campaign was "America is Already Great." Yeah maybe for the top 10 percent but for the rest of the country that is definitely not true. Also, focusing almost exclusively on the Coalition of the Ascendant (non-whites, college-educated social liberals, gays) sent a message that the Democratic Party feels like they don't need or want white working-class voters. Chuck Schumer's quote about losing working-class whites but gaining moderate suburban Republicans just solidified that suspicion on the part of white working-class people.

John Wright , November 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

It has been expressed as "With Clinton we know we are screwed, with Trump we might not be".

Trump was the "hope" candidate this election.

el_tel , November 18, 2017 at 11:03 am

People did indeed vote out of despair. Same as BREXIT. it does NOT mean things will help them (for instance NC has shown just how awful BREXIT could be) but when you feel you're stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea you see this type of phenomenon. Profoundly depressing all round.

perpetualWAR , November 18, 2017 at 12:18 pm

The BREXIT & Trump voter was a big [family blog] you to the establishment. I didn't vote Trump, but laughed uproariously when he won, to the dismay of all the fine neoliberals in Seattle.

Question for Seattle voters: how could you vote in Durkan, who failed to prosecute the biggest financial crime of all -- WaMu, yet reject Hasagawa, who has been rallying for years in the state legislature for a state bank?

I'm still stunned at the stupidity of the Seattle voters to allow Durkan to fail upwards!

John D. , November 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm

BREXIT is a good example to use here; From my admittedly less-than-scientific perusal of internet forums in the immediate aftermath of that debacle, the general consensus of the British poor/underclass was that it was the only option currently available to stick a thumb in the 1%'s collective eye. I might also add it was the only legal and non-violent option they had. If things don't finally start changing in the next decade or so, I suspect events will become considerably less non-violent. As if the world isn't violent enough right now, I know. But things can always get worse

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm

PW, "neoliberal" does not describe many seattle denizens in my acquaintance when considering historical documentation of "neoliberalism":

"The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

(seattle voters remain FDR liberals, in my experience, rather than "supply side" Friedmanite-"Chicago Boys" -- Monbiot contrasts)

George Phillies , November 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

For a similar but more detailed–and maps!–analysis, see Sean Trende's articles https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/01/20/how_trump_won_–_conclusions_132846.html
on RealClearPolitics. Trende uses a finer-grained analysis of population density. Trende makes the point that Democrats did well in megacities (urban areas, population > 5 million) and carried large cities (urban area, population 1-5 million) but over the last two decades have fallen apart everywhere else. Three dozen states have no large or mega cities; a party of large cities is of no consequence in those states. America only has 11 megacities, a fair number of which are in places like California where winning more Democratic votes will not effect the Presidential election. Note also Trende's population growth curves.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Interesting.

An aside:
I think that housing prices in the mega cities can be used, at least in part, as a rough proxy for wealth distributions in the US by geography. People who can move to where they think they'll be able to find decent paying work drive up city size and competition for housing. The mega wealthy also drive up local real estate prices. So today's mega city can be a proxy for more than persons-per-square-mile analysis, imo.

Using city size as a reflection of wealth, this chart on housing prices is very interesting.

http://www.visualcapitalist.com/hours-americans-pay-mortgage-map/

Of course, the downside of this is growing homelessness among the poor in mega cities. The homeless don't vote.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm

adding:
I hear endlessly that the Dems will have to make more compromises with the GOP to win back the Great Plains and the upper MidWest. I think, if anything, the Dems have compromised too much on economic matters with the GOP by adopting neo-liberal economics as the Dems' very own TINA. Dems can't improve the economic lives of their base voters by adopting the GOP economic programs and philosophy.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:54 pm

flora obama codifying of bush – cheney international invasions of sovereign nations on basis of fabrications, wars, war crimes, destabilization of Middle-East (as George HW Bush warned), millions refugees, "Patriot Act", Guantanamo Bay, prosecution of whistleblowers telling truth, and Wall Street "control accounting frauds", no accountability at all, make your point

John D. , November 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm

The bottom line is hardly complicated: The only effective way to combat the sort of phoney, right wing populism adopted by creeps like Trump, Boris Johnson, Rob Ford, etc. is to use the real thing. And Hillary couldn't have done that if her life depended on it.

Collins , November 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm

As the late Princeton health economist Uwe Reinhardt (who grew up in post-war Germany) said, Americans lack a sense of "social solidarity ". He favored national health insurance but with private (non-govt empoyed) health providers, as in Germany.
For all the media trying to portray Trump as a failed leader of his own party, it's clear to millions that the Republicans are pushing for his failure and exit as much as the Democrats.
Unless the Democrats nominate a true moderate progressive with real world track record (like a governor ) -- but who?- rather than another Global Cap mercenary, Trump will be reelected.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Germany (where my wife is R.N.) also provides choice between private and single payer

Scott , November 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

I am a good way through "Nomadland".
Older white CamperForce workers lives of mere survival become State of South Dakota citizens, in one day.
Like Jet Setters who buy passports of convenience are they proving the sociological saw that the poor & the rich think the same.
It is the war for survival and those who can go the furthest the fastest win in war.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I really do not get this. There are plenty of people of all different politics who see clearly the problems, and even agree significantly on the solution and the oncoming catastrophe, but most of the ones running things either are clueless wonders, or just want to continue straight into the ground for the money as if that will do them any real good if it gets truly horrible.

It does not require any special amount of brains, experience, or education, just common sense, and not much of that, to see this. So WTF is going on?

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Naomi Klein defines "what is going on";

http://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=aaplw&p=youtube+naomi+klein+shock+doctrine#id=2&vid=aa296126e5ac1d0fb40b4c460cdf86aa&action=view

..as does John Perkins: http://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=aaplw&p=youtube+perkins+confessions+of+an+economic+hit+man#id=4&vid=f1f88e4213110e44b5deede8e36eaf36&action=click

Minnie Mouse , November 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm

The corporate globalist faction of the democratic party (Clinton) , the minority faction according to the TPA vote, deliberately blew the election to Trump over the TPP, despite warnings – near riot and walkout when TPP came up at the platform committee – carried on C-Span.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

..obama pushed TPP and continued do so, throughout 2016 campaign

Sluggeaux , November 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

I really think that folks ought to stop obsessing about why some people voted for Trump. The most important factor was that nearly half of eligible voters (non-felons aged 18 and over) didn't bother to vote at all . Trump and Clinton were fighting over the mere 52.8% of eligible voters who cast votes for one of the legacy party candidates.

Nearly 10 million people who voted for Obama in 2008 didn't bother to show up to vote in 2016. Their "Hope" had been changed to "Despair" by Obama's lies. They watched him hand their health care over to the insurance companies, hand their mortgage relief over to the banks, hand their jobs out to foreigners, and expand the wars that were killing their children.

They had no intention of turning out to vote for either of two of the most outrageous prevaricators in their recent memory. Those who did bother to vote did so likely more from force of habit than enthusiasm for either legacy-party candidate, who were cynically looking for a low-turnout "win" rather than any sort of actual voter mandate.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/11/politics/popular-vote-turnout-2016/

MarkE , November 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Good point. Non-voting is the better measure of despair.

petal , November 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Myself and others I know are heading in that direction-not bothering to vote anymore. We talk about it.

D , November 18, 2017 at 4:04 pm

This is the best up close to it piece I've seen on this subject, from someone in the midst of a despair zone; unlike the usual East/West Coast Journo/Pundit, or at the computer with the Starbucks in hand data factoid analyzer (emphasis mine):

May 10, 2016 By Anne Amnesia Unnecessariat
.

Facing the Unnecessariat
.

Here's the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren't precarious, we're unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery has gone to the top. And what's worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that. The new bright sparks, cheerfully referred to as "Young Gods" believe themselves to be the honest winners in a new invent-or-die economy, and are busily planning to escape into space or acquire superpowers, and instead of worrying about this, the talking heads on TV tell you its all a good thing- don't worry, the recession's over and everything's better now, and technology is TOTES AMAZEBALLS!

The Rent-Seeking Is Too Damn High

If there's no economic plan for the Unnecessariat, there's certainly an abundance for plans to extract value from them. No-one has the option to just make their own way and be left alone at it. It used to be that people were uninsured and if they got seriously sick they'd declare bankruptcy and lose the farm, but now they have a (mandatory) $1k/month plan with a $5k deductible: they'll still declare bankruptcy and lose the farm if they get sick, but in the meantime they pay a shit-ton to the shareholders of United Healthcare, or Aetna, or whoever. This, like shifting the chronically jobless from "unemployed" to "disabled" is seen as a major improvement in status, at least on television.

Every four years some political ingenue decides that the solution to "poverty" is "retraining": for the information economy, except that tech companies only hire Stanford grads , or for health care, except that an abundance of sick people doesn't translate into good jobs for nurses' aides, or nowadays for "the trades" as if the world suffered a shortage of plumbers. The retraining programs come and go, often mandated for recipients of EBT, but the accumulated tuition debt remains behind, payable to the banks that wouldn't even look twice at a graduate's resume. There is now a booming market in debtor's prisons for unpaid bills, and as we saw in Ferguson the threat of jail is a great way to extract cash from the otherwise broke (thought it can backfire too). Eventually all those homes in Oklahoma, in Ohio, in Wyoming, will be lost in bankruptcy and made available for vacation homes, doomsteads, or hobby farms for the "real" Americans, the ones for whom the ads and special sections in the New York Times are relevant, and their current occupants know this. They are denizens, to use Standing's term, in their own hometowns.

This is the world highlighted in those maps, brought to the fore by drug deaths and bullets to the brain- a world in which a significant part of the population has been rendered unnecessary, superfluous, a bit of a pain but not likely to last long. Utopians on the coasts occasionally feel obliged to dream up some scheme whereby the unnecessariat become useful again, but its crap and nobody ever holds them to it. If you even think about it for a minute, it becomes obvious: what if Sanders (or your political savior of choice) had won? Would that fix the Ohio river valley? Would it bring back Youngstown Sheet and Tube, or something comparable that could pay off a mortgage? Would it end the drug game in Appalachia, New England, and the Great Plains? Would it call back the economic viability of small farms in Illinois, of ranching in Oklahoma and Kansas? Would it make a hardware store viable again in Iowa, or a bookstore in Nevada? Who even bothers to pretend anymore?

Well, I suppose you might. You're probably reading this thinking: "I wouldn't live like that." Maybe you're thinking "I wouldn't overdose" or "I wouldn't try heroin," or maybe "I wouldn't let my vicodin get so out of control I couldn't afford it anymore" or "I wouldn't accept opioid pain killers for my crushed arm." Maybe you're thinking "I wouldn't have tried to clear the baler myself" or "I wouldn't be pulling a 40-year-old baler with a cracked bearing so the tie-arm wobbles and jams" or "I wouldn't accept a job that had a risk profile like that" or "I wouldn't have been unemployed for six months" or basically something else that means "I wouldn't ever let things change and get so that I was no longer in total control of my life." And maybe you haven't. Yet.

This isn't the first time someone's felt this way about the dying. In fact, many of the unnecessariat agree with you and blame themselves – that's why they're shooting drugs and not dynamiting the Google Barge. The bottom line, repeated just below the surface of every speech, is this: those people are in the way, and its all their fault. The world of self-driving cars and global outsourcing doesn't want or need them. Someday it won't want you either. They can either self-rescue with unicorns and rainbows or they can sell us their land and wait for death in an apartment somewhere. You'll get there too.

In Sum, Despair is the Collapse of Forever into the Strain of Now

If I still don't have your attention, consider this: county by county, where life expectancy is dropping survivors are voting for Trump.

What does it mean, to see the world's narrative retreat into the distance? To know that nothing more is expected of you, or your children, or of your children's children, than to fade away quietly and let some other heroes take their place? One thing it means is: if someone says something about it publicly, you're sure as hell going to perk up and listen.

Guy Standing believed that the Precariat heralded a new age of xenophobic nationalism and reaction, but at the same time hoped that something like Occupy, that brought the precariat together as a self-conscious community, would lead to social and economic changes needed to ameliorate their plight. Actively. The gay community didn't just roll over and ask nicely for recognition, they had their shit together enough that they could fight their way, literally, into the studios of one of the top news shows in America, into the US capitol, the UK parliament, into the streets of every major city at rush hour. AIDS galvanized them, but it was their mutual recognition as friends, allies, comrades-in-arms from years of fighting for urban space to hook up in that made that galvanic surge possible. The disease blew a hole in an entire generation and the survivors kept fighting. HAART attenuated the death rate, and the survivors kept fighting.

So far, the quiet misery of the unnecessariat has yet to spark its own characteristic explosion, but is it so hard to see the germ of it in Trump's rallies? In the LaVoy Finicum memorials? Are we, and I don't mean this rhetorically, on the verge of something as earth-shaking as ACT-UP?

On primary election day, I wrote the following to a professor friend (edited):

"I am despising myself for a coward today. I stopped for gas on the way to the polls, and noticed a hole in the frame of the car that you could push a parrot through. Dammit, I can't afford a new car, and I don't know if I can afford a welded patch- I don't even know what would be involved, since so much has to be stripped off before you can bring a torch near a car body. I was in a pretty bad state when I got to the polls.

Let me explain my conundrum: all democratic primaries are proportional, among candidates who get 15% or more of the votes. The republicans have a whole slew of delegate procedures, but ours is winner take all. [I could contribute one fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a delegate to Sanders, or help push Trump over the top.]

What's the outcome here? Sanders isn't going to win. He doesn't have the delegates- hell, he doesn't have the votes. Doesn't have the support. Clinton is the democratic nominee, and frankly she's favored to win in the general election, even though in a head-to-head she gets trounced by Cruz, Kasich, or Rubio. Right now she polls ahead of Trump, but Trump is the one factor in this race that could completely kick the whole thing over. What happens if Clinton wins? For me, nothing- nothing good anyway. I still can't afford car repairs, I still have to buy medication in cash raised by selling hay bales. No, I didn't bale them, I trucked them across the county. If you bale them yourself, you make money at it, but I just had some extras to unload. That'll still be the shape of things in a Clinton presidency.

Lets be honest- Clinton doesn't give a shit about me. When Clinton talks about people hurt by the economy, she means you: elite-educated white-collar people with obvious career tracks who are having trouble with their bills and their 401k plans. That's who boomed under the last president Clinton, especially the 401ks. Me, or the three guys fighting two nights ago over the Township mowing contract, we're nothing. Clinton doesn't have an economic plan for us. Nobody has an economic plan for us. There is no economic plan for us, ever. We keep driving trucks around and keep the margins above gas money and maybe take an odd job here or there, but essentially, we're history and nobody seems to mind saying so.

And let me be honest again- Trump doesn't have an economic plan for me either. What Trump's boys have for me is a noose- but that's the choice I'm facing, a lifetime of grueling poverty, or apocalypse. Yeah I know, not fun and games- the shouts, the smashing glass, the headlights on the lawn, but what am I supposed to do, raise my kid to stay one step ahead of the inspectors and don't, for the love of god, don't ever miss a payment on your speeding ticket? A noose is something I know how to fight. A hole in the frame of my car is not. A lifetime of feeling that sense, that "ohhhh, shiiiiiit " of recognition that another year will go by without any major change in the way of things, little misfortunes upon misfortunes a lifetime of paying a grand a month to the same financial industry busily padding the 401k plans of cyclists in spandex, who declare a new era of prosperity in America? Who can find clarity, a sense of self, any kind of redemption in that world?

Fuck it. Give me the fascists, I'll know where I stand

But I went ahead and took a democratic ballot regardless. And voted for Sanders. And as long as chumps like me keep doing that, we'll keep getting the Clintons we deserve.

.

I would add that there are ever increasing East/West Coast despair zones not being discussed, other than tagging those populations as Uneducated ™, which apparently equates to a non tech background, or just being over 35, despite current education. I suspect the large Blue Turnout for California, had far more to do with an enormous anti-Trump immigrant population, traditional Dem voters opting out of either candidate, and vote counting malfeasance, than anything else; as California has the highest Poverty rate in the Nation, yet is predominantly overseen by Democrats who may as well be Republicans for the damage they've wrought.

witters , November 18, 2017 at 5:22 pm

That letter to her "professor friend" is heartbreakingly to the point.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 10:00 pm

AIDS then and life now does have the same feel. I should have made the connection myself.

Ian , November 18, 2017 at 7:26 pm

I was at a hostel and an interesting perspective put forth from one of the guests was that at the first debate with Clinton when he was largely unresponsive, looked terrible and obviously coked up, during the second debate he did much better. He said that he had believed Trump believed he was going to go in and fundentally fix things but after the primaries he had gotten talked to about the reality of what was going to be allowed and his first debate reflected the shock of the reality of things to him. Just an interesting perspective.

D , November 18, 2017 at 8:17 pm

witters,
yeah dear, if anyone able to read claims they don't understand what she wrote, they're clearly not telling the truth.
*****************
Addending my above comment, a perfect example of the West Coast despair is the Silicon Valley, California despair (and Silicon Valley, and its borders, have been overseen by 99.99 Democrats who may as well be REPUBLICANS for the austerity they've presided over).

Using suicide via Commuter Train – by an approximately fifty mile stretch (which mostly encompasses Silicon™ Valley ™), between San Jose and San Francisco, of Caltrain commuter track – as an example, there were a record 20 Caltrain track deaths in 2015. At least nineteen of those deaths were declared as, or definitely appeared to be suicides. The 20th death (emphasis mine):

Caltrain death is record 20th of year

One person was hit and killed late Monday afternoon by a Caltrain in Santa Clara, roughly 30 minutes after police pulled a trespasser from the tracks in Mountain View, officials confirmed.

The death marked the agency's 20th fatality of the year, spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew confirmed, matching a record-high set back in 1995.

The fatal collision happened shortly before 5:40 p.m. just north of the Santa Clara Caltrain station, agency spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said. The train that hit the pedestrian was heading northbound at the time of the collision.

Less than 30 minutes before that incident, another person was detained by police near the San Antonio station in Mountain View after they were caught on the tracks and nearly hit by a passing train.

Bartholomew said the person was not hit, but a bag they were carrying was grazed. That person has not been identified.

Commuters can expect delays.

Check back for updates.

Those record 2015 deaths –predominantly adults, and two 15 year old males from affluent neighborhoods– were never highlighted by local, or National, news. The adults were usually noted as Trespassing on the Tracks ™; a normal 'coding,' unless it's a youth, or someone considered Meritocratic (see: 03/12/12 Eric Salvatierra Killed By Caltrain: How Did PayPal Executive Die? ; my decades long in silicon valley educated guess: Peter Thiel/Elon Musk Founded, eBay acquired, PayPal , was a ghastly and inhuman place to work at).

In that same year, for their December 2015 issue , and after that above noted November 16, 2015, RECORD 20th Caltrain human tragedy , The Atlantic ™ published a piece by East Coast DC'er Pundit™, Hanna Rosin, titled, The Silicon Valley Suicides -Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves , regarding prior year Teen Suicides on those same Caltrain Tracks , Teens from Affluent Families, mostly in Palo Alto, which neighbors Stanford University and its Hoover institute.

It is wonderful that those teen tragedies from affluent families were highlighted, as they should have been. But then, neither Hanna Rosin, or anyone from the The Atlantic ™ wrote a follow-up piece regarding those record 20 Caltrain – mostly ADULT suicides – deaths in 2015, which, if Hanna was doing her homework regarding Caltrain suicides she had to have been aware of.

Those Caltrain deaths have decreased in the last two years (the last I noticed was an eighth death, on October 19th: Caltrain strikes, kills trespasser in San Francisco , reported by kron4 ™), especially since there is now a worldwide spotlight on the Homogenous Ivy League Male Billionaires of Silicon Valley and the obscene poverty their Publicly Subsidized Private Sandbox encompasses. I.e. rarely reported on, untold suicide attempts, and: versus easing up the ability to economically survive, The State of California has instead focused on making sure no one kills themselves before they are sucked dry of all possible currency, by guarding those tracks (along with Amtrak & Bart tracks, and the Golden Gate Bridge) 24/7.

[Nov 07, 2017] Donna Brazile, the Rigged Democratic Primary, and Relitigating 2016 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
"... The agreement -- signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to [DNC lawyer] Marc Elias -- specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings. ..."
"... A second difference in substance: Let's remember that for Clinton, the JFA enabled her campaign to circumvent contribution limits for large donors (Brazile: "Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400"). The Sanders campaign , by contrast, had no issue with maxed out donors: "During fall '15, 99.8% of Bernie donors could give again" (because it's awful hard to max out $27 at a time). ..."
"... That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Personnel is policy, as they say, and the Clinton campaign has made sure that the DNC's Communications Director and new hires in the senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments will be acceptable to it. The Clinton campaign will also review all mass email and communcations (which explains why Brazile, as interim DNC chair, couldn't send out a press release without checking with Brooklyn. Since the notorious debate schedule was already controlled by Wasserman Schultz, there was no point messing about with it, I assume.) There is one place in this passage where the general election is mentioned, so let's look at it: ..."
"... Second, the DNC itself does not ..."
"... But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved. ..."
"... It has been a while since I handled a criminal defense case, but I am not sure that the agreement is not in fact, criminal. When the Sanders for President campaign signed an agreement and paid money in consideration of getting access to the voter file and when the state parties agreed to merge their fundraising efforts with the DNC and HFA, the commercial fraud laws applied to that relationship. Since the fundraising was done using interstate phone calls, letters, and emails and the voter file access was provided by electronic transmissions from servers in DC to end users in Burlington, Vermont that includes 18 USC 1341, 1343 and 1346 (mail, wire and honest services fraud). These laws do not just ban outright lying, but also the concealment of material facts that one has a duty to disclose. ..."
"... The DNC got into the position of selling themselves to the Clintons as they were $20 million in debt, right? I have read that the major reason for these debts was that the DNC had not shrunk itself since the last campaign and was paying out a ton of money for consultants doing Christ knows what. In fact, Obama also used the DNC to support a stack of his consultants as well as grifters gotta grift, right? ..."
"... My question is whether this was a deliberate ploy on Obama and the Clinton factions to put the DNC into such a vulnerable position before 2016 came along that when the time came, they had to take up an offer that they could not refuse. I have not heard if Obama has made any comments on this fiasco that took place on his watch and it seems nobody wants to call him out on it. In the Brazile case, it is not a matter of following the money but following the lack of money. ..."
"... "Both sides in the Democratic Party's current faction fight, as I see it, are in denial about the true nature and scope of the problem "Both responses are essentially utopian: They rest on the premise that the Democratic Party is still a functioning political organization and that the United States is still a functioning democracy." ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donna Brazile, the "Rigged" Democratic Primary, and Relitigating 2016 Posted on November 6, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Long-time Democratic[1] operative Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was defenestrated[2], has, like two other participants in the 2016 Presidential election and at least one set of observers , written a book, Hacked , and published a long excerpt from it four days ago, in Politico . Here is the key passage, in which Brazile paraphrases and quotes a conversation with Gary Gensler, former of Goldman Sachs and the CFTC, and then the chief financial officer of the Clinton campaign:

[Gensler] described the party as fully under the control of Hillary's campaign , which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party's national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund -- that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states' parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement -- $320,000 -- and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.

Yes, you read that right. Although the Hillary Victory Fund was billed as aiding the states, in fact the states were simply pass-throughs, and the money went to the Clinton campaign. (This is not news; Politico covered the Victory Fun in 2016 : "The Democratic front-runner says she's raising big checks to help state committees, but they've gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised.")

"Wait," I said. "That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You're telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?"

Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.

"That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie," he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. "It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election."

After some research, Brazile finds a document ("the agreement") that spells out what "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign" meant operationally:

The agreement -- signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to [DNC lawyer] Marc Elias -- specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn't write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

(Importantly, Gensler has not disputed this account, of which, assuming he's not vacationing Antarctica, he must have been aware of, given the media uproar. We can therefore assume its accurate). Note two aspects of this passage, which I'm quoting at such length to ensure we know what Brazile actually charged. I've helpfully underlined them: (1) Brazile leads with the money; that is, the Clinton Victory Fund, and (2) Brazile describes the DNC as "fully under the control" of the Clinton campaign.

Predictably, an enormous controversy erupted, much of it over the weekend just passed, but I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow of the talking points. (Glenn Greenwald provides an excellent media critique in "Four Viral Claims Spread by Journalists on Twitter in the Last Week Alone That Are False "; all four have to do with this controversy[3].) I think the following three quotes are key, the first two being oft-repeated talking points by Clinton loyalists:

First, from the current DNC chair, Tom Perez :

"The joint fundraising agreements were the same for each campaign except for the treasurer, and our understanding was that the DNC offered all of the presidential campaigns the opportunity to set up a JFA and work with the DNC to coordinate on how those funds were used to best prepare for the general election."

Question: Were the agreements "the same" for each campaign? (Perez focuses only on the JFA, but that omits a separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, as we shall see below.)

Second, from 2005-9 DNC chair Howard Dean:

Question: Did the agreement apply only to the general election, and not the primary? (Dean says "this memo," but he also omits the distinction between the MOU and the JFA.)

Third, from Elizabeth Warren. CNN :

"We learned today from the former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile that the Clinton campaign, in her view, did rig the presidential nominating process by entering into an agreement to control day-to-day operations at the DNC," Tapper said, continuing on to describe specific arms of the DNC the Clinton camp had a say over, including strategy and staffing, noting that the agreement was "entered into in August of 2015," months before Clinton won the nomination .

Tapper then asked, "Do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?" And Warren responded simply: "Yes."

Question: Can we say that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged? (Tapper uses the word "rigged," and Warren adopts it, but a careful reading of Brazile's article shows that although she uses the word, she does not actually make the claim.[4])

In this post, I'm going to answer each of these three questions by looking at the documents, plural, in question (Spoiler: My answers are "No," "No," and "Yes," respectively.) Here is a timeline of the documents:

In summary, the Clinton JFA set up the Hillary Victory Fund scam , the MOU gave Clinton control of (much of) the DNC apparatus, and ( according to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver ) the Sanders JFA bought their campaign access to the DNC voter list, and was never used for fundraising because the DNC never asked the campaign to do any. So to answer the our first question, we'll look at the JFA. To answer the second, we'll look at the MOU. And to answer the third, we'll see how all the evidence balances out.

Were the Agreements "the Same" for Each Campaign?

Perez is wrong. The agreements were not at all the same, either formally or substantively.

Formally, the agreements were not the same because the Clinton JFA had an MOU (the "side deal") and the Sanders JFA did not. ABC :

[T]he Clinton campaign Friday afternoon confirmed the existence of a memo between the DNC and their campaign, which specifically outlines an expanded scope and interpretation of their funding agreement . [R]epresentatives from Sanders' former campaign say they only signed a basic, formulaic fundraising agreement that did not include any additional language about joint messaging or staffing decision-making [as does the MOU].

Substantively, the agreements weren't the same either. The substance of the JFA was a scheme enable the Hillary Victory Fund to collect "big checks" (as Politico puts it), supposedly behalf of the state parties, but in reality treating them as conduits to the coffers of the Clinton campaign. Page 3:

From time to time and in compliance with FECA, after expenses have been deducted from the gross proceeds, the Victory Fund will transfer the net proceeds to the Committees according to the Allocation Formula, as modified by any reallocation required.

"[T]he Committees" being the state party political committees, into whose accounts the contributions were deposited, only to be immediately removed and transferred to the Clinton campaign (at least for the states that signed entered into the agreement; a few did not).

However, the Sanders campaign wasn't in the business of collecting "big checks," being small-donor driven. Hence the substance of the agreement could not have been the same. ABC once more :

Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told ABC News Friday night that the campaign entered the agreement with the party in November 2015 to facilitate the campaign's access to the party's voter rolls. Weaver claims the DNC offered to credit any fundraising the senator did for the party against the costs of access to the party's data costs, priced at $250,000. But, Weaver continued, the party did not follow up about fundraising appearances for the independent senator.

Instead, the Sanders campaign raised the $250,000 from small donors. WaPo :

Weaver said the Sanders campaign decided early on to ignore the joint fundraising program and raise small dollars on its own to pay for access to the voter file. "Who are the wealthy people Bernie was going to bring to a fundraiser?" Weaver asked. "We had to buy the voter file right before the primaries."

A second difference in substance: Let's remember that for Clinton, the JFA enabled her campaign to circumvent contribution limits for large donors (Brazile: "Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400"). The Sanders campaign , by contrast, had no issue with maxed out donors: "During fall '15, 99.8% of Bernie donors could give again" (because it's awful hard to max out $27 at a time).

Suppose you were comparing two mortgages on different houses: One mortgage has a side deal attached, the other does not. One is for a lavish facility and demands a complex financing arrangement involving a third party. The other is for a fixer-upper and a lump sum is paid in cash. Would you say those two mortgages are "the same," or not? Even if they both had the word "Mortage" at the top of page one?

Did the Agreement Apply Only to the General Election, and not the Primary?

We now turn our attention to the MOU. Howard Dean, sadly , is wrong. The MOU contains two key passages; the first describes the relationship between Hillary for America (HFA; the Clinton campaign) and the DNC (Brazile: "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign"), and the second is language on the general election. Let's take each in turn. On control, pages 1 and 2:

With respect to the hiring of a DNC Communications Director , the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA.

2. With respect to the hiring of future DNC senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments , in the case of vacancy, the DNC will maintain the authority to make the final decision as between candidates acceptable to HFA. 3. Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate . This does not include any communications related to primary debates – which will be exclusively controlled by the DNC. The DNC will alert HFA in advance of mailing any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature .

That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Personnel is policy, as they say, and the Clinton campaign has made sure that the DNC's Communications Director and new hires in the senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments will be acceptable to it. The Clinton campaign will also review all mass email and communcations (which explains why Brazile, as interim DNC chair, couldn't send out a press release without checking with Brooklyn. Since the notorious debate schedule was already controlled by Wasserman Schultz, there was no point messing about with it, I assume.) There is one place in this passage where the general election is mentioned, so let's look at it:

Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election[-]related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research.

At the most generous reading, the Clinton campaign has "joint authority" with the DNC over "strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures." At the narrowest reading, given that the "general-election[-]related qualifier applies only to "communications," the joint authority applies to "strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and data, technology, analytics, and research." And given that the Clinton campaign is writing the checks that keep the DNC afloat, who do you think will have the whip hand in that "joint authority" relationship?

Now to the clause that supposedly says the agreement (JFA + MOU) applies only to the general election. Here it is, from page 3:

Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC's obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary. Further we understand you may enter into similar agreements with other candidates

(Pause for hollow laughter, given Wasserman Schultz's defenestration, Brazile passing debate questions to the Clinton campaign, etc.). First, even though Hoho seems to think it's exculpatory, the clause is an obvious fig leaf. Glenn Greenwald explains :

DNC and Clinton allies pointed to the fact that the agreement contained self-justifying lawyer language claiming that it is "focused exclusively on preparations for the General," but as Fischer noted that passage "is contradicted by the rest of the agreement." This would be like creating a contract to explicitly bribe an elected official ("A will pay Politician B to vote YES on Bill X"), then adding a throwaway paragraph with a legalistic disclaimer that "nothing in this agreement is intended to constitute a bribe," and then have journalists cite that paragraph to proclaim that no bribe happened even though the agreement on its face explicitly says the opposite.

Second, the DNC itself does not believe that it has any "obligation of impartiality and neutrality" whatever. From Wilding et al. v. DNC Services Corporation, D/B/A Democratic National Committee and Deborah "Debbie" Wasserman Schultz (as cited in Naked Capitalism here ), the DNC's lawyer, Mr. Spiva:

MR. SPIVA: [W}here you have a party that's saying, We're gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we're gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have -- and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we're gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way . That's not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right, and it would drag the Court well into party politics, internal party politics to answer those questions.

Third, look at the institutional realities from point one on control. The Clinton campaign had control over the Communications Director slot and major strategic decisions from the moment the agreement was signed. Are we really to believe that they were behaving as neutral parties? (One obvious way to have shown that would have been to release the MOU either when it was signed.)

Can We Say that the 2016 Democratic Primary Was Rigged?

Brazile herself says no . She says, of "rigging":

I found no evidence, none whatsoever. 'The only thing I found, which I said, I've found the cancer but I'm not killing the patient,' was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation," Brazile added

I think Brazile is either overly charitable, or overly legalistic (perhaps confusing "rigged" with "fixed," where only in the latter case is the outcome absolutely determined). I also think she's wrong. The dictionary definition of rigged is:

to manipulate fraudulently

There's ample evidence of rigging in both the JFA and the MOU. The JFA enabled the Hillary Victory Fund, which was a fraudulent scheme to allow big donors to contribute to the Clinton campaign by using the states as passthroughs. And the MOU enabled to Clinton campaign to fraudulently manipulate the public and the press into the belief that the DNC was an independent entity, when in fact it was a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the Clinton campaign.

Conclusion

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016 campaign ; we're supposed to look forward and not back. However, the demand not to "relitigate" assumes that the case is closed; as Brazile shows, we're hardly through with the depositions, let alone prepared to render judgment. So, when you hear "relitigate," think "silencing tactic," and ask yourself who and what silence serves. And perhaps this post will provide a basis for further discussion. 119 comments

Moocao , November 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Another reason why it will be a long time until I can vote Democrat again. The betrayal of trust is enormous.

David, by the lake , November 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Likewise, confirms my decision to wash my hands of the party. If, by some miracle, a candidate acceptable to my priorities is nominated, I will still vote for him/her, but the party isn't getting any default support or any $.

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm

People need to stop conflating the DNC with the Democratic Party. I realized I was doing so and stopped.

The DNC is an organization for raising money to support Democratic Party candidates for US President; its subsidiaries are, of course, the DCCC and the DSCC. The only reason they have power to dictate to the actual party is because they hold the purse strings. That Bernie and others have run successful campaigns, to one degree or another, without their "help" is one of the reasons they're fighting so hard to maintain the status quo. If they're shown to be redundant, the power of those who currently run it evaporates.

Saying "I'll never vote Democrat again" is, as my sainted mother used to say, cutting off your nose to spite your face. Right now, if we're going to at least slow down the rocketing juggernaut that is GOP/plutocratic ownership of our governments, we need to elect progressive candidates. There's no time to create a third party that can compete, so we need to vote for the candidates who are advancing a non-neoliberal/neocon agenda whatever party they run under. It's mostly Democrats, at the moment, but a social media acquaintance spoke of a clearly progressive candidate running for a local office as a Republican because that's how she's registered.

One of the ways the GOP was so successful in conning the working people and small business owners and others into buying their hogwash was by demonizing "the Democrats." Now, their message that "Democrats" are nothing but crazy-headed hippies who want to take their money and give it to other people is so deeply ingrained it's a hard row to how convincing them just how big a lie it is. Indeed, I suspect I shocked a raging right-winger the other day when I told him we agreed about Obama and Clinton, because his Fox-muddled mind firmly believes a Democrat thinks Obama rules the heavens.

If we don't "vote Democrat" in the upcoming primaries, then the establishment local and state parties are going to throw more New Democrats against the GOP and lose. That can't happen.

Vatch , November 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Yes, thank you! People need to vote for the progressive candidates in the Democratic primaries. If they don't, then the establishment candidates will easily win, and the national government will continue to be dominated by both Republican and Democratic lap dogs of the billionaires. And if there are a few progressive Republicans out there, sure, vote for them, too.

I often wonder whether some of the people who admonish us to stop voting for Democrats are really employed by one of the many Koch brothers organizations. Not all of them, of course, and I'm not making an accusation against anyone who is commenting here. But if people don't vote for progressive Democrats, the billionaires and the corporate advocates of financialization will win.

nippersmom , November 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm

You're presupposing the presence of "progressive democrats". In many races, they don't exist.

animalogic , November 6, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Of course, appearances can be deceptive: Obama ran as a progressive candidate . As a quick ready-reckoner -- the more a candidate bloviates on Identity issues, the less likely they are (should they be elected) to be "progressive" on issues of substance: the economy, tax, war/imperialism

ArcadiaMommy , November 6, 2017 at 11:51 pm

Right! Where are these progressive democrats? I would love to support one other than Bernie Sanders (yes I know he is not perfect and he is too old). But they don't seem to exist at the national level. There seem to be mayoral and other municipal candidates on the right track – just have no idea how to move those ideas onto the state or national level. Maybe I am just cranky and pessimistic right now.

BoycottAmazon , November 7, 2017 at 6:16 am

Here, here!

TYT did several interviews of "Justice Democrats", newbies running on a progressive platform. Some of the interviews you could see Cenk Uynger almost cringing, and the usually voluble Jimmy Dore very quiet as the candidates lacked public speaking skills, and demonstrating a probable lack of political smarts necessary to maneuver any bureaucracy.

Without trial by fire at lower levels, learning how to run a government and get results, then there is no way to judge the candidates.

Unless candidates like Roza Calderon a faster learn that is apparent at this point, they the Justice Democrats can only win when "anyone but him/her" applies ,

witters , November 6, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Progressive Democrats. Square Circle. 2+2=5. "We Can Make it Happen!" All we need? "The Audacity of Hope".

witters , November 7, 2017 at 12:10 am

So it was our apathy that did it. It was our moral failure. "Really," says Algernon, in The Importance of Being Earnest, "if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility."

bronco , November 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm

no your democratic party is also a party of plutocrats . That's why it needs to be burned to the ground.

annenigma , November 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

There's an important difference between being and voting Democrat. Actually, we already have a defacto 3rd party, Independents/Unaffiliated, a larger block of voters than either Republicans or Democrats.

With even greater numbers of Independents/Unaffiliated, we could be a force to be reckoned with. Actually, we should recognize and own our power right now because we could decimate the ranks of the Duopoly and make room for an actual third party. We can still vote for Democrats of course, but they'll realize that they can't continue to take our votes for granted.

There's actually no good reason to remain a registered Democrat. You can still vote for Democrats as an Independent/Unaffiliated voter. It's only for some presidential primaries and caucuses that party registration is a limitation. If you live in one of those states, you can temporarily register as a Democrat to vote, then revert to independent/unaffiliated afterwards. Other than that, all other elections are open without regard to affiliation.

The Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same bird of prey, and we're the prey only because we haven't yet learned to fly to escape their talons. If we start owning our power as free agents/Independent voters, that can change. While deep pocketed donors may have the power to make the wheels turn for the Duopoly, those wheels can't go anywhere without our votes. Since we don't have the power of money, we can at least exercise our political power to stay out of their talons.

Independence is the way to fly. It's not just leverage, it's also the only way to clear more space and demand for official third parties. Since the Duopoly refuses to change their ways and repair the rigged system they created to keep only themselves in power, we can and should abandon them in droves.

Let's spread our wings and fly.

mrsyk , November 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

In order to vote in the New York State Democrat party primary you must be a registered Democrat. In NY the primary is where most seats are won and lost. Being registered as a Democrat is a necessary evil in some cases.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 3:53 am

It has never been clear to me why a hostile takeover of the Democrats, followed by a management purge and seizure of its assets, should be framed as "saving" the Democrat Party. I think that's what a lot of Sanders people would like to do. It's also not clear to me why people think the Democrats can simply be by-passed , and don't need to be assaulted, and if from the inside, all the better.

As readers know, my experience with the Greens was poor (as it has been with others I have talked to). This is especially sad since the GP in Maine had seemed to be viable. So, my fear of the Greens is not fear of the un known, but fear of the known ; I worked at dysfunctional non-profits before, and I don't need to do it again. Others, especially CP activists, may differ in their experience, but that's mine. (Note that I was reinforced in my priors by Stein's lawyer adopting the "Russian hacking" meme in Stein's post-election lawsuits.)

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

if Bernie's primary campaign and support had been transferred to the Green Party, he would have been a very serious contender,

I agree. But Sanders couldn't join the Green ticket, because he made a promise to support the Democratic candidate, and unlike some politicians, he tries to keep his promises. So what did the Greens do? Instead of actively trying to gain the support of Sanders primary voters, they nominated ideological purist Ajamu Baraka as their Vice Presidential candidate, and he would not back down from unrealistic insulting criticism of Sanders. In effect, the Greens chose to fail.

todde , November 7, 2017 at 10:20 am

I am not interested in keeping the two party system. Either the country breaks apart, or we will have regional parties that can compete with the Democrats and the Republicans.

Audacity of Hope , November 6, 2017 at 6:25 pm

How many clowns can dance on the head of a pin? Debating whether it feels better to have a donkey or an elephant standing on your neck is a fools errand. Neither the Democrat or Republican party is democratic or representative of any more than a handful of families from the Billionaires Club. While they may favor different individuals in the ruling class, neither faux-party has the slightest interest in the rabble who don't line their pockets and provide protection against electoral defeat.

Elections are a stage managed charade in our kleptocracy. Expecting them to change anything that matters, or alter the course of the Warfare State is pure delusion. First we must have Collapse, then Chaos before we can have Change that we can believe in.

animalogic , November 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

"First we must have Collapse, then Chaos before we can have Change that we can believe in." You are right -- although hopefully mere "crisis" will be sufficient for radical change rather than complete collapse & chaos . Collapse & chaos may void any chance of organised positive change. Having said that the signs are not good: see https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/06/the-ecosystem-is-breaking-down/ for the less than cheery news on ecosystem breakdown. Both parties must be revealed unambiguously to the whole public as the completely morally bankrupt, treasonous & vicious entities that socialists & progressives have known them to be for decades.

zapster , November 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

The big problem with the Democrats is that they just kicked all the Progressives out and actively oppose them. Voting for blue dogs doesn't get us anywhere.

Vatch , November 6, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Yes, that's a genuine problem. Here are some possible solutions:

https://www.ourrevolution.com/candidates/

https://now.justicedemocrats.com/candidates

http://brandnewcongress.org/candidates/

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:07 am

You are correct about Carter. Zbigniew Brzezinski was a creature of the Rockefellers, and he was Carter's Special Assistant for National Security. Prior to becoming President, Carter was a member of the Trilateral Commission.

sharonsj , November 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

The rigging was obvious from the start. When nearly all the super delegates declared for Clinton before a single primary was held, I read numerous reports that said the reason was quid pro quo. The super delegates were to be given campaign money in exchange for their support. The agreement proves it.

That, and what the DNC did to Bernie supporters during the convention, made me swear I'd never give them a penny. I have only donated to specific candidates directly. Meanwhile, the Dem establishment stubbornly remains clueless as to why it cannot regain the House and Senate.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm

I have seen portions of the agreement (not sure if JFA or MOU) characterized as a "slush fund" for consultants. Naturally, of course, but one might also wonder if that slush fund was used to purchase any superdelegate votes. Pure speculation I didn't have time to run down, so I left it on the cutting room floor.

SpringTexan , November 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm

G, a lot happened to Sanders supporters at the convention, too much to recap but you can probably find stories about it. Many walked out but their seats were filled by paid seat-fillers so the hall didn't look empty, also from what I understand paid seat-fillers sometimes didn't let them take their seats. Signs were blocked, white noise was used to muffle boos, etc.

Before the convention, many of the primaries had a lot of funny business (not all, I know of no problems here in Texas). But California, Arizona, New York, Puerto Rico, Nevada and others all had SERIOUS problems with things such as efforts to prevent Sanders supporters from voting, questionable vote counting (such as at Nevada caucuses), efforts to make voting difficult by having few poll places, etc., etc.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:32 am

..actually, while all you intone is accurate, we did clearly hear the boos from Senator Sanders supporters of which I was one.

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

I think there were irregularities in Illinois, too. I recall that 6 counties did not have enough Democratic ballots, and the Democratic Attorney General, a Clinton supporter, sued to prevent voters in those counties from voting after election day. In Massachusetts, Bill Clinton illegally electioneered near or in a polling place. But the authorities let him get away with it.

Steve from CT , November 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Great article Lambert. TheGreenwald article was helpful but yours is the icing on the cake. Hopefully many will read this so that they do not get confused with all of the Clintonista response to Brazile. Howard Dean must be suffering from early Alzheimer's to write such a lie. But he has done it before.

Fiery Hunt , November 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm

It's hard for me to believe anyone can, with a straight face, suggest the 2 agreements are equal.How can you have more than one agreement giving "the authority to make the final decision " ??!! Final means last, no? #corruptlosers

ChrisAtRU , November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

From no less than Joy Ann Reid w.r.t. "DNC Collusion":

"YOU CAN'T TRICK PEOPLE INTO VOTING FOR WHO THEY VOTED FOR"

I wonder if this type of logic can and should be applied to #Russian Collusion/Interference ;-)

#ProbablyNotCoolByMSNBC

hemeantwell , November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016 campaign; we're supposed to look forward and not back. However, the demand not to "relitigate" assumes that the case is closed; as Brazile shows, we're hardly through with the depositions, let alone prepared to render judgment. So, when you hear "relitigate," think "silencing tactic," and ask yourself who and what silence serves.

Well said. Regular contact with the centrist MSM recently is like being subjected to hypnotism routines from 50s movies. "You are thinking forward, forward, forward. When I snap my fingers you will feel fresh, eager to believe in the promises of the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama."

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

A case could be made that the party of FDR is not the same one as the party of Barack Obama. :-)

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:43 am

and yet FDR stood by while his own "Senator Sanders" – Henry Wallace was sidetracked from his vice-presidency and legacy as FDR's successor (to the chagrin of Eleanor, among many) by corporate dems James Byrnes, stooge for big oil and U.S. steel, who replaced Wallace with Truman at 1944 dem convention

However, there certainly is no comparison, as you note, between obama's complete lack of "transparency, oversight, accountability" regarding bush-cheney war crimes, Wall Street frauds, destabilization of entire Middle-East, leading to republican trump administration, and FDR

Most authors-historicans I have encountered believe FDR had no real idea how ill he was

jsba , November 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm

A while ago, I read a story about the DNC's misuse of unpaid interns. The story itself was barfy enough, but what really shocked me was an aside asserting that even official elected DNC members were barred from viewing the DNC's budget. ( http://paydayreport.com/unpaidinternsatdnc/ )

"Surely that can't be true," I said to myself. But it is! I looked up the DNC's charter and bylaws and the standing budget committee is specifically exempted from article 9 section 12, which says that all official meetings of the DNC and its committees must be open to the public and cannot involve voting by secret ballot. http://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.democrats.org/Downloads/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.17.15.pdf

"WTF kind of an organization is this?!" I thought. How on earth is that even legal?

Well, after the Brazile disclosure of the Clinton MOU, I went back to look at the DNC charter/bylaws. You'll note on the first page the date the current version was adopted–2 days after the MOU was signed!

Anyone wanna take a bet that the budget committee carveout was one of things that was changed?

Anonymous , November 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

jsba, suggest you use the Wayback machine or another internet archive and look at prior historical copies of DNC charter/bylaws, to identify the changes. Could be very illuminating as to (possible) criminal intent?

jsba , November 6, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I did find a 2009 dated version ( https://www.demrulz.org/wp-content/files/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.11.2009.pdf ).

I was wrong about the budget committee carveout–it's in this version as well (still completely insane!).

The fact that it was amended 2 days after the MOU is, obviously, still extremely suspicious. I don't have time to, but the 2009 version would be useful to identify possible changes.

Di Modica's Dumb Steer , November 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

As much as I'd like to switch parties (hah) so as to add to the greater numbers of fleeing formerly party faithful, I'm in one of those 'closed primary' states. My vote is already nearly worthless (though I exercise my right every chance I get); to switch to a third party would make sure I'm both excluded from the more interesting local party contests AND drowned out in national contests. Lose/lose. Maybe if something like Maine's (currently under attack) Ranked Choice Voting existed all over, I'd be less sour about the whole thing.

Donald , November 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Yeah, you need people like Lambert willing to do the work. It is exhausting keeping up with the truths, half truths and lies promulgated in the press and trying to figure out what is true and what isn't.

EricT , November 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm

I find it interesting that the agreement involved control of the IT/data infrastructure of the DNC. Doesn't the DNC administer the democratic party registry? And with that observation, wasn't there a lot of illegal party switching that caused a problem for some Democrats voting in party restricted primaries that had their registration switched, so that they couldn't take part in the primaries. Wouldn't it be interesting if the switched parties were on the DNC record as donating to Bernie's campaign? Fixed, indeed.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 1:13 am

I'm not sure I understand your scenario, but the DNC "voter file" and the state's list of registered voters are two different things.

JCC , November 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It just goes to show you

Skip in DC , November 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Manipulations of the deplorable superdelegate system, with its covert quid pro quo payoffs after the Clintons take power, was part of a seamless fix. Premature coronation by media and party wigs after primary victories in red states no Democrat would win in the general election helped ice it.

Perhaps revelations will turn up on mainstream media, from the Sabbath Gasbags to NPR, knifing Bernie with Hillary talking points at every opportunity, when he wasn't being ignored. Thomas Frank wrote persuasively on WaPo's bias in Swat Team in Harper's, and there have been tidbits on off-record Clinton media cocktail parties and such. But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved. Certainly Jeff Bezos has a Washington wish list. I marveled at how many journalists suddenly sounded like breathless valley girl propagandists. And still do. What faster way to tank journalism's credibility than that perception?

I guess that's why after catching headlines more of my reading time shifts to alternative offerings such as those presented here.

Mark P. , November 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved.

I worked as a journalist in America for over a decade. I cannot stress enough how unnecessary such a literal fix would be. (Though doubtless words were and are exchanged between concerned parties when needed.)

The hive-mind position of most U.S. journalists -- and especially of editors, who tend to be the most compliant with the power-structure and often the stupidest people in the room -- was (and is) an automatical default to unquestioning support -- even worship -- of the Democratic Party, its elite, and Clintonite neoliberalism.

I once wrote a long feature that got a crush-letter from Joe Lieberman's office. The editors at the magazine in question were ecstatic and printed that letter as its own separate feature in the next issue. Personally, I thought Leiberman was scum, but kept my qualms to myself and was glad I used a byline.

Samuel Conner , November 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

It seems to me that the HRC campaign's JFA was expressly designed to -- and succeeded in its design -- circumvent the statutory $2700 limit on direct campaign contributions. Yet I have not seen commentary that suggests any laws were violated. What am I missing?

AnnieB , November 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

To me, it seemed that the Democratic Party had already decided for clinton before the primaries, as at my local caucus the party had planted each neighborhood group with a party faithful, not from the neighborhood, who would argue for clinton and fear monger about Trump. I know this because I talked to the plant in my group, asked her where she lived, and discovered it was not in my neighborhood; it was a different town. Others reported the same.

Also, a Dem party leader came up to me and said "Sanders is not going to be the nominee" and "When this is over (meaning the primary), then you'll be supporting Hillary, right?" I told her to never assume anything.

So, thanks to Brazile, no matter her motivation, for providing proof of what we already knew.

Richard , November 6, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I think you don't see that skill set very much in party leaders because they so rarely need for the party to win elections. They do need to be able to maintain control over their parties, so they're great at being cutthroat and cheating. But apart from certain important individual elections, the success of the party as a whole isn't a big priority for them. There are spoils to divide either way.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:49 am

fyi, Lambert, the two political parties, while both far too corrupt, are different-your own false-equivalencies aside

Sam Adams , November 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm

I worked on the Sanders primary campaign in my city. I watched as the state/regional leadership consistently tanked the gotv and other Sanders ground outreach while a few local leaders working in smaller areas worked their hearts out on the ground. Surprisingly (or not) the state/ regional leadership bailed to work on the HRC campaign within hours of closing the primary office.

Nancy Sutton , November 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I swear, in one of her interviews on the past weekend, Brazile made a quick, underbreath, reference to 'poor Seth Rich' in recounting the death threats aimed at her. Glad someone has not forgotten that connection.

jalrin , November 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm

It has been a while since I handled a criminal defense case, but I am not sure that the agreement is not in fact, criminal. When the Sanders for President campaign signed an agreement and paid money in consideration of getting access to the voter file and when the state parties agreed to merge their fundraising efforts with the DNC and HFA, the commercial fraud laws applied to that relationship. Since the fundraising was done using interstate phone calls, letters, and emails and the voter file access was provided by electronic transmissions from servers in DC to end users in Burlington, Vermont that includes 18 USC 1341, 1343 and 1346 (mail, wire and honest services fraud). These laws do not just ban outright lying, but also the concealment of material facts that one has a duty to disclose.

Considering the importance of voter file access, it is impossible to imagine that your chief competitor having joint authority over hiring the people who handle all your customer service and monitor your compliance with voter file contract is not a material fact. If, under DC contract law or FTC commerical regulations, these kinds of conflicts of interest are mandatorily disclosable (I do not practice in DC but I doubt DC applies caveat emptor to that degree), then 18 USC 1343 was broken and Jeff Sessions could indict everyone involved.

It is even worse for the state parties agreement. The DNC arguably has a duty of loyalty to its state affiliates which makes agreeing to encourage them all to sign up even though it is concealing its knowledge that the money will be allocated in a way that will be bad for at least some of them seem utterly inconsistent with the honest services provisions of 1346. All in all, it is probably a good thing for the DNC that the Sessions aides I went to law school with paid less attention in criminal law that I did.

Jeff W , November 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Thanks!

It seemed to me that the nondisclosure of material facts and of conflicts of interest might, arguably, constitute some type of criminal activity and that Donna Brazile's characterization of the agreement as "not a criminal act" was, perhaps, a bit too facile but I did not know the specific statutes or claims that might be involved. I really appreciate your detailed observations here.

a different chris , November 6, 2017 at 9:41 pm

>that the Sessions aides I went to law school with paid less attention in criminal law

Did they? Does it really make sense to destroy the Democratic Party and open up space for something new and dangerous? I would just make popcorn.

PS: thanks for the excellent post, btw.

Oregoncharles , November 7, 2017 at 2:13 am

"Not a dime's worth of difference."
When it comes to politics, it isn't Russians we need to worry about, it's Americans. That's where the collusion is – between the parties.

It was the Republicans' turn, period. Jeff Sessions doubtless knows that.

dk , November 6, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Rigged, fixed, defrauded I like "compromised".

Just want to point out that the state-party=>DNC pass-through is not at all new. Has been active in some form and proportion in every presidential campaign since 1992 (mainly, or at least nominally due to changes in FEC regulation), but really ramped up in and after 2008.

Pushback by states has decreased over time, as state party executive directors are now almost always (even in off-cycle years) routed in from DC, instead of staffing from the local pool of operatives.

One of the important impacts is on state legislatures. Gutted of necessary funding, and discouraged (and sometimes contractually inhibited) from soliciting further funds on the national level, state parties have little left in their coffers to support their legislative candidates and committees (and forget about the bottom of the ticket).

So this kind of money hoovering is a significant factor in the national net loss of Dem seats in state houses in non-"battleground" states.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm

> the state-party=>DNC pass-through is not at all new

I believe the amounts are new. Campaign Legal Center :

During oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC three years ago, Justice Samuel Alito dismissed the Campaign Legal Center's analysis showing how, absent limits on the total amount that donors could give to multiple political committees, candidates could use joint fundraising schemes to raise huge, potentially corrupting contributions.

These scenarios, Justice Alito claimed, are "wild hypotheticals that are not obviously plausible." Hillary Clinton, though, is proving that the Campaign Legal Center was right all along.

I'm not at all a campaign finance expert. Perhaps readers will weigh in?

dk , November 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Yes, the amounts are new. Just saying this was the direction things were going for a while already. Good will between DNC and state parties already at a low ebb, DWS a big part of that.

Kris Alman , November 6, 2017 at 7:58 pm

As we know, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allows corporations, individuals and labor unions to make unlimited contributions to independent organizations that use the money to support or defeat a candidate. Rules prohibit coordination between a candidate committee and an individual or organization making "independent expenditures."

Clearly this was not the arrangement between the HVF, State Democratic Central Committees participating in the PAC and the DNC. Hillary was pulling the strings at the DNC. But I'm just now appreciating that the Hillary Victory Fund is not a Super PAC.

https://www.fec.gov/updates/joint-fundraising-2/

Joint fundraising is fundraising conducted jointly by a political committee and one or more other political committees or unregistered organizations. Joint fundraising rules apply to:

Party committees;
Party organizations not registered as political committees;
Federal and/or nonfederal candidate committees;
Nonparty, unauthorized political committees (nonconnected PACs); and
Unregistered nonparty organizations. 11 CFR 102.17(a)(1)(i) and (2).

The HVF was the first joint fundraising committee between a presidential candidate and the Democratic party since the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v FEC. A horrible precedent at that!

McCutcheon declared a total limit on how much an individual can give federal candidates and parties in a two-year cycle unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts opined, "The existing aggregate limits may in fact encourage the movement of money away from entities subject to disclosure."

Right!

The HVF demonstrates how rechanneling dark money from super PACs toward candidates and parties doesn't stop unethical and undemocratic processes.

That the HVF was needed to balance the Obama debt is one thing. That the HVF can pass through money from State committees to the DNC and then coordinate activities there while passing off as a joint fundraising committee is another thing.

The rechanneling of hundreds of millions of dollars donated by rich D elites to bypass individual contribution limits was a brilliant financial engineering feat–one that the Rs will surely emulate.

Before conducting a joint fundraiser, all participants must enter into a written agreement that identifies the JFR and states the allocation formula -- the amount or percentage that the participants agree to use for allocating proceeds and expenses. 11 CFR 102.17(c)(1).

What was the allocation formula of the joint fundraising committee?

As the HVF fairy tale plays out, Clinton is the witch who lures Hansel and Gretel to the forest with a castle of confections, with the intention to eat them.

Are Democrats capable of outsmarting the witches that want to cannibalize the party?

Down2Long , November 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Thanks Lambert for this. As usual, you have seen around corners and cleared the mud from the water. Thank God you like crawling through this sh*t, so that I at least don't have to.

Our local radio host Warren Olney, on KCRW who started his show "To The Point" (which is syndicated nationally on Public Radio International) during the 2000 Bush v Gore Supreme Court crowning of Bush fiasco is doing a week long retrospective of the disintegration of Americans' faith in "our" institutions (ha!) before he goes to a once a week podcast.

I have listened to him for 17 years and I don't know how he could stomach covering U.S. society, politics, and culture during those years of non-ending sh*t show. He was fair to all guests including some right wing loonies, but you never got the feeling he was going for "balance." He always seemed to get the truth. Gonna sorely miss him.

So glad you are still on the case, and loving it. You have my gratitude, and soon, a contribution.

Edward , November 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

How much of the $250,000 the Sanders campaign paid for the DNC voter list went to the Clinton campaign? I am still wondering if this kind of thing has occurred in other elections?

Deadl E Cheese , November 6, 2017 at 5:08 pm

As far as relitigating the primary goes, we should've had that fight back, if not in 2000, then definitely in 2004. After Team Clinton, people who justified their sellouts and perfidy with 'we must never have another McGovern or Carter', gave the GOP a gift of a unified government that should have been the permanent end of their credibility. Because while McGovern, Carter, and Mondale went down in flames they didn't so thoroughly destroy the anti-reactionary institutions as badly as the Third Way did.

The endless 2016 primary is our punishment for giving these centrist vipers a second chance.

Hana M , November 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm

I appreciate Lambert going through these documents and laying out the timeline. One of the things that this read sparked for me was the realization the Joe Biden was elbowed out just as much as Bernie Sanders. I didn't follow the Biden decision-making process at the time but checking back on the timeline it seems like Clinton pre-empted any attempt by dear old Joe to actually decide to run. Correct me if I'm wrong (as I may well be. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden#2016_presidential_race

Jen , November 7, 2017 at 4:51 am

It doesn't take much elbowing to oust someone who was polling in single digits in his home state. I donated to O'Malley's campaign before Bernie got in, and, regrettably, am still on his mailing list.

Altandmain , November 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm

The bottom line is that the political system is owned by the ruling oligarchy and that the Democratic Establishment is in bed with them. If a serious candidate from the left poses a challenge, they will rig the Primary against that candidate.

The Democratic Establishment is pretty much paid to lose and to make the consultant class rich. Equally as importantly, they exist to co-opt the left.

Sure there are a few voices talking that make sense like Tulsi Gabbard. They are the exception to a very corrupt party.

A big part of why the middle class has declined is because of the total betrayal of the Democratic Party from the ideas behind the New Deal.

The Rev Kev , November 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

The DNC got into the position of selling themselves to the Clintons as they were $20 million in debt, right? I have read that the major reason for these debts was that the DNC had not shrunk itself since the last campaign and was paying out a ton of money for consultants doing Christ knows what. In fact, Obama also used the DNC to support a stack of his consultants as well as grifters gotta grift, right?

My question is whether this was a deliberate ploy on Obama and the Clinton factions to put the DNC into such a vulnerable position before 2016 came along that when the time came, they had to take up an offer that they could not refuse. I have not heard if Obama has made any comments on this fiasco that took place on his watch and it seems nobody wants to call him out on it. In the Brazile case, it is not a matter of following the money but following the lack of money.

Summer , November 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm

https://www.alternet.org/human-rights/demo-catastrophe-it-was-worse-we-thought-and-bigger-bernie-vs-hillary/
By Andrew O'Hehir / Salon

O'Hehir flails around until he nails it:

"Both sides in the Democratic Party's current faction fight, as I see it, are in denial about the true nature and scope of the problem "Both responses are essentially utopian: They rest on the premise that the Democratic Party is still a functioning political organization and that the United States is still a functioning democracy."

VietnamVet , November 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Thanks. This was plain and simple money laundering to get around the Federal Election Commission rules and regulations. That no one has been brought to justice shows how corrupt the American political process is. It would great if you could post how you would reform it. I would start with paper ballots counted in public and halt corporations from buying elections.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 4:03 am

> This was plain and simple money laundering

If I understand the law correctly, this really wasn't money laundering, since laundered money becomes dirty by virtue of its being the result of a crime (like drug dealers depositing cash at HSBC (IIRC)). Handling money in a complex and obfuscated way is not, in itself, money laundering. I'm not sure what the word is, though.

John k , November 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Violating campaign laws is a crime. Circumventing can often be shown to be violating. Need a prosecutor willing to prosecute white collar crime, a rare breed for at least the last decade. But trump has been attacked by Clintons, and he has DOJ but nothing is happening.

makedoanmend , November 7, 2017 at 5:23 am

Some very good points are made here. Carping about the inequities of the Democrat Party establishment isn't going to change their behaviour. Too much lucre. One needs to change the people running the party. From the ground up and with concrete regulatory features. Full stop.

However, one might look to the UK Labour party to see how it reacted when J. Corbyn, a lifelong member and activist, became leader of the party through grandee miscalculation. The Thatcherist Blairites went ballastic and basically decided to destroy the party rather than let a fairly mild democratic socialist offer an alternative to their beloved neoliberal economic policies. Too much lucre. They almost destroyed Labour in Scotland and were intent on defenestrating Labour in England, whilst retaining some feeble structure as a mock substitute, so that the Tories would, in fact, become the one and only alternative.

The forces aligned against the democratic tendencies of ordinary citizens are formidable and reach into every nook and cranny of our lives. They have the money, technological reach and hence the power of capital and its persuasive abilities.

Ain't going to be easy. Never is.

pretzelattack , November 7, 2017 at 9:46 am

i dont think a campaign had owned the dnc like that before. i think it had nothing to do with hilary being a good team player, and everything to do with money and juicy consulting/lobbying jobs. and pointing this out is not "sulking". know your enemy, and don't excuse their crimes and predations by an argument that "that's just the way things are".

audrey jr , November 6, 2017 at 8:26 pm

I am a Bernie supporter. He was pushed to the side by the Dem's – a party to which I belonged for forty years – in a total panic when it was shown to the Dem's that Bernie was able to reach disaffected party members as myself by raising a large amount of money through individual small donors.
That Bernie accomplished this feat was a huge factor, IMO, in why and how my former party felt it necessary to malign and derail Bernie and his supporters before, during and after the Democratic -meh – Nominating Convention.
The Dem's should have just named the Hillary for America Fund the Hillary for Hillary Fund.
Hillary cares only for and about Hillary. She's the reason Trump is POTUS today.
My family has been Democrat for many generations. Most of my family members have, unfortunately, BTFD on this one. I used to find them to be reasonable folk. Trump derangement syndrome has infected them all. This is a common complaint these days.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:57 am

truth of trump actions-legislation, appointees, is not "trump derangement syndrome" trump has succeeded in swamping the drain

and yes, it is obama's fault HC opted for a losing, "more of same" campaign policy

audrey jr , November 6, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Forgot to thank Lambert for all of his great care and hard work in putting this together for us. Thank you, Lambert.
In Brazile's account I do believe I remember reading that my home state, CA, did not sign off on the agreement with regard to the HFV fund. But I seem to remember that Naked Capitalism, or perhaps in the commentariat here, did state that the Dem's here in CA were in an uproar over Hillary Victory Fund taking all of the state party monies. Am I having a flashback or did I actually remember this wrong? Anyone know?

JTFaraday , November 6, 2017 at 10:23 pm

I thought the most interesting thing about Brazile's comments to date was that Obama left the DNC indebted and therefore more vulnerable to the highest bidder. Not easy to bail that out on $27 donations. So typical of these Goldmanite administrations, this use of finance as a political weapon.

MLS , November 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

a feature not a bug? Is it completely implausible that Obama deliberately left the party in shambles just so Clinton could ride to the "rescue"?

[Nov 05, 2017] Donna Brazile says critics of Hillary Clinton revelations can go to hell by Martin Pengelly

Presstitutes from guardian have no shame. Look, for example, at the following statement "The former Clinton staffers – among them high-profile figures such as Huma Abedin, Jennifer Palmieri and campaign manager Robby Mook, the target of stringent criticism from Brazile – wrote: "It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent , about our candidate's health."
It is widely suspected that Hillary Clinton has second stage of Parkinson or some other serious neurological diseases?
It is telling that Guardian is afraid to open comments on this article.
Notable quotes:
"... Regarding the primary, in which Sanders – a Vermont independent – mounted a surprisingly strong challenge, Brazile writes in her book that a joint fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC "looked unethical" and she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party. ..."
Nov 05, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

She also said she "got sick and tired of people trying to tell me how to spend money" as DNC chair, when she "wasn't getting a salary. I was basically volunteering my time".

"I'm not Patsey the slave," Brazile said, referring to a character in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

In her book, Brazile writes that she did not ultimately try to make the change of candidate because: "I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them."

On ABC, she admitted she had not had the power to make the change but said: "I had to put in on the the table because I was under tremendous pressure after Secretary Clinton fainted to have a quote-unquote plan B. I didn't want a plan B. Plan A was great for me. I supported Hillary and I wanted her to win. But we were under pressure."

Brazile writes that on 12 September 2016, Biden's chief of staff called saying the vice-president wanted to speak with her. Her thought, she writes, was: "Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about?"

On ABC, she said she did not mention the possible switch. "I mean, look, everybody was called in to see, do you know anything? How is she doing? And of course my job at the time was to reassure people, not just the vice-president but also reassure the Democratic party, the members of the party, that Hillary was doing fine and that she would resume her campaign the following week."

It is unclear if Biden was ever willing to step into the race. The former vice-president, who many believe could a run for the presidency in 2020, made no immediate comment.

Asked if she still thinks a Biden-Booker ticket could have won, Brazile equivocated, saying: "Well, you know, I had a lot of other combinations. This was something you play out in your mind."

Regarding the primary, in which Sanders – a Vermont independent – mounted a surprisingly strong challenge, Brazile writes in her book that a joint fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC "looked unethical" and she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party.

[Nov 03, 2017] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Donna Brazile's DNC Bombshell by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

Notable quotes:
"... the DNC agreed to let the Clinton campaign control the party's finances, strategy, donations, and staffing decisions in exchange for the Clinton campaign's financial help. ..."
"... At a time when many people and many voices are calling for unity within the Democratic party, it was really disturbing to see that there was kind of a purge of party officials from both the at large committee, as well as the executive committee within the DNC. That really had one common thread of the people who were booted out of those seats that they had held. Some for decades. The commonality was that these were people who had either supported Bernie Sanders for president or supported Keith Ellison for DNC chair, or both. ..."
"... Getting rid of the non democratic superdelegates who make up one third of all of the votes cast that a nominee needs to secure the nomination, and to secure open or same day registration primaries so that again, open the doors. Let's let everybody in and get involved in the process. ..."
"... In Roger Stone's book, The Making of the President 2016 ..."
"... Every piece of what we've learned so far, unfolding over months, is as bad as or worse than we had thought: The DNC works to engineer a Clinton/Trump match-up, the combination most likely to assure a Democratic loss . It vehemently denies that it is tilted favorably toward Clinton -- which turns out to be true, in a technical sense, because it is controlled by Clinton. ..."
"... Debbie will be the sacrificial lamb. Still waiting for anyone in the mainstream to publish the name "Awan". ..."
"... she's put her money where her mouth is numerous times now, beginning with leaving the DNC in protest over its unethical practices ..."
Nov 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
In this Real News Network interview , Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) responds to former interim chair Donna Brazile's revelation that the Clinton campaign had effective control of the DNC. Gabbard was a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primary.

Brazile published her book excerpt in Politico, Inside Hillary Clinton's Secret Takeover of the DNC . If you've yet to read it, don't miss.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/S2PHwuIERms

AARON MATÉ: It's The Real News. I'm Aaron Maté. During the 2016 Democratic primary, supporters of Bernie Sanders complained that the Democratic National Committee was plagued by internal corruption, and rigging the nomination for Hillary Clinton. Well today, the former interim chair of the DNC has come out to say exactly that. Writing for Politico, Donna Brazile details a scheme wherein the Clinton campaign effectively took over the DNC. Facing a major funding shortfall, the DNC agreed to let the Clinton campaign control the party's finances, strategy, donations, and staffing decisions in exchange for the Clinton campaign's financial help.

But, this did not happen after Clinton became the nominee. In fact, this agreement was made in August 2015, months before a single primary vote was cast. Among many things, this meant that the DNC was able to act as a money laundering operation for the Clinton campaign. Tens of millions of dollars in donations to state democrats across the country ultimately was kicked back to Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn, well, earlier I spoke to someone who has been a prominent vocal critic of the DNC process from the start. Congressmember Tulsi Gabbard represents Hawaii's second congressional district. She was vice chair of the DNC until February 2016 when she resigned to endorse senator Bernie Sanders. I spoke to her about Donna Brazil's revelations. Congressmember Gabbard, welcome. Your response, what we've heard from Donna Brazile today.

TULSI GABBARD: I was not surprised to read what she was detailing in what was printed today. This was something that when I was vice chair of the DNC I didn't have knowledge of the details, but it was something that some folks were actually talking about and were concerned about at that time

AARON MATÉ: I want to quote more from Donna Brazile. She writes "If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity." She's referring especially to this financial arrangement in which the Clinton camp gives the DNC money but in exchange, the DNC hands over control of basically every single decision. Your thoughts on that? Were you surprised by her revelation?

TULSI GABBARD: Again, this is not something I wasn't privy to the inner workings of how these decisions were made, because at that time the decisions were really ultimately coming from the chair of the DNC. But I had heard some concerns from folks from different state parties actually. Executive directors and chairs and people who were involved in the grassroots organizing and trying to again increase involvement in the process. Their concerns around this joint fundraising agreement that Donna Brazile talked about in her article and her book was that the funds that were being raised through this agreement were not actually benefiting the party, but they were kind of being used as a pass through for lack of a better word. Their concerns again were about getting more support for the work that parties do on the ground and grassroots organizing. Turning out the vote, going and knocking on doors. Doing all the things that happened on the ground in states all across the country. Again, this was not something that I was terribly surprised by in reading that Donna detailed, but it's something that hasn't been laid out in the way that she has in this way.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah. She provides a figure when it comes to the money element. She says that of $82 million that was raised in state fundraisers, less than half of 1%, half of 1% got to go to the state parties, and said the rest went back to Brooklyn for the Clinton campaign. What kind of difference do you think that made on the election outcome when it comes to democratic efforts at the state level?

TULSI GABBARD: It's hard to say. I can't exactly quantify that. But I do know that some of the state party officials who I had spoken to at different times during the campaign had actually expressed these concerns and decided not to sign onto this joint fundraising agreement for that specific reason. They saw at that point, look we're not going to be used by anyone's campaign. If you want to talk about how to help strengthen local parties, let's have that conversation, but this was clearly not an effort in that direction.

AARON MATÉ: You recently spoke out about some more decisions by the DNC at the national level, in terms of their staffing of key committees. Can you comment there on what you were most upset by, and your thoughts on what should be done?

TULSI GABBARD: At a time when many people and many voices are calling for unity within the Democratic party, it was really disturbing to see that there was kind of a purge of party officials from both the at large committee, as well as the executive committee within the DNC. That really had one common thread of the people who were booted out of those seats that they had held. Some for decades. The commonality was that these were people who had either supported Bernie Sanders for president or supported Keith Ellison for DNC chair, or both. If the message is that we're going to get rid of people who may have dissenting opinions, or may be calling for different kinds of reform or retaliating for positions that they've taken this is not the direction that the democratic party should be going in. The democratic party should be going in the direction of openness, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, which is why I've been calling for two major but very basic kinds of reform. Getting rid of the non democratic superdelegates who make up one third of all of the votes cast that a nominee needs to secure the nomination, and to secure open or same day registration primaries so that again, open the doors. Let's let everybody in and get involved in the process.

... ... ... ...

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

All three major networks ignored it as well.

David , November 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

She says that of $82 million that was raised in state fundraisers, less than half of 1%, half of 1% got to go to the state parties, and said the rest went back to Brooklyn for the Clinton campaign.

Note that among the state parties that signed up to the Hillary Victory Fund ,

Florida – Trump +1%
Michigan – Trump +0.3%
Pennsylvania – Trump +0.7%
Wisconsin – Trump +0.7%
and Puerto Rico

Emorej a Hong Kong , November 3, 2017 at 7:39 am

Great dot-connecting. Incredible irony that HRC's diversion of funds from swing states to her high-spending campaign was one of the proximate causes of her losing the electoral college.

fresno dan , November 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

David
November 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

excellent insight!

Ernie , November 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

Yep. Here in Maine, where the state party was part of the Victory Fund kick-back scheme, Trump ended up winning one of the state's electoral votes (Maine allows splitting by congressional district) -- the first time a Republican took a Maine electoral vote since 1988.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The End Justifies the Means.

Would any of this have come out had we been 'with her?'

Kris Alman , November 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

The link at the FEC was dated 9/16/15 and shows only 32 states and the Democratic Party of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Open Secrets shows 38 states eventually signed on to the Hillary Victory Fund shows 38 states (Iowa, NJ, Del, KS, NM and SD added), with each participating state a "beneficiary" of around $3M. Nada to the Democratic Party of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
https://www.opensecrets.org/jfc/summary.php?id=C00586537

Georgia, OR, RI, Miss., and WV were among the top "vendors/recipients," netting ~$2M. Does that mean these states only churned ~$1M back to Hillary in this money laundering scheme? https://www.opensecrets.org/jfc/expenditures.php?id=C00586537&cycle=2016

These $3M expenditures pale to Hillary for America ($120,822,326), DNC Services Corp ($55,639,930), Bully Pulpit Interactive ($40,881,995), and Chapman, Cubine et al ($25,432,057).

Every penny of DNC Services Corp's (d/b/a DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE) Independent Expenditures, Communication Costs and Coordinated Expenses went to Hillary: $22,813,448. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/indexpend.php?cycle=2016&cmte=C00010603

Incidentally, I was not able to track these funds at the Oregon Secretary of State with Orestar, the online tool to search campaign finances. As I looked closely at the filings, it appears the FEC requires expenditures by (not contributions to) the Democratic Party of Oregon to federal political committees be recorded. I only see ~$275K contributed back (aggregated expenditures) to "Democratic Party of Oregon Federal Account" and "Democratic Party of Oregon Forward Oregon Transfer Down Acct." in the 2015 and 2016 calendar years (though an additional $123,404.48 has gone to Democratic Party of Oregon Federal Account in 2017).

flora , November 3, 2017 at 8:04 pm

"Open Secrets shows 38 states eventually signed on to the Hillary Victory Fund shows 38 states (Iowa, NJ, Del, KS, NM and SD added) "

Oh, so that's why the KS Dem party officials claimed they couldn't afford $20k for a mailer for Thompson in the KS-04 special election race this spring . A race he almost won, without that help!

Good job, KS Dem party officials! /s
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/republicans-kansas-special-election-2017-236961

Left in Wisconsin , November 3, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Here is one example, from the 2016 financials of the Wisconsin Dem Party. Unity is the name of the joint fundraising project:

Unity Income: $8,595,958
Unity Expenses: $8,591,262
DPW contributions to Unity: $282,000

So for Wisconsin at least, it is not true that the state party made anything (even half of 1 percent) from the "joint" fundraising. Clinton took all but $4700 of the proceeds AND took another $282,000 from the state party.

Watt4Bob , November 3, 2017 at 6:53 am

She says that of $82 million that was raised in state fundraisers, less than half of 1%, half of 1% got to go to the state parties, and said the rest went back to Brooklyn for the Clinton campaign.

Just like Charles Koch, she just wanted her fair share; all of it.

Tell me please, how is this different from republican efforts to exterminate Obama Care by de-funding every bit of its supporting infrastructure?

Whether it was Hilary's intent to exterminate the Democratic party or not, the effect seems quite similar.

JTMcPhee , November 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

Though it seems Obama"Care" was, as an "infrastructure," doing a fine job of self-extermination. https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/09/sickness-american-healthcare.html

Eureka Springs , November 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

82 mil
410k total paid to 33 States
12,400 per State.

Seems like at least 33 States party peeps who agreed to this should be shown the door if they haven't bowed their heads and left in shame.

PKMKII , November 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Whether it was Hilary's intent to exterminate the Democratic party or not, the effect seems quite similar.

She didn't want to exterminate it, she wanted to become it. Dictator of the party, and then pass the mantle on to Chelsea when the time came.

WheresOurTeddy , November 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Her goal does seem to be "L'etat c'est moi"

Disturbed Voter , November 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

Too bad she isn't my congressman.

Arizona Slim , November 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Raul Grijalva is mine.

At first, I didn't think that he was anything more than your classic identity politician. Then I needed constituent service. Matter of fact, I needed it a couple of times. Let me tell you, his staff aced it. They were that good.

As far as I am concerned, Raul has my vote for as long as he wants to stay in office.

Quentin , November 3, 2017 at 7:50 am

Finally one shoe has dropped. The second one about to drop is that the DNC emails were not hacked by Russia in any capacity, directly or indirectly by the Kremlin, whatever. They were most probably leaked. HRC started the Russia hysteria when she called President Trump a pupped of Putin in one of the debates. This is only one small example of her manipulative arrogance.

Arizona Slim , November 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm

In Roger Stone's book, The Making of the President 2016 , Stone said that he thought that the e-mails were leaked by Seth Rich.

Jeff W , November 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Every piece of what we've learned so far, unfolding over months, is as bad as or worse than we had thought: The DNC works to engineer a Clinton/Trump match-up, the combination most likely to assure a Democratic loss . It vehemently denies that it is tilted favorably toward Clinton -- which turns out to be true, in a technical sense, because it is controlled by Clinton.

The establishment Democrats accuse Sanders of not working for down-ballot Democrats while the DNC is siphoning money from the states to help Clinton's campaign. "Maintaining ties to Wall Street makes economic sense for Democrats and keeps their coffers full," one "pollster and senior political adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2000" helpfully assures us two weeks ago in the NYT , except when it doesn't, such as when Donna Brazile discovers, to her horror, that the party is, fact, broke, probably due, in no small part, to paying consultants -- like the one writing in the Times -- whose expertise has led the decimation of the party. (And, on top of all that, the DNC, professing "unity," purges long-time members who supported Bernie Sander or Keith Ellison and appoints anti-minimum wage lobbyist Dan Halpern to the Finance Committee.)

Every part of the story turns out to be a colossal train wreck -- and all this from establishment/élite types who spent the entire campaign season reminding everyone else that they knew what was realistic, pragmatic, achievable, so on and so forth. It's unreal, really.

moving left , November 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Nice synopsis.

fresno dan , November 3, 2017 at 7:59 am

" but it was something that some folks were actually talking about and were concerned about at that time"
===================================
Why does this remind me of Harvey Weinstein? its like deja vu or something

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

I think we have to go back and find out who 'endorsed' Harvey. How many? And we go back, research and publish the names of those who knew, and yet still endorsed Hillary.

Wisdom Seeker , November 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

To be fair to Rep. Gabbard, the excerpt published by Ms. Brazile clearly indicates that Rep. Wasserman-Shulz (DWS) was not keeping the rest of the DNC leadership fully informed of relevant business and financial arrangements.

If Brazile's account is accurate, the question arises, why did the DNC board tolerate that situation for so long, given their legal responsibilities? Given the anomalous behavior by DWS, you have to wonder how the DNC board could have been comfortable in their roles, and why action wasn't taken against DWS earlier. That leads one to a suspicion is that there was an outside force supporting (controlling?) DWS and intimidating the others.

WheresOurTeddy , November 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Ah yes, but Brazile's account is a self-serving CYA attempt to get ahead of a story that was obvious as it was happening to anyone paying attention 18 months ago. Notice no mention of passing debate questions from CNN to Clinton ahead of time. It undercuts your "bombshell" if you have to say "it was rigged and I helped"

Debbie will be the sacrificial lamb. Still waiting for anyone in the mainstream to publish the name "Awan".

Chauncey Gardiner , November 3, 2017 at 9:18 am

Nearly a year after the Nov 2016 general election, this issue is finally beginning to be elevated. Senator Elizabeth Warren also responded affirmatively to a question about whether some primary elections were rigged against Sanders on PBS Newshour yesterday evening.

flora , November 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

Somewhat related in terms of the scramble to get ahead of the Den estab breakdown: In an interesting coincidence the recent meeting of the AFL-CIO saw labor leaders say it's time to stop automatically giving Dems support.

"The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils," reads the main political resolution passed Tuesday by delegates. Lee Saunders, chair of the AFL-CIO's political committee and president of AFSCME (link is external), and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (link is external), introduced the resolution. They lead the labor federation's two largest unions. Convention managers yoked the resolution to another measure it also approved discussing a labor party, though not by name. "

https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/afl-cio-calls-for-a-break-with-lesser-of-two-evils-politics/

Many AFT members were very unhappy (understatement) when Weingarten announced support for Hillary without first polling members. AFT lost a lot of members over that. I'm not sure this isn't a PR scramble by labor leaders to keep their jobs, instead of any real change in outlook. But it's an interesting data point about the current state-of-play.

Oregoncharles , November 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

LONG past time. This is just an example of the reason the unions are in such bad shape.

Big River Bandido , November 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

AFT member here. I was livid about the sham endorsement "process" that happened; it was rushed through, months before the first contest, with absolutely no consultation from the rank and file. Weingarten's infamous text messages about the National Nurses Union basically solidified for me that she's nothing but pond scum. She's not a teacher, she's an attorney. And clearly, not a very clever one, at that. I am obligated to be an AFT member, and if I were only to become a "partial" member I'd still be paying about 88% of the dues anyway. I still support my AFT local.

The national AFT and its pathetic misleadership can go to hell.

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

If it's any consolation, your situation appears to be the norm with the long-established unions. Their clearly-stated bias aside, the World Socialist Web Site covers labor disputes and has shown over and over that the mainstream unions have sold their rank-and-file out. Ironically, just this week I read where an activist group has done some major housecleaning at the Teamsters -- and it only took them 41 years.

During the primary, the outrage among SEIU members when their Fearless Leader not only announced for HRC but tried to pretend it was "what our people want" by posting to Facebook photos of a half-dozen blue-shirted members heading out to knock on doors. It didn't go over well.

Steven Greenberg , November 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

Did Senator Warren admit that her refusal to endorse Bernie was bought by the Hillary Victory Fund? In other words, does this indicate that the great fighter against Wall Street corruption was bought off by Wall Street?

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Got any proof of that?

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Was Massachusetts one of the participating states? She wouldn't have made any friends there exposing the money-laundering, if so. And had Clinton beaten the odds and won, she would have been toast, especially given she has a huge target on her back painted by the GOP. The Clintons notoriously hold grudges, and have long memories.

Jeff W , November 3, 2017 at 6:18 pm

The Margot Kidder piece in Counterpunch linked to in Montanamaven's comment lists 31 of the 33 participating states. Massachusetts is one of them. (It's not clear which are the other two states or why they aren't listed.)

Yves Smith , November 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

*Sigh*. Warren is a blockbuster fundraiser for the party. She is a net contributor to them. She doesn't need the DNC.

Montanamaven , November 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

Margot Kidder was on this last spring. I wonder what Montana Democratic State party officials are saying now? Clinton Bought Loyalty of 33 State Dem Parties
I'll ask.

Watt4Bob , November 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Thanks so much for that link.

How is it that such a plain-spoken explanation of what was really happening was totally ignored until Donna Brazile fesses up?

MSM had to be actively ignoring/burying this story ever since then.

Makes me wonder what you have to do to be heard in this country? /snrk

JacobiteInTraining , November 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

I remember reading these things back then, and trying to forward them to HillBots I knew. Without exception I was poo-poo'ed as a tinfoil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-theorist-berniebro-whiner-misogynist-right-wing-conspiracy-member.

I'd love to say 'I told you so' to those peeps, but most of them are now fully occupied looking under their beds for Russkis. :/

Not that I know Joseph Cannon, but check out his Cannonfire site .hysteric hysteria, deny, RUSSKIS!, Brazile is a liar!!!, deny again, MORE RUUUUSSSKKKIIIIS!!!

to me it seems to be the 'I'm With Her' version of a Trumpsters pizzagate rantings .I dunno, maybe I am missing something and my brain has already been washed and taken over by Cyrillic Control Mechanisms

http://cannonfire.blogspot.com

Jack , November 3, 2017 at 9:50 am

I read about this on Politico yesterday. Donna Brazile? This is the lady who leaked debate topics to Clinton and was fired from CNN, right? It makes you wonder why she is writing about this now. Opportunism in order to sell books? Revenge on Clinton? Or does she sense the wind changing direction in the Democratic party?

j84ustin , November 3, 2017 at 9:59 am

All of the above? Which of course doesn't necessarily mean it's not true! :)

Notorious P.A.T. , November 3, 2017 at 10:24 am

Sure, it's worth wondering, alright. But if you want to learn about dirty deals, you often have to go to dirty people.

Linda Amick , November 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Personally I think Donna Brazile, via her story and book, is trying get her version out as she probably knows the Clinton Mafia will throw her under the bus as this story is finally getting legs..with or without Donna Brazile's revelations.

L , November 3, 2017 at 1:23 pm

As I've noted before her name is Mud with CNN, noone wants her to be a talking head. And Clinton can no longer shelter her. What does she have left but airing the dirty laundry and hoping for a payout?

Steven Greenberg , November 3, 2017 at 10:12 am

Donna Brazile is wrong that this was not illegal, but only unethical. The Hillary Victory Fund was set up to evade the campaign financing laws. There is a legal limit on how much an individual can give to a candidate. Hillary's big donors had reached those limits. She directed her donors who had exceeded the legal limits on direct contributions to her to give to the DNC and state parties with the agreement that those entities would funnel the money back to her.

That would seem to me to be evidence of intent to violate the law.

Eureka Springs , November 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

RICO? Would seem the big donors had to know what they were doing as well. But then I recall the recent lawsuit where the party claimed it could do anything and the judge agreed.

There is just no good reason for a party to operate in such a manner. Complete financial transparency in real time whilst functioning in a democratic process among binding terms with real membership seems to be the least people should expect.

All of which is why I am a member/participant of no party and find the process illegitimate across the board. It really does come back to it's not just if you win or lose, but how it's played.

Jim Haygood , November 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

" If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act ." -- Donna Brazile

I, too, beg to differ. Naturally a perp doesn't see their own twisted actions as criminal.

But the basic principle behind campaign finance laws is transparency. Both the D and R parties receive extensive direct and in-kind government financing, such as the free primary elections which states run on their behalf. Consequently they are obliged to provide an accurate accounting of funds received and paid.

Does anyone think Robert "Torquemada" Mueller couldn't indict both Hillary and Donna Brazile on a whole laundry list of federal offenses, if he were actually looking for gross electoral wrongdoing?

Lock her up!

Wisdom Seeker , November 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Re "Naturally a perp doesn't see their own twisted actions as criminal."

Remember Brazile is famous for complaining that people were trying to "criminalize behavior that is normal", when they complained about the blatant pay-to-play behavior revealed during the election.

flora , November 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Slightly off topic: The neolib Dem estab has just discovered – much to their surprise, no doubt – that's it's one thing to run the neoliberal economic playbook on the deplorables, but quite another thing to run the neoliberal playbook on their own establishment's finances and organization, each for their own personal benefit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tyvhq7uhTM

WobblyTelomeres , November 3, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Strangely, it sounds like Sears.

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

The judge dismissed the lawsuit because federal court wasn't, in his opinion, the proper channel for seeking redress, not because he agreed with the DNC's assertion it wasn't required to abide by its charter.

todde , November 3, 2017 at 7:14 pm

the judge ruled they didn't have standing:

"But not one of them alleges that they ever read the DNC's charter or heard the statements they now claim are false before making their donations. And not one of them alleges that they took action in reliance on the DNC's charter or the statements identified in the First Amended Complaint (DE 8). Absent such allegations, these Plaintiffs lack standing."

Ernie , November 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

+1

Harm Magin , November 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

"ding, ding, ding" We have a winner!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Violating the law.

People who knew and did not speak, would they be accessories?

From Wikipedia:

Knowledge of the crime[edit]
To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed. Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime, or evade detection, or escape. A person who unknowingly houses a person who has just committed a crime, for instance, may not be charged with an accessory offense because they did not have knowledge of the crime.

Is Sanders guilty, as an accessory, as well?

Scott , November 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm

I believe you are most correct & thanks for altering the direction of the comments.
The support for Sanders was a resonate echo of
support many of us felt for President Jimmy Carter.
How far we have traveled is well acknowledged when you see that Sanders lost.

For the purposes of the Naked Capitalism readers, who are studying how real money is captured & used by the Jet Setter Classes, here we have a Politico so entrenched her Unit used coercion & tricks to take for themselves all of the main tool, money, required to make the Democratic Party a real Party.

(I refuse to see Hillary Clinton as the First Woman Nominated for the Presidency, & consider her & her husband Bill, the Clinton Unit.)
I do chalk it up to the Clinton Unit's long & destructive influence as law makers & breakers. What the Unit is about is clear when you look at their history in Haiti. We are to get the leadership & economy same as the Haitians get.

The leak that in many cases there was no sincere link at all between what Clinton Unit II said, and what she really believed & intended, meant we were to get another cipher.

"Look out kid/They keep it all hid. -Bob Dylan, comes to mind.

After Obama it is clear that the Democratic Party is and will be in the pocket of the pirate parasites of the US Financial System.

The revolution has to take place below the jet setter classes stranglehold on who writes the checks for what. (I'd be interested in knowing how much of whose money paid for the Clinton Unit's Boeing.)

In the end we as a bunch of honest people who like justice in that form it takes in the day to day demonstration of good ethical moorings, liked how Sanders got the money for his campaign.

The Clinton Unit by taking money from down ballot candidates crippled the necessary revolution being attempted by those actually fighting to strengthen the nation.

Notorious P.A.T. , November 3, 2017 at 10:24 am

Go, Tulsi, Go!

JTMcPhee , November 3, 2017 at 11:44 am

Is there a large and notable set of organized people who vote, lining up behind Tulsi Gabbard as the next Great Hope of the Mope (GHOTM)? Able and willing to go to the mat for her? Trusting that she is not just another screen on which people can project their images?

Got to have leaders, don't we? Because most of us just go along, go along, go along But leaders are just other flawed humans, so easy to corrupt and failing that, to remove from the game board by other means Too bad the Occupy model, whatever that actually was/is, seems not to work effectively, especially against the organized on the other side of the crowd-control technologies

Eureka Springs , November 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

I don't think people learned/practiced an occupy model for the most part. Folk were expected to bite off more than they could chew in due haste. Remember the media immediately asking what are your demands before people could figure out wtf was going on beyond we are the 99 percent? Establishing a new practice was of course difficult to do while wondering if you would be busted for just being there. Like the problems with parties people just keep rolling with what they know (top-down), hammering their familiar square peg in a round hole – rather than attempt/establish new process.

We really have no idea what a democratic process looks like.

JTMcPhee , November 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

"We" have no idea what a democratic process looks like:" And that is after what, 50,000 years of humans organizing in groups of increasing size and what we call "sophistication"? "Democrats And The Iron Law Of Institutions: Read this if you're driven insane by the Democrats," http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001705.html , for one interesting thread, and this set of observations: "Why Hierarchies Must Sign Their Own Death Warrant To Survive," https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/12/02/why-hierarchies-must-sign-their-own-death-warrant-to-survive/#32212bcf4d68

And one more for fun: "Under The Rainbow: The Inevitability of the Modern World," https://killtoparty.com/2015/12/31/under-the-rainbow-the-inevitability-of-the-modern-world/

Notorious P.A.T. , November 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Trusting that she is not just another screen on which people can project their images?

Always a valid concern, but she's put her money where her mouth is numerous times now, beginning with leaving the DNC in protest over its unethical practices.

Mel , November 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

And also, it's not up to her, is it? That screen thing is not about what she is, it's about what people do. On a practical level, that move that Gabbard decries -- killing off local party organizations -- is truly a step the wrong way. Real citizens have more to do than just project their images.

Big River Bandido , November 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm

she's put her money where her mouth is numerous times now, beginning with leaving the DNC in protest over its unethical practices

That isn't why Tulsi Gabbard resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. She resigned because the person in that position is supposed to remain neutral in presidential primaries, and she decided she wanted to publicly endorse Sanders.

In other words, she was following the party rules. This separates her from all those DNC officers who stayed on board while putting their thumbs on the scale for Clinton.

Norb , November 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

In order to survive, you have to trust SOMEBODY! Whom do you trust JT? I get what you are saying and agree 100%, but what next? I think that is the meaning of accountability. You have to trust someone and make that trust the basis for your life. Screw me over and you are out. Mopes are mopes because they keep placing their trust in the wrong place or for whatever social reason, don't have an option.

The twisted logic of Margaret Thatchers now famous line-" there is no society", is a case in point. The entire quote is,"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the champions of Neoliberalism and the recasting of the Divine right of Kings as a means of ordering society. The Market is Supreme, the Noble Families (Corporations and Insiders, the 10%, are in direct communion with the divine, and the rest of us need to worship and obey. We have no power because we have not earned it. It is a recasting of the Feudal order. But what she fails to articulate is the obligation of the system to the people? In her ideology, there is no reciprocal obligation. The systems owes nothing. It is a system where the powerful hold control and the subjects are held in check by blind faith.

Thatcher is right for the wrong reasons. Trust starts with the family and successful, healthy families have a better chance of surviving over time due to the natural support they provide. But she takes for granted, or is totally blinded by her own history. The Feudal order failed for a reason. It breeds war and corruption. It thrived on ignorance and violence. Offer a different vision, and the power center shifts.

Leadership is important as everyone knows. With proper leadership, much is possible. Leadership is achieved when guided by some vision or goal. Is it any wonder why individuals that can communicate a vision of brotherhood and solidarity are killed or marginalized by Authoritarians? Where collectivism is shunned at every turn. How the meaning of family values is cynically turned on its head.

Obligation is right. What is screwed up is how obligations have been distorted, and continue to be distorted in a capitalist system. If you believe in social evolution, then the strength of the family unit can serve as the fundamental immortal unit that provides the basis for continued human existence. It is a buffer against the excesses of the capitalist system. It is the source from which positive change will come. Support the family unit by guaranteeing affordable housing, healthcare, and work. A basic income firmly grounded in social contribution. What institutions are left that have not been corrupted by the Neoliberal disease?

The problem making inroads is that the current political power still thinks this is a game. It is not. The first duty for people who desire a better world for themselves, their families, and their future generations need to see the obligation to protect the commons, their families being the basic unit connected to a larger whole.

By destroying the middle class, capitalists have sown the seeds of their own destruction. How many people are willingly going to walk into bondage? The promise of Neoliberalism is failing and the mopes/masses know it- they live it. They just don't know where to turn. It is a slow motion grinding into dust.

Communities are begging for relief. The organizations that need to be constructed are ones that allow people to extend themselves out into the world and take risks, at the same time, providing them with the assurance and concrete reality that if they fail, there is a place or institution that will not let them perish. Capitalists buy loyalty. Individuals in their club always fail upwards. No one is EVER left behind.

There is nothing to prevent other groups from achieving that same sense of solidarity except fear.

Louis Fyne , November 3, 2017 at 11:02 am

The Democratic Party at the national level needs to be thrown out. It's beyond reform. Dissolve the org.

New articles of incorporation, new bylaws, new people, new bank accounts, new everything.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm

You know that scandal-ridden Hollywood production company?

Nobody would even buy it for next to nothing.

We kid ourselves, I believe, to think anyone can come along and take over this party.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 7:54 pm

The same is true of the Republican party -- nationally it's owned by the Koch brothers and other billionaires, and locally, pretty much the same. Neither organization is going away in the near future.

Norb , November 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm

The most powerful aspect of the last election cycle is the eye opening role that money plays in politics. Everyone knows the fundamental influence money has, but the false narrative that has been acting for decades was finally turned on its head. Namely, that large sums of money are needed to compete in the political process and only by funneling that capital flow into the pockets of corporate entities can anything get done. Sanders campaign proved without a doubt that self financing is possible and money alone is not enough to carry victory. Its who controls that money, and what can be done with it, are the important factors. Money didn't win the election for Trump, corruption did.

The lies and crookedness of the existing power structure has been laid bare and only the completely uninformed still believe it or are directly paid off by the process. No wonder silence and an outside forces- RUSSIA- must be deployed. There is nothing left to mask the class warfare. This process reminds me of rats fleeing a sinking ship, and good riddance- they all need to drown or just scatter away into obscurity.

But until those money flows can be directed towards the commons, the corruption will not be driven out of our society. Democracy will die.

The silence and obfuscation on these important developments just highlight the crisis capitalism, as a system, is facing and how the existing political structure is incapable of dealing with the problem. The level of corruption is the problem, along with the extent lies and misinformation are needed to maintain control. It is dysfunctional.

Once again, the rallying cry is for a social guarantee. A guarantee for work, healthcare, housing, and a basic standard of living. Neoliberalism says no to all the above. Their worldview is that there are no guarantees. Only competition where the strong prevail and the weak perish. Boiled down once again to the fight between socialism and capitalism. Third way politics is no longer functional. Hard choices must be made.

But what is the source of that power? Physical strength? Intellect? Mind control- the ability to convince others? All of the above? The mind returns to social evolution. Forces trying to maintain the status quo and counter forces seeking to alter the system. The constant tension of forces exerting pressure until something gives. The faults and cracks are everywhere. What holds it together is the peoples willingness to exert pressure where they are directed to by their leadership. There is a crisis of leadership.

Finally, people are waking up to the notion that following crooks and thieves does not make their lives better or secure. The nation needs leaders who are not cynical opportunists, here in America and around the world. As the Trump administration makes painfully obvious, America's standing in the world diminishes in proportion to its level of naked corruption. We have become that which we professed we were against. The next true Revolution must be that Scoundrels cannot run the world. Yea, I know Utopia. But if you can't dream about Utopia what do humans have? All that comes to mind is a capitalist nightmare. ( As seen from the Bottom)

Just as the Soviet Union collapsed in a breathtaking short time, the Rube Goldberg construction that is todays capitalist system might meet the same speedy end. Just as the old guard soviet apparatchiks held on for dear life, supporting a known failed experiment due to their privileged position, if feels like the capitalist system is headed for a similar fate. A quick, catastrophic failure instead of a slow, incremental adjustment. A failure brought about form outside forces and the system not being able to deal or cope.

Donna Brazile can now make money revealing how she and the Democratic party screwed over working people in this country and lied to the constituency she was supposed to serve. If this helps people understand how they are fundamentally mislead, if only indirectly and unintended, all the better. Its NOT about the money alone, it shows what the cynical manipulation of money makes you become.

Wisdom Seeker , November 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Re "Once again, the rallying cry is for a social guarantee. A guarantee for work, healthcare, housing, and a basic standard of living. Neoliberalism says no to all the above. Their worldview is that there are no guarantees. Only competition where the strong prevail and the weak perish."

One cannot get a government controlled by special interests and large corporations to provide social guarantees that are worth a damn and won't be corrupted. Indeed, the heart of the problem is that the New Deal guarantees and post-Depression regulations (e.g. Glass-Steagall), or even the earlier antitrust laws, have all been eroded.

There is a historical American worldview, not neoliberal, but also not "Third Way", in which there are no Big Brother guarantees, yet there is strong social protection of those in need. It contains a greater level of self-reliance, in the sense that one does not place one's hope in corruptible governments as the solution. And yet not self-reliance, because it trusted in neighbors to help neighbors. And it also renounces personal greed as a prime motivator. The pioneers had this worldview – self reliance with a recognition of a common interest, and thus a moral duty, leading to a willingness to help others, building an entire nation, one barn raising party at a time, so that their children would have a better life.

Norb , November 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I am no historian, but gut experience informs me that what you are talking about is a true American sentiment. The desire for individual freedom struggling simultaneously to forge a lasting social bond with your fellow countrymen. At its heart, our nation was formed in the embrace of a contradiction. The promise of freedom connected to the chains of bondage. The age old dilemma of the rights of the rulers over the ruled. Freedom was sought above all else and the historical opportunity presented itself for a great experiment. Open land available for occupation, far from a ruling power, devoid of a powerful local social force.

The delusion, and betrayal, is the fact that reconciling this contradiction is no longer the driving force of American politics. Neoliberal ideology has short circuited the political system- on should we say, perfected it in that the ruling elite in America never intended to share power with the unwashed masses. With the destruction of a functioning two party system, even the pretense cannot be upheld any longer. Without a viable opposition party, the power of private property can do as it pleases- and is doing it.
In America, we just had lots of space to spread out into and put off the day of reckoning. Well, that day has arrived.

You mention barn raising, but that is an Amish tradition, to my limited understanding, the Amish rejected American culture and wished to separate themselves from the broader culture to ensure that their values could be preserved. It is an honest attempt to live christian values. They are a-political and want to be left alone. I can't say much for other christian denominations other than they are connected at the hip to capitalist values. That is not working out so well on a cognitive dissonance level.

The cooperation that you speak of is more along socialist lines. And once again on an intuitive level, most sane and healthy human beings, this is their normal state. The default desire is to aid a person in need or to take satisfaction from assisting your neighbor instead of abusing them. This natural human desire is prevented from becoming embodied in a political force because that would spell the end to individual opulence, and we can't have that. Charity is acceptable, a natural state of care and social equality is unacceptable.

The question is can you have a secular society that is dedicated to human care? Or a theocratic society that does not become bogged down in religious dogma. American Democracy seemed to point in that direction but appears to have stalled out due to resistance and lack of trying.

Big Brother guarantees is code language for destroying the social responsibilities embodied in New Deal legislation. Functioning Democracy is supposed to protect from corruption by being able to vote the crooks out. This becomes impossible when the crooks take control of the government and citizens are convinced that their government itself is the problem. You have the revolving door policy that we see today. National government captured by special interests.

Until a two-pronged attack can be instituted on a large scale- communities taking care of one another along with demand for honest representation by the government, only small scale resistance will be possible. Evil and hardship will prevail.

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 6:55 pm

As far as a greater level of self-reliance and not placing all one's hopes in corruptible governments I definitely think that's what the radical labor movement aimed at, a lot of bottom up left movements do, just have limited power these days. This is fighting back to reclaim the wealth the 1% (or 1% of the 1%) have captured.

Charity likely doesn't even work with such inequality for several reasons: Although you can always give a dollar to a homeless person, charity fails to do that much good when almost all of the wealth in a society is controlled by fewer and fewer people to a greater and greater degree. A bunch of paupers can only do so much in helping each other (except in trying to fight to reclaim the wealth from the 1% of the 1%). They can't do much else when the very few control the businesses, the agriculture, own most of the property and use their charity (Bill Gate's charity as it were) as a means of control (whatever little good it may or may not also do).

Edward , November 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Has this happened in other elections? Is this a first? The counterpart of this story is the nuts and bolts of how the U.S. press is controlled by various interests.

This is a story which should not disappear down the memory hole.

Oregoncharles , November 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm

" This was something that when I was vice chair of the DNC I didn't have knowledge of the details, but it was something that some folks were actually talking about and were concerned about at that time"

Boy, is there a big question mark hanging over THAT. Apparently she didn't respond to the rumors by asking impertinent questions. And if the vice-chair didn't know who really owned the joint, it was a purely ornamental office. Rather like Ellison's now.

John k , November 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Ellison should quit with as big a stink as possible.

Big River Bandido , November 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Brazile said in her Politico article that even she had a hard time finding out what was going on. She said she couldn't even issue a press release without an okay from Brooklyn.

sharonsj , November 3, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I knew the cat was in the bag the moment nearly all of the super delegates publicly supported Hillary Clinton before a single primary was held. (Are you listening, Sen. Shumer?) I also knew it had to be a quid pro quo because it was obvious they were doing it for campaign money for their re-elections. A lot of this appeared in print long before Donna Brazile "discovered" the affirming document. This, and the way Bernie supporters were treated at the convention, is why I will never give the DNC a penny.

John k , November 3, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Tulsi seemed a bit tongue tied on some questions in her position and not knowing what was going on? Not credible to me.
She gets credit for quitting and endorsing Bernie, and big credit for anti war, but she does not have history as a progressive, though moving in that direction.
Similarly Liz is no progressive irrespective of anti bank position, though similarly inching in that direction.
Both want to move up, seem to be sensing changing winds.
If Bernie runs, who would he pick? Both usefully female, but neither brings any ev's he won't get anyway. Tulsi brings looks and youth and she endorsed Liz better at treasury, and she might be happy there.

Arizona Slim , November 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm

I think Liz would be a great Treasury Secretary. As for Bernie's VP pick, I think that Tulsi would, ahem, appeal to a certain portion of our male electorate.

I also think that he could also do well by choosing Nina Turner as his VP. Unlike Tulsi, whose oratorical style puts me to sleep, Nina knows how to sign, seal, and DELIVER a speech.

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Look up Pramila Jayapal, whose history, unlike that of Tulsi Gabbard, is solidly progressive.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Here are four bills in the House that could be considered litmus tests for progressives:

H.R.676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act

H.R.790 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017

H.R.1587 – Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2017

H.J.Res.48 – Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.

Gabbard is a co-sponsor of all 4, and Jayapal is a co-sponsor of all but HR1587. I believe you that Gabbard isn't always progressive, but she does pretty well most of the time, and (for now) she's better than Jayapal on the very dangerous issue of antibiotic overuse.

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I don't know people taking positions on things that aren't likely to pass isn't all that. Ok if enough Dems were on board and they controlled congress or some Reps were AND they had a president who wouldn't veto then maybe Medicare for All etc. Even getting enough Dems on board to pass it even if they had the majority is a long way from where we are now.

However a constitutional amendment is in a whole other category of unlikely than that as the requirement to get one passed are super majorities we are never going to see. So some of the former may be difficult and mostly grandstanding at this point, but I really regard the last as impossible.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Another way to take a public position is to refuse to co-sponsor high profile bills such as these. People in the PACs notice if a member of Congress co-sponsors something that they don't like, or if the member chooses to avoid co-sponsoring it.

Of course none of these bills will pass in the current Congress. However, it is important to get some momentum for them so that they will have a greater chance in future Congresses, and co-sponsorship is a way to generate some of that momentum.

HR676 has been introduced in every Congress since 2003, and this is the first Congress in which it has gained more than 100 co-sponsors. HR1587 has also been introduced since 2003, although it has always had a different bill number. Its number of co-sponsors has gone up and down.

Perhaps too many people are paying too much attention to Trump's twitter account, and not enough attention to the wonkish reality of how bills can become laws. People need to push their Representatives to support these bills.

Tomonthebeach , November 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

DNC has long stood for Democratic National CLUB not Committee. Under Perez, I see little evidence of movement toward a "democratic" "committee." This is not about Anti-Sanders it is apparently about maintaining Clintonism when the electorate wants more progressivism. DNC is pushing many of us to vote for a qualified Republican over a Clintonite Democrat. That is very stupid – very sad.

Scott , November 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Good laws make a good society, bad laws make a bad society. Good people make better laws than bad people.
All people are good, but some do more bad, sure, go ahead and think of it that way.
I only get to vote for people.

MarkE , November 3, 2017 at 2:50 pm

"The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats." Steve Bannon

It's not often your opponent does you the favor of telling you why you are losing. I pissed away some money on the Democrats last election (not because I liked Hillary; I just despise Trump). What I got for my money was four or five emails a day asking for more money. That and the ignominious, gut-wrenching loss. Many of the emails were from Donna Brazile and almost all of them were about identity politics issues, usually tsk-tsk'ing some nasty thing Trump said about one group or another. I remember thinking how dumb this was. They already had the identity politics voters and getting them to turn out was going to be a ground game play. While they sang to their choir, Trump and Bannon were out energizing an aggrieved white middle and working class, which could have been Hillary's. Non-stop ads with Trump's ugly face on the screens of Pennsylvania and Ohio saying "you're fired" would have been good. Every time the Democrats waxed indignant about an identity issue, they lost some more aggrieved white voters, who took the message as further confirmation that the Dems really didn't care about them and their problems. Trump walked right in. Comey's timing, the Russians, etc all mattered, but net net the Democrats gave Trump the win. The top of their organization is full of people who seem to be better at identity politics than anything else, except maybe backstabbing. They're crap at strategy.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm

I strongly encourage those who have Democratic friends and relatives to be sure that those friends and relatives have seen the article by Donna Brazile. Don't be afraid to be a pest (although I do recommend politeness). Many of those friends and relatives will be voting in primaries next year, and they need to know what is happening in the Democratic party.

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm

It doesn't just indict Hillary, although that is what gets the focus, it is a condemnation of Obama as well for leaving the Dem party in so much debt. So Obama as well sacrificed the Dem party for his own campaign. By slightly different means (running up debt rather than funneling money) but to the same end. What a self-seeking bunch, to the destruction of even their own party, the Dem top ticket has been (yea cheeto is no better, but that's it's own thing).

todde , November 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2989759-Impartiality-Clause-DNC-Charter-Bylaws-Art-5-Sec-4.html

DNC Bylaws state that the Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party
Presidential nominating process.

Since that obviously didn't happen, I would assert that Hillary being the Democrat nominee is null and void.

todde , November 3, 2017 at 6:01 pm

so if you donated to the DNC I am pretty sure you could sue DWS personally to get your money back.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 7:09 pm

When they rig an election, everyone participates in the election (voting or running) is a victim.

Even people watching it become victimized (like the quiz shows in the 1950s, TV viewers were victims).

(So, you, me and all the other guys had the primary election stolen.)

And if Donna Brazile tells you it's rigged, it's not up to you, but up to all of us, to absorb the insider information (you can't withhold all those secret details) and to decide on the verdict.

It can not be 'What are her chances?'

It's up to all of us.

todde , November 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

nevermind – we've already litigated this

pretzelattack , November 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/03/trump-fbi-clinton-russia-donna-brazile

the guardian finally noticed it happened! in the context of an article attacking trump, but baby steps.

pretzelattack , November 3, 2017 at 7:35 pm

"The victory fund agreement was signed in August 2015 and widely reported during the course of the campaign, amplifying the friction between Sanders and the DNC that had already been fueled by disagreements over the primary debate schedule and access to the party's voter database."

oh well then nothing to see here, let's just go back to bashing russia.

chicagogal , November 3, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Wasn't Brazile the one who said that while the DNC is supposed to be neutral, she was working on behalf of Clinton over Bernie? So as we all knew, then and now, grifters gotta grift and Brazile is no better than anyone else at the DNC who keeps failing upwards and being rewarded for her part in the grift.

[Oct 27, 2017] Why didn't Democrats pass legislation in 2009 to eliminate the right to work legislation by states? The answeer is they want Wall street money.

Oct 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

DJG , October 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Portside article about NAFTA, unions, and Canadian unions: Here is a paragraph from the underlying article at New York Magazine about the three sponsors:

On Wednesday, Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Kirsten Gillibrand announced their agreement -- and introduced legislation to ban "right-to-work" laws throughout the United States.

[NY Mag article is dated 20 Sept 2017]

The sooner we collectively kill off the feudal idea of "right to work," the better. Right now, though, we're only what -- sixty, seventy–years too late?

Scott , October 27, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Why didn't Democrats pass legislation in 2009 to eliminate it?

It was one of the few policies that I could think of what would actually, you know, help the win elections. But then I realized the the purpose of the DNC isn't actually to win elections, it's to raise money from Wall Street, Hollywood and Silcon Valley to pay for consultants.

Huey Long , October 27, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Why didn't Democrats pass legislation in 2009 to eliminate it?

Yeah, Captain Hope'N-Change failed to deliver labor any meaningful legislation during his eight years in office.

Labor was essentially told "We put some friendly faces on the NLRB and in the judiciary. Be thankful, and forget about card check or right to work preemption."

Sid_finster , October 27, 2017 at 7:40 pm

" the purpose of the DNC isn't actually to win elections, it's to raise money from Wall Street, Hollywood and Silcon Valley to pay for consultants."

Money.

Henry Moon Pie , October 27, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Good luck with that. The Rs ads write themselves.

And it's a bad look anyway. With the basically insurmountable barriers to organizing under the Wagner Act these days, a focus on making sure the money keeps flowing, much of it ending up in the Ds campaign coffers. How about repealing Taft-Hartley?

Maybe unions would be better off with less bureaucracy and more member participation. Do it like the Wobs: you come to the meeting, you pay your dues, you voice your opinion and you vote.

Huey Long , October 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm

How about repealing Taft-Hartley?

Here here!

Repealing Taft-Hartley would bring back:

The Closed Shop
Jurisdictional Strikes
Secondary Boycotts
Common Situs Picketing
A Ban on Right-to-Work
A Ban on presidential interventions in strikes
Supervisor's Unions
Employer Nuetrality

Hopefully this happens before I die. I would absolutely love to see the yacht and learjet owning class in tears!

a different chris , October 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm

>The Rs ads write themselves.

They not only write themselves they've already been written and burned into the brain. True or not, there they are. So what are you risking?

The thing is the D-time is well past the point (no House, no Senate, no Pres, vanishing amount of Govs, vanishing amount of State leges..) where saying "That's not true!!" can be considered a winning strategy, even if you could show me what you've won by saying it.

How about "hell yeah that's how we feel, America rocked (when we had strong labor)". Stand up to the bully for once, again whaddya got to lose now. I often wonder what Steve Gilliard would say at this point, he always made sure that us white people realized that something was better than nothing when you were looking at absolutely nothing at all . but things have sunk so low would he still feel that what has become nothing more than an orderly, but continuous retreat should be sustained? Or is it time to dig in and really declare full throated opposition?

(like the rest of your post, just think the time to avoid things is past)

DJG , October 27, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Henry Moon Pie: So? Let's repeal the Wagner Act and Taft-Hartley. And let's not pre-defeat ourselves.

Just as Lambert keeps reminding us, Who would have though five years ago that the momentum is now toward single-payer health insurance even if the current couple of bills don't pass? For years, John Conyers carried on the fight almost single-handedly. And now we have influential physicians stumping for single-payer.

[Oct 20, 2017] Blaming Russia for the Internet 'Sewer' by Robert Parry

Notable quotes:
"... With the U.S. government offering tens of millions of dollars to combat Russian "propaganda and disinformation," it's perhaps not surprising that we see "researchers" such as Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University making the absurd accusation that the Russians have "basically turned [the Internet] into a sewer." ..."
"... I've been operating on the Internet since 1995 and I can assure you that the Internet has always been "a sewer" -- in that it has been home to crazy conspiracy theories, ugly personal insults, click-bait tabloid "news," and pretty much every vile prejudice you can think of. Whatever some Russians may or may not have done in buying $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to its $27 billion in annual revenue) or opening 201 Twitter accounts (out of Twitter's 328 million monthly users), the Russians are not responsible for the sewage coursing through the Internet. ..."
"... Even former Clinton political strategist Mark Penn has acknowledged the absurdity of thinking that such piddling amounts could have any impact on a $2.4 billion presidential campaign, plus all the billions of dollars worth of free-media attention to the conventions, debates, etc. Based on what's known about the Facebook ads, Penn calculated that "the actual electioneering [in battleground states] amounts to about $6,500." ..."
"... In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, Penn added, "I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate." ..."
"... Occasionally, the U.S. mainstream media even acknowledges that fact. For instance, last November, The New York Times, which was then flogging the Russia-linked "fake news" theme , ran a relatively responsible article about a leading "fake news" Web site that the Times tracked down. It turned out to be an entrepreneurial effort by an unemployed Georgian student using a Web site in Tbilisi to make some money by promoting pro-Trump stories, whether true or not. ..."
"... The owner of the Web site, 22-year-old Beqa Latsabidse, said he had initially tried to push stories favorable to Hillary Clinton but that proved unprofitable so he switched to publishing anti-Clinton and pro-Trump articles, including made-up stories. In other words, the Times found no Russian connection. ..."
"... But the even larger Internet problem is that many "reputable" news sites, such as AOL, lure readers into clicking on some sensationalistic or misleading headline, which takes readers to a story that is often tabloid trash or an extreme exaggeration of what the headline promised. ..."
"... This reality about the Internet should be the larger context in which the Russia-gate story plays out, the miniscule nature of this Russian "meddling" even if these "suspected links to Russia" – as the Times initially described the 470 Facebook pages – turn out to be true. ..."
"... And, there is the issue of who decides what's true. PolitiFact continues to defend its false claim that Hillary Clinton was speaking the truth when – in referencing leaked Democratic emails last October – she claimed that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies "have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election." ..."
"... That claim was always untrue because a reference to a consensus of the 17 intelligence agencies suggests a National Intelligence Estimate or similar product that seeks the judgments of the entire intelligence community. No NIE or community-wide study was ever done on this topic. ..."
"... Only later – in January 2017 – did a small subset of the intelligence community, what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described as "hand-picked" analysts from three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – issue an "assessment" blaming the Russians while acknowledging a lack of actual evidence . ..."
"... In other words, the Jan. 6 "assessment" was comparable to the "stovepiped" intelligence that influenced many of the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush's administration. In "stovepiped" intelligence, a selected group of analysts is closeted away and develops judgments without the benefit of other experts who might offer contradictory evidence or question the groupthink. ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
Oct 18, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: As the Russia-gate hysteria spirals down from the implausible to the absurd, almost every bad thing is blamed on the Russians, even how they turned the previously pristine Internet into a "sewer," reports Robert Parry.

With the U.S. government offering tens of millions of dollars to combat Russian "propaganda and disinformation," it's perhaps not surprising that we see "researchers" such as Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University making the absurd accusation that the Russians have "basically turned [the Internet] into a sewer."

I've been operating on the Internet since 1995 and I can assure you that the Internet has always been "a sewer" -- in that it has been home to crazy conspiracy theories, ugly personal insults, click-bait tabloid "news," and pretty much every vile prejudice you can think of. Whatever some Russians may or may not have done in buying $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to its $27 billion in annual revenue) or opening 201 Twitter accounts (out of Twitter's 328 million monthly users), the Russians are not responsible for the sewage coursing through the Internet.

Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans and pretty much every other segment of the world's population didn't need Russian help to turn the Internet into an informational "sewer." But, of course, fairness and proportionality have no place in today's Russia-gate frenzy.

After all, your "non-governmental organization" or your scholarly "think tank" is not likely to get a piece of the $160 million that the U.S. government authorized last December to counter primarily Russian "propaganda and disinformation" if you explain that the Russians are at most responsible for a tiny trickle of "sewage" compared to the vast rivers of "sewage" coming from many other sources.

If you put the Russia-gate controversy in context, you also are not likely to have your "research" cited by The Washington Post as Albright did on Thursday because he supposedly found some links at the home-décor/fashion site Pinterest to a few articles that derived from a few of the 470 Facebook accounts and pages that Facebook suspects of having a link to Russia and shut them down. (To put that 470 number into perspective, Facebook has about two billion monthly users.)

Albright's full quote about the Russians allegedly exploiting various social media platforms on the Internet was: "They've gone to every possible medium and basically turned it into a sewer."

But let's look at the facts. According to Facebook, the suspected "Russian-linked" accounts purchased $100,000 in ads from 2015 to 2017 (compared to Facebook's annual revenue of about $27 billion), with only 44 percent of those ads appearing before the 2016 election and many having little or nothing to do with politics, which is curious if the Kremlin's goal was to help elect Donald Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton.

Even former Clinton political strategist Mark Penn has acknowledged the absurdity of thinking that such piddling amounts could have any impact on a $2.4 billion presidential campaign, plus all the billions of dollars worth of free-media attention to the conventions, debates, etc. Based on what's known about the Facebook ads, Penn calculated that "the actual electioneering [in battleground states] amounts to about $6,500."

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, Penn added, "I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate."

Puppies and Pokemon

And, then there is the curious content. According to The New York Times, one of these "Russian-linked" Facebook groups was dedicated to photos of "adorable puppies." Of course, the Times tried hard to detect some sinister motive behind the "puppies" page.

Similarly, CNN went wild over its own "discovery" that one of the "Russian-linked" pages offered Amazon gift cards to people who found "Pokémon Go" sites near scenes where police shot unarmed black men -- if you would name the Pokémon after the victims.

"It's unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish, though it may have been to remind people living near places where these incidents had taken place of what had happened and to upset or anger them," CNN mused, adding:

"CNN has not found any evidence that any Pokémon Go users attempted to enter the contest, or whether any of the Amazon Gift Cards that were promised were ever awarded -- or, indeed, whether the people who designed the contest ever had any intention of awarding the prizes."

So, these dastardly Russians are exploiting "adorable puppies" and want to "remind people" about unarmed victims of police violence, clearly a masterful strategy to undermine American democracy or – according to the original Russia-gate narrative – to elect Donald Trump.

A New York Times article on Wednesday acknowledged another inconvenient truth that unintentionally added more perspective to the Russia-gate hysteria.

It turns out that some of the mainstream media's favorite "fact-checking" organizations are home to Google ads that look like news items and lead readers to phony sites dressed up to resemble People, Vogue or other legitimate content providers.

"None of the stories were true," the Times reported. "Yet as recently as late last week, they were being promoted with prominent ads served by Google on PolitiFact and Snopes, fact-checking sites created precisely to dispel such falsehoods."

There is obvious irony in PolitiFact and Snopes profiting off "fake news" by taking money for these Google ads. But this reality also underscores the larger reality that fabricated news articles – whether peddling lies about Melania Trump or a hot new celebrity or outlandish Russian plots – are driven principally by the profit motive.

The Truth About Fake News

Occasionally, the U.S. mainstream media even acknowledges that fact. For instance, last November, The New York Times, which was then flogging the Russia-linked "fake news" theme , ran a relatively responsible article about a leading "fake news" Web site that the Times tracked down. It turned out to be an entrepreneurial effort by an unemployed Georgian student using a Web site in Tbilisi to make some money by promoting pro-Trump stories, whether true or not.

The owner of the Web site, 22-year-old Beqa Latsabidse, said he had initially tried to push stories favorable to Hillary Clinton but that proved unprofitable so he switched to publishing anti-Clinton and pro-Trump articles, including made-up stories. In other words, the Times found no Russian connection.

The Times article on Wednesday revealed the additional problem of Google ads placed on mainstream Internet sites leading readers to bogus news sites to get clicks and thus advertising dollars. And, it turns out that PolitiFact and Snopes were at least unwittingly profiting off these entrepreneurial ventures by running their ads. Again, there was no claim here of Russian "links." It was all about good ole American greed.

But the even larger Internet problem is that many "reputable" news sites, such as AOL, lure readers into clicking on some sensationalistic or misleading headline, which takes readers to a story that is often tabloid trash or an extreme exaggeration of what the headline promised.

This reality about the Internet should be the larger context in which the Russia-gate story plays out, the miniscule nature of this Russian "meddling" even if these "suspected links to Russia" – as the Times initially described the 470 Facebook pages – turn out to be true.

But there are no lucrative grants going to "researchers" who would put the trickle of alleged Russian "sewage" into the context of the vast flow of Internet "sewage" that is even flowing through the esteemed "fact-checking" sites of PolitiFact and Snopes.

There are also higher newspaper sales and better TV ratings if the mainstream media keeps turning up new angles on Russia-gate, even as some of the old ones fall away as inconsequential or meaningless (such as the Senate Intelligence Committee dismissing earlier controversies over Sen. Jeff Sessions's brief meeting with the Russian ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel and minor changes in the Republican platform).

Saying 'False' Is 'True'

And, there is the issue of who decides what's true. PolitiFact continues to defend its false claim that Hillary Clinton was speaking the truth when – in referencing leaked Democratic emails last October – she claimed that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies "have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election."

That claim was always untrue because a reference to a consensus of the 17 intelligence agencies suggests a National Intelligence Estimate or similar product that seeks the judgments of the entire intelligence community. No NIE or community-wide study was ever done on this topic.

Only later – in January 2017 – did a small subset of the intelligence community, what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described as "hand-picked" analysts from three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – issue an "assessment" blaming the Russians while acknowledging a lack of actual evidence .

In other words, the Jan. 6 "assessment" was comparable to the "stovepiped" intelligence that influenced many of the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush's administration. In "stovepiped" intelligence, a selected group of analysts is closeted away and develops judgments without the benefit of other experts who might offer contradictory evidence or question the groupthink.

So, in many ways, Clinton's statement was the opposite of true both when she said it in 2016 and later in 2017 when she repeated it in direct reference to the Jan. 6 assessment. If PolitiFact really cared about facts, it would have corrected its earlier claim that Clinton was telling the truth, but the fact-checking organization wouldn't budge -- even after The New York Times and The Associated Press ran corrections.

In this context, PolitiFact showed its contempt even for conclusive evidence – testimony from former DNI Clapper (corroborated by former CIA Director John Brennan) that the 17-agency claim was false. Instead, PolitiFact was determined to protect Clinton's false statement from being described for what it was: false.

Of course, maybe PolitiFact is suffering from the arrogance of its elite status as an arbiter of truth with its position on Google's First Draft coalition, a collection of mainstream news outlets and fact-checkers which gets to decide what information is true and what is not true -- for algorithms that then will exclude or downplay what's deemed "false."

So, if PolitiFact says something is true – even if it's false – it becomes "true." Thus, it's perhaps not entirely ironic that PolitiFact would collect money from Google ads placed on its site by advertisers of fake news.

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

David G , October 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm

I bet the Russians are responsible for all the naked lady internet pictures as well. Damn you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, for polluting our purity.

TS , October 19, 2017 at 5:43 am

Two-thirds of a century ago, Arthur C. Clarke, who besides being a famous SF author, conceived the concept of the communications satellite, published a short story in which the Chinese use satellite broadcasting to flood the USA with porn in order spread moral degeneracy. Wadya think?

Mr. Mueller! Mr. Mueller! Investigate who the owners of YouPorn are!
It's all a Chinese plot, not a Russian one!

Broompilot , October 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

I second the motion!

Antiwar7 , October 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm

"Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure-grain alcohol?"

richard vajs , October 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

And Vladimir keeps tempting me with offers of money that he found abandoned in Nigerian banks and mysteriously bequeathed to me.

Paul Fretheim , October 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

This sounds eerily similar to newspeak described by George Orwell "1984" in

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm

The failure of Russia bashers to rank all nations on FB ads and accounts, proves that they know they are lying. Random Russians (about 2% of the world population) may have spent 100K on mostly apolitical ads on FB (about 0.0004%) and may have 470 accounts on FB (about 0.000025%). So Russians have far fewer FB ads and accounts per capita than the average nation. Probably most developed nations have a higher per capita usage of FB, and many individuals and companies may have a higher total usage of FB.

The fact that 160 million is spent to dig up phony evidence of Russian influence (totaling about 0.13% of the investigation cost), proves that such "researchers" are paid liars; they are the ones who should be prosecuted for subversion of democracy for personal gain.

The fact that all views may be found on internet does not make it a "sewer" because one can view only what is useful. The Dems and Repubs regard the People as a sewer, because they believe that power=virtue=money no matter how unethically they get it, to rationalize oligarchy. They keep the most abusive and implausible ads out of mass media only because no advertiser wants them, but of course they don't want the truth either.

JWalters , October 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Add MSNBC to the sources of sewage on the internet. I checked out MSNBC today, and they are full-throttle on any kind of Russia-phobia. For those who read somewhat widely, it is obvious they are not even trying to present a balanced picture of the actual evidence. It is completely one-sided, and includes the trashiest trash of that one side. Their absolute lack of integrity matches Fox on its worst days.

As someone who formerly watched MSNBC regularly, I am sickened at the obvious capituation to the criminal Zionists who own the network. Have these people no decency? Apparently not. Historians will judge them harshly.

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 11:28 am

JWalters –

Yes. I completely agree with you. I am beginning to wonder if these people who are spitting out this trashiest trash at MSNBC from their mouths every day for over a year now are really sane people. I believe that along with politicians like Adam Schiff, these talk show hosts have slid into complete madness. The way it is going now, I am afraid that If these people are not removed, there is a danger of the whole country sliding into some form of madness.

anonymous , October 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm

"Historians will judge them harshly."

The western civilisation galloped to worldly success on the twin horses of Greed and Psychopathy. This also provided them the opportunity to write history as they wished.

Are historians judging them harshly now? They are themselves whores to whichever society they belong to.

Anna , October 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Jonathan Albright, the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, j.albright@columbia.edu . https://towcenter.org/about/who-we-are/
Mr. Albright is preparing for himself a feathered nest among other presstitutes swarming the many ziocons' "think tanks," like the viciously russophobic (and unprofessional) Atlantic Council that employs the ignoramus Eliot Higgins (a former salesman of ladies' underwear and college dropout) and Dmitry Alperovitch of CrowdStrike fame, a Russophobe and threat to the US national security
One can be sure that Jonathan Albright knows already all the answers (similar to Judy Miller) and he is not interested in any proven expertise like the one provided by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/
.

Dan Kuhn , October 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Can anyone out there please supply me with a couple of Russian hit pieces that crippled Hillary´s campaigne. Just askin, because I have never seen one.

Michael K Rohde , October 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm

You obviously haven't looked hard enough. I just finished the book "Shattered" and she had no problem blaming the Russians when the emails of Podesta came out in the summer. It took her a day or 2 to figure out that she couldn't blame the Arabs so the Russians were next up. How could you have missed it?

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 9:38 pm

He is likely asking for ads from Russia that actually could have served as "hit pieces" against Clinton, versus her accusations.

Elizabeth Burton , October 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm

I fear we must set aside our sarcasm and understand that this entire Russian narrative has the ultimate goal of silencing any oppositional news sources to the corporate media. When we hear that Facebook is seeking to hire people with national security clearances, which is made to sound as if it's a good, responsible reaction to the "Russian ads" and is cheered on by people who should know better, we need to get our tongues out of our cheeks and stay alert.

A good friend, who is an activist battling the fracking industry in Colorado and blogging about it, was urging people this week to sign petitions demanding more censorship on Facebook to "prevent Russian propaganda." When I pointed out that, based on the Jan. 6 "report," which condemned RT America for "criticizing the fracking industry" as proof it was a propaganda organ, her blog is Russian propaganda. Did that change her mind? Nope. Her response was in the category of "Better safe."

So, it appears Russia is not replacing "Muslim terrorists" as the "great danger" our beloved and benevolent government must ask us to hand over our rights to combat. And people who can't seem to get it through their heads the government is NOT their friend are marching in lock-step to agree because it never occurs to them they, too, are a target.

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Yes, the purpose of Russia bashing is to distract from the revelations of DNC corruption by oligarchy (top ten Clinton donors all zionists), attack leakers as opponents of oligarchy, and attack Russia in hope of benefits to the zionists in the Mideast.

Perhaps you meant to say that "Russia is [not] replacing "Muslim terrorists" as the 'great danger' our beloved and benevolent government must ask us to hand over our rights to combat." Or perhaps you meant that the Russia-gate gambit is not working.

Abe , October 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm

American psychologist Gustave Gilbert interviewed high-ranking Nazi leaders during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In 1947, Gilbert published part of his diary, consisting of observations taken during interviews, interrogations, "eavesdropping" and conversations with German prisoners, under the title Nuremberg Diary.

Hermann Goering, one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party, was founder of the Gestapo and Head of the Luftwaffe.

From an 18 April 1946 interview with Gilbert in Goering's jail cell:

Hermann Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

Hermann Goering: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 12:44 am

Abe –

Good post. Yes, from all the wars initiated during the last half century what Hermann Goring said is very true of U.S. The opposition to the Vietnam War later on was largely because of the draft.

Bertrand Russell in his autobiography describes in length how they prepared the U.K. public with outrageously false propaganda for War – World War I – against Germany in 1914. Bertrand Russell was vehemently against the War with Germany and spent some time in Jail for his activities to oppose the war.

Brad Owen , October 19, 2017 at 3:58 am

Based on what I have read about him, in his own words,on EIR, he was probably opposed to war with Germany because he was already looking ahead to a revival of the "Imperial Rome" situation we have in the Trans-Atlantic Community today, with its near-global Empire (enforced by America), working on breaking up the last holdout:the Eurasian Quarter with Russia, China, India, Iran, etc.

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 2:21 am

Yes Brad, Bertrand Russell did love England and was very proud of English Civilization and it's contributions to the World. Considering his very aristocratic background, his contributions to mathematics and Philosophy are laudable. And he was very much involved in World peace and nuclear disarmament movements.

BobH , October 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

(Goering quote) ahh yes, sometimes it takes a cynical scoundrel to tell the truth!

T.Walsh , October 20, 2017 at 11:09 am

the major war criminals' trial ended in 1946, with the execution of the 10 major war criminals taking place on October 16, 1946.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Elizabeth for the mere fact you are on this site may possibly be your reason for your escape from the MSM as it is a propaganda tool, to be used by the Shadow Government to guide your thought processes. (See YouTube Kevin Shipp for explanation for Shadow Government and Deep State) other than that I think it safe to say we are living in an Orwellian predicted state of mass communications, and for sure we are now living in a police state to accompany our censored news. Joe

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Here is something I feel may ring your bell when it comes to our maintaining a free press. Read this .

"From the PR perspective, releasing one anti-Russia story after another helps cement a narrative far better than an all-at-once approach to controlling the news cycle. The public is now getting maximum effect from what I believe is a singular and cohesive effort to lay the groundwork for global legislation to eradicate any dissent and particular dissent that is pro-Russia or pro-Putin. The way the news cycle works, a campaign is best leveled across two weeks, a month, or more, so that the desired audience is thoroughly indoctrinated with an idea or a product. In this case, the product is an Orwellian eradication of freedom of speech across the swath of the world's most used social media platforms. This is a direct result of traditional media and the deep state having failed to defeat independents across these platforms. People unwilling to bow to the CNN, BBC and the controlled media message, more or less beat the globalist scheme online. So, the only choice and chance for the anti-Russia message to succeed is with the complete takeover of ALL channels. As further proof of a collective effort, listen to this Bloomberg interview the other day with Microsoft CEO Brad Smith on the same "legislation" issues. Smith's rhetoric, syntax, and the flow of his narrative mirror almost precisely the other social CEOs, the US legislators, and especially the UK Government dialogue. All these technocrats feign concern over privacy protection and free speech/free press issues, but their real agenda is the main story."

Here is the link for the rest of the essay to Phil Butler's important news story ..

https://journal-neo.org/2017/10/18/globalist-counterpunch-going-for-the-media-knockout/

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Here is a great example of American politicians colluding with the Russians.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-18/fbi-informant-says-he-was-threatened-after-offering-details-linking-clinton-foundati

When you read this keep in mind that the Russians weren't doing any backroom illegal deals, because the Russians thought that they were dealing on the upside with the Obama White House State Department. Where you may question this, is where our Obama State Department side stepped the law to make money for those couple of Americans who fronted this deal. This is the epitome of hypocrisy of the worst kind.

Disclaimer; please Clinton and Trump supporters try and attempt to see this scandal for what it is. This fudging of the law to make a path for questionable donations is not a party platform issue. It is an issue of integrity and honesty. Yes Trump is the worst, but after you dig into the above link I provided, please don't come back at me screaming partisan politics. This scandal doesn't deserve a two sided political debate, as much as it deserves our attention, and what we do all should do about it.

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Joe Tedesky –

Reading about this Russian Bribery case in buying interest in "Uranium One" reminds me that Russians came a century or two late into this Capitalist Game. And they must be novices and rather crude in this business of bribing. This Russia bribery case is just a puddle in this vast Sea of Corruption to sell weapons, fighter jets, commercial airplanes, and other things by U.S., U.K., French, Swedes or other Western Nations to the Third World countries like India, Egypt, Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria etc. To make a sale of three or four billion dollars they would bribe the ministers and other officials in those countries probably with a 100 million dollars easily. Those of us who belong to the two worlds know it much better. The Indian Newspapers used to be always full of it, whenever I visited.

And the bribe money stays in the Western banks with which those ministers and officials sons and daughters buy extensive properties in these countries. In fact, these kind of issues are the topic of conversation at these Ethnic parties of rather prosperous people to which we do get invited once in a year or so – which minister or official bought what property and where with this kind or other type of corruption money. There used to be stories about Egyptian Presidents Sadat and Mubarak's sons playing around in U.S. having bought extensive properties with the bribe money. For Indian Ministers and Officials U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., and New Zealand are the preferred destinations to buy the properties.

And as we know with the corruption money, rich Russians are buying all these homes and other properties in Spain, U.S., U.K. and other Western Countries. It seems like Putin and his team have stopped most of big time corruption but it is very hard to stop the other corruption in this globalized free market economy, especially in countries where corruption is the norm.

Same is true of these IMF loans to those Third World Countries. Most of the money ends up in these Western Countries. The working class of those countries end up in paying back the high interest loans.

This is the World we are trying to defend with these endless wars and Russia-Gate.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm

Dave I concur that even the Russians are not beyond corruption, but we are not talking about the bad habits of the Russians, no we are talking about U.S. officials possibly breaking the law. I'll bet Dave if I had taken you on a vandalizing spree when we were young bad ass little hoodlums, and we got caught, that your father wouldn't have come after me, as much as he would come after you, as he would have given you a well deserved good spanking for your bad actions. So with that frame of mind I am keeping my focus with this Clinton escapade right here at home.

I like that you did point out to how the Russians maybe new to this capitalistic new world they suddenly find themselves in, but I would not doubt that even an old Soviet Commissar would have reached under the table for a kickback of somekind to enrich himself, if the occasion had arisen to do so. You know this Dave, that bribery has no political philosophy, nor does it have a democratic or communist ideology to prevent the corrupted from being corrupt.

I am not getting my hopes up that justice will be served with this FBI investigation into Hillary and Bill's uranium finagling. Although I'm surmising this whole thing will get turned around as a Sessions Trump attack upon the Clintons, and with that this episode of selling off American assets for personal wealth benefits, will instead fade away from our news cycles altogether. Just like the torture stuff went missing, and where did that go?

Dave I always look forward to hearing from you, because I think that you and I often have many a good conversation. Joe

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 2:07 am

Yes Joe. I agree with you. The reason I wrote my comments was to make a point that Russian businessmen are not the only one who are in the bribery business, the businessmen of other Western Nations are doing the same thing. Yesterday on the Fox News the "Uranium One" bribery case was the main News. Shawn Hannity was twisting his words to make it look like that it is Putin who did it, and that it is Putin who gave all this 140 million as bribery to Clinton Foundation. Actually , I think the 140 millions was given to the Clinton Foundation by the trustees of the Company in Canada. And Russian officials probably greased the hands of a few of them too.

Of course Clintons are directly involved in this case. Considering how Hillary Clinton has been perpetuating this Russia-Gate hysteria, I hope some truth comes out to show that she may be the real center of this Russia-Gate affair. But way the things in Washington are now, probably they are going to whitewash the Hillary Clinton's role in this bribery scandal.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 10:55 pm

While my one comment i wanted for you to read is being moderated, and it is an important comment, read how the Israeli's handle unwanted news broadcasting. When you read this think of the Kristallnacht episode, and then wonder why the Israeli's would do such a terrible thing similar to what they had encountered under Hitler's reign.

http://theduran.com/rt-provider-off-air-palestine-israeli-regime-takes-palestinian-broadcasters/

Be sure to see my comment I left above, which is being moderated. In the meantime go to NEO New Eastern Outlook and read Phil Butler's shocking story, 'Globalist Counterpunch: Going for the Media Knockout'.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 3:41 am

Joe Tedesky – the Zionists had been working (long before Hitler) on getting the Jews into Palestine. Read up on the Balfour Declaration. Hitler was helping them get out to Palestine. During World War II, one of the top German officials (can't remember which one right now) went to Palestine to have discussions with the Zionists. The Zionists basically said to him: "Look, you're sending us lazy Jews. These guys aren't interested in construction. Can't you raise more hell so that the harder-working Jews will want to leave Germany and come to Palestine?"

I think if we ever find out the truth about what happened, we will be shocked.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

Edmund de Rothschild who was a big financier of Zionism in 1934 on the subject of Palestine had said, "the struggle to put an end to the Wandering Jew, could not have as its result, the creation of the Wandering Arab."

I personally can't see the legality of the 'Balfour Declaration', but before Zionist trolls attack me, I must admit I'm no legal scholar.

I'll need to research that episode you speak of about the Germans meeting the Zionist. It's not an easy part of the Zionist history to study. Unless, you backwardsevolution can provide some references that would help to learn more about this fuzzy history.

Good to see you posting, for awhile your absence gave me concern that you are doing okay. Joe

Skip Scott , October 19, 2017 at 8:38 am

Thanks for the links Joe. Both great articles.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:14 am

Your welcome Skip I'll apologize for my posting all these links, but I kind of went nuts getting into the subject we are all talking about here, and more. Joe

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm

Although this article by the Saker talks about the U.S. being prepared for war against Iran it speaks to the bigger problem of who is America's puppet master.

http://thesaker.is/trump-goes-full-shabbos-goy/

Tannenhouser , October 19, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Joe start with a book called The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm

I put it on my next book to read. Thanks Tannerhouser appreciate your recommendation. Joe

dfc , October 18, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Elizabeth: Tell your good friend that once they get rid of the Russian propaganda on Facebook they will coming after those that oppose the Fracking Industry next:

How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World

h**p://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/hillary-clinton-fracking-shale-state-department-chevron/

Why Obama's top scientist just called keeping fossil fuels in the ground 'unrealistic'

h**ps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/12/why-obamas-top-scientist-just-called-keeping-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground-unrealistic/

Protesting the Dakota pipeline is not cut and dried

h**ps://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/protesting-the-dakota-pipeline-is-not-cut-and-dried/2016/11/06/2872e228-a207-11e6-8832-23a007c77bb4_story.html

Sorry, but how naive or deeply in the bubble can one be? lol :(

Beverly Voelkelt , October 19, 2017 at 2:50 am

I agree Elizabeth. The ultimate objective is censorship and control, using the pretext of keeping America safe from external meddling just like they enacted the Patroit Act to protect us from the terrists they created.

Daniel , October 19, 2017 at 5:04 am

Thank you Elizabeth. Shutting down alternative voices is clearly the end game here.

David G , October 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm

I'm not crazy about Robert Parry's phrase, "the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush's administration".

The lying, murdering bastards were lying. It's their parents that made the mistake.

But I'll let it slide.

Tayo , October 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I suggest Mueller focuses on Tinder too. I'm betting there's something on there. Russians have been known to use honey pot plots.

D.H. Fabian , October 18, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Ah, but who is better at it -- Russia or the US? (And dare we even consider the power of China to infiltrate political powers and the media?)

anon , October 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

So do Martians and every other national, religious, and ethnic group on the planet, with the US out in front. You will not trick more careful thinkers by attacking the target du jour.

D.H. Fabian , October 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Yes, and over the past week or two, it appears that work is being redirected into holding the vast military behemoth (?), Israel, accountable for our own political/policy choices. Either way, the US is clearly in its post-reality era.

anon , October 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm

zio-alert

Abe , October 18, 2017 at 10:06 pm

The naked gun of post-reality Hasbara propaganda:

When Israeli influence on US foreign policy choices may be discussed, Hasbara troll "D.H. Fabian" pops up to insist:

"Please disperse! There's nothing for you to see here. Keep moving!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSjK2Oqrgic

WC , October 19, 2017 at 12:05 am

And what do you want to discuss Abe? That there is undue influence from Israel on the US government? Maybe, but you could say the same thing about the pharmaceuticals, the MIC, big oil and the bankers, just to begin the list.

If you and others wish to focus in on a single culprit (defined as anyone fighting for their own self interests), fine. But there are opposing views that believe the picture is bigger than the one you would like to paint.

Curious , October 19, 2017 at 1:26 am

WC, I don't want to speak for Abe, but I am wondering about your use of the word "maybe". Since the last count of US politicians was 13 Senators, and 27 House Reps who are dual citizens of Israel, does that not imply a conflict of interest just in those stats alone? Israel doesn't allow dual citizenship in their political system as it is a security risk, so why do we? I will wait for your reply.

WC , October 19, 2017 at 4:23 am

Curious.

I can't speak for the legalities that led to allowing dual citizenship in the House and Senate, nor why Israel doesn't allow dual citizenship in their political system. Like a lot of laws it is probably serving someone's best interests. ;)

As for the word "maybe" and how it relates to your overall question. Just because there are dual citizen reps in government, does that automatically say they all vote in the interests of Israel exclusively? And even if that were the case what makes them any different from the rep sold out to the MIC, big oil, pharmaceuticals, bankers, etc., or combination of? We'd then need to do a study of all of the sold-out politicians and chart the percentage of each to the various interests they sold out to. At what percentage does Israel come into the big picture?

No one is denying Israel has a certain influence on the US government, but given all of the vested interests involved, the US also has a big stake in what happens in the region. I also don't know what the overall game plan is, not just for the middle east but all of the sordid shit going on everywhere. If old George is right about "The Big Club", I'm assuming some group or combination of groups have some master plan for us all, so I am not ready to label any group, country or entity good or bad at this stage of the game. If this somehow leaves out the moral question, I am not idealistic enough to believe morality and Geo-politics often work hand in hand. :)

Brad Owen , October 19, 2017 at 4:41 am

WCs point is valid and correct. The picture is MUCH bigger than a tiny desert country of a few million Semites ruling the World. The actual picture is the outgrowth of the several, world-wide, European Empires having united into one, gigantic "Roman Empire" (under Synarchist directorship) and CAPTURED America, post WWII, to be its enforcer, working to break the last holdout: the Eurasian Quarter including Iran, into a truly global Empire. Israel was a strategy of the British Empire to preclude any revival of a Muslim Empire, threatening its MENA holdings. The enemy is still the British Empire of the 1%er oligarchs in City-of-London and Wall Street. The fact that NOBODY pays attention to this situation, and obsesses over Israel, guarantees the success of the Plan.

anon , October 19, 2017 at 7:29 am

No, the problem of Mideast policy and oligarchy control of mass media is entirely due to zionist influence, including all top ten donors to Clinton 2016. Ukraine and the entire problem of surrounding and opposing Russia is due primarily to zionist influence, due to their intervention in the Mideast, although the MIC is happy to join the corruption for war anywhere. The others on your list "pharmaceuticals, big oil and the bankers" are involved in other problems.

WC seeks to divert discussion from zionist influence by changing the subject.

anon , October 19, 2017 at 7:33 am

Brad, you will have a hard time explaining why US wars in the Mideast and surrounding Russia are always for the benefit of Israel, if you think that ancient Venetians and British aristocracy are running the show. Looks like a diversionary attack to me.

Abe , October 20, 2017 at 2:05 am

The naked solo of "D.H. Fabian" has surged into a Hasbara chorus. Where to begin.

Let's start with "Curious", who definitely does not speak for me.

The "dual citizens" canard is a stellar example of Inverted Hasbara (false flag "anti-Israel", "anti-Zionist", frequently "anti-Jewish" or "anti-Semitic") propaganda that gets ramped up whenever needed, but particularly Israel rains bombs on the neighborhood.

Like Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel or pro-Zionist) propaganda, the primary purpose of Inverted Hasbara false flag propaganda is to divert attention from Israeli military and government actions, and to provide cover for Israel Lobby activities

The Inverted Hasbara canard inserted by "Curious" came into prominence after the Israel-initiated war Lebanon in 2006. Israel's shaky military performance, flooding of south Lebanon cluster munitions, use of white phosphorus in civilian areas brought censure. Further Israeli attacks on Gaza brought increasing pressure on the neocon-infested Bush administration for its backing of Israel.

A Facebook post titled, "List of Politicians with Israeli Dual Citizenship," started circulating. The post mentioned "U.S. government appointees who hold powerful positions and who are dual American-Israeli citizens."

With the change of US administration in 2008, new versions of the post appeared with headlines such as "Israeli Dual Citizens in the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration." Common versions included 22 officials currently or previously with the Obama administration, 27 House members and 13 senators.

The posts were false for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the misrepresentation of Israeli nationality law. Israel does allow its citizens to hold dual (or multiple) citizenship. A dual national is considered an Israeli citizen for all purposes, and is entitled to enter Israel without a visa, stay in Israel according to his own desire, engage in any profession and work with any employer according to Israeli law. An exception is that under an additional law added to the Basic Law: the Knesset (Article 16A) according to which Knesset members cannot pledge allegiance unless their foreign citizenship has been revoked, if possible, under the laws of that country.

The Law of Return grants all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel and almost automatic Israeli citizenship upon arrival in Israel. In the 1970s the Law of Return was expanded to grant the same rights to the spouse of a Jew, the children of a Jew and their spouses, and the grandchildren of a Jew and their spouses, provided that the Jew did not practice a religion other than Judaism willingly. In 1999, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Jews or the descendants of Jews that actively practice a religion other than Judaism are not entitled to immigrate to Israel as they would no longer be considered Jews under the Law of Return, irrespective of their status under halacha (Jewish religious law).

Israeli law distinguishes between the Law of Return, which allows for Jews and their descendants to immigrate to Israel, and Israel's nationality law, which formally grants Israeli citizenship. In other words, the Law of Return does not itself determine Israeli citizenship; it merely allows for Jews and their eligible descendants to permanently live in Israel. Israel does, however, grant citizenship to those who immigrated under the Law of Return if the applicant so desires.

A non-Israeli Jew or an eligible descendant of a non-Israeli Jew needs to request approval to immigrate to Israel, a request which can be denied for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) possession of a criminal record, currently infected with a contagious disease, or otherwise viewed as a threat to Israeli society. Within three months of arriving in Israel under the Law of Return, immigrants automatically receive Israeli citizenship unless they explicitly request not to.

In short, knowingly or not, "Curious" is spouting Inverted Hasbara propaganda.

Conventional Hasbara (pro-Israel, pro-Zionist) propagandists constantly attempt to portray Israeli military threats against its neighbors, Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, Zionist claims of an "unconditional land grant covenant" for Israel, or the manipulations of the Israel Lobby, as somehow all based on "the way the world really works".

"WC" slithered into the CN comments srael's land grab "solution" was under scrutiny here:
Israel's Stall-Forever 'Peace' Plan (September 23, 2017)
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/23/israels-stall-forever-peace-plan/

"WC" has repeatedly promoted a loony "realism" in the CN comments, claiming for example that "The Jews aren't doing anything different than the rest have done since the beginning of time."

The Conventional Hasbara troll refrain is that whatever Israel does "ain't no big thing".

"D.H. Fabian", "WC" and others are not Hasbara trolls because we somehow "disagree". They are Hasbara trolls because they promote propaganda for Israel.

Fellow travellers round out the Hasbara chorus.

Commenter anon discourses in absolutes such as "entirely due to zionist influence" and "always for the benefit of Israel".

Commenter Brad Owen just can't understand why everyone "obsesses" over that "tiny desert country" when "the Plan" outlined by LaRouche is sooo much more interesting.

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

Abe – An excellent analysis – very penetrating. Yes, I understand it very clearly.

I am one of those who does not have the background in this area. However, reading the largely British view oriented newspapers since I was fourteen , in a different land where at that time during 1950's and early 60's, all viewpoints were discussed including the communist Russian/Soviet side, and the Communist Chinese side too, one develops a balanced outlook on the World events.

Reading your comments on Israel's citizenship laws, is very eye opening for me. Israel is a very Racist State, which is kind of the opposite of what Jewish Writers write books in this country about America being the melting pot. Some of us have already melted here. I sometimes wonder, Jewish writers are writing all these books, but why don't they melt! Are they special chosen people?

WC , October 20, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Let me first dispel the notion that I am trying to change the subject, as "anon" would like to imply. What I am after is a proper perspective as opposed to something blown out of proportion.

When it comes to the subject of Israel, Jews and Zionism, Abe would appear to be well versed on the subject. He certainly cleared up "Curious"s question on dual citizenship!

With Abe and others on this site, Zionism is the big daddy culprit in the world today. I, on the other hand, see it as simply one part of a bigger picture, which I am still trying to get my head around, but I am quite certain it goes far beyond just a regional issue. In reading what Abe has to say on this subject over the past few months, he may very well be right about Zionist influence and a take no prisoners-type of resolve in pursuing their aims (whatever that may be). But none of this has yet to convince me they are entirely wrong either.

Which brings us to the subject of morality. Take a second look at what Abe has chosen to cherry pick from what he sees as the "Hasbara chorus" – all pointing to "trolls" who (he thinks) are in support of an all powerful and heartless sect. This is what is known as being overly dramatic and speaks volumes about what Abe (and others on this site) view as the most objectionable of all – the moral wrongs being committed. For the sake of clarification "morality" is defined as "principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior". Most of us who are not suffering from a mental disorder can agree on what constitutes right and wrong at its purist level, but thrown into a world filled with crime, corruption, greed, graft, hate, lust, sociopaths and psychopaths vying for power, sectarian violence, a collapsing economy, inner city decay, and all of the vested special interests jockeying to save their piece of the pie, what is right and wrong becomes far more convoluted and mired in mud. Simply throwing perfect world idealism at the problem will not fix it. In fact, it will get you as far as the miles of crucified Christians that lined the road to Rome. Which is a hell of a way to prove you are so right in a world filled with so much wrong.

Since the day I "slithered in" here, I have asked the same question over and over – what are your REAL world solutions to REAL world problems? So far, the chorus of the Church Of The Perfect World has offered up nothing. :)

Abe , October 20, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Making the same statements over and over again, "WC" is clearly "after" a Hasbara "proper perspective" on Israel.

For example, in the CN comments on How Syria's Victory Reshapes Mideast (September 30, 2017), "WC" advanced three key Hasbara propaganda talking points concerning the illegal 50-year military occupation of Palestinian territory seized by Israel during the 1967 War:
– Spurious claims about "what realistically (not idealistically) can be done"
– Insistence that "Israel is not going to go back to the 1948 borders"
– Claims that the US "depends on a strong Israeli presence"

A leading canard of Hasbara propaganda and the Israeli right wing Neo-Zionist settlement movement is the notion of an "unconditional land grant covenant" entitlement for Israel.

Land ownership was far more widespread than depicted in the fictions of Israeli propaganda. In reality, the Israeli government knowingly confiscated privately owned Palestinian land and construct a network of outposts and settlements.

Israel's many illegal activities in occupied Palestinian territory encompass Neo-Zionist settlements, so-called "outposts" and declared "state land".

The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (which provides humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone).
The 1967 "border" of Israel refers to the Green Line or 1949 Armistice demarcation line set out in the Armistice Agreements between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

The Green Line was intended as a demarcation line rather than a permanent border. The 1949 Armistice Agreements were clear (at Arab insistence) that they were not creating permanent borders. The Egyptian–Israeli agreement, for example, stated that "the Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question."

Similar provisions are contained in the Armistice Agreements with Jordan and Syria. The Agreement with Lebanon contained no such provisions, and was treated as the international border between Israel and Lebanon, stipulating only that forces would be withdrawn to the Israel–Lebanon border.

United Nations General Assembly Resolutions and statements by many international bodies refer to the "pre-1967 borders" or the "1967 borders" of Israel and neighboring countries.

According to international humanitarian law, the establishment of Israeli communities inside the occupied Palestinian territories – settlements and outposts alike – is forbidden. Despite this prohibition, Israel began building settlements in the West Bank almost immediately following its occupation of the area in 1967.

Defenders of Israel's settlement policies, like David Friedman, the current United States Ambassador to Israel, argue that the controversy over Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory is overblown.

The Israeli government and Israel Lobby advocates like Ambassador Friedman claim the built-up area of settlements comprises only around 2% of the West Bank.

This Hasbara "2%" argument is at best ignorant, and at worst deliberately disingenuous.

The "2%" figure is misleading because it refers restrictively to the amount of land Israeli settlers have built on, but does not account for the multiple ways these settlements create a massive, paralytic footprint in the illegally occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Since 1967, Israel has taken control of around 50% of the land of the West Bank. And almost all of that land has been given to the settlers or used for their benefit. Israel has given almost 10% of the West Bank to settlers – by including it in the "municipal area" of settlements. And it has given almost 34% of the West Bank to settlers – by placing it under the jurisdiction of the Settlement "Regional Councils."

In addition, Israel has taken hundreds of kilometers of the West Bank to build infrastructure to serve the settlements, including a network of roads that crisscross the entire West Bank, dividing Palestinian cities and towns from each other, and imposing various barriers to Palestinian movement and access, all for the benefit of the settlements.

Israel has used various means to do this, included by declaring much of the West Bank to be "state land," taking over additional land for security purposes, and making it nearly impossible for Palestinians to register claims of ownership to their own land.

The Israeli Supreme Court has repeatedly used the term "belligerent occupation" to describe Israel's rule over the West Bank and Gaza. Indeed, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the question of a previous sovereign claim to the West Bank and Gaza is irrelevant to whether international laws relating to occupied territories should apply there.

Rather, the proper question – according to Israel's highest court – is one of effective military control. In the words of the Supreme Court decision, "as long as the military force exercises control over the territory, the laws of war will apply to it." (see: HCJ 785/87, Afo v. Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank).

The Palestinian territories were conquered by Israeli armed forces in the 1967 war. Whether Israel claims that the war was forced upon it is irrelevant. The Palestinian territory has been controlled and governed by the Israeli military ever since.

Who claimed the territories before they were occupied is immaterial. What is material is that before 1967, Israel did not claim the territories.

Ariel Sharon, one of the principal architects of Israel's settlement building policy in the West Bank and Gaza, recognized this reality. On May 26, 2003, then Israeli Prime Minister Sharon told fellow Likud Party members: "You may not like the word, but what's happening is occupation [using the Hebrew word "kibush," which is only used to mean "occupation"]. Holding 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation is a bad thing for Israel, for the Palestinians and for the Israeli economy."

Whether one believes that these territories are legally occupied or not does not change the basic facts: Israel is ruling over a population of millions of Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens. Demographic projections indicate that Jews will soon be a minority in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

Real world solutions:

An end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

An end to apartheid government and the beginning of real democracy in Israel.

What can be done now?

United States government sanctions against Israel for its 50-year military occupation of Palestine, its apartheid social regime, and its arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The United States can require Israel to withdraw its forces to the 1967 line, and honor the right of return to Palestinians who fled their homeland as a result of Israel's multiple ethnic cleansing operations.

In addition, the United States can demand that immediately surrender its destabilizing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons arsenal or face severe U.S. action.

Hasbara trolls will keep trying to change the subject, continue muttering about "opposing views" and some "bigger picture" picture", and repeatedly insist that an Israel armed with weapons of mass destruction routinely attacking its neighbors "ain't no big thing".

Tannenhouser , October 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

Most of the ones in control of "pharmaceuticals, the MIC, big oil and the bankers" are Israel firsters as well. Round and round we go eh?

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , October 19, 2017 at 4:31 am

This is probably as good a place as any to point out that it isn't just Russophobia at work; Congress is hard at work to protect Israel's abominable human rights record from public criticism as well. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is squarely aimed at criminalizing advocates of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement and has 50 co-sponsors in the Senate. See https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/720?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22israel+anti-boycott+act%22%5D%7D&r=2

The Act is squarely aimed at our First Amendment right to boycott and to advocate for boycotts. See https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/first-amendment-protects-right-boycott-israel?redirect=blog/speak-freely/first-amendment-protects-right-boycott-israel

dahoit , October 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

wapo says Hamas disarm because us and israel want them to.israel won't disarm though.Boy.

Curious , October 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Thank you Mr Parry for actually taking the time to read the NYT or WaPo for your readers, so we don't have to. There is only so much disinformation one can cram into our 'cranium soft drives' regarding journalists with no ethics nor moral rudders.
It reminds me of watching Jon Stewarts Daily Show to check out the perverse drivel on Fox News since to watch Fox myself would have damaged me beyond repair. Many of my friends are already Humpty-Dumptied by the volume of fragmented info leeching into their bloodstreams by 140 character news.
Thank you for your fortitude in trying to debunk the news and 'outing' those editors who feel they are insulated from critical analysis.

dahoit , October 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

jon stewart?WTF?

Curious , October 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Well dahoit,
Just chalk it up to a historical reference as that is around the time I stopped watching TV, having worked in the biz for some 30 years. I don't miss it either. Jon gave us a lot of humor and a lot of clever, surreptitious info, and the way they captured the talking points of the politicians by the use of their fast cuts was remarkable. There was a lot of political content in a show meant to just be humorous. Sorry you feel otherwise.

fudmier , October 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm

EITHER OR, INC. (EOI) a secret subsidiary of Deep Sewer Election Manipulators, Inc (DSEMI), a fraudulent make believe Russia company, that changes election outcomes, in foreign countries, to conform the leadership of the foreign country with Russia foreign policy, studied the most recent USA candidates and concluded Russia could not have found persons more suited to Russian foreign policy than the candidates the USA had selected for its American governed, to vote on. The case is not yet closed, EOI is still trying to decide if there is or was a difference between the candidates..

Charles Misfeldt , October 18, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Our election process is so completely corrupted I doubt that a few thousand dollars of Facebook ads that no one pays any attention to could sway the vote, I am much more concerned about bribery, Israel, American Zionists, racists, corporations, evangelicals, dominionists, white nationalists, anarchist's, conservatives, war profiteers, gerrymanders, vote purges, vote repressors, voting machine hackers, seems like Russian's are pretty far down the list.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Now you talking, let's get to the real stuff. Good one Charles. Joe

Peter Loeb , October 19, 2017 at 6:08 am

I don't have "FACEBOOK". Or any other "social media (whatever that may be.)
I don't "tweet" and the technology which we were once told would save
the world, has left me behind. I don't text. I have no smart phone
or cell.

I no longer have a TV of any description. Or cable with millions of things
you don't want to see anyway.

Only my mind is left. For some more years.

(J.M. Keynes: " in the long run we will all be dead."

Perhaps one has to have "social media" to be born in
this generation. Do you need it to exit?

Please accept my thoughts with my "asocial" [media]
appologies.

-- -Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

My "tweet"/message is only my fear that the NY Yankees
will be in the World Series where I can hate them with complete
impunity. (I was created a fan of the Washington Senators,
morphed into a Brooklyn Dodgers fan so the usually failing
Boston Red Sox fits me well. Being for that so-called "dodgers"
team on the west coast is a forced marriage at best.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:27 am

Peter screw Facebook and all the rest of that High Tech Big Brother Inc industry, and the garbage they are promoting.

Also Peter do you have a little Walter Francis O'Malley voodoo doll to stick pins in it? I also haven't followed baseball since Roberto Clemente died.

We kids use to skip school to go watch Clemente play. In fact in 1957 a young ball player who the Pirates had acquired in somekind of trade with the Brooklyn Dodgers chased my seven year old little butt out of right field when I wandered all confused onto the field. That young rookie who chased my loss little being off the field, was none other than the great number 21 Roberto Clemente.

Actually the only thing you left out Peter was the Braves moving to Atlanta. Take care Peter, and let's play more ball in the daylight, and let's make it more affordable game to watch again. Play ball & BDS. Joe

Thomas Phillips , October 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

I'm envious now Joe. Roberto Clemente was one of my favorite baseball players. My no. 1 favorite, though, was Willie Mays. And speaking of the Braves moving to Atlanta, my father took my brother and I there the first year the team was in Atlanta. The Giants were there for a series with the Braves, and I got to see Mays play (my first and only time). I would have loved to have been able to skip school and watch Clemente play.

On the subject of concern here, The Hill has a couple of stories on the zerohedge.com story you referenced above. From what I read, it appears to me that if this is still an open case with the FBI, Ms. Clinton (and Obama?) could possibly face criminal charges in this matter. We can only hope. To Peter – I do have an old 1992 console TV, but no cable; so I have no television to speak of. I have a VHS and DVD player though and watch old movies and such on the old TV.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Thomas how cool. My buddies and I would purchase the left field bleacher seats for I think fifty cents or maybe it was a dollar. Then around the third inning we would boogie on over into the right field stands overlooking the great Roberto, and yell 'hey Roberto'. From right field we kids would eye up the empty box seats off of third base. Somewhere about the sixth or seventh inning we would sneakily slide into those empty box seats along third base side, where you could see into the Pirate dugout along first. Now the Pirate dugout is along third. The box seat ushers would back then justbsimply tell us kids to be good, and that they got a pat on the back from management for filling up those empty box seats, because the television cameras would pick that up. The best part was, we little hooky players did all of this on our school lunch money.

About that FBI thing with Hillary I'm hoping this doesn't get written off as just another Trump attack, and that this doesn't turn into another entertaining Benghazi hearing for Hillary to elevate her status among her identity groupies. Joe

mark , October 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

All this nonsense will soon die an evidence-free natural death, but rather than admit to the lies the MSM will divert the Deplorables with some convenient scandal like the Weinstein affair.

The effect of all this will be to hammer the final nails in the coffin of the political establishment and its servile MSM. This process began with the Iraqi WMD lies, and now 6% of the population believes what it sees in the MSM.

Skip Scott , October 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

mark-

I wish you were right, but with all the money being thrown around, and scumbag Mueller in the mix, how this will end is anybody's guess. I'm also curious where you got the 6% figure. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

Stephen J. , October 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm

We have sewer rats in our depraved "democracy."
More info at link below:
October 18, 2017
Is This The "Democracy" of the Depraved?
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/10/is-this-democracy-of-depraved.html

falcemartello , October 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Great take Mr Parry
Smoke and mirrors to distract we the sheeple of this dying paradigm. Fascism alive and well in the land of the free. The sheeple r now entering the critical stage, they have hit 20 percent. Dangerous times for the western masters of the universe. Get ready for more false flags to keep the sheeple blinded from reality. The recent events globally with regards to Iran, Syria and the DPRK are all their for distractions add the Russians ate my homework and viola distraction heaven. But like I said more and more people in the US and the west are turning off 1/5 to be exact and that spells trouble for the masters. They want war at all costs 600 percent debt is not a sustainable economic system . IMF warning just the other day that all it will take is one major European bank to crash and viola. So dangerous and interesting times we r living. Is it by design in order to get their way.?I would say yes to that.

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Good notes. Incidentally you may intend the French "voila" rather than the musical instrument "viola."

Skip Scott , October 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Voila, viola. Didn't Curly of the three stooges do a bit on that?

Michael K Rohde , October 18, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Should I say it? Shocker. NYT and HIllary are a potent team. Add on Google and CNN and you have a formidable propaganda organization that is going to influence millions of American. Plus Face Book and you have most of America covered without a dissenting voice. I used to be one of their customers, reading and believing everything they put out until Judith Miller was exposed with W and Scooter. I confess to a jaundiced eye since then. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot out there if you like to read good writers of relevant material. We have a problem, Houston.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm

If it is possible to consider Russia helped throw the 2016 presidential election with 100k spent over a three year period, then why not suspect and investigate the American MSM, who gave Donald Trump 4.9 billion dollars worth of free media coverage? Surely you all may recall the wall to wall commercial free cable network coverage Trump used to receive during the way too long of a presidential campaign? Now we are being led to believe that a few haphazard placed Russian adbuys on FB stool the election from 'it's my turn now boys' Hillary. Here I must admit that as much as I would love to have a woman President, I would choose almost any qualified women other than Hillary. But yeah, this Russia-gate nonsense is a creation of the Shadow Government, who wants so badly to see Putin get thrown out of office, that they would risk starting WWIII doing it.

Larry Gates , October 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

A single person started all this nonsense: Hillary Clinton.

Jessica K , October 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm

No need for America to be influenced to turn the internet into a sewer, America is doing just fine on that with no help at all. The Russians are just mocking us over there, which is perfectly understandable. In fact, from what I read, Russians are actually more religious and concerned about immorality than Americans.

This whole thing is a joke, we know it, it's an attempt to control people, and I for one am pretty sick of it and don't mind telling anyone just that. Let them sputter, stomp their feet, or whatever. Keep it up, United States, and you'll be playing in the schoolyard all by yourself!

Stephen J. , October 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Was the article below in corporate media? Link below:
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Thousands of govt docs found on laptop of sex offender married to top Clinton adviser
Published time: 18 Oct, 2017 16:45Edited time: 18 Oct, 2017 18:37
https://www.rt.com/usa/407120-fbi-found-3k-docs-weiner/

Sam , October 19, 2017 at 12:10 am

It's amazing how the "mainstream media" has pushed this Russian collusion nonsense. What's more amazing is how every time an article is published my these outlets claiming some new evidence of Russian collusion, within 24 hours there's evidence to the contrary. I think the whole Pokemon and Facebook claims are the lowest point in this Russian collusion nonsense. The worst part is we won't see it end anytime soon

Sam F , October 19, 2017 at 7:38 am

Good points, Sam. There are many named "Sam" so please distinguish your pen name from mine, perhaps with an initial. Thanks!

Drew Hunkins , October 19, 2017 at 12:46 am

Absolutely crucial and outstanding piece by Mr. Parry. His well thought out dissection of Politifact is invigorating.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 12:52 am

Peter Schweizer, author of "Clinton Cash", has been talking about the biggest Russian bribe of all, the one no one wants to talk about – Uranium One. This deal may have been the reason why $145 million ended up in Clinton Foundation coffers, all while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

Here is Peter Schweizer today on Tucker Carlson's program talking about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNTdlyx7EMQ

Daniel , October 19, 2017 at 5:21 am

Her emails showed that HRC's internal polling proved her greatest vulnerability with her supporters was when they were told the details of her uranium deal.

Skip Scott , October 19, 2017 at 9:03 am

Thanks for the link. Great interview. The real Russia-gate!

flip diving , October 19, 2017 at 12:54 am

Your site has a lot of useful information for myself. I visit regularly. Hope to have more quality items.

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 1:33 am

Joe – I never had interest in conspiracy type stories and narratives like that. However, after reading the zerohedge article in the link in your post, I am beginning to seriously doubt the Seth Rich murder investigation findings by the Washington DC police – I had some misgivings before about it too. I think there was not any significant involvement by FBI in the case. And the Justice department under Loretta Lynch did not pursue the investigation.

Knowing all kind of stories in the news about Clintons friend Vince Foster's death during 1990's , and many other episodes in Bill and Hillary Clinton's political life, I wonder about the power and reach of this couple. And now this article and no investigation of this bribery and corruption scandal during Obama's presidency. It all smells fishy.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 1:58 am

Dave not only as what you had mentioned, but the Seth Rich story seems to have become taboo in our news. I realize what the Rich family requested, but when did ever a request from the family ever get honored by the big media ever before? I'm not suggesting anything more, than why is the Seth Rich murder appearing to be off limits, and further more with Seth's death being in question and implicated to the Wikileaks 'Hillary Exposures' being Seth one of those 'leakers', then take responsibility DNC and ask the same questions, or at least answer the questions asked. I hope that made sense, because somehow it made sense to me.

The suggestion of any alternative to the establish narrative gets tossed to the wind. I think this drip, drip, flood, of Russia collusion into the gears of American Government is a way of America's Establishment, who is now in charge, way of going out with a bang. The world is starting to realize it doesn't need the U.S., and the U.S. is doing everything in it's power to help further that multi-polar world's growing realization that it doesn't.

Okay Dave. Joe

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 2:57 am

Joe, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has the power to initiate investigations into these cases. However, it seems to me that the Ruling Elite/Deep State does not want to wash the dirty linen in front of the whole World. It would be very embarrassing; it will show the true picture of this whole sewage/swamp it is. Jeff Sessions or others in high places, have no independence at all, even if they want to pursue their own course – which they rarely do.

It seems like that all these investigations are a kind of smoke screen to hide the real issues. During 1950's or 60's , people in this country mostly trusted the leaders and elected officials. And majority of the leaders, whatever their policies or sides they took on issues, had some integrity, depth, solidity and dignity about them. But it seems to me that these days politicians do not have any of it. The same is true of the Media. This constant mindless Russia-Gate hysteria being perpetuated by the elected leaders, Media, and pundits without any thought or decorum is not worthy of a civilized country. Also, it is not good for the Country or the World.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

Yes Dave the quality of accountability and responsibility in DC is sorely lacking of concern to be honest, and do the right thing by its citizens. This is another reason why it's good to talk these things over with you, and many of the others who post comments here. Joe

BobH , October 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

Joe,Dave, glad you bring it up Russiagate seems to be providing a full eclipse of any investigation into the Seth Rich murder and just whatever happened to his laptop?

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 10:45 am

I think Bob the Rich investigation got filed under 'conspiracy theory do not touch' file. Joe

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 1:39 am

Hours ago:

"Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley asked the attorney of a former FBI informant Wednesday to allow her client to testify before his committee regarding the FBI's investigation regarding kickbacks and bribery by the Russian state controlled nuclear company that was approved to purchase twenty percent of United States uranium supply in 2010, Circa has learned.

In a formal letter, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked Victoria Toensing, the lawyer representing the former FBI informant, to allow her client, who says he worked as a voluntary informant for the FBI, to be allowed to testify about the "crucial" eyewitness testimony he provided to the FBI regarding members of the Russian subsidiary and other connected players from 2009 until the FBI's prosecution of the defendants in 2014. [ ]

FBI officials told Circa the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law. The deal which required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder."

https://www.circa.com/story/2017/10/18/judiciary-committee-calls-on-former-fbi-informant-to-testify-about-uranium-one

This FBI informant was apparently gagged from speaking to Congress by either Loretta Lynch or Eric Holder (I've heard both names). Why would they have done this?

Sven , October 19, 2017 at 1:44 am

Very well written article

Lee Francis , October 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

The whole Russia-Gate brouhaha has become a monumental bore. How anyone with a modicum of intelligence and moral integrity can believe this garbage is beyond me. I salute Mr Parry for his fortitude in clearing the Augean stables of this filth; it reminds of the old Bonnie Raitt song, to wit – 'It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it." personally I can't be bothered reading it anymore.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 2:51 am

Stefan Molyneux does a great job in this 25-minute video where he outlines the absolute corruption going on in the Banana Republic of Americastan on both the left and right.

He ends up by saying that all of the same actors (Rosenstein, McCabe, Mueller, Comey, Lynch, Clinton) who were part of covering up Hillary's unsecured servers and Uranium One are the very same people who are involved with going after Trump and his supposed collusion with Russia. Same people. And the media seem to find no end of things to say about the latter, while virtually ignoring the former.

https://www.sgtreport.com/articles/2017/10/18/shocking-fbi-corruption-exposed-true-news

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 3:39 am

backwardsevolution –

Yes, Media ignores the other scandal while beating up 24/7 on Russian inference/collusion in the Presidential Election. It is the same with the Foreign News. There was this more than 10,000 strong torchlit Neo-Nazi March in Kiev last Saturday. The pictures in the Sputnik News of these neo-Nazis in the march were very threatening. I think that most of the Russians have probably left West Ukraine. There was not even a mention of this March in the Los Angeles Times.

However, a week before Alexander Navalny had this protest – 500 figure as given the Western media – in Moscow. The picture was splashed across the entire page of Los Angeles Times with a half page article, mostly beating up on Putin.

I rarely watch TV shows. However, this Tuesday, because of the some work going on our house, I was home most of the day. My wife was watching TV starting in the afternoon well into the evening – MSNBC, CNN, PBS newshour; Wolg Blitzer, Lawrence O'Donnell, Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow, and others with all these so called experts invited to the shows. Just about most of it was about beating up on Trump and Russia as if it is the only news in the Country and in the World to report. It was really pathetic to hear all these nonsensical lies and garbage coming out the mouths of these talk show hosts and experts. It is becoming Banana Republic of Americanistan as you wrote.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 4:04 am

Hi, Dave P. Yeah, I swear they have things on the shelf that are ready-to-go stories whenever there's a lull in the Trump/Russia collusion nonsense. This last week they pulled Harvey Weinstein off the shelf and crucified the guy (not that he shouldn't have been). If this Uranium One deal gets legs, watch for some huge false flag to coincidentally appear to take our minds off of it.

The biggest thing separating a "first world" country from a "third world" country is the rule of law. Without it, you might as well hoist up a flag with a big yellow banana on it and call it a day. Bananastan has a nice ring to it.

Cheers, Dave.

Lee Francis , October 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

"There was this more than 10,000 strong torchlit Neo-Nazi March in Kiev last Saturday." It never happened, well according to the Washington Post (aka Pravda on the Potomac) or New York Times (aka The Manhattan Beobachter) who, like the rest of the establishment media lie by omission. Other things that didn't happen – the Odessa fire where 42 anti-Maidan demonstrators were incinerated by the Banderist mob who actually applauded as the Union Building went up like a torch with those unfortunate people not only trapped inside with the entrances barricaded, but those who jumped out of windows to escape the flames (a bit like 9/11 in New York) were clubbed to death as they lie injured on the ground. The film is on youtube if you can bear to watch it, I could only bear to watch it once. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was "another bright day in our national history." A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, "Bravo, Odessa . Let the Devils burn in hell." These people are our allies, along of course with Jihadis in the middle east.

In his the British playwright Harold Pinter's last valediction nailed the propaganda methodology of the western media with the phrase, 'even while it was happening it wasn't happening.'

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 2:31 am

Lee Francis –

yes. The words : 'even while it was happening it wasn't happening.' It is from his Nobel lecture. I read the text of Nobel Lecture by Harold Pinter at that time – very passionate lecture. Pinter had terminal throat cancer, he could not go to Sweden. I think he sent his video of the Nobel lecture to be played.

Jessica K , October 19, 2017 at 7:14 am

It will be interesting to see how the so-called left leaning media like MSNBC and CNN spin the Uranium One/Obama-Clinton State Department story. The right, especially Hannity on Fox, are on it, also Tucker Carlson who is moderate mostly. When these pundits say "Russia", they seem to imply "Putin" but that may not be the case. And they always want to imply the US is beyond corrupt business deals, which is a joke. It's about time the Clinton case is cracked, but with corruption rampant, who knows?

JeffS , October 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

The targeting of Pokemon Go users was especially nefarious because aren't about half of those people below voting age? But when they finally are old enough to vote we can say that they were influenced by Russia! And this is always reported in a serious tone and with a straight face. I find the aftermath of the 2016 election to be 'Hillary'ous. The obviously phony from the get-go Russia story was invented out of whole cloth to allow stunned Democrat voters to engage in some sort extended online group therapy session. After a year many are still working through the various stages of the grieving process, and some may actually reach the final stage -- Acceptance (of the 2016 Election results)

mike k , October 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Good one!

Jamila Malluf , October 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Excellent Report! Consortium needs a video outlet somebody to give these reports. There are many places other than YouTube you could use and I could become one of your Amateur video editor :)

mike k , October 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

The Rulers fear the internet.

Liam , October 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

#MeToo – A Course In Deductive Reasoning: Separating Fact From Fiction Through The Child Exploitation Of 8 Year Old Bana Alabed

https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/10/19/metoo-a-course-in-deductive-reasoning-separating-fact-from-fiction-through-the-child-exploitation-of-8-year-old-bana-alabed/

rosemerry , October 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

I was glad to see that when H Clinton was in England, the RT ads all around were making fun of the blame game. Someone needs to lighten up and stop the ludicrous nonsensical year-long concentration on blaming Russia for the deep defects in almost all aspects of US presence in our world. Observe Pres. Putin and nearly every other real leader getting on with negotiations, agreements, constructive trade deals, ignoring the sinking ship led by the Trumpet and the Republican Party, while the Dems slide down with them.

Realist , October 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

I think the "Powers that be" in America actually believed it when Karl Rove announced to the world that the U.S. government had the godlike power to create any reality of its own choosing, the facts be damned, and the entire world would come to accept it and live by it, like it or not. They've been incessantly trying to pound this square peg of a governing philosophy into holes of a wide spectrum of geometric shapes ever since, believing that mere proclamation made it so. Russia, China, Iran and any other country that does business with this troika are evil. Moreover, any country that does not kowtow to Israel, or objects to its extermination campaign against the Palestinian people, is evil. Even simply pursuing an independent foreign policy not approved by Washington, as Iraq, Libya and Syria felt entitled to do, is evil. Why? Because we say so. That should suffice for a reason. Disagree with us at your peril. We have slaughtered millions of "evil-doers" in Middle Eastern Islamic states who dared to disagree, and we have economically strapped our own "allies" in Europe to put the screws to Russia. The key to escape from this predicament is how much more blowback, in terms of displaced peoples, violated human rights, abridged sovereignty and shattered economies, is Europe willing to tolerate in the wake of Washington's megalomaniacal dictates before it stands up to the bully and stops supporting the madness. When does Macron, Merkel and May (assuming they are the leaders whom others will follow in Europe) say "enough" and start making demands on Washington, and not just on Washington's declared "enemies?"

And, if the internet has indeed become the world's "cloaca maxima," I'd say first look to its inventors, founders, chief administrators and major users of the service, all of which reside in the United States. In terms of volume, Russia is but a small-time user of the service. If the object is to re-create a society such as described in the novel "1984," it is certainly possible to censor the damned thing to the point where its just a tool of tyranny. The "distinguished" men and corporations basically running the internet planetwide have already conferred such authority to the Chinese government. Anything they don't want their people to see is filtered out, compliments of Microsoft, Google, Facebook and the other heavy hitters. Just looking at trends, rhetoric and the fact that the infrastructure is mostly privately-owned, I can see the same thing coming to the West, unless the users demand otherwise, vociferously and en masse.

Tannenhouser , October 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Trump is running point on the distraction op currently being run, to distract from the actual crimes committed by the Blue section of the ruling political party. So far he played his part brilliantly, knowingly or unknowingly, matters not.

Jerry Alatalo , October 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Readers of Consortium News come from around the world, from very small towns with populations in the few 1,000's to major cities with populations in the millions, and everything size category in between. In each of those categories of population size, the power is controlled by those possessing the greatest wealth inside that particular population, whether small town, medium, semi-large or major city. One can describe each category of population center as pyramidal in power structure, with those at the top of the pyramid the wealthiest few who "pull the strings" of societies, and, as relates to war and peace, the people who literally fire the first shots.

Identify those at the top of the world category pyramid, call them out for their war crimes, and then humanity has a fighting chance for peace.

Curious , October 19, 2017 at 7:56 pm

For WC,
Thank you for your answer to my question. The 'reply' tab is gone on the thread so I will reply here.
I believe I was trying to figure out the difference between "lawmakers" and the corporate entities you mentioned. Obviously the lawmakers are heavily influenced by the money and the lobbyists from the large corps which muddies the waters and makes it even more difficult to find clarity between politicians and the big money players. When the US sends our military into sovereign countries against international law, it's fair to ask whether it is at the behest of corporate interests, or even Israels' geopolitical agenda, especially in the Middle East.
The large corps you mentioned don't have the legal authority to send our military to foreign lands and perform duties that have nothing to do with US defense (or do they?) and that is why I try to understand the distinction between 40 dual citizens of Israel within the 'lawmakers' of our country and large corporations. When Israels 'allowance' from US tax payers goes remarkably up in value, one has to wonder how and why that occurs when our own country is suffering. That's all I wonder about. I won't distract any more from Mr. Parrys' article.

GM , October 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

If I recall correctly, Politifact is owned by the majority owners of the St Petersburg times, which family is a major big Clinton donor.

Kevin Beck , October 20, 2017 at 9:01 am

I am curious whether Russia is really able to employ all these "marketing geniuses" to affect elections throughout the world. If so, then America's greatest ad agencies need to look to Moscow for new recruits, instead of within our business schools.

Riikka Söyring , October 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Maybe Politifact declares it? stance is based on an alternative fact?

But greetings from Finland. In here is in full swing a MSM war against so called fake media, never mind the fact that many are the stories in fake media that have turned out to be the truth -- or that we are supposed to be a civilized country with free speech.

Our government with the support of the MSM is using a term hatespeech to silence all tongues telling a different tale; some convictions have been given even though our law does not recognise hatespeech as a crime. The police nor the courts can not define exactly what hatespeech is -- so it is what they want it to be.

[Oct 15, 2017] Is Trump the Heir to Reagan? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Bastard neoliberalism by Trump (and Bannon) are inconsistent. You can't be half pregnant -- to be a neoliberal (promote deregulation, regressive taxes) and be anti-immigration and anti-globalist. In this sense words Trump is doomed: neoliberal are determined to get rid of him.
Reagan was a former governor of California before becoming the President. hardly a complete outsider. Trump was an outsider more similar to Barak Obama in a sense that he has no political record and can ride on backlash against neoliberal globalization, especially outsourcing and offshoring and unlimited immigration, as well as ride anti-globalism sentiments and popular protest against foreign wars. Only quickly betraying those promised afterward. Much like king of "bait and switch" Obama .
Notable quotes:
"... Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first. ..."
"... Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot. ..."
"... He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more. ..."
"... Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military. ..."
"... Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security. ..."
"... Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time. ..."
"... As Ingraham writes, Trump_vs_deep_state is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s. ..."
"... Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill. ..."
"... And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics." ..."
"... It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class. ..."
"... Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment. ..."
"... There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive. ..."
"... Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently. ..."
"... As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves. ..."
"... Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup. ..."
"... Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. ..."
"... you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.

Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it.

Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.

Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.

He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more.

Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military.

Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. "An amiable dunce" said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.

The awesome victories Reagan rolled up, a 44-state landslide in 1980 and a 49-state landslide in 1984, induced some second thoughts among Beltway elites about whether they truly spoke for America. Trump's sweep of the primaries and startling triumph in the Electoral College caused the same consternation.

However, as the Great Depression, New Deal and World War II represented a continental divide in history between what came before and what came after, so, too, did the end of the Cold War and the Reagan era.

As Ingraham writes, Trump_vs_deep_state is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s.

Which bring us to the present, with our billionaire president, indeed, at the barricades.

The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark. Reagan had won a landslide. The attempt on his life in April and the grace with which he conducted himself had earned him a place in the hearts of his countrymen. He not only showed spine in giving the air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work, and then discharging them when they defied him, he enacted the largest tax cut in U.S. history with the aid of boll weevil Democrats in the House.

Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill.

Greg Bacon , Website October 13, 2017 at 10:24 am GMT

And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics."

It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class.

The only parts of the economy it helps are the builders of luxury mansions, antique and pricey art dealers, and the makers of luxury autos and private jets.

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
@Mark James

when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process

Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment.

Two pieces here at Unz you ought to read, and fully take on board the implications of, if you want to even begin the process of grasping reality, rather than living in the manufactured fantasy you appear to inhabit at the moment:

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive.

Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently.

As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves.

Here's the German government being unusually blunt yesterday about the stupidity of the Trump regime's seeming plans in this regard:

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday said that any move by US President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal would drive a wedge between Europe and the US.

"It's imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue," Gabriel told Germany's RND newspaper group. "We also have to tell the Americans that their behavior on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA."

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-warns-donald-trump-against-decertifying-iran-deal/a-40933703

It's difficult to know whether the likes of Gabriel actually believe all the boilerplate nonsense they talk about a supposed Iranian nuclear program – the real reason the European nations want the deal to continue is that it stopped them having to pretend to believe all the outright lies the US told about Iran, and having to kowtow t0 costly and counterproductive sanctions against Iran that did immense general harm for the benefit only of Israel and Saudi Arabia and their US stooges.

The US pulling out of the deal would at least bring that issue of US dishonesty on Iran and past European appeasement of it to a head, I suppose.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT
Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup.

Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. Assuming they won't kill Pence with the same bomb.

YetAnotherAnon , October 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Mark James

"As for Trump I think it's crystal clear his campaign involved the Russians in our election. "

It's crystal clear that some people will believe any crap that The Media Formerly Known As Hillary's broadcast.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety.

Often I feel like it'd be better if Hillary did the same insane policies. It's always worse when our guy does something wrong, and better when the hated enemy does it.

Hillary was a danger that she would start WW3 in Syria, but I don't think we can be certain she'd have started it. Given how risk-averse women are in general, I think the only issue was whether the Russians could've made it clear that shooting at Russian soldiers would mean war with Russia. And I think even Hillary's advisers would've blinked.

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran. As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Randal

Unfortunately I can see Orbán and the Poles torpedoing a common EU stance. I'm sure that will be the price for Netanyahu's meeting with the V4 leaders a few months ago.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT
I think one good thing would be if US conservatives stopped their Reagan worship. He was certainly not a bad person, but he allowed the amnesty to happen, couldn't stop the sanctions on Apartheid South Africa, didn't (or couldn't?) do anything against the MLK cult becoming a state religion, and started the free trade and tax cuts cults, he's also responsible for promoting the neocons to positions of power. So overall he was a mixed bag from a nationalist conservative viewpoint.
Chris Mallory , October 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Mark James

Private citizens are forbidden to ask for help from a foreign country, when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process.

You forgot the Clintons, Bush, McCain, Romney, and Obama. China and Israel worked on behalf of all five of them, even though three of them lost

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Yes, that's quite possible, but a common EU stance is not really all that important. What really matters is how far the Germans, and to a lesser extent the less relevant but still big European nations such as France and Italy and the more subservient US tool, the UK, are prepared to continue to kowtow to US and Israeli dishonesty on Iran.

All the signs seem to be that repudiating the deal and trying to return to the days of the aggressive and counter-productive US-imposed sanctions will be a step too far for many of those players.

As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

Actually I suspect that repudiating the JCPOA, whether openly or by de facto breach, will go immensely farther, and much faster, towards destroying practical US influence and therefore power globally than any of those domestic policies, at least in the short run.

You can see that Trump is at least dimly aware of that likelihood from the way he keeps bottling and postponing the decision, despite his clearly evident and desperate desire to please his pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian advisers and instincts.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran.

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

1) There's a chance foreign policy insanity starts a nuclear war, in which case all domestic policy issues will pale before such horror.

2) The US already has de facto open borders. Why does it matter if it becomes majority nonwhite in 30 or just 20 years?

3) For non-American whites, it's better the earlier the US sphere disintegrates. I bet you it's better for American whites as well. As long as this political/cultural center holds, the rot cannot be stopped.

The Alarmist , October 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT
I watched the movie Independence Day last night: Can we have that guy for President after Trump, or do we have to have an obligatory Democrat (Chelsea Clinton?) President for the next 8 years?
German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

That's understandable, but obviously the calculation must be somewhat different from a non-US perspective. Given how strongly many white Americans are in favor of pro-war policies and mindless Israel worship (how many US blacks or Hispanics care about Israel or confronting Iran?), I'm not even sure nationalists in Europe should really lament the Hispanicization of the US. It might at least have a positive effect in restricting US interventionism and eroding US power. The sooner the US is unable to continue with its self-appointed role as a global redeemer nation, the better.

RadicalCenter , October 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Mark James

Glad you think it's "crystal clear." How about evidence?

nsa , October 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
History repeats first as tragedy (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly white air traffic controllers), then as farce (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly afro NFL jocks). Reagan was at least an American Firster. Trumpenstein is an obvious traitorous Izzie Firster, with little concern for the so-called deplorables except to convert them into deployables at the service of his jooie sponsors. Maybe Paddy should have titled his screed "Heir to Begin, not Reagan"?
Aren Haich , October 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT
Pat Buchanan points out that " it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush."

As for President Trump; Let us hope that war DOES NOT BECOME "The Last Refuge Of This Scoundrel"!

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Orban has been critical of regime change wars.

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT
@German_reader

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

If only non-White votes were counted, Hillary Clinton would have been elected unanimously by the electoral college, and Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

The few reliable voices for foreign policy sanity in congress, such as Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Walter Jones, John Duncan, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash, represent overwhelmingly White, Protestant, old-stock American districts.

German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 10:39 pm GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

Maybe, but is there any data indicating many blacks in Washington DC actually voted in the Republican primaries? Why would they when most of them are a solid Democrat voting block? I'd guess Rubio got his votes from white elites in DC.
As for Puerto Rico, I didn't know they actually have primaries, seems odd given they don't vote in US presidential elections.

Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

Hillary was horrible all around, and I agree she might well have been disastrous as president given her dangerous proposals for no-fly zones in Syria, and the potential of conflict with Russia this entailed. But I'm no longer sure Trump is really better regarding foreign policy. His behaviour on the North Korea issue is irresponsible imo, and his willingness to wreck the nuclear deal with Iran at the behest of neoconservatives and Zionist donors like Sheldon Adelson is a big fat minus in my view. Sorry, but I think you guys who hoped for something different have all been (neo-)conned.

Jonathan Mason , October 13, 2017 at 11:42 pm GMT
Reagan said: My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Trump said: We will totally destroy North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies.

Reagan was a joker, Trump is a wildcard.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 1:51 am GMT
The only similarities I see between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump is that both live (lived) in a sort of la-la land, totally out of touch with reality. The only difference between them is that Reagan had sensible people around him (like Pat Buchannan) who wrote good speeches and make good decisions which he took full credit for. Trump, on the other hand delivers abbreviated, one-sentence speeches via Twitter while surrounded by mental midgets with military minds.
Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT
@Randal

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

but you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process.

Randal , October 14, 2017 at 7:48 am GMT
@Carroll Price

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Well, yes and no. In both cases. It really is more complicated than that.

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:18 am GMT
Reagan didn't undo Arab Israel Camp David Peace Treaty He didn't keep the Israeli side and undo the Egyptian side of the American obligation . He kept both.

Trump is dangerous malevolent anti-American and anti- anything that hurts his ego or pocket . He has malcontent displaced sycophants as inner circle supporters who want a piece in the pie denied to them by the establishment .

Here is a quote from antiwar -"In other words, it's all about the war that Trump and his still-loyal lieutenant Steve Bannon, assisted by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared on the "deep state."

Also, Trump and Bannon aren't really interested in draining the foreign policy swamp in DC. They simply want to install their own cronies who will ensure that war and globalization benefit them rather than Kissinger and his ilk. It's a shell game designed to fool Trump's base, but the rest of the world has kept its eye on the ball." http://original.antiwar.com/feffer/2017/10/13/trump-signaling-unprecedented-right-turn-foreign-policy/

This war between elites have been predicted by a CT professor in an article in 2016 , to get more serious and dangerous by 2020 . The fights among elites are not new but another pathway an empire takes additionally to the final fate of the destruction from within

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:49 am GMT
@KA

"A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions."

Another visible sign of increasing intra-elite competition and political polarization is the fragmentation of political parties

cliodynamic research on past societies demonstrates that elite overproduction is by far the most important of the three main historical drivers of social instability and political violence (see Secular Cycles for this analysis).

But the other two factors in the model, popular immiseration (the stagnation and decline of living standards) and declining fiscal health of the state (resulting from falling state revenues and rising expenses) are also important contributors.

: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-social-instability-lies.html#jCp

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Ideally Europe would be strong together, without US and more sane policies on morals and immigration.

Yes v4 is connected to CC, Neocon, Zios.

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much, and being stuck between Russia and Germany which would isolate it from Europe in some ways. Obviously Poles are not uniform, views on US, Russia, Germany, Ukraine are all over the place. I wish Poland was just European (in politics) but the US-EU connection is still strong.

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm GMT
Commenting on US presidents. Presidents are puppets. All of them. Modern leaders in Western world are unlikable. Reagan at least had some balance, had some Catholic and Paleocon involvement. It wasnt all Neocons and Zios. Im quite sure Reagan (and his dad), people like Buchanan had connections to groups like Knights Malta or Knights Colombus. Cant prove it though. Kennedy was KC.

Today Neocon/Zionist influence is even stronger. Trump policies on NK and Iran are nuts. At best a war is avoided.

On the other side you have Clintons, Obamas. They would destroy the US, and have similar policies because again they are puppets. Clinton would likely be involved in Syria, just like Obama was.

German_reader , October 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
@polskijoe

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much

Yes, that's a problem, and I think Polish national conservatives are somewhat in denial about what the modern US stands for the "values" pushed by the US establishment today are incompatible with the Polish right's vision for Poland (e.g. conservative values in sexual morality – no homo-lobbyism and transgender nonsense -, strong public role of Catholicism, restrictive and selective immigration policies that keep out Muslims).

I can understand to some degree why the Polish right is so pro-US, given history and apprehensions about Germany and Russia, but they should at least be aware that alliance with the US could have a rather pernicious influence on Poland itself.

[Oct 14, 2017] The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished by Mike Whitney

Anybody who subscript of NYT, or WaPo after this fiasco is simply paying money for state propaganda.
Notable quotes:
"... Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said: "We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. " ..."
"... Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. ..."
"... This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts -- who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security -- would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. ..."
"... The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. ..."
"... How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: "There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any." ..."
"... Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. ..."
"... Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype? ..."
"... It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war. ..."
"... If the Senate can 'assess,' so can I! I assess that Hollywood hottie Jenifer Lawrence is secretly in love with me! Although I can't prove this, all of my assessments point to this as being fact. ..."
"... This report is as bogus as the "9/11 Commission Report". Both commissions members were hand-picked by those guys that have a vested interest in the right outcome. ..."
"... In the end, Robert Mueller, an Obama/Clinton/Comey/Brennan stooge, will produce some "evidence" about so-called Russian meddling as far-fetched this may be. And the fawning media will go for it. The American public will get the report, which it deserves. ..."
"... But what is missing is that this "Russian Hacking" story was not nonsense, it worked. After Trump was elected, the establishment panicked and went into full attack mode. The headlines were screaming, thought went out the window, it looked like Trump was going to be hounded out of office by force majeure. Then Trump buckled, and shot those missiles at the Syrian air base, and we are back on track throwing away trillions of dollars on endless pointless winless foreign wars in places of zero strategic interest to us. ..."
"... Having served its purpose, the Russian 'hacking' stories are tapering off, being continued more out of momentum and habit than true focused intent. Oh sure, the corporate press still publicly despises Trump, but the intensity is gone. They are just going through the motions, it is no longer important, just political theater. ..."
"... The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished. ..."
"... The inaptly named Intelligence Community just never busts out. However much it has gotten flat out wrong and however much it has flat out missed over the years, however much its blunders and mistakes have cost us and our victims in treasure and blood, it just never busts out. There is always an excuse. The closest the Borg ever came to any gesture towards accountability was the Church committee post Watergate, ancient history, lessons purposefully buried and lost to the legions of bureaucrats blundering their way through the last 40 years. ..."
"... Good article on something everyone who is well researched and truth seeking already knows; the Russian Collusion story is a hatchet job by incompetent political hacks. The only power they USED to have is an obsessive never give up faith in the power of lying. ..."
"... So what ? Truth is no longer an issue in USA politics: Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London ..."
"... Even today there was another AP hit piece about those 201 Russian Twitter handles, and zero perspective about the kind of math that renders 201 out of 24 billion a speck of dust. You really have to depend on a dumbed down population to get them to buy this stuff. ..."
"... If all we hear are endless allusions to what are just opinions, meetings, plans, criticism, etc what is being investigated? This is literally suggesting that some in Washington and US media are not mature enough, smart enough, or sane enough to be taken seriously. How are they planning to recover the basic level of rationality after this fiasco? ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The Senate Intelligence Committee Finds No Evidence of Russian Hacking or Collusion

The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said: "We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. "

Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. In other words, the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy. Burr of course has tried to conceal his prejudice by pointing to the number of witnesses the Committee has interviewed and the volume of work that's been produced. This is from an article at The Nation:

Since January 23, the committee and its staff have conducted more than 100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed more than 100,000 documents relevant to Russiagate. The staff, said Warner, has collectively spent a total of 57 hours per day, seven days a week, since the committee opened its inquiry, going through documents and transcripts, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing both classified and unclassified material.

It all sounds very impressive, but if the goal is merely to lend credibility to unverified assumptions, then what's the point? Let's take a look at a few excerpts from the report and see whether Burr and Warner are justified in "feeling confident" in the ICA's accuracy. From the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts -- who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security -- would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. It's also shocking that Burr and Warner think this gibberish should be taken seriously.

Here's more from the ICA:

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.

More mind-reading, more groundless speculation, more guessing what Putin thinks or doesn't think. The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. Also, it would have been better if the ICA's authors had avoided the amateur psychoanalysis and stuck to the point, Russia hacking. Dabbling in the former seriously impacts the report's credibility.

To their credit, however, Burr and Warner have questioned all of the analysts who contributed to the report. Check out this excerpt from The Nation:

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice in the creation of the ICA," said Burr. "We've spent nine times the amount of time that the IC [intelligence community] spent putting the ICA together. We have reviewed all the supporting evidence that went into it and, in addition to that, the things that went on the cutting-room floor that they may not have found appropriate for the ICA, but we may have found relevant to our investigation." Burr added that the committee's review included "highly classified intelligence reporting," and they've interviewed every official in the Obama administration who had anything to do with putting it together. ("Democrats and Republicans in Congress Agree: Russia Did It", The Nation)

That's great, but where' the beef? How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: "There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any."

Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story?

Could it be that Burr's admission doesn't mesh with the media's "Russia did it" narrative so they decided to scrub the story altogether?

But it's not just collusion we're talking about here, there's also the broader issue of Russia meddling. And what was striking about the press conference is that –after all the interviews, all the testimony, and all the stacks of transcripts– the Committee has come up with nothing; no eyewitness testimony supporting the original claims, no smoking gun, no proof of domestic espionage, no evidence of Russian complicity, nothing. One big goose egg.

So here's a question for critical minded readers:

If the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found any proof that Russia hacked the 2016 elections, then why do senators' Burr and Warner still believe the ICA is reliable? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Don't they require evidence to draw their conclusions? And doesn't the burden of truth fall on the prosecution (or the investigators in this case)? Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty or doesn't that rule apply to Russia?

Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype?

Don't bet on it.

What about former UK ambassador Craig Murray, a WikiLeaks colleague, who has repeatedly admitted that he knows the source of the DNC emails. Murray hasn't been asked to testify nor has he even been contacted by the FBI on the matter. Apparently, the FBI has no interest in a credible witness who can disprove the politically-motivated theory expounded in the ICA.

Then there's 30-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern and his group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern has done extensive research on the topic and has produced solid evidence that the DNC emails were "leaked" by an insider, not "hacked" by a foreign government. McGovern's work squares with Assange and Murray's claim that Russia did not hack the 2016 elections. Has McGovern been invited to testify?

How about Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager and Information Technology expert, whose excellent report titled "Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge" also disproves the hacking theory, as does The Nation's Patrick Lawrence whose riveting article at The Nation titled "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack" which thoroughly obliterates the central claims of the ICA.

Finally, there's California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who was assured that Assange would provide hard evidence (in the form of "a computer drive or other data-storage device") that the Russians were not involved in the DNC email scandal.

Wouldn't you think that senate investigators would want to talk to a trusted colleague and credible witness like Rohrabacher who said he could produce solid proof that the scandal, that has dominated the headlines and roiled Washington for the better part of a year, was bogus?

Apparently not. Apparently Burr and his colleagues would rather avoid any witness or evidence that conflicts with their increasingly-threadbare thesis.

So what conclusions can we draw from the Committee's behavior? Are Burr and Warner really conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russia hacking or is this just a witch hunt?

It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war.

Beckow > , October 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT

Where is this going? At some point in the next few years there will be a 'damning' report that will regurgitate what has already been endlessly publicised: VIP's meet each other (the horror!), somehow DNC emails got published, Facebook sold ads to 'Russia-linked' users, and Pokemon Go, whatever. That will be described in sinister terms and RT will be thrown in. How dare RT not to have the same views as CNN?

But what then? Let's even say that Trump is removed – he is at this point so emasculated that keeping him in the White House is the most stabilising thing the establishment could do. Is Congress going to declare a war on Russia? Or more sanctions? Are they going to ban RT? Break diplomatic relations? None of that makes sense because any of those moves would be more costly than beneficial, some dramatically so. Therefore nothing will happen.

All that will remain is permanent bitterness towards Russia, and vice-versa. And much reduced ability to do what the West has done for 75 years: heavy interference and media campaigns inside foreign countries to influence elections. If 'meddling' is so bad, the biggest meddlers – by far – will be less able to meddle. So how is this hysteria helping?

Sanity in public life is a precious thing. Once abandoned, all kinds of strange things start happening. Yeah, Pokemon GO – Putin was personally naming the characters to 'sow division'. It sounds like something Stalin would accuse his 'cosmopolitan' enemies of doing. This is really embarrassing.

utu > , October 14, 2017 at 4:35 am GMT

Incorrect parsing of reality. It was not about getting Trump but it was about making Trump administration to severe relations with Russia. It began with having Gen. Flynn fired. This mission was accomplished. We have now worse relations with Russia than at the end of Obama administration.

Greg Bacon > , Website October 14, 2017 at 9:59 am GMT

If the Senate can 'assess,' so can I! I assess that Hollywood hottie Jenifer Lawrence is secretly in love with me! Although I can't prove this, all of my assessments point to this as being fact.

jacques sheete > , October 14, 2017 at 11:45 am GMT

@Johnny Rico

I have been convinced of the ridiculousness of the Russian-hacking/collusion narrative/scandal since it was created in 2016.

I, too, smelled a rat and figured that it was all BS right from the get go. So much so that I haven't followed it a bit. In fact it's so ridiculous on its face, that I have not and probably will not, waste time reading the article even though MW is a good guy, an unimpeachable source, a true journalist, and a fine writer.

Bless you, Mr Whitney, for having the energy to document what is no doubt a pack of lies from the usual suspects.

I stumbled on this yesterday, and it suggests, to no one's surprise, that it's always deja vu all over again. You'd think our "high IQ" masters would show a little originality once in a while, and that we, "Low IQ" as we are, would finally learn that it's all BS from the get-go.

Note the date.:

THESE books all belong to that literature of Katzenjammer which now flourishes so amazingly in the United States t hey all embody attempts to find out what is the matter with the Republic. I wish I could add that one or another of them solves the problem, or at least contributes something to its illumination , but that would be going somewhat beyond the facts.

-H.L. Mencken, Autopsy (4 Reviews), , September 1927 , pp. 123-125 – PDF

http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-1927sep-00123

jacques sheete > , October 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT

@Thorfinnsson

This makes me suspect that Mike Whitney is a censorious coward on the model of Razib Khan (thankfully expelled from unz.com) or even worse Paul Craig Roberts (who prohibits comments entirely).

While I agree with you about the latter two, and have written them off accordingly, along with Mercer, who I suspect "edits" (really, "purges" ) her comments too, I highly doubt that MW falls into the same categories as those mentioned. At least MW doesn't use the word, "insouciant" 3 or 4 times in every article!

If I am wrong and this article is simply strangely unpopular please let me know and I will apologize.

The article isn't so much unpopular as the subject is wearying. It's the same crud all over again,obviously false, and I suspect virtually everyone knows it. It's utterly boring and I give MW a lot of credit for having the persistence to even face the mindless mess, let alone think and write about it. He really is to be admired for that.

I've always thought it was a distraction as usual from other much more more important things but utu has a better take on it.

it was about making Trump administration to severe relations with Russia. It began with having Gen. Flynn fired. This mission was accomplished. We have now worse relations with Russia than at the end of Obama administration. [ed note:And Flynn is gone too.]

I think that's a "Bingo!" and I also think you better formulate an apology and plan on getting on yer knees to deliver it!

PS: I'm curious as to why you think this is of much interest at all. (Aside from utu's take.)

Michael Kenny > , October 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT

We don't know who this author really is but, once again, what's interesting is that so many people are still so scared of an investigation which is supposedly producing "no evidence" (leaving aside Trump Junior's evidence, of course). If all this was a load of nonsense, why make such a fuss about it? If there's nothing to this, an "effort to support a theory", however "determined" will come up with nothing. The frantic attempts to kill off Russiagate suggest that those who are making such attempts know, or believe, that there actually is something to it which has not yet come to light. Probably something pretty dirty by the sound of it. What if some part of the US intelligence services took part in the manipulation of the election, either in collusion with the Russians or posing as Russians, and Putin can prove it? That would certainly explain the plethora of retired intelligence agents who are so assiduously defending a foreign government. If Putin really is innocent, the common sense way to prove it is to let Russiagate take its natural course.

Captain Nemo > , October 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT

Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia.

Really? Only "now"?! I thought it was pretty much clear from the beginning.

Ludwig Watzal > , Website October 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm GMT

This report is as bogus as the "9/11 Commission Report". Both commissions members were hand-picked by those guys that have a vested interest in the right outcome.

In the end, Robert Mueller, an Obama/Clinton/Comey/Brennan stooge, will produce some "evidence" about so-called Russian meddling as far-fetched this may be. And the fawning media will go for it. The American public will get the report, which it deserves.

TG > , October 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT

Indeed, well said. But what is missing is that this "Russian Hacking" story was not nonsense, it worked. After Trump was elected, the establishment panicked and went into full attack mode. The headlines were screaming, thought went out the window, it looked like Trump was going to be hounded out of office by force majeure. Then Trump buckled, and shot those missiles at the Syrian air base, and we are back on track throwing away trillions of dollars on endless pointless winless foreign wars in places of zero strategic interest to us.

Having served its purpose, the Russian 'hacking' stories are tapering off, being continued more out of momentum and habit than true focused intent. Oh sure, the corporate press still publicly despises Trump, but the intensity is gone. They are just going through the motions, it is no longer important, just political theater.

The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished.

Flavius > , October 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

Mike – good article. The inaptly named Intelligence Community just never busts out. However much it has gotten flat out wrong and however much it has flat out missed over the years, however much its blunders and mistakes have cost us and our victims in treasure and blood, it just never busts out. There is always an excuse. The closest the Borg ever came to any gesture towards accountability was the Church committee post Watergate, ancient history, lessons purposefully buried and lost to the legions of bureaucrats blundering their way through the last 40 years.

If it can be gotten wrong, the Borg will get it wrong; it will be gotten wrong at the worst possible time; it will move on to get it wrong again. These are three things that you can absolutely count on.

Joe Hide > , October 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm GMT

Good article on something everyone who is well researched and truth seeking already knows; the Russian Collusion story is a hatchet job by incompetent political hacks. The only power they USED to have is an obsessive never give up faith in the power of lying.

jilles dykstra > , October 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

So what ? Truth is no longer an issue in USA politics: Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London

Pericles > , October 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

@Mike Whitney Russia collusion does lack credibility, but you're still doing us a great service by following the twists and turns of this beheaded snake. The details are worth reading about, even if there isn't much to argue about regarding the conclusion. So thanks for that.

Biff > , October 14, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

Even today there was another AP hit piece about those 201 Russian Twitter handles, and zero perspective about the kind of math that renders 201 out of 24 billion a speck of dust. You really have to depend on a dumbed down population to get them to buy this stuff.

Beckow > , October 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny

"If Putin really is innocent, the common sense way to prove it is to let Russiagate take its natural course."

Innocent of what? What is it exactly that Russia supposedly did? Let me list a few things that are still perfectly legal in our world (that would include US, I hope):

None of the above is either unusual or illegal. It might not look good to some people, but it is what international life has consisted for at least 200 years. If you call that 'meddling', you just might be too naive for the world as it is.

What is the 'natural course' for the investigation? If all we hear are endless allusions to what are just opinions, meetings, plans, criticism, etc what is being investigated? This is literally suggesting that some in Washington and US media are not mature enough, smart enough, or sane enough to be taken seriously. How are they planning to recover the basic level of rationality after this fiasco?

Putin named Pokemon GO characters after BLM victims to stir up racial hatreds in US. How does one answer that? Where would you even start dealing with people who are capable of this level of nonsense?

[Oct 13, 2017] Sympathy for the Corporatocracy by C. J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Biting satire...
Notable quotes:
"... The Tonight Show ..."
"... Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook. ..."
"... No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that. ..."
"... a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without ..."
"... Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'. ..."
"... A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. ..."
"... "Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Well all right, let's review what happened, or at least the official version of what happened. Not Hillary Clinton's version of what happened, which Jeffrey St. Clair so incisively skewered , but the Corporatocracy's version of what happened, which overlaps with but is even more ridiculous than Clinton's ridiculous version. To do that, we need to harken back to the peaceful Summer of 2016, (a/k/a the "Summer of Fear" ), when the United States of America was still a shiny city upon a hill whose beacon light guided freedom-loving people, the Nazis were still just a bunch of ass clowns meeting in each other's mother's garages, and Russia was, well Russia was Russia.

Back then, as I'm sure you'll recall, Western democracy, was still primarily being menaced by the lone wolf terrorists, for absolutely no conceivable reason, apart from the terrorists' fanatical desire to brutally murder all non-believers. The global Russo-Nazi Axis had not yet reared its ugly head. President Obama, who, during his tenure, had single-handedly restored America to the peaceful, prosperous, progressive paradise it had been before George W. Bush screwed it up, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming home the TPP . The Wall Street banks had risen from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, and were buying back all the foreclosed homes of the people they had fleeced with subprime mortgages. American workers were enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the new gig economy. Electioneering in the United States was underway, but it was early days. It was already clear that Donald Trump was literally the Second Coming of Hitler , but no one was terribly worried about him yet. The Republican Party was in a shambles. Neither Trump nor any of the other contenders had any chance of winning in November. Nor did Sanders, who had been defeated, fair and square, in the Democratic primaries, mostly because of his racist statements and crazy, quasi-Communist ideas. Basically, everything was hunky dory. Yes, it was going to be terribly sad to have to bid farewell to Obama, who had bailed out all those bankrupt Americans the Wall Street banks had taken to the cleaners, ended all of Bush and Cheney's wars, closed down Guantanamo, and just generally served as a multicultural messiah figure to affluent consumers throughout the free world, but Hope-and-Change was going to continue. The talking heads were all in agreement Hillary Clinton was going to be President, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Little did we know at the time that an epidemic of Russo-Nazism had been festering just beneath the surface of freedom-loving Western societies like some neo-fascist sebaceous cyst. Apparently, millions of theretofore more or less normal citizens throughout the West had been infected with a virulent strain of Russo-Nazi-engineered virus, because they simultaneously began exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of what we now know as White Supremacist Behavioral Disorder, or Fascist Oppositional Disorder (the folks who update the DSM are still arguing over the official name). It started with the Brexit referendum, spread to America with the election of Trump, and there have been a rash of outbreaks in Europe, like the one we're currently experiencing in Germany . These fascistic symptoms have mostly manifest as people refusing to vote as instructed, and expressing oppressive views on the Internet, but there have also been more serious crimes, including several assaults and murders perpetrated by white supremacists (which, of course, never happened when Obama was President, because the Nazis hadn't been "emboldened" yet).

Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.

No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that.

This hypothetical leftist analysis might want to focus on how Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to Despotism, and is essentially a value-decoding machine which renders everything and everyone it touches essentially valueless interchangeable commodities whose worth is determined by market forces, rather than by societies and cultures, or religions, or other despotic systems (wherein values are established and enforced arbitrarily, by the despot, the church, or the ruling party, or by a group of people who share an affinity and decide they want to live a certain way). This is where it would get sort of tricky, because it (i.e., this hypothetical analysis) would have to delve into the history of Capitalism, and how it evolved out of medieval Despotism, and how it has been decoding despotic values for something like five hundred years. This historical delving (which would probably be too long for people to read on their phones) would demonstrate how Capitalism has been an essentially progressive force in terms of getting us out of Despotism (which, for most folks, wasn't very much fun) by fomenting bourgeois revolutions and imposing some semblance of democracy on societies. It would follow Capitalism's inexorable advance all the way up to the Twentieth Century, in which its final external ideological adversary, fake Communism, suddenly imploded, delivering us to the world we now live in a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without , and where any opposition to that global ideology can only be internal, or insurgent, in nature (e.g, terrorism, extremism, and so on). Being a hypothetical leftist analysis, it would, at this point, need to stress that, despite the fact that Capitalism helped deliver us from Despotism, and improved the state of society generally (compared to most societies that preceded it), we nonetheless would like to transcend it, or evolve out of it toward some type of society where people, and everything else, including the biosphere we live in, are not interchangeable, valueless commodities exchanged by members of a global corporatocracy who have no essential values, or beliefs, or principles, other than the worship of money. After having covered all that, we might want to offer more a nuanced view of the current neo-nationalist reaction to the Corporatocracy's ongoing efforts to restructure and privatize the rest of the planet. Not that we would support this reaction, or in any way refrain from calling neo-nationalism what it is (i.e., reactionary, despotic, and doomed), but this nuanced view we'd hypothetically offer, by analyzing the larger sociopolitical and historical forces at play, might help us to see the way forward more clearly, and who knows, maybe eventually propose some kind of credible leftist alternative to the "global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism" double bind we appear to be hopelessly stuck in at the moment.

Luckily, we don't have to do that (i.e., articulate such a leftist analysis of any such larger historical forces). Because there is no corporatocracy not really. That's just a fake word the Russians made up and are spreading around on the Internet to distract us while the Nazis take over. No, the logical explanation for Trump, Brexit, and anything else that threatens the expansion of global Capitalism, and the freedom, democracy, and prosperity it offers, is that millions of people across the world, all at once, for no apparent reason, woke up one day full-blown fascists and started looking around for repulsive demagogues to swear fanatical allegiance to. Yes, that makes a lot more sense than all that complicated stuff about history and hegemonic ideological systems, which is probably just Russian propaganda anyway, in which case there is absolutely no reason to read any boring year-old pieces, like this one in The European Financial Review , or this report by Corporate Watch , from way back in the year 2000, about the rise of global corporate power.

So, apologies for wasting your time with all that pseudo-Marxian gobbledygook. Let's just pretend this never happened, and get back to more important matters, like statistically proving that Donald Trump got elected President because of racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, or some other type of behavioral disorder, and pulling down Confederate statues, or kneeling during the National Anthem, or whatever happens to be trending this week. Oh, yeah, and debating punching Nazis, or people wearing MAGA hats. We definitely need to sort all that out before we can move ahead with helping the Corporatocracy remove Trump from office, or at least ensure he remains surrounded by their loyal generals, CEOs, and Goldman Sachs guys until the next election. Whatever we do, let's not get distracted by that stuff I just distracted you with. I know, it's tempting, but, given what's at stake, we need to maintain our laser focus on issues related to identity politics, or else well, you know, the Nazis win.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

jilles dykstra, October 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Yesterday evening on RT a USA lady, as usual forgot the name, spoke about the USA. In a matter of fact tone she said things like 'they (Deep State) have got him (Trump) in the box'.

They, Deep State again, are now wondering if they will continue to try to control the world, or if they should stop the attempt, and retreat into the USA.
Also as matter of fact she said 'the CIA has always been the instrument of Deep State, from Kenndy to Nine Eleven'.

Another statement was 'no president ever was in control'.

How USA citizens continue to believe they live in a democracy, I cannot understand.

Yesterday the intentions of the new Dutch government were made public, alas most Dutch also dot not see that the Netherlands since 2005 no longer is a democracy, just a province of Brussels.

You can fool all people .

Che Guava, October 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Jilles,

I am thinking you take the article too literally.

jacques sheete, October 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT

Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'.

No doubt many do want their country back, but what concerns me is that all of a sudden we have the concept of "independence" plastered all over the place. Such concepts don't get promoted unless the ruling elites see ways to turn those sentiments to their favor.

A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. (And everything else.)

"Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories.

Does anyone else smell a rat or two?

Anon-og , October 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT

"Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook."

Very impressed with this article, never really paid attention to CJ's articles but that is now changing!

[Oct 12, 2017] Wheres the Beef The Senate Intel Committee and Russia by Mike Whitney

Neocons already poisoned the well of US-Russian cooperation. They already unleashes witch hunt in best McCarthyism traditions. What else do they want ? Why they continue to waive this dead chicken?
Notable quotes:
"... people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: ..."
"... Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story? ..."
"... Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. ..."
"... That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype? ..."
"... It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. ..."
"... Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war. ..."
Oct 12, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said:

We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee.

Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. In other words, the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy. Burr of course has tried to conceal his prejudice by pointing to the number of witnesses the Committee has interviewed and the volume of work that's been produced. This is from an article at The Nation:

Since January 23, the committee and its staff have conducted more than 100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed more than 100,000 documents relevant to Russiagate. The staff, said Warner, has collectively spent a total of 57 hours per day, seven days a week, since the committee opened its inquiry, going through documents and transcripts, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing both classified and unclassified material.

It all sounds very impressive, but if the goal is merely to lend credibility to unverified assumptions, then what's the point?

Let's take a look at a few excerpts from the report and see whether Burr and Warner are justified in "feeling confident" in the ICA's accuracy.

From the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts– who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security– would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. It's also shocking that Burr and Warner think this gibberish should be taken seriously.

Here's more from the ICA:

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.

More mind-reading, more groundless speculation, more guessing what Putin thinks or doesn't think. The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. Also, it would have been better if the ICA's authors had avoided the amateur psychoanalysis and stuck to the point, Russia hacking. Dabbling in the former seriously impacts the report's credibility.

To their credit, however, Burr and Warner have questioned all of the analysts who contributed to the report. Check out this excerpt from The Nation:

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice in the creation of the ICA," said Burr. "We've spent nine times the amount of time that the IC [intelligence community] spent putting the ICA together. We have reviewed all the supporting evidence that went into it and, in addition to that, the things that went on the cutting-room floor that they may not have found appropriate for the ICA, but we may have found relevant to our investigation." Burr added that the committee's review included "highly classified intelligence reporting," and they've interviewed every official in the Obama administration who had anything to do with putting it together. ("Democrats and Republicans in Congress Agree: Russia Did It", The Nation)

That's great, but where' the beef? How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem:

"There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any."

Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story?

Could it be that Burr's admission doesn't mesh with the media's "Russia did it" narrative so they decided to scrub the story altogether?

But it's not just collusion we're talking about here, there's also the broader issue of Russia meddling. And what was striking about the press conference is that –after all the interviews, all the testimony, and all the stacks of transcripts– the Committee has come up with nothing; no eyewitness testimony supporting the original claims, no smoking gun, no proof of domestic espionage, no evidence of Russian complicity, nothing. One big goose egg.

So here's a question for critical minded readers:

If the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found any proof that Russia hacked the 2016 elections, then why do senators' Burr and Warner still believe the ICA is reliable? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Don't they require evidence to draw their conclusions? And doesn't the burden of truth fall on the prosecution (or the investigators in this case)? Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty or doesn't that rule apply to Russia?

Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple.

That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype?

Don't bet on it.

What about former UK ambassador Craig Murray, a WikiLeaks colleague, who has repeatedly admitted that he knows the source of the DNC emails. Murray hasn't been asked to testify nor has he even been contacted by the FBI on the matter. Apparently, the FBI has no interest in a credible witness who can disprove the politically-motivated theory expounded in the ICA.

Then there's 30-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern and his group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern has done extensive research on the topic and has produced solid evidence that the DNC emails were "leaked" by an insider, not "hacked" by a foreign government. McGovern's work squares with Assange and Murray's claim that Russia did not hack the 2016 elections. Has McGovern been invited to testify?

How about Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager and Information Technology expert, whose excellent report titled "Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge" also disproves the hacking theory, as does The Nation's Patrick Lawrence whose riveting article at The Nation titled "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack" which thoroughly obliterates the central claims of the ICA.

Finally, there's California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who was assured that Assange would provide hard evidence (in the form of "a computer drive or other data-storage device") that the Russians were not involved in the DNC email scandal.

Wouldn't you think that senate investigators would want to talk to a trusted colleague and credible witness like Rohrabacher who said he could produce solid proof that the scandal, that has dominated the headlines and roiled Washington for the better part of a year, was bogus?

Apparently not. Apparently Burr and his colleagues would rather avoid any witness or evidence that conflicts with their increasingly-threadbare thesis.

So what conclusions can we draw from the Committee's behavior? Are Burr and Warner really conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russia hacking or is this just a witch hunt?

It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war.

[Oct 11, 2017] Russia witch hunt is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working class

Highly recommended!
Chris Hedges, who is doubtless a courageous journalist and an intelligent commentator, suggests that if we are to discuss the anti-Russia campaign realistically, as baseless in fact, and as contrived for an effect and to further/protect some particular interests, we can hardly avoid the question: Who or what interest is served by the anti-Russia campaign?
An interesting observation "The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out."
The other relevant observation is that there is no American left. It was destroyed as a political movement. The USA is a right wing country.
Notable quotes:
"... This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. ..."
"... It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country. ..."
"... The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions. ..."
"... Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater. ..."
"... These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes. ..."
"... The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced. ..."
"... The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left." ..."
"... Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease. ..."
"... For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch. ..."
"... The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down. ..."
"... The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. ..."
"... The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison! ..."
"... Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The elites "have no credibility left" by Chris Hedges

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It's really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn't make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

... ... ...

DN: Let's come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can't go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It's not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA The CIA wasn't buying the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you're trying to have access to a senior official, you'll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it's usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left."

CH: Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I've battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they're kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump's not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. The New York Times , if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it -- as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

[Oct 11, 2017] US pseudo left does not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

polistra, Website October 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm GMT

Hedges doesn't seem to understand that the "Resistance" is openly and obviously working FOR Deepstate. They do not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Nothing mysterious or hidden about this, no ulterior motive or bankshot. It's explicitly stated in every poster and shout and beating.

[Oct 09, 2017] After Nine Months, Only Stale Crumbs in Russia Inquiry by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
US Congress allowed to drag itself into this propaganda swamp by politized Intelligence community, which became a major political player, that can dictate Congress what to do and what not to do. Now it is not that easy to get out of this "intelligence swamp"
Notable quotes:
"... The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from. ..."
"... This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts ..."
"... iven the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence. ..."
"... It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. ..."
"... One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard. ..."
"... purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level." ..."
"... No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs. ..."
"... the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy. ..."
"... There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall"). ..."
"... These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The 'briefing' is just another exercise in preferred narrative boosting.

The co-chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a press briefing Thursday on the status of their ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process. Content-wise, the press briefing and the question and answer session were an exercise in information futility -- they provided little substance and nothing new. The investigation was still ongoing, the senators explained, and there was still work to be done.

Nine months into the Committee's work, the best Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), could offer was that there was "general consensus" among committee members and their staff that they trust the findings of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of January 2017, which gave high confidence to the charge that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The issue of possible collusion between Russia and members of the campaign of Donald Trump, however, "is still open."

Frankly speaking, this isn't good enough.

The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from.

This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts from three of the Intelligence Community's sixteen agencies (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) who operated outside of the National Intelligence Council (the venue for the production of Intelligence Community products such as the Russian ICA), and void of the direction and supervision of a dedicated National Intelligence Officer. Overcoming this deficient family tree represents a high hurdle, even before the issue of the credibility of the sources and methods used to underpin the ICA's findings are discussed. Given the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence.

It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. Insofar as the committee's investigation serves as a legitimate search for truth, it does so as a post-conviction appeal. However, as the distinguished Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna noted in his opinion in Berger v. United States (1921):

The remedy by appeal is inadequate. It comes after the trial, and, if prejudice exist, it has worked its evil and a judgment of it in a reviewing tribunal is precarious. It goes there fortified by presumptions, and nothing can be more elusive of estimate or decision than a disposition of a mind in which there is a personal ingredient.

One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard.

The two senators proceeded to touch on a new angle recently introduced into their investigation, that of the purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level."

No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs.

Nevertheless, the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy.

There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall").

These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it.

The take away from the press briefing given by Senator's Burr and Warner was two-fold: One, the Russians meddled, and two, we don't know if Trump colluded with the Russians. The fact that America is nine months into this investigation with little more to show now than what could have been said at the start is, in and of itself, an American political tragedy. The Trump administration has been hobbled by the inertia of this and other investigations derived from the question of Russian meddling. That this process may yet vindicate President Trump isn't justification for the process itself; in such a case the delay will have hurt more than the truth. As William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so eloquently noted:

Delays have been more injurious than direct Injustice. They too often starve those they dare not deny. The very Winner is made a Loser, because he pays twice for his own; like those who purchase Estates Mortgaged before to the full value.

Our law says that to delay Justice is Injustice. Not to have a Right, and not to come of it, differs little. Refuse or Dispatch is the Duty of a Good Officer.

Senators Burr and Warner, together with their fellow members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and their respective staffs, would do well to heed those words.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of "Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War" (Clarity Press, 2017).

[Oct 08, 2017] Todays Republicans Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We ought to just call them what they really all are -- Neocons.

Notable quotes:
"... I'd like to see this: President Rand Paul, VP Tulsi Gabbard, chief of staff Ron Paul, and Sec. of Defense Wesley Clark, for starters. ..."
"... "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | steemit.com

steemihal last month

People need to learn, relearn, and talk to others about this. Let's admit it: today's Republicans & Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We ought to just call them what they really all are -- "Neocons."

Both sides need to be replaced by truly independent voters giving strength to an administration that is neither R nor D, and that should be the Libertarians. Trump is not one, but he's going to end up making the way for them during his four years.

I'd like to see this: President Rand Paul, VP Tulsi Gabbard, chief of staff Ron Paul, and Sec. of Defense Wesley Clark, for starters.

cve3 2 months ago

It was either Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens who said "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

[Oct 03, 2017] Russian Ads On Facebook A Click-Bait Campaign

Highly recommended!
This is particular dirty campaign to implicate Trump and delegitimize his victory is a part of color revolution against Trump.
The other noble purpose is to find a scapegoat for the current problems, especially in Democratic Party, and to preserve Clinton neoliberals rule over the party for a few more futile years.
Notable quotes:
"... Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump. ..."
"... The mini-ads were bought to promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and sites were created and then promoted to sell further advertisement. The media though, has still not understood the issue. ..."
"... A few thousand users will come and look at a page. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and parts of it can be automatized. ..."
"... This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer a limited to a few rich oligarchic. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can now take part in it. ..."
"... We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites: ..."
"... The teen said his monthly revenue was in the four figures, a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As he navigated his site's statistics, he dropped nuggets of journalism advice. ..."
"... After the mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies" pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the New York Times will have to move on. There next subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign" on Youtube. ..."
"... Russian Car Crash Compilations have for years attracted millions of viewers. The "Russians" want to increase road rage on U.S. highways. This again will - according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum". ..."
"... "Russian interference" in Western faux democracies is just more Fake News that distracts from the real issues. And all those real issues come down to this: the need to reign in the oligarchs. This is very easy to do via progressive taxation (with no loopholes). ..."
"... The two words that the establishment fears most: Progressive Taxation . ..."
"... Great article. I especially like the tactful way that modern clickbait farming is obliquely tied to the MSM business model. Facebook and Google have a lot to answer for. ..."
"... Russia gate, since it is unnecessarily mentally exhausting and intellectually futile, it is namely pure provocation and as such it should be ignored and not proliferated even in its criticism making a fakes news a real news by sole fact of mentioning it on the respectable independent sites. ..."
"... The whole digital media and ad business that have built the Google and Facebook media juggernauts is all a giant scam. Smart advertisers like P&G are recognizing it for what it is and will slowly pullback. It is only a matter of time before others catch on and these companies will bleed ad revenues. ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump.

It now turns out that these Facebook ads had nothing to do with the election. The mini-ads were bought to promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and sites were created and then promoted to sell further advertisement. The media though, has still not understood the issue.

On September 6 the NYT asserted :

Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.
...
The disclosure adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign, which American intelligence agencies concluded was designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election.

Like any Congress investigation the current one concerned with Facebook ads is leaking like a sieve. What oozes out makes little sense.

If "Russia" aimed to make Congress and U.S. media a laughing stock it surely achieved that.

Today the NYT says that the ads were posted "in disguise" by "the Russians" to promote variously themed Facebook pages:

There was "Defend the 2nd," a Facebook page for gun-rights supporters, festooned with firearms and tough rhetoric. There was a rainbow-hued page for gay rights activists, "LGBT United." There was even a Facebook group for animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies that spread across the site with the help of paid ads

No one has explained how these pages are supposed to be connected to a Russian "influence" campaign. It is unexplained how these are supposed to connected to the 2016 election. That is simply asserted because Facebook said, for unknown reasons, that these ads may have come from some Russian agency. How Facebook has determined that is not known.

With each detail that leaks from the "Russian ads" investigation the propaganda framework of "election manipulation" falls further apart:

Late Monday, Facebook said in a post that about 10 million people had seen the ads in question. About 44 percent of the ads were seen before the 2016 election and the rest after, the company said

The original story propagandized that "Russia" intended to influence the election in favor of Trump. But why then was the majority of the ads in questions run later after November 9? And how would an animal-lovers page with adorable puppy pictures help to achieve Trumps election victory?

More details via the Wall Street Journal:

Roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone. That's because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result.
...
For 50% of the ads, less than $3 was spent; for 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.

Of the 3,000 ads Facebook originally claimed were "Russian" only 2,200 were ever viewed. Most of the advertisements were mini-ads which, for the price of a coffee, promoted private pages related to hobbies and a wide spectrum of controversial issues. The majority of the ads ran after the election.

All that "adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign ... designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election"?

No.

But the NYT still finds "experts" who believe in the "Russian influence" nonsense and find the most stupid reasons to justify their claims:

Clinton Watts, a former F.B.I. agent now at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, said Russia had been entrepreneurial in trying to develop diverse channels of influence. Some, like the dogs page, may have been created without a specific goal and held in reserve for future use.

Puppy pictures for "future use"? Nonsense. Lunacy! The pages described and the ads leading to them are typical click-bait, not a political influence op.

The for-profit scheme runs as follows: One builds pages with "hot" stuff that attracts lots of viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and fills it with Google ads. One promotes the spiked pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them.

A few thousand users will come and look at a page. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and parts of it can be automatized.

This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer a limited to a few rich oligarchic. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can now take part in it.

We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites:

The teen said his monthly revenue was in the four figures, a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As he navigated his site's statistics, he dropped nuggets of journalism advice.

"You have to write what people want to see, not what you want to show," he said, scrolling through The Political Insider's stories as a large banner read "ARREST HILLARY NOW."

The 3,000 Facebook ads Congress is investigating are part of a similar scheme. The mini-ads promoted pages with hot button issues and click-bait puppy pictures. These pages were themselves created to generate ad-clicks and revenue. As Facebook claims that "Russia" is behind them, we will likely find some Russian teens who simply repeated the scheme their Macedonian friends were running on.

With its "Russian influence" scare campaign the NYT follows the same business model. It is producing fake news which attracts viewers and readers who's attention is then sold to advertisers. Facebook is also profiting from this. Its current piecemeal release of vague information keeps its name in the news.

After the mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies" pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the New York Times will have to move on. There next subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign" on Youtube.

Russian Car Crash Compilations have for years attracted millions of viewers. The "Russians" want to increase road rage on U.S. highways. This again will - according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum".

The car crash compilations, like the puppy pages, are another sign that Russia is waging war against the people of the United States!

You don't believe that? You should. Trust your experienced politician!

Samantha Power @SamanthaJPower - 3:45 PM - 3 Oct 2017

This gets more chilling daily : now we learn Russia targeted Americans on Facebook by "demographics, geography, gender & interests," across websites & devices, reached millions, kept going after Nov. An attack on all Americans, not just HRC campaign washingtonpost.com/business/econo

It indeed gets more chilling. It's fall. It also generates ad revenue.

Posted by b on October 3, 2017 at 02:09 PM | Permalink

nmb | Oct 3, 2017 2:20:52 PM | 1

As Shock Therapy failed miserably in the 90s, the neocon dynasty seeks now direct confrontation with Russia
Jackrabbit | Oct 3, 2017 2:32:24 PM | 2
"Russian interference" in Western faux democracies is just more Fake News that distracts from the real issues. And all those real issues come down to this: the need to reign in the oligarchs. This is very easy to do via progressive taxation (with no loopholes).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The two words that the establishment fears most: Progressive Taxation .

Taxi | Oct 3, 2017 2:32:34 PM | 3
Oh dear intrepidus, why are you still talking about MSM's favorite weapon of mass distraction?

Even though you make a fine point or two, at this stage, you're actually adding to the whirling stupidity by indulging it it yourself, methinks.

I'm so very, very over Russiagate and it's non-existent tentacles. Pfft!

Grieved | Oct 3, 2017 2:49:24 PM | 4
Thanks, b.

You're presenting a very good concept/meme to understand: Fake news is click bait for gain.

The same can be said for any sensationalism or shocking event - like the Kurdish referendum, like the Catalonia referendum, like the Vegas shooting - or like confrontational or dogmatic comments in threads about those events.

Everywhere we turn someone is trying to game us for some kind of gain. What matters is to step back from the front lines where our sense is accosted and offended, to step back from the automatic reflex, and to remember that someone triggered that reflex, deliberately, for their gain, not ours.

We have to reside in reason and equanimity, because the moment we indulge in our righteous anger or our strong convictions, the odds are extremely good that someone is playing us.

It's a wicked world, but in fact we live in an age when we can see its meta characteristics like never before.

Anon | Oct 3, 2017 2:49:39 PM | 5
Jesus Christ, every friggin day we hear about Russians and then the next the lies falls apart, STILL the stupid dumb liberal media keep coming up with new conspiracies spread them as fact, and then try justify them even when they get debunked!
These people are indeed lunatic.

What we see is the biggest psyop., propaganda disinformation campaig ever in the western media, far more powerful than "nuclear Iraq" of 2003.
Still, and this should be a warning, majority of people in EU/US believe this nonsense.

the pair | Oct 3, 2017 3:07:19 PM | 6
$3 ads on facebook seen by nobody:

"russian meddling! their puppies hate our freedom!"

pharmaceutical ads on every evening news show and boeing/lockheed sponsoring the "p"bs news hour?"

"nothing to see here! take off your tin foil hat you f_cking alex jones putinbot!!!!"

you'd think by now most americans would realize the actual threat is other americans. the rest of the world realized it long ago.

sejomoje | Oct 3, 2017 3:08:47 PM | 7
I lol'd. But seriously the next step is a false flag implicating Russia. They're getting nowhere assassinating Russian diplomats and shooting down Russian aircraft, both military and civilian. Even overthrowing governments who are Russia-friendly hasn't seem to provoke a response.

But I consider the domestic Russia buzz to be performance art, and I imagine it's become even grating to some of its participants. How could it not be, unless everyone is heavily medicated(a lot certainly are)? Anyway it's by design that the western media and the political classes they serve need a script, they're incapable of discussing actual issues. Independence has been made quaint.

karlof1 | Oct 3, 2017 3:10:42 PM | 8
Hi Grieved--

I posted this link at the Vegas thread, but the item's contents are valid here too, and speaks to the content of your above comment, https://sputniknews.com/viral/201710031057912410-google-facebook-youtube-vegas-fake-news/

somebody | Oct 3, 2017 3:11:44 PM | 9
The line between politics and product marketing has gone.

But no matter if "the Russians" influenced the US election or not - after all that is what most countries do to each other - the FBI is correct that to be able to target audiences according to demographics and individual traits is a powerful tool.

Like the double hoax of " The War of Worlds broadcast ".

The newspapers had a clear agenda. An editorial in The New York Times, headlined In the Terror by Radio, was used to censure the relatively new medium of radio, which was becoming a serious competitor in providing news and advertising. "Radio is new but it has adult responsibilities. It has not mastered itself or the material it uses," said the editorial leader comment on November 1 1938. In an excellent piece in Slate magazine in 2013, Jefferson Pooley (associate professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College) and Michael J Socolow (associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine) looked at the continuing popularity of the myth of mass panic and they took to task NPR's Radiolab programme about the incident and the Radiolab assertion that "The United States experienced a kind of mass hysteria that we've never seen before." Pooley and Socolow wrote: "How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America's newspapers. ... AND IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO COPY ORSON WELLES . . . In February 1949, Leonardo Paez and Eduardo Alcaraz produced a Spanish-language version of Welles's 1938 script for Radio Quito in Ecuador. The broadcast set off panic. Quito police and fire brigades rushed out of town to fight the supposed alien invasion force. After it was revealed that the broadcast was fiction, the panic transformed into a riot. The riot resulted in at least seven deaths, including those of Paez's girlfriend and nephew. The offices Radio Quito, and El Comercio, a local newspaper that had participated in the hoax by publishing false reports of unidentified flying objects in the days preceding the broadcast, were both burned to the ground.
ashley albanese | Oct 3, 2017 3:13:06 PM | 10
Jackrabbit 2
No - the two words the Capital system fears the most are SURPLUS VALUE , the control of the 'profit principle' for social not private ends .
Lea | Oct 3, 2017 3:42:35 PM | 11
Jesus Christ, every friggin day we hear about Russians and then the next the lies falls apart, STILL the stupid dumb liberal media keep coming up with new conspiracies spread them as fact, and then try justify them even when they get debunked!
These people are indeed lunatic.

The "Russiadunnit" thingy has turned into a business in the US. And when a new market is launched in the US, as people depend on it for their living and careers, it generally doesn't go away.
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/28/the-slimy-business-of-russia-gate/

OJS | Oct 3, 2017 3:45:59 PM | 12
god bless amerika

somebody | Oct 3, 2017 3:11:44 PM | 9
The American panic was a myth, the Equadorian panic in 1949 not so much. I listened to this Radiolab podcast about same ... the details of how they pulled it off in a one-radio station country pre-internet are interesting and valuable (they widely advertised a very popular music program which was then "interrupted" by the hoax to ensure near-universal audience (including the police and other authorities). Very very fews were "in on the joke" and it wasn't a joke. whole page on WooW: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91622-war-of-the-worlds/

specific could it happen again? http://www.radiolab.org/story/91624-could-it-happen-again-and-again/

c1ue | Oct 3, 2017 3:58:38 PM | 14
Great article. I especially like the tactful way that modern clickbait farming is obliquely tied to the MSM business model. Facebook and Google have a lot to answer for.
Christian Chuba | Oct 3, 2017 3:58:49 PM | 15
Russian Trolls outed as kids from Oregon: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/taibbi-latest-fake-news-panic-appears-to-be-fake-news-w506396
"Lankford shocked the world this week by revealing that "Russian Internet trolls" were stoking the NFL kneeling debate. ... Conservative outlets like Breitbart and Newsmax and Fox played up the "Russians stoked the kneeling controversy" angle because it was in their interest to suggest that domestic support for kneeling protests is less than what it appears....

The Post reported that Lankford's office had cited one of "Boston Antifa's" tweets. But the example offered read suspiciously like a young net-savvy American goofing on antifa stereotypes "More gender inclusivity with NFL fans and gluten free options at stadiums We're liking the new NFL #NewNFL #TakeAKnee #TakeTheKnee." ...

The group was most likely a pair of yahoos from Oregon named Alexis Esteb and Brandon Krebs. "

Christian Chuba | Oct 3, 2017 4:00:46 PM | 16
Pity Rolling Stone got caught up in that fake college rape allegation, they have actually done some solid reporting. Every MSM outlet has had multiple fake stories, so should RS be shunned for life for one bad story?
Kalen | Oct 3, 2017 4:03:18 PM | 17
It is time that sane part of independent media understood that there is no more need to rationally respond to psychotic delusions of Deep State puppets in Russia gate, since it is unnecessarily mentally exhausting and intellectually futile, it is namely pure provocation and as such it should be ignored and not proliferated even in its criticism making a fakes news a real news by sole fact of mentioning it on the respectable independent sites.

There are only two effective responses to provocation namely silence or violence, anything else plays the book of provocateurs.

Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 4:13:28 PM | 18
Now they're seriously undermining their claims of intentionality ... as well as their wildly inflated claims effect on outcome or even effective "undermining" ... again, compared to Citizens United and the long-count of 2000 ... negligible....

And still insisting that Hillary Clinton is Russia's Darth Vader against whom unlimited resources are marshalled because she must be stopped ... even though she damn near won... and the reasons she lost seems unrelated to such vagaries as the DNC e-mails or facebook campaigns (unless you believe she had a god-given right to each and every vote)

Don Bacon | Oct 3, 2017 4:13:47 PM | 19

Lucky for us that television "news" doesn't use this business model. /s
Pnyx | Oct 3, 2017 5:02:54 PM | 20
Why do you think this is important enough to make the effort to write another blog entry B? Everyone who wants to know that this is all fantasy knows by now.
Mina | Oct 3, 2017 5:05:12 PM | 21
https://mobile.twitter.com/dgaytandzhieva/status/913545591757697024
brian | Oct 3, 2017 5:09:39 PM | 22
'Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump.

This is the same US congress that regularly marches off to Israel to receive orders

https://www.amazon.com/They-Dare-Speak-Out-Institutions/dp/155652482X

those who dont obey orders: http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/how-i-got-fired/

Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 5:36:59 PM | 23
@ Posted by: Pnyx | Oct 3, 2017 5:02:54 PM | 20

This isn't about the "truth" (or lies) wrt Russian involvement, it's about the increasingly rapid failure of the Government/Establishment's narrative ...

Increasingly they can't even keep their accusations "alive" for more than a few days ... and some of their accusations (like the one here, that some "Russian" sites were created and not used, but to be held for use at some future date) become fairly ridiculous ... and the "remedy" to "Russians" creating clickbait sites for some future nefarious use, I think can only be banning all Russians from creating sites ... or maybe using facebook altogether ... all with no evidence of evil-doers actually doing evil...

It's rather like Jared Kushner's now THIRD previously undisclosed private e-mail account ... fool me once versus how disorganized/dumb/arrogant/crooked is this guy?

Lochearn | Oct 3, 2017 6:43:01 PM | 24
Sorry to be off topic but yesterday the Saker of the Vineyard published a couple of articles about Catalonia. The first was a diatribe, a nasty hatchet job on the Catalan people which included the following referring to the Catalan people:

"The Problems they have because with their corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, inability and sometimes the simplest stupidity, are always the fault of others (read Spaniards here) which gives them "carte blanche" to keep going on with it."

"... They (the independistas) are NATIONAL SOCIALIST (aka NAZI) in their Ideology"

Then Saker published an article by Peter Koenig that was reasonable and what we have come to expect. Then he forbade all comments on either of the two articles. My comment was banned, which simply said in my opinion from working for fourteen years in Spain that the Catalans were extremely efficient in comparison with their Madrid counterparts.

ToivoS | Oct 3, 2017 7:32:04 PM | 25
I must admit that I became a fan of watching those Russian car crashes that were captured by the cams many russian drivers keep on their dash boards. Some of these were very funny. I was not aware that made me a victim of Putin propaganda. In any case, they are not that interesting anymore once they were commercialized. That was about 10 years ago.
Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 7:43:29 PM | 26
I'm waiting for the expose of the Russian mail-order bride business (Do they still exist?)
ab initio | Oct 3, 2017 8:29:04 PM | 27
Very good analysis.

The whole digital media and ad business that have built the Google and Facebook media juggernauts is all a giant scam. Smart advertisers like P&G are recognizing it for what it is and will slowly pullback. It is only a matter of time before others catch on and these companies will bleed ad revenues.

ben | Oct 3, 2017 8:30:46 PM | 28
Jackrabbit @ 2: Yep!!

And here is another part to the puzzle:

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19516:Empire-Files%3A-The-Hidden-Purging-of-Millions-of-Voters

Chipnik | Oct 3, 2017 8:42:54 PM | 29
Your answer can be found ...right ...here:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yc7kskox
james | Oct 3, 2017 8:44:05 PM | 30
OT - more from comedy central - daily USA press briefing from today...

"QUESTION: On Iran, would you and the State Department say, as Secretary Mattis said today, that staying in the JCPOA would be in the U.S. national interest?

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is this a position you share?

MS NAUERT: So I'm certainly familiar with what Secretary Mattis said on Capitol Hill today. Secretary Mattis, of course, one of many people who is providing expertise and counsel to the President on the issue of Iran and the JCPOA. The President is getting lots of information on that. We have about 12 days or so, I think, to make our determination for the next JCPOA guideline.

The administration looks at JCPOA as – the fault in the JCPOA as not looking at the totality of Iran's bad behavior. Secretary Tillerson talked about that at length at the UN General Assembly. So did the President as well. We know that Iran is responsible for terror attacks. We know that Iran arms the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which leads to a more miserable failed state, awful situation in Yemen, for example. We know what they're doing in Syria. Where you find the Iranian Government, you can often find terrible things happening in the world. This administration is very clear about highlighting that and will look at Iran in sort of its totality of all of its bad behaviors, not just the nuclear deal.

I don't want to get ahead of the discussions that are ongoing with this – within the administration, as it pertains to Iran. The President has said he's made he's decision, and so I don't want to speak on behalf of the President, and he'll just have to make that determination when he's ready to do so."

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2017/10/274592.htm

[Oct 01, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here by Cornel West

Notable quotes:
"... The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness. ..."
"... This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. ..."
"... In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome! ..."
"... The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang ..."
"... The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised. ..."
"... if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial! ..."
"... The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. ..."
"... Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back. ..."
"... He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. ..."
"... Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties.

Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one Liza Featherstone By banking on the idea that women would support Hillary Clinton just because she was a female candidate, the movement made a terrible mistake Read more

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence.

In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election Hannah Jane Parkinson The 'alt-right' (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media. But tech companies seem unwilling to admit there's a problem

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

To be replaced by a form of capitalism that is constrained by national interests. An ideology that wishes to uses the forces of capitalism within a market limited only by national boundaries which aims for more self sufficiency only importing goods the nation can not itself source.

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

Really? The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised.

That in recent decades middle ground politicians have strayed from the true faith....and now its time to go back - popular capitalism, small government, low taxes.

if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial!

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

Maybe, West should have written that we're now in neoliberal, neofascist era!

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

Well in all fairness, Donald Trump (horse's ass) did say he'd 'pump' money into the middle classes thus abandoning 'trickle down'. His plan/ideology is also to increase corporate tax revenues overall by reducing the level of corporation tax -- the aim being to entice corporations to repatriate wealth currently held overseas. Plus he has proposed an infrastructure spending spree, a fiscal stimulus not a monetary one. When you add in tax cuts the middle classes will feel flushed and it is within that demographic that most businesses and hence jobs are created. I think his short game has every chance of doing what he said it would.

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did.

But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

I agree with some of this, but do we really have to throw around hysterical terms like 'fascist' at every opportunity? It's as bad as when people call the left 'cultural Marxists'.

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

True, it's sloganeering that drowns out any nuance, whoever does it. Whenever a political term is coined, you can be assured that its use and meaning will eventually be extended to the point that it becomes less effective at characterising the very groups that it was coined to characterise.

Keep "fascist" for Mussolini and "cultural Marxist" for Adorno, unless and until others show such strong resemblances that the link can't seriously be denied.

I agree about the importance of recognising the suffering of the poor and building alliances beyond, and not primarily defined by, race though.

l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 6:40
Hang about Trump is the embodiment of neo-liberalism. It's neo-liberalism with republican tea party in control. He's not going to smash the system that served him so well, the years he manipulated and cheated, why would he want to change it.
garrylee -> l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 9:38
West's point is that it's beyond Trump's control. The scales have fallen from peoples eyes. They now see the deceit of neo-liberalism. And once they see through the charlatan Trump and the rest of the fascists, they will, hopefully, come to realize the only antidote to neo-liberalism is a planned economy.

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

Not sure Neo-Liberalism has ended. All they have done is get rid of the middle man.

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

[Sep 29, 2017] Bernie Sanders To Democrats This Is What a Radical Foreign Policy Looks Like

It is impossible to understand the current wave of the US militarism without understanding neoliberalism and, especially, neoconservatism -- the dominant force in the US foreign policy since Reagan.
Sep 29, 2017 | theintercept.com

... ... ...

Many of my colleagues, Republican colleagues, here in the Senate, for example, disparage the United Nations, he says, sitting across the table from me, in front of a wall of Vermont tourism posters. While clearly the United Nations could be more effective, it is imperative that we strengthen international institutions, because at the end of the day, while it may not be sexy, it may not be glamorous, it may not allow for great soundbites, simply the idea of people coming together and talking and arguing is a lot better than countries going to war.

... ... ...

The senator makes clear that unilateralism, the belief that we can simply overthrow governments that we dont want, that has got to be re-examined. After referencing the Iraq War -- one of the great foreign policy blunders in the history of this country -- the senator touches on another historic blunder which, to his credit, few of his fellow senators would be willing to discuss, let alone critique. In 1953, the United States, with the British, overthrew [Mohammed] Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran – and this was to benefit British oil interests, he reminds me. The result was the shah came into power, who was a very ruthless man, and the result of that was that we had the Iranian Revolution, which takes us to where we are right now.

...So far this year, Sanders has hired Matt Duss , a respected foreign affairs analyst and former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), as his foreign policy adviser, and has given speeches at the liberal Jewish lobbying group, J Street, where he condemned Israels continued occupation of Palestinian territories as being contrary to fundamental American values, and at the centrist Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, where he rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for trying to weaken the transatlantic alliance.

Last week, my colleague Glenn Greenwald penned a column in The Intercept headlined, The Clinton Book Tour Is Largely Ignoring the Vital Role of Endless War in the 2016 Election Result. Greenwald argued that Clintons advocacy of multiple wars and other military actions pushed some swing voters into the arms of both Donald Trump and third-party candidates, such as Jill Stein. I ask Sanders whether he agrees with this analysis.

I mean, thats a whole other issue. And I dont know the answer to that. I persist. Surely hed concede that foreign policy was a factor in Clintons defeat? He doesnt budge. I want to talk about my speech, not about Hillary Clinton. So foreign policy plays no role in elections?

... ... ...

The U.S. funding plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how U.S. aid can bring people together, not just result in an arms war in that area. So I think there is extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas. At the same time, demand that Israel, in their own interests in a way, work with other countries on environmental issues. He then, finally, answers my question: So the answer is yes.

It is -- by the depressingly low standard of modern U.S. politics -- a remarkable and, dare I say it, radical response from Sanders. Aid to Israel in Congress and the pro-Israel community has been sacrosanct, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency noted earlier this year, and no president has seriously proposed cutting it since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s.

[Sep 17, 2017] The ethic of hard work , Obama, Trump and Hillary by Gaius Publius

Notable quotes:
"... If anything, the whole plagiarism scandal reflects somewhat poorly on Michelle Obama. One reason Obama's words were able to play so well at the RNC was that in the lifted passages, Obama was speaking using the conservative language of "bootstrapping." Obama's sentence, that "the only limit" to one's achievements is the height of one's goal and the "willingness to work" toward it, is the Republican story about America. It's the story of personal responsibility, in which the U.S. is overflowing with opportunity, and anyone who fails to succeed in such a land of abundance must simply not be trying hard enough. ..."
"... People on the left are supposed to know that it is a cruel lie to tell people that all they need to do is work hard. There are plenty of people with dreams who work very hard indeed but get nothing, because the American economy is fundamentally skewed and unfair. This rhetoric, about "hard work" being the only thing needed for the pursuit of prosperity, is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country. It's a fact that those who work the hardest in this country, those come home from work exhausted and who break their backs to feed their families, are almost always rewarded the least. Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?" ..."
"... This is, of course, the myth of "meritocracy" that Thomas Frank has exposed with scalpel-like precision in his latest book Listen, Liberal . It's clear that the Democratic Party, at its core, believes with Michelle (and Barack) Obama the comfortable and self-serving lie that no individual has anyone to blame but herself if she fails to achieve high goals. She should just have reached higher; she should just have worked harder. ..."
"... It's not only a lie, it's a "cruel lie," as Nimni says. So why is she, Michelle Obama, telling it? Clearly it serves her interests, her husband's interests, her party's interests, to tell the "rich person's lie," that his or her achievement came from his or her own efforts. To call most people's success a product of luck (right color, right gender, right country, right neighborhood, right schools, right set of un-birth-damaged brain cells) or worse, inheritance (right parents), identifies the fundamental unfairness of our supposed "meritocratic" system of allocating wealth and undercuts the "goodness," if you look at it writ large, of predatory capitalism. By that measure, neither the very wealthy themselves (Charles Koch, Jamie Dimon) nor those who serve them (Barack Obama et al ) are "good" in any moral sense. ..."
"... U.S. cultural norms, as the piece describes accurately, glorify and misrepresent "work" especially of the "hard" kind. Hmm I wonder where that notion came from and why it gained such a foothold in the prevailing groupthink? ..."
"... The present regime of "teach to the test" here in America almost completely short circuits the teaching of critical thinking skills. With stressed parents increasingly abdicating their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their offspring in favour of the State, is it any wonder that the narrow interests of the State, such as the Iron Law of Institutions, are supplanting enlightenment in the minds of the young? We now must begin to consider the divergence of the interests of the Society from the interests of the State. With the balance of power swinging heavily in favour of the State these recent decades, I am not sanguine about the near term future of our culture. ..."
"... As is so often the case in American culture, the "hard work" meme emerges from the slave system. Slaves had to be bullied and terrorized in order to extract "hard work" from them, given that they had zero rewards of any tangible sort for it. So "hard work" required constant vigilance and frequent punishments while slaves rationally attempted to do the least amount of work that enabled them to escape the many types of tortures they were regularly threatened with. ..."
"... Then after "emancipation," plantation owners complained that they could not get any of those lazy, shiftless Negroes to perform "hard work" for them, given that the newly freed men and women were much more interested in getting ahead for themselves than continuing to pick cotton or harvest rice for starvation wages. ..."
"... I don't think you are over-simplifying, Clive–in Hong Kong, too, my experience has been that most people I deal with in the work world take a great deal of intrinsic pride in doing a job efficiently and well, for its own sake, not because it will necessarily make you more money. ..."
"... What I'm starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump's kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail. ..."
"... the genesis of the "plagiarism" attacks. The mud slinging has started early in this campaign. However, if Trumps' family can exude some sense of charm and class, the entire mud slinging strategy can be 'stood on its' head.' ..."
"... Me, I'm terrified of Hillary Clinton and the devastation that her ascension to the Presidency might bring to this nation and to the world. She is not only a liar, a blatantly self-dealing criminal, but more devastating yet, a sociopath of the first water, willing to walk across the bodies to advance her personal and class agenda. ..."
"... Her time as President would go a long way toward cementing the Unitary Executive in place (i.e., a functional Dictator, as understood in the Roman Republican meaning of the term, a Tribune, in which a chief magistrate of the State like the President under our Constitution, whose writ as an authoritarian ruler ran so long as there was a national emergency. I serve as the clerk for government documents in a university law library, and I can tell you that the number of House Documents announcing a "National Emergency" or the continuation of a previously announced "National Emergency" is very alarming. These "emergencies" are the camel's nose under the tent in my estimation for the slow accretion of Dictatorial powers (again, in the Roman Republican sense of the term "dictator") toward the Caesar-like role of Unitary Executive. These "National Emergencies" functionally invest power into the hands of the President and those forces military, legal, and regulatory under the control of the Executive by which the President can wage military, legal/diplomatic, and economic warfare against those who refuse to bend the knee to US-dominated global hegemony. ..."
"... Hillary is practically salivating to grasp the rod of power embodied in the Unitary Executive. Warfare will follow her tenure in office like a dire shadow, and due to her belief in the right of and necessity of the US to enforce a global hegemony, she is inevitably moving toward a deadly clash with other nuclear powers unwilling to submit to the yoke of globalized, stateless, culturally-anodyne finance capitalism. Good times await. ..."
"... "Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force." ..."
"... That allows individuals to claim they had no responsibility for the war, something Pence and Clinton cannot claim because of their votes. But on what other things do you see Obama as being a strong "unitary executive." I thought it was generally viewed that Congress had thwarted his (almost) every wish. ..."
"... And how about that patriot act renewal, US out of iraq/afganistan? Vicky nuland and the ukraine? I guess the problem is that you get your information as it is generally viewed, but you fail to indicate who it is that generally views things that way, however, it should help you understand why trump will win because hillary is generally viewed as corrupt. ..."
"... I'm intrigued by author's concluding idea. "It involves another attempt to take over the Republican Party, this time by the Clinton-led Democratic leadership. " ..."
"... And if the words were lies coming out of Obama's mouth, what are they coming out of Trump's mouth? ..."
"... "Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?" ..."
"... A lot of this is related to the Democrats and what Bill made "successful" with his presidency. The lack of a truly left party that works for average citizens has created this environment when a character like Trump can gain such support. This article illustrates but another example of meritocratic nonsense being regurgitated by the party. ..."
"... A thought-provoking and unexpected take, Gaius Publius. I was struck by one item left off your list of lucky attributes: beauty. Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are undeniably beautiful women -– tall, slim, with the elegantly symmetrical features prized in every culture. Sadly in beauty-obsessed America the doors opened for women who look this lovely are shut hard against women who are fat, or old, or ugly. ..."
"... I had pretty much the exact same thought as your second "blackbird" when the video of Melania Trump plagiarizing Michele Obama's speech and all my liberal friends were yuking it up. All I could think was "If the same speech could plausibly come out of either of their mouths without alienating the audience, we have much worse problems than her Mrs. Trump's copycating." The fact that this seemed to bother hardly anyone else made it worse. So much of these elections just get reduced down to rooting for your team at a sporting event. This works well to keep people from having to deal with a lot of unpleasant questions and conclusions. ..."
"... Read Roosevelt's speech, Trump certainly did, for some real fear mongering and look at the coalition he has taken over the Republican party to form. FDR 1932. ..."
"... > "another attempt to take over the Republican Party" Which shouldn't be that hard, since both the Democrat and Republican parties are neoliberal. As always, the real enemy is the left. ..."
"... I'm surprised Gaius failed to address this portion of Michelle's speech which he quoted: "tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect." Since when has Obama told the truth, or kept his promises, or treated anyone except Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blanfein with respect? ..."
"... Put aside whether "Michelle Obama" or some speechwriting merc came up with the banal verbiage redolent of Sunday school and Horatio Alger. What gives the snippet its special Trumpian turn into hyper-unreality, an ever-expanding balloon of hot boast and hyperbolic deceit, is the way it transcends garden-variety plagiarism by laying claim to the very virtues that the appropriation itself falsifies. ..."
"... That's chutzpah! The stunning effrontery supersizes an overall meta-ness that's less indicative of middle-class morality and meritocracy than the predatory opportunism of the exploitative rich, what C. Wright Mills might have recognized as the "higher immorality." Here we have a colossally vain billionaire atop an empire of glitz and privilege kayfabing his way to a party nomination as the indignant voice of the brutalized working class he's dedicated his life to disparaging as envious losers. The mind reels between giddiness and nausea. ..."
"... You can't forever distract it away with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and color counter-revolutions against exploitative freeloaders (the non-rich and famous ones, that is). It takes an philosophy of human worth apart from vanities over this or that temporarily adaptive skill or happy accident. ..."
"... I think Oren Nimni basically gets it right: When you cut through the tautologies and the bromides that many parents deliver to their children, what you have is the message, "don't expect government to be there for you; those days are over" (which, actually, sounds like Bubba Bill's pitch–"the day's of big government are over"). ..."
"... If you work hard enough and have enough ambition you will succeed is not a lie to those born on 3rd base, it was true for them. The Obama's the Trumps. They are really just guilty of not understanding the plight of those who were born at bat against a major league pitcher. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

naked capitalism

Gaius Publius Two Ways of Looking at a Plagiarism

Oren Nimni: Obama's statement "is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country"

The fact that Michelle Obama's statement is blatantly false (and that a woman of color in the United States said it) is revealing. Current Affairs writer Oren Nimni on that (emphasis in original):

If anything, the whole plagiarism scandal reflects somewhat poorly on Michelle Obama. One reason Obama's words were able to play so well at the RNC was that in the lifted passages, Obama was speaking using the conservative language of "bootstrapping." Obama's sentence, that "the only limit" to one's achievements is the height of one's goal and the "willingness to work" toward it, is the Republican story about America. It's the story of personal responsibility, in which the U.S. is overflowing with opportunity, and anyone who fails to succeed in such a land of abundance must simply not be trying hard enough.

People on the left are supposed to know that it is a cruel lie to tell people that all they need to do is work hard. There are plenty of people with dreams who work very hard indeed but get nothing, because the American economy is fundamentally skewed and unfair. This rhetoric, about "hard work" being the only thing needed for the pursuit of prosperity, is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country. It's a fact that those who work the hardest in this country, those come home from work exhausted and who break their backs to feed their families, are almost always rewarded the least.

Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?"

This is, of course, the myth of "meritocracy" that Thomas Frank has exposed with scalpel-like precision in his latest book Listen, Liberal . It's clear that the Democratic Party, at its core, believes with Michelle (and Barack) Obama the comfortable and self-serving lie that no individual has anyone to blame but herself if she fails to achieve high goals. She should just have reached higher; she should just have worked harder.

It's not only a lie, it's a "cruel lie," as Nimni says. So why is she, Michelle Obama, telling it? Clearly it serves her interests, her husband's interests, her party's interests, to tell the "rich person's lie," that his or her achievement came from his or her own efforts. To call most people's success a product of luck (right color, right gender, right country, right neighborhood, right schools, right set of un-birth-damaged brain cells) or worse, inheritance (right parents), identifies the fundamental unfairness of our supposed "meritocratic" system of allocating wealth and undercuts the "goodness," if you look at it writ large, of predatory capitalism. By that measure, neither the very wealthy themselves (Charles Koch, Jamie Dimon) nor those who serve them (Barack Obama et al ) are "good" in any moral sense.

(The idea of the supposed "goodness" of the successful capitalist, by the way, his supposed "greater morality," goes all the way back to the 18th Century attempt of the wealthy to counter the 17th Century bleakness of Protestant predestination. How could people, especially the very rich, know whether they are among the "elect" or the damned? God gives them wealth as a sign of his plans for them, just as God gives them morally deficient poverty-wage workers to take advantage of.)

Clive , July 22, 2016 at 4:27 am

There's also a flip side to the main point drawn out in the above article ("if you work hard you'll be successful and rewarded") which, dare I say, is rarely mentioned and even an anathema in U.S. culture (not, mind you, that I think British culture isn't going the same way so I am not trying to throw stones in this glass house).

Which is: quite often, you are rewarded if you don't "work hard" and even if you work somewhat "hard" the rewards you receive are out of all proportion to the effort you have to make. But no-one (or few people) are willing to admit, if they are in that position, that - to put it crudely - they are really doing bugger all but raking it in.

I, for example, do very little. What I do do certainly isn't "hard work". Now, I have expended a certain amount of mental effort on understanding the system - the dynamic - in play at my employer. And how to successfully exploit that to gain the maximum amount of financial reward for the least amount of effort. But I would hardly call that "work", and certainly it is not of "hard" variety.

U.S. cultural norms, as the piece describes accurately, glorify and misrepresent "work" especially of the "hard" kind. Hmm I wonder where that notion came from and why it gained such a foothold in the prevailing groupthink?

In Japanese culture, to introduce another nuance, the concept of "hard work" is still present as a thing to be looked up to but it is more tinged with an air of "doing your best" or "doing your upmost" rather than "hard" (i.e. demanding) work and lacks the "you're going to get the payoff if you do" quid pro quo. The reward, in Japanese culture, comes from knowing you've done the best you can which is more a personal satisfaction than a financial compensator. But I am glossing over some complexity here so do not view what I've just said in this paragraph as anything other than a simplification.

ambrit , July 22, 2016 at 5:02 am

May I suggest that the "simplification" you mention is an essential part of any group control strategy. Simplified thinking may work wonders in efficiency studies or some sorts of high energy physics, but in the realm of social relations, simplicity masks diversity and complexity to the detriment of any version of "truth." I was lucky in having skeptical parents and some excellent minds among my High School teachers. The present regime of "teach to the test" here in America almost completely short circuits the teaching of critical thinking skills. With stressed parents increasingly abdicating their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their offspring in favour of the State, is it any wonder that the narrow interests of the State, such as the Iron Law of Institutions, are supplanting enlightenment in the minds of the young? We now must begin to consider the divergence of the interests of the Society from the interests of the State. With the balance of power swinging heavily in favour of the State these recent decades, I am not sanguine about the near term future of our culture.

timotheus , July 22, 2016 at 7:43 am

As is so often the case in American culture, the "hard work" meme emerges from the slave system. Slaves had to be bullied and terrorized in order to extract "hard work" from them, given that they had zero rewards of any tangible sort for it. So "hard work" required constant vigilance and frequent punishments while slaves rationally attempted to do the least amount of work that enabled them to escape the many types of tortures they were regularly threatened with.

Then after "emancipation," plantation owners complained that they could not get any of those lazy, shiftless Negroes to perform "hard work" for them, given that the newly freed men and women were much more interested in getting ahead for themselves than continuing to pick cotton or harvest rice for starvation wages. Ever since, we have lived with the embittered voice of the slaveowner infuriated at the loss of all that labor power he once had at his disposal for free. Thus the mythology that "hard work" is all you need to perform to get ahead and the implicit wink-wink-we-know-who-won't-do-that racism that goes along with it.

MsExPat , July 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

I don't think you are over-simplifying, Clive–in Hong Kong, too, my experience has been that most people I deal with in the work world take a great deal of intrinsic pride in doing a job efficiently and well, for its own sake, not because it will necessarily make you more money. (Although often that is the result– over-performing and exceeding expectations is a great way of ensuring repeat customers and a thriving business.)

Coming from the US, where every corporate smile and "Have a Nice Day" is being recorded for performance review, I find this a most refreshing cultural trait, one that I have tried my best to assimilate.

Uahsenaa , July 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

I would add to what Clive said that in Japan the ganbare ethos is also underlined by a certain expectation that your wider social group will back you up, or at least make certain your life doesn't fall off a cliff. This doesn't always work in practice, and there are obvious examples of social groups that the Japanese polity like to pretend simply doesn't exist, but it is a cultural expectation. You even see it among homeless camps in Japan, which constitute a very clear in group.

In the US, a great of anxiety stems from the realization that you could do your best in all circumstances and still have your life fall apart, since that social backstop just isn't there, especially not in the world of meritocracy, in which you're expected to basically give up your pre-existing social networks in order to even participate.

Portia , July 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I remember one job where my Boss warned me: "Nice guys finish last here."

Nice of him, eh?

Figure out the culture of your workplace, and if you can stomach it, do what you have to do to succeed. This is what the Obamas and the Clintons have done. And geez, they can stomach a lot. But I do know people who have "worked hard" and been successful in their own businesses, and musicians are a prime example of having to really do the work to get the work. It's who you want to be recognized by, in my way of thinking.

ewmayer , July 22, 2016 at 4:37 am

I often think the better saying would be "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make outrageously successful."

With outrageous – as in wildly-disproportionate-to-effort-and-actual-talent – success comes a sense of infallibility, inevitability, hubris. A self-centered personality-cult delusion – ergo a form of madness – which often ends in a spectacular undoing. Alas, not nearly often enough, when it comes to the DC cabal of hubristic upward-failing sociopaths.

GOP convention finished with a bang tonight, and thankfully the dire pre-convention worries about the streets of Cleveland flowing with rivers of blood proved unfounded – I'd studiously avoided the previous evenings, aside from a few brief nauseating while-channel-flipping glimpses – but happened to catch Trump himself tonight. While I disliked Trump's police-centric take on American security at home, I thought he really effectively hammered the issues of economic inequality – including a mention of soaring unemployment rates in the latino and black communities (I wish he would have said more in that vein, but he did at least say something) and governmental corruption at the highest levels, as well as Hillary's multiple foreign-policy debacles; the whole "what has 15 years of blowing shit up in the middle east done for us?" issue. Also made a very pronounced point of embracing Sanders' "top issue" of bad so-called-free-trade deals, while emphasizing the degree to which things were rigged against Bernie. And closed with a nifty turning of Hillary's pet slogan against her [I paraphrase, too tired to dig the exact quote out]: "she demands a three-word loyalty oath 'I`m with her' well I'm here to tell you tonight that I'm with you ."

And the speeches by his kids (Donald Jr last night, Ivanka tonight) were both good, and I think likely surprising – in a positive way – to many people. The image of the whole family onstage post-speech will likely resonate with the traditional Republican base – clean-cut successful-looking guys and attractive ladies of a leggy-blond (but not Barbie-esque/ditzy) type I expect even folks of a conservative Mormon bent will have found something to like in that image. Scott Adams comments on the kids :

What I'm starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump's kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail.

Would be interested to hear the takes of other NC readers who watched the nomination acceptance speech.

ambrit , July 22, 2016 at 5:20 am

Re "..a minority of one.." At least you go in for nuance and reflection. My take on H Clinton and her claque is that they all perceive the Candidate as a 'majority of one.'
Your comment about the wife of Trump reminds me of the old saying by Caesar that : " Caesars' wife must be above suspicion." Thus, the genesis of the "plagiarism" attacks. The mud slinging has started early in this campaign. However, if Trumps' family can exude some sense of charm and class, the entire mud slinging strategy can be 'stood on its' head.'

JerseyJeffersonian , July 22, 2016 at 9:28 am

Me, I'm terrified of Hillary Clinton and the devastation that her ascension to the Presidency might bring to this nation and to the world. She is not only a liar, a blatantly self-dealing criminal, but more devastating yet, a sociopath of the first water, willing to walk across the bodies to advance her personal and class agenda.

Her time as President would go a long way toward cementing the Unitary Executive in place (i.e., a functional Dictator, as understood in the Roman Republican meaning of the term, a Tribune, in which a chief magistrate of the State like the President under our Constitution, whose writ as an authoritarian ruler ran so long as there was a national emergency. I serve as the clerk for government documents in a university law library, and I can tell you that the number of House Documents announcing a "National Emergency" or the continuation of a previously announced "National Emergency" is very alarming. These "emergencies" are the camel's nose under the tent in my estimation for the slow accretion of Dictatorial powers (again, in the Roman Republican sense of the term "dictator") toward the Caesar-like role of Unitary Executive. These "National Emergencies" functionally invest power into the hands of the President and those forces military, legal, and regulatory under the control of the Executive by which the President can wage military, legal/diplomatic, and economic warfare against those who refuse to bend the knee to US-dominated global hegemony.

Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force. This gives the Executive carte blanche to engage in unending wars (beginning to sound familiar?) with all that that implies concerning the dominance of the MIC in the formulation of national policies.

Hillary is practically salivating to grasp the rod of power embodied in the Unitary Executive. Warfare will follow her tenure in office like a dire shadow, and due to her belief in the right of and necessity of the US to enforce a global hegemony, she is inevitably moving toward a deadly clash with other nuclear powers unwilling to submit to the yoke of globalized, stateless, culturally-anodyne finance capitalism. Good times await.

And that is only the beginning, as the plans she has for the US citizenry are scarcely less dire, what with the inevitability of the Grand Bargain in service of Finance Capitalism looming dead ahead.

Clinton delenda est.

Russ Zimmerman , July 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

"Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force."

That allows individuals to claim they had no responsibility for the war, something Pence and Clinton cannot claim because of their votes. But on what other things do you see Obama as being a strong "unitary executive." I thought it was generally viewed that Congress had thwarted his (almost) every wish.

flora , July 22, 2016 at 10:54 am

This seems pretty strong. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-kill-list-doj-memo

tegnost , July 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

Indeed, the republicans twisted barack's arm behind his back and forced him to allow insurance company lobbyists to write the "Affordable Care Act". Since you have tsa pre check I'll guess that your cadillac plan is still operational, or if not that that all the people who pay for insurance they can't use are subsidising you, and your own health care costs have been ameliorated. They also forced him to nominate merrick garland. They forced him to foam the runway for the banks and forced him to let all the bankster crimes go unpunished. My view is that obama, like hillary, is a republican because for both of them the policies they worked to advance are republican policies. TPP, ISDS, ACA, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning I could go on and on. I agree with the author that dems like obama and hillary are interested in serving the top sliver of the population that has the lions share of the wealth. It's not right/left anymore, it's top/bottom .

And how about that patriot act renewal, US out of iraq/afganistan? Vicky nuland and the ukraine? I guess the problem is that you get your information as it is generally viewed, but you fail to indicate who it is that generally views things that way, however, it should help you understand why trump will win because hillary is generally viewed as corrupt.

flora , July 22, 2016 at 5:59 am

I think both Obama and Trump were reciting a standard variation of the American Dream™. Horatio Alger stories are part of the US mythos. Bill Clinton used a variation in 1992. Most US pols use the "up from nothing by dint of hard work and good morals" line. The flap is that O and T used the exact same words instead of noting that the sentiment itself is boilerplate?

I'm intrigued by author's concluding idea. "It involves another attempt to take over the Republican Party, this time by the Clinton-led Democratic leadership. "

Roger Smith , July 22, 2016 at 7:16 am

" And if the words were lies coming out of Obama's mouth, what are they coming out of Trump's mouth? "

They are still lies, but they are lies in keeping with the ideology that dominates the party of which Trump is the nominee. Nimni summarized this well:

"Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?"

A lot of this is related to the Democrats and what Bill made "successful" with his presidency. The lack of a truly left party that works for average citizens has created this environment when a character like Trump can gain such support. This article illustrates but another example of meritocratic nonsense being regurgitated by the party.

jrs , July 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

I think she initially claimed she wrote it didn't she? But yea it's clearly silly coming out of her mouth. Although being a model may be hard work (it could very well be frankly), she hasn't worked hard for years by now, and didn't get into such a privileged position by hard work (in whose definition exactly does marrying money count as hard work?).

So while in Michelle Obama's mouth the words are a lie, at least they might be a lie that's kind of true for her, in Misses Trumps mouth it's beyond silly. I have no idea if Mr Inherited Wealth and Misses Married Money do raise their kids that way or not. Wow the rich are crazy!!!

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 6:16 am

A thought-provoking and unexpected take, Gaius Publius. I was struck by one item left off your list of lucky attributes: beauty. Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are undeniably beautiful women -– tall, slim, with the elegantly symmetrical features prized in every culture. Sadly in beauty-obsessed America the doors opened for women who look this lovely are shut hard against women who are fat, or old, or ugly.

MsExPat , July 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

+ Good point. Jane Sanders was repeatedly ridiculed for her appearance by pro-Hillary twitter bots during Bernie's campaign , and I doubt that would have happened had she been young, fashionable and svelte.

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

There is a strong correlation between height and compensation. "When it comes to height, every inch counts–in fact, in the workplace, each inch above average may be worth $789 more per year, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 89, No. 3).

The findings suggest that someone who is 6 feet tall earns, on average, nearly $166,000 more during a 30-year career than someone who is 5 feet 5 inches–even when controlling for gender, age and weight."
http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/standing.aspx

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

That apparently is not true. One study of lawyers "found that those rated attractive on the basis of their graduation photographs went on to earn higher salaries than their less well-favoured colleagues. Moreover, lawyers in private practice tended to be better looking than those working in government departments." Even among economists, beauty pays and "attractive candidates were more successful in elections for office in the American Economic Association." http://www.economist.com/node/10311266

Roquentin , July 22, 2016 at 7:56 am

I had pretty much the exact same thought as your second "blackbird" when the video of Melania Trump plagiarizing Michele Obama's speech and all my liberal friends were yuking it up. All I could think was "If the same speech could plausibly come out of either of their mouths without alienating the audience, we have much worse problems than her Mrs. Trump's copycating." The fact that this seemed to bother hardly anyone else made it worse. So much of these elections just get reduced down to rooting for your team at a sporting event. This works well to keep people from having to deal with a lot of unpleasant questions and conclusions.

Or worse still, they've become so used to neoliberal platitudes like "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" that it's become "common sense" or the don't even recognize it as such.

A forgotten man , July 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

In case you missed it, T's entire speech was about the "forgotten man," those that work hard and still cannot make a living wage. The height of their dreams count for nothing. The system is rigged. Read Roosevelt's speech, Trump certainly did, for some real fear mongering and look at the coalition he has taken over the Republican party to form. FDR 1932.

Lambert Strether , July 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

> "another attempt to take over the Republican Party" Which shouldn't be that hard, since both the Democrat and Republican parties are neoliberal. As always, the real enemy is the left.

Jess , July 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

I'm surprised Gaius failed to address this portion of Michelle's speech which he quoted: "tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect."

Since when has Obama told the truth, or kept his promises, or treated anyone except Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blanfein with respect?

dingusansich , July 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm

you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise

Put aside whether "Michelle Obama" or some speechwriting merc came up with the banal verbiage redolent of Sunday school and Horatio Alger. What gives the snippet its special Trumpian turn into hyper-unreality, an ever-expanding balloon of hot boast and hyperbolic deceit, is the way it transcends garden-variety plagiarism by laying claim to the very virtues that the appropriation itself falsifies.

That's chutzpah! The stunning effrontery supersizes an overall meta-ness that's less indicative of middle-class morality and meritocracy than the predatory opportunism of the exploitative rich, what C. Wright Mills might have recognized as the "higher immorality." Here we have a colossally vain billionaire atop an empire of glitz and privilege kayfabing his way to a party nomination as the indignant voice of the brutalized working class he's dedicated his life to disparaging as envious losers. The mind reels between giddiness and nausea.

What then exists outside the genteel social Darwinism of meritocratic ideology and further descent into a society of the spectacle, the Reaganite sitcom devolved into the Trump unreality show? To the gnomic, sidelong mysticism of Stevens let's add the frontal transvaluation of a sardonic Shaw:

What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I'm one of the undeserving poor: that's what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he's up agen middle class morality all the time. If there's anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it's always the same story: 'You're undeserving; so you can't have it.' But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow's that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don't need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don't eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, cause I'm a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything.

Governors both, Democrats and Republicans, the meritocrats and the masters. What must be taken in is that the unskilled, the uneducated, the out of step, the unlucky, all need the means to live. If that's taken from them by the self-described deserving on the Acela and the higher immoralists in their towers and Gulfstreams, a democracy will begin to wobble like a spinning coin on the verge. You can't educate that away. You can't forever distract it away with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and color counter-revolutions against exploitative freeloaders (the non-rich and famous ones, that is). It takes an philosophy of human worth apart from vanities over this or that temporarily adaptive skill or happy accident.

When the market is be all and end all, an expression of natural law and supernatural giver of meaning, it's hard to see how even a managed, minimal democracy can prevail except as grotesque, corrupt parody, a mood traced in the shadow a decipherable cause. Or did I read something like that somewhere, like in a poem?

George S , July 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I don't recall Ms. Obama's speech. Based on the excerpts I heard during the recent news cycle (from both speeches) were pathetic. I think Oren Nimni basically gets it right: When you cut through the tautologies and the bromides that many parents deliver to their children, what you have is the message, "don't expect government to be there for you; those days are over" (which, actually, sounds like Bubba Bill's pitch–"the day's of big government are over").

... ... ...

Tim , July 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

If you work hard enough and have enough ambition you will succeed is not a lie to those born on 3rd base, it was true for them. The Obama's the Trumps. They are really just guilty of not understanding the plight of those who were born at bat against a major league pitcher.

... ... ...

[Sep 02, 2017] No Russian Hacking In Durham Election - NY Times Report Belies Its Headline

NYT = neocon/neolib fear mongering and neo-McCarthyism.
If we assume that Russians can control election machine, the question arise about the CIA role in the US elections. They are much more powerful and that's their home turf. And they can pretend to be Russians of Chinese at will. Then they can cry "Thief" to divert attention. Does this that promoting Russia hacking story they implicitly reveal to us that elections are controlled by Deep State and electronic voting machines and voter rosters are just a tool to this end. They allow to get rid of human vote counting and that alone makes hijacking of the election results really easy. machine magically calculates the votes and you are done. As Stalin said it doesn't matter how people are voting, what matters is who is calculating the votes.
Dems should concentrate on removing neoliberal/Clinton wing of the Party from the leadership and making it at lease "A New Deal" Party, not sold to Wall Steer bunch of fear mongering neocons. Anti-Russian campaign is designed to sabotage those efforts.
Notable quotes:
"... All of the reported troubles are simple computer hiccups that would not have occurred in a more reasonable election system build on paper and pencil balloting. All the computer troubles have various innocent causes ..."
"... Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in one district would have effected the general election. There was thereby no motive for anyone to hack these systems: ..."
"... The NYT headline is an outrageous lie. It promotes as causal fact completely unproven interference and troubles for which, as the article notes, plenty of other reason might exist. It is politically irresponsible. Only two out of ten people read beyond the headlines. Even fewer will read down to paragraph five and recognize that the headline lies. All others will have been willfully misled by the editors of the New York Times. ..."
"... The whole "Russian hacking" issue is a series of big lies designed and promulgated by Democratic partisans (specifically Brennan and Clapper who were then at the head of U.S. intelligence services) ..."
"... The New York Times, and other media, present these lies as facts while not providing any evidence for them. In many cases they hide behind " intelligence reports " without noting suspiciously mealymouthed caveats in those subjective "assessments" of obviously partisan authors. Hard facts contradicting their conclusions are simply ignored and not reported at all. ..."
"... "Never trust a computer with anything important." I have been relentlessly campaigning against the use of voting machines, particularly voting computers, since 2004. I have demanded openly hand counted paper ballots in hundreds of blog posts, and even have a website promoting this. ..."
"... At the end of the day it is obvious that the Deep State Syndicate controls the machines, and thus the elections. And then they have the nerve to demand that we must beware of "Russian hacking"! ..."
"... The whole Russia stole my homework meme is getting fairly old and it makes me wonder what they are really hiding with this ongoing obfuscation of the facts......if the drums of war are loud enough will they drown out the calls for justice by any of the current or recent politicians? ..."
Sep 02, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The last piece pointed out that the NYT headline " U.N. Peacekeepers in Lebanon Get Stronger Inspection Powers for Hezbollah Arms " was 100% fake news. The UNIFIL U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon were not getting any stronger inspection powers. The relevant UN Security Resolution, which renewed UNIFIL's mandate, had made no such changes. No further inspection powers were authorized.

Today we find another similarly lying headline in the New York Times.

Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny

By NICOLE PERLROTH, MICHAEL WINES and MATTHEW ROSENBERGSEPT. 1, 2017

The piece is about minor technical election trouble in a district irrelevant to the presidential election outcome. Contradicting the headline it notes in paragraph five:

There are plenty of other reasons for such breakdowns -- local officials blamed human error and software malfunctions -- and no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it
"We don't know if any of the problems were an accident, or the random problems you get with computer systems, or whether it was a local hacker, or actual malfeasance by a sovereign nation-state," said Michael Daniel, who served as the cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House. "If you really want to know what happened, you'd have to do a lot of forensics, a lot of research and investigation, and you may not find out even then."

...

the firm had not conducted any malware analysis or checked to see if any of the e-poll book software was altered, adding that the report produced more questions than answers.

All of the reported troubles are simple computer hiccups that would not have occurred in a more reasonable election system build on paper and pencil balloting. All the computer troubles have various innocent causes. The officials handling these systems deny that any "Russian hacking" was involved. Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in one district would have effected the general election. There was thereby no motive for anyone to hack these systems:

Despite the disruptions, a record number of votes were cast in Durham, following a pattern there of overwhelming support for Democratic presidential candidates , this time Hillary Clinton.

The NYT headline is an outrageous lie. It promotes as causal fact completely unproven interference and troubles for which, as the article notes, plenty of other reason might exist. It is politically irresponsible. Only two out of ten people read beyond the headlines. Even fewer will read down to paragraph five and recognize that the headline lies. All others will have been willfully misled by the editors of the New York Times.

This scheme is the gist of ALL reporting about the alleged "Russian hacking" of the U.S. presidential election. There exists zero evidence that Russia was involved in anything related to it. No evidence -none at all- links the publishing of DNC papers or of Clinton counselor Podesta's emails to Russia. Thousands of other circumstances, people or political entities might have had their hands in the issue. There is zero evidence that Russia was involved at all.

The whole "Russian hacking" issue is a series of big lies designed and promulgated by Democratic partisans (specifically Brennan and Clapper who were then at the head of U.S. intelligence services) to:

The New York Times, and other media, present these lies as facts while not providing any evidence for them. In many cases they hide behind " intelligence reports " without noting suspiciously mealymouthed caveats in those subjective "assessments" of obviously partisan authors. Hard facts contradicting their conclusions are simply ignored and not reported at all.

Posted by b on September 1, 2017 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

WG | Sep 2, 2017 1:27:08 AM | 1

Look at what happened today in San Francisco - after ordering the Russians to shut down their embassy there in an unreasonably short timeframe, they then had the fire department respond to smoke coming out of the chimney of the building. Conveniently this brings attention to the situation and continues the narrative of 'ongoing conflict' to the American people.

The end of this story has already decided. It didn't matter who won the election, it doesn't matter that the people chose the candidate who wanted peace, and it doesn't matter that there wasn't any Russian election hacking.

blues | Sep 2, 2017 1:37:27 AM | 2
"Never trust a computer with anything important." I have been relentlessly campaigning against the use of voting machines, particularly voting computers, since 2004. I have demanded openly hand counted paper ballots in hundreds of blog posts, and even have a website promoting this.

At the end of the day it is obvious that the Deep State Syndicate controls the machines, and thus the elections. And then they have the nerve to demand that we must beware of "Russian hacking"!

Get strategic hedge simple score voting today!

psychohistorian | Sep 2, 2017 1:59:38 AM | 3
The whole Russia stole my homework meme is getting fairly old and it makes me wonder what they are really hiding with this ongoing obfuscation of the facts......if the drums of war are loud enough will they drown out the calls for justice by any of the current or recent politicians?

Yes, of course.....thats the plan.....is it working?

If not, invade Venezuela on some pretext and claim ownership of their oil....someone has to make Israel look reasonable.

Bob | Sep 2, 2017 2:01:39 AM | 4
What a bizarre article.
"We don't know if any of the problems were an accident, or the random problems you get with computer systems, or whether it was a local hacker, or actual malfeasance by a sovereign nation-state," said Michael Daniel, who served as the cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House. "If you really want to know what happened, you'd have to do a lot of forensics, a lot of research and investigation, and you may not find out even then."

...

the firm had not conducted any malware analysis or checked to see if any of the e-poll book software was altered, adding that the report produced more questions than answers.

They don't even know what happened. Best blame it on the Russians anyway.

Perimtr | Sep 2, 2017 3:07:52 AM | 5
The "paper of record" is just another outlet for the Ministry of Propaganda.
Kalen | Sep 2, 2017 3:22:15 AM | 6
B of course realizes that the headline of an article is almost never written by author but by an editor.

Such as blatant nonsense at NYT and elsewhere I think is possible when author wanting to get published on good NYT page would lie to editor about its contents.

Of course Editor is no idiot and in old American tradition of pretending and deniability does not read it to cover his/her butt and hence this obvious crap get published epitomizing a failure {actually Orwellian success] of editor to vet the paper, as long as bosses are happy with insinuations however baseless.

Shakesvshav | Sep 2, 2017 3:31:33 AM | 7
The Guardian still sees mileage in Pussy Riot, or at least one former member: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/01/pussy-riot-mariya-alyokhina-russian-activist-jailed-white-house
Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2017 7:21:37 AM | 8
...
Of course Editor is no idiot and in old American tradition of pretending and deniability does not read it to cover his/her butt and hence this obvious crap get published epitomizing a failure {actually Orwellian success] of editor to vet the paper, as long as bosses are happy with insinuations however baseless.
Posted by: Kalen | Sep 2, 2017 3:22:15 AM | 6

I like the theory that NYT's sub-editors are too lazy/busy/careless to read the articles they're paid to summarise and add an appealing headline. It's certainly food for thought when pondering possible Chain Of Command issues within the MSM.

When I was a regular lurker at What's Left, one notable aspect was the frequency with which Gowans' most stunning revelations were sourced from the nether regions of articles published in the NYT, WaPo et al.

Lawrence Smith | Sep 2, 2017 9:59:42 AM | 9
What this all speaks of is ineptitude and malfeasance at all levels of government. Lies covering more lies. The only things that gets done in Washington iare covering asses and those, like their wars without end, are complete and utter failures. That the Clinton mob are sore losers and press on with delegitimization of a clown president who, unlike the wicked witch of the West, feigned disinterest in war and won what's left of a hollowed out presidency is theatre of the absurd par excellence. Build the fence around the beltway and keep the psychopaths in the asylum in.
doug | Sep 2, 2017 10:44:46 AM | 10
Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in one district would have effected the general election. There was thereby no motive for anyone to hack these systems:

Plenty wrong with that logic...gosh...give it some thought...a tiny bit will help there...

james | Sep 2, 2017 11:01:34 AM | 12
yeah - more stories on pussy riot.. a story like how pussy riot ate george soros, or putins breakfast would be good..... when i read the nyt, i want a story filled with lies and deception... i'm running away from reality and heading straight for the nyt, lol..
Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2017 11:20:17 AM | 14
...
Plenty wrong with that logic...gosh...give it some thought...a tiny bit will help there...
Posted by: doug | Sep 2, 2017 10:44:46 AM | 10

It would only be a logical fallacy if it said... "Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in more than one district would have effected the general election." ...but it doesn't, so it isn't.

[Sep 01, 2017] Warren and DemoRat friends

Sep 01, 2017 | theintercept.com

September 1 2017

Mass Independent Joshua88 September 1 2017, 3:29 p.m. Interested in knowing what you think Sen Warren is consistent about.

She has recently joined the Gramps McCain war monger club and told TYT's Cenk Uygur in an interview that she thinks "Russia" is the most important issue for 2018. She gone full Dem idiot and has lost my vote (yes, in Mass) but then again, every vote I ever cast for DemocRATs has been a disappointment. Kerry for Senator and POTUS, Obomber once, Warren once. It's too much, and I'm done with them for good. Reply Joshua88 Mass Independent September 1 2017, 3:45 p.m. Her economic message and message of equity/fairness are consistent.

I know about her support for the defense industry.
I did not know how she feels about Russia.
I know she didn't vote against sanctions and war funding, as well as not speaking out against drones, etc.

All I can tell you is that, as an Independent, I am extremely harsh, disgusted, and fed up with the Dems. They are the hopeless party. I listened to Rep Joe Crowley early this morning. Christalmighty – these people ought to be put out of their misery.

What gives me optimism is that: How easy is it to tweet Ms Slaughter to say, Nobody believes you; Joe Crowley, you are out of your mind. Keep thinking these thoughts and you will LOSE 2018? Very easy, I am sure.

Your nicknames are so sophomoric – are you about twelve/thirteen? Reply Mass Independent Joshua88 September 1 2017, 5:39 p.m. So while we basically agree on our politicians, you take issue with my nicknames for them? How sophomoric of you.

I am equally disgusted and fed up with them, so I try to get under their skin (too). Reply sglover September 1 2017, 2:42 p.m. Google aside, Slaughter's perch at this Beltway feeding trough just goes to show how for somebody like her, the sweet gigs keep on coming no matter how much or how often you fuck up. How many idiotic military adventures has Slaughter advocated? Naturally, neither she nor anybody she knows ever has to pay the cost of her crackpot enthusiasms .. Reply Mass Independent sglover September 1 2017, 3:24 p.m. For all her liberal schooling, her "evolution" as a Hillary NeoCon type is complete. These are the DemocRATS who are ruining the country–with the help of their corporately owned counterparts, the Rethuglicans. Reply free September 1 2017, 2:12 p.m. Corporatins are a creation of the US state and proxies of the US state. That's particularly clear in the case of google-NSA, facebook-NSA, amazon,NSA. PAYPAL-EBAY-NSA etc.

It's quite unlkely tht the US nazi government is going to do anything against those companies because the US gov't has no reason to cut its own arms. Reply Nonsenseyousay free September 1 2017, 2:19 p.m. Welcome to Earth, but that is not how things work here in the United States. Reply free Nonsenseyousay September 1 2017, 3:18 p.m. What the fuck do you mean. That is exactly how things work in the american cesspool. Reply Alferrer September 1 2017, 12:37 p.m. Our politicians are for sale. Reply GhostofTeddyRoosevelt September 1 2017, 11:59 a.m. As a libertarian, i am pretty much hands off the market. However, many tech firms have gotten to a point of no return. At some point the Sherman Act needs to be enlisted.
In the 70s Standard Oil was busted for a lot less. Google, Amazon, Fakebook, Apple, need strutiny and likely busted as well.
I also would put a few large ag & chemical interests into this mix.
The control they wield is no longer acceptable. Reply Joe September 1 2017, 11:10 a.m. This goes to show you how Google is using its monopoly power to crush dissent and destroy its rivals. If there was ever a textbook case of monopolistic abuse that calls out for antitrust action, this is it. Reply Darren Douglas September 1 2017, 10:04 a.m. Time to split up Google (search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) and maybe Amazon (Washington Post, Whole Foods, etc.). Google in particular is a potentially harmful monopoly for freedom of speech. Reply Elizabeth September 1 2017, 9:46 a.m. Great reporting! THANK YOU Reply Benito Mussolini September 1 2017, 9:45 a.m. Washington is a marketplace for buying and selling influence. If you drain the swamp, it doesn't make the marketplace disappear, just renders it transparent. Google's behavior does not seem exceptional, at least when compared with the machinations of Big Oil and the Military-Industrial complex. As far as I know, Google isn't agitating for the invasion of any foreign countries.

[Aug 26, 2017] Court Admits DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schulz Rigged Primaries Against Sanders by Michael Sainato

Notable quotes:
"... In evaluating Plaintiffs' claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true -- that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent, ..."
"... The order reaffirmed that the primaries were tipped in Hillary Clinton's favor, but the court's authority to intervene in a court of law is limited. ..."
"... "The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign. It assumes that they devoted their resources to assist Clinton in securing the party's nomination and opposing other Democratic candidates. And it assumes that they engaged in these surreptitious acts while publically proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial. This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction." ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | observer.com

In June 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for violating the DNC Charter by rigging the Democratic presidential primaries for Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. Even former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted in July 2016, ""I knew!everybody knew!that this was not a fair deal." He added adding that Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have resigned much sooner than she did. The lawsuit was filed to push the DNC to admit their wrongdoing and provide Bernie Sanders supporters, who supported him financially with millions of dollars in campaign contributions, with restitution for being cheated.

On August 25, 2017, Federal Judge William Zloch, dismissed the lawsuit after several months of litigation in which DNC attorneys argued that the DNC would be well within their rights to rig primaries and select their own candidate. " In evaluating Plaintiffs' claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true -- that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent, " the court order dismissing the lawsuit stated.

The order then explained why the lawsuit would be dismissed. "The Court must now decide whether Plaintiffs have suffered a concrete injury particularized to them, or one certainly impending, that is traceable to the DNC and its former chair's conduct!the keys to entering federal court. The Court holds that they have not." The court added that it did not consider this within its jurisdiction. "Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing 'only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.'"

The order reaffirmed that the primaries were tipped in Hillary Clinton's favor, but the court's authority to intervene in a court of law is limited.

"The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign. It assumes that they devoted their resources to assist Clinton in securing the party's nomination and opposing other Democratic candidates. And it assumes that they engaged in these surreptitious acts while publically proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial. This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction."

At this time, it's unclear if the attorneys who filed the class action lawsuit, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, will pursue other legal recourse regarding the 2016 Democratic primaries.

[Aug 20, 2017] The chattering political classes have converged on the belief that Trump is not only incompetent, but dangerous. They use identity politics to discredit his base.

The USA started to imitate post-Maydan Ukraine: another war with statues... "Identity politics" flourishing in some unusual areas like history of the country. Which like in Ukraine is pretty divisive.
McAuliffe was co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and was one of her superdelegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Notable quotes:
"... The thrust appears to be to undercut components of his base while ratcheting up indignation. WaPo and the Times dribble out salacious "news" stories that, often as not, are substance free but written in a hyperbolic style that assumes a kind of intrinsic Trump guilt and leaps from there. They know better. No doubt they rationalize this as meeting kind with kind. ..."
"... It reminds me of the coverage in the run up to Nixon's resignation. Except this one's on steroids. I believe the DC folks fully expect Trump to be removed and now are focusing on the strategy that accrues the maximum benefit to their party. Unfortunately, things strongly favor the Democrats. ..."
"... Democrats want to drag this out as long as possible and enjoy the chipping away at segments of the Republican base while the Republicans want to clear the path before the midterms. However, the Republican officials, much as many or most can't stand Trump, have to weave a thin line because taking action against Trump would kill them in the primaries and possibly in the general. ..."
"... So the Democrats are licking their chops and hoping this can continue until the midterms with the expectation they will then control Congress. ..."
"... Some of you still don't get it. Trump isn't our last chance. Its your last chance. Yet still so many of you oxygen thieves still insist RUSSIA is the reason Hillary lost. You guys are going to agitate your way into a CW because you can't accept you lost. Many of you agitating are fat, slow, and stupid, with no idea how to survive. ..."
"... From day one after the unexpected (for the punditry class and their media coherts) elections results everybody was piling on Trump. The stories abound about his Russia Collusion (after one year of investigation not even a smoke signal) or his narcistic attitudes (mind you LeeG Trump always addresses people as We where as Humble Obama always addresses in the first person). ..."
"... I get this feeling the Swamp doesn't want a President who will at least try to do something for the American people rather than promises (Remember Hope and Change ala Obama, he got the Change quite a bit of it for him and his Banker Pals from what is left of the treasury and we the people are left with Hope). ..."
"... Someone on the last thread said in a very elegant way that what binds us Americans together is one thing, economic opportunity for all. I believe that was Trump's election platform, with the "for all" emphasized frequently. ..."
"... There is quite the precedent for the media treating trump as they do, Putin has been treated quite similarly, as well as any other politician the media cars disagree with [neocons/neolibs]... ..."
"... I think, during the election campaign, the negative media coverage may have well be a boon to him. Anyone who listened to the media, and then actually turned up at a Trump rally to see for himself, immediately got the idea that the media is full of shit. I think this won Trump a fair number of converts. ..."
"... But I think by now they are just over the top. It almost reminds me of Soviet denunciations of old communists who have fallen out of favor. ..."
"... The one clear thing is that there is a coup attempt to get rid of Donald Trump led by globalist media and supra-national corporate intelligence agents. Charlottesville may well be due to the total incompetence of the democratic governor and mayor. ..."
"... On the other hand, the razing of Confederate Memorials started in democrat controlled New Orleans and immediately spread to Baltimore. This is purposeful like blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election. ..."
"... The unrest here at home is due to the forever wars, outsourcing jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity. Under stress societies revert to their old beliefs and myths. John Brennon, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are scorpions; they can't help themselves. After regime change was forced on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine; a color revolution has been ignited here in the USA; damn the consequences. We are the only ones that can stop it by pointing out what is really happening. ..."
"... What I see in my Democrat dominated county is that the blue collar folks are noting this overt coup attempt and while they didn't vote for Trump are beginning to become sympathetic towards him. I sense this is in part due to the massive mistrust of the MSM and the political establishment who are viewed as completely self-serving. ..."
"... I read a transcript of the entirety of Trump's news conference upon which CBS and others are basing their claims that Trump is "defending white supremacists," and at no point did he come within hand grenade distance of doing anything of the sort. What he did do is accuse the left wing group of being at fault along with the right wing group in causing the violence, and he did not even claim that they were equally at fault. ..."
"... There is no doubt whatever that his statement was entirely accurate, if in no other respect in that the left's decision to engage in proximate confrontation was certain to cause violence and was, in fact, designed to do so regardless of who threw the first punch. CBS and other media of its caliber are completely avoiding mentioning that aspect of the confrontation. ..."
"... CBS et. al. have been touting the left's possession of not one but two permits for public assembly, but they carefully do not point out that the permits were for two areas well removed from the area where the conflict occurred, and that they did not have a permit to assemble in that area. ..."
"... The media is flailing with the horror of Trump's advocacy of racial division, but it is the Democratic Party which has for more than a decade pursued the policy of "identity politics," and the media which has prated endlessly about "who will get the black vote" or "how Hispanics will vote" in every election. ..."
"... As a firm believer in the media efforts to sabotage Trump and a former supporter (now agnostic, trending negative - Goldman Sachs swamp creatures in the Oval Office????), he greatly disappointed me. First, i will state, that I do not believe Trump is antisemitic (no antisemite will surround himself with rich Jewish Bankers). ..."
"... It doesn't matter whether Trump is getting a raw deal or not. Politics has nothing to do with fairness. ..."
"... But when you've lost Bob Corker, and even Newt Gingrich is getting wobbly, when Fox News is having a hard time finding Republicans willing to go on and defend Trump, you don't need to be Nostradamus to see what's going to happen. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

doug , 17 August 2017 at 04:54 PM

The media, and political elite, pile on is precisely what I expect. The chattering political classes have converged on the belief that Trump is not only incompetent, but dangerous. And his few allies are increasingly uncertain of their future.

The thrust appears to be to undercut components of his base while ratcheting up indignation. WaPo and the Times dribble out salacious "news" stories that, often as not, are substance free but written in a hyperbolic style that assumes a kind of intrinsic Trump guilt and leaps from there. They know better. No doubt they rationalize this as meeting kind with kind. Trump is the epitome of the salesman that believes he can sell anything to anyone with the right pitch. Reporters that might normally be restrained by actual facts and a degree of fairness simply are no longer so constrained.

It reminds me of the coverage in the run up to Nixon's resignation. Except this one's on steroids. I believe the DC folks fully expect Trump to be removed and now are focusing on the strategy that accrues the maximum benefit to their party. Unfortunately, things strongly favor the Democrats.

Democrats want to drag this out as long as possible and enjoy the chipping away at segments of the Republican base while the Republicans want to clear the path before the midterms. However, the Republican officials, much as many or most can't stand Trump, have to weave a thin line because taking action against Trump would kill them in the primaries and possibly in the general.

So the Democrats are licking their chops and hoping this can continue until the midterms with the expectation they will then control Congress. After that they will happily dispatch Trump with some discovered impeachable crime. At that point it won't be hard to get enough Republicans to go along.

The Republicans can only hope to convince Trump to resign well prior to the midterms. They hope they won't have to go on record with a vote and get nailed in the elections.

In the meantime the country is going to go through hell.

turcopolier , 17 August 2017 at 05:19 PM
kerim,

Yes, we are staring into the depths and the abyss has begun to take note of us. BTW the US was put back together after the CW/WBS on the basis of an understanding that the Confederates would accept the situation and the North would not interfere with their cultural rituals.

There was a general amnesty for former Confederates in the 1870s and a number of them became US senators, Consuls General overseas and state governors.

That period of attempted reconciliation has now ended. Who can imagine the "Gone With the Win" Pulitzer and Best Picture of the Year now? pl

Tyler , 17 August 2017 at 05:30 PM
Some of you still don't get it. Trump isn't our last chance. Its your last chance. Yet still so many of you oxygen thieves still insist RUSSIA is the reason Hillary lost. You guys are going to agitate your way into a CW because you can't accept you lost. Many of you agitating are fat, slow, and stupid, with no idea how to survive.
Murali -> LeeG... , 17 August 2017 at 05:38 PM
I totally disagree with you LeeG. From day one after the unexpected (for the punditry class and their media coherts) elections results everybody was piling on Trump. The stories abound about his Russia Collusion (after one year of investigation not even a smoke signal) or his narcistic attitudes (mind you LeeG Trump always addresses people as We where as Humble Obama always addresses in the first person).

I get this feeling the Swamp doesn't want a President who will at least try to do something for the American people rather than promises (Remember Hope and Change ala Obama, he got the Change quite a bit of it for him and his Banker Pals from what is left of the treasury and we the people are left with Hope). I hope he will succeed but I learnt that we will always be left with Hope!

AK -> Dr.Puck... , 17 August 2017 at 06:27 PM
Dr. Puck,

The calls have begun:

That last tweet is from the Green Party candidate for VP. Those are just a few examples from a quick Google search before I get back to work. Those of you with more disposable time will surely find more.

BillWade , 17 August 2017 at 06:47 PM
Someone on the last thread said in a very elegant way that what binds us Americans together is one thing, economic opportunity for all. I believe that was Trump's election platform, with the "for all" emphasized frequently.

I believe Charlottsville was a staged catalyst to bring about Trump's downfall, there seems now to be a "full-court press" against him. If he survives this latest attempt, I'll be both surprised and in awe of his political skills. If he doesn't survive I'll (and many others, no matter the "legality of the process") will consider it a coup d'etat and start to think of a different way to prepare for the future.

A.I.Schmelzer , 17 August 2017 at 07:20 PM
There is quite the precedent for the media treating trump as they do, Putin has been treated quite similarly, as well as any other politician the media cars disagree with [neocons/neolibs]...

I think, during the election campaign, the negative media coverage may have well be a boon to him. Anyone who listened to the media, and then actually turned up at a Trump rally to see for himself, immediately got the idea that the media is full of shit. I think this won Trump a fair number of converts.

But I think by now they are just over the top. It almost reminds me of Soviet denunciations of old communists who have fallen out of favor.

As far as statue removal goes: There should be legal ways of deciding such things democratically. There should also be the possibility of relocating the statues in question. I imagine that there should be plenty of private properties who are willing to host these statues on their land. This should be quite soundly protected by the US constitution.

That these monuments got, iirc, erected long after the war is nothing unusual. Same is true for monuments to the white army, of which there are now a couple in Russia.

As far as the civil war goes, my sympathies lie with the Union, I would not be, more then a 100 years after the war, be averse to monuments depicting the common Confederate Soldier.

I can understand the statue toppler somewhat. If someone would place a Bandera statue in my surroundings, I would try to wreck it. I may be willing to tolerate a Petljura statue, probably a also Wrangel or Denikin statue, but not a Vlassov or Shuskevich statue. Imho Lees "wickedness", historically speaking, simply isn't anything extraordinary.

Haralambos -> turcopolier ... , 17 August 2017 at 07:29 PM
Col., thank you for this comment. I grew up in the "North" and recall the centenary of the Civil War as featured in _Life_ magazine. I was fascinated by the history, the uniforms and the composition of the various armies as well as their arms. I would add to that the devastating use of grapeshot. I knew the biographies of the various generals on both sides and their relative effectiveness. I would urge others to read Faulkner's _Intruder in the Dust_ to gain some understanding of the Reconstruction and carpetbagging.

I believe the choice to remove the monument as opposed to some other measure, such as the bit of history you offer, was highly incendiary. I also find it interesting that the ACLU is taking up their case in regard to free-speech: http://tinyurl.com/ybdkrcaz

I was living in Chicago when the Skokie protest occurred.

Fred -> Lars... , 17 August 2017 at 07:36 PM
Lars,

"They came to Charlottesville to do harm. They came armed and were looking for a fight."

I agree. This means Governor McAuliffe failed in his duty to the people of the Commonwealth and so did the Mayor of Charlottesville and the senior members of the police forces present in the city. Congradulations to the alt-left.

They - the left - previously came to DC to do harm - on flag day no less. Namely the Bernie Bro James Hodgkinson, domestic terrorist, who attempted to assasinate Steve Scalise and a number of other elected representatives. The left did not denounce him nor his cause. Sadly they did not even denounce the people who actually betrayed him - those who rigged the Democratic primary: Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Seamus Padraig -> Dr.Puck... , 17 August 2017 at 07:40 PM
"I know of no call by anybody to remove all statues of the slaveholders. Please edify."

Well, it appears that Al Sharpton is now in favor of defunding the Jefferson Memorial. That's close, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg4XKIX1bs4&feature=youtu.be&t=5

VietnamVet , 17 August 2017 at 08:32 PM
PT

The one clear thing is that there is a coup attempt to get rid of Donald Trump led by globalist media and supra-national corporate intelligence agents. Charlottesville may well be due to the total incompetence of the democratic governor and mayor.

On the other hand, the razing of Confederate Memorials started in democrat controlled New Orleans and immediately spread to Baltimore. This is purposeful like blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election.

The protestors on both divides were organized and spoiling for a fight.

The unrest here at home is due to the forever wars, outsourcing jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity. Under stress societies revert to their old beliefs and myths. John Brennon, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are scorpions; they can't help themselves. After regime change was forced on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine; a color revolution has been ignited here in the USA; damn the consequences. We are the only ones that can stop it by pointing out what is really happening.

James , 17 August 2017 at 09:32 PM
It seems to me that this brouhaha may work in Trump's favor. The more different things they accuse Trump of (without evidence), the more diluted their message becomes.

I think the Borg's collective hysteria can be explained by the "unite the right" theme of the Charlottesville Rally. A lot of Trump supporters are very angry, and if they start marching next to people who are carrying signs that blame "the Jews" for America's problems, then anti-Zionist (or even outright anti-Semitic) thinking might start to go mainstream. The Borg would do well to work to address the Trump supporters legitimate grievances. There are a number of different ways that things might get very ugly if they don't. Unfortunately the establishment just wants to heap abuse on the Trump supporters and I think that approach is myopic.

Jack , 17 August 2017 at 09:56 PM
There will always be an outrage du jour for the NeverTrumpers. The Jake Tapper, Rachel Maddow, Morning Joe & Mika ain't gonna quit. And it seems it's ratings gold for them. Of course McCain and his office wife and the rest of the establishment crew also have to come out to ring the obligatory bell and say how awful Trump's tweet was.

What I see in my Democrat dominated county is that the blue collar folks are noting this overt coup attempt and while they didn't vote for Trump are beginning to become sympathetic towards him. I sense this is in part due to the massive mistrust of the MSM and the political establishment who are viewed as completely self-serving.

Cvillereader -> turcopolier ... , 17 August 2017 at 10:17 PM
It is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to wear a mask that covers one's face in most public settings.

LEOs in Central Va encountered this exact requirement when a man in a motorcycle helmet entered a Walmart on Rt 29 in 2012. Several customers reported him to 911 because they believed him to being acting suspiciously. He was detained in Albemarle County and was eventually submitted for mental health evaluation.

This is not a law that Charlottesville police would be unfamiliar with.

luxetveritas , 17 August 2017 at 10:45 PM
Chomsky: "As for Antifa, it's a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were. "It's a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant."

"what they do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks – and [the movement] is generally self-destructive."

"When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it's the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is. That's quite apart from the opportunity costs – the loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism."

Bill H , 18 August 2017 at 02:02 AM
I read a transcript of the entirety of Trump's news conference upon which CBS and others are basing their claims that Trump is "defending white supremacists," and at no point did he come within hand grenade distance of doing anything of the sort. What he did do is accuse the left wing group of being at fault along with the right wing group in causing the violence, and he did not even claim that they were equally at fault.

There is no doubt whatever that his statement was entirely accurate, if in no other respect in that the left's decision to engage in proximate confrontation was certain to cause violence and was, in fact, designed to do so regardless of who threw the first punch. CBS and other media of its caliber are completely avoiding mentioning that aspect of the confrontation.

CBS et. al. have been touting the left's possession of not one but two permits for public assembly, but they carefully do not point out that the permits were for two areas well removed from the area where the conflict occurred, and that they did not have a permit to assemble in that area. A pundit on CBS claimed that "if they went" to the park in question, which of course they did, "they would not have been arrested because it was a public park." He failed to mention that large groups still are required to have a permit to assemble in a public park.

The media is flailing with the horror of Trump's advocacy of racial division, but it is the Democratic Party which has for more than a decade pursued the policy of "identity politics," and the media which has prated endlessly about "who will get the black vote" or "how Hispanics will vote" in every election.

Old Microbiologist -> Lars... , 18 August 2017 at 03:53 AM
Lars, but they came with a legal permit to protest and knew what they would be facing. The anti-protestors including ANTIFA had a large number of people being paid to be there and funded by Soros and were there illegally. The same mechanisms were in place to ramp up protests like in Ferguson which were violent and this response was no different.

However, the Virginia Governor a crony of the Clintons, ordered a police stand down and no effort was made to separate the groups. I remind you also that open carry is legal in Virginia.

So, IMHO this was deliberately set up for a lethal confrontation by the people on the left. I will also remind you that the American Nazi Party and the American Communist Party among others, are perfectly legal in the US as is the KKK. Believing and saying what you want, no matter how offensive, is legal under the First Amendment. Actively discriminating against someone is not legal but speech is. Say what you want but that is the Constitution.

AK -> Richardstevenhack ... , 18 August 2017 at 04:02 AM
Richardstevenshack,

Your last paragraph is a suitably Leftist post-modern ideological oversimplification of an infinitely complex phenomenon. It also reveals a great deal of what motivates the SJW Left:

" As for the notion that this is a 'cultural issue', I quote: 'Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.' 'Culture' is the means by which some people oppress others. It's much like 'civilization' or 'ethics' or 'morality' - a tool to beat people over the head who have something you want. "

First, it is a cultural issue. It's an issue between people who accept this culture as a necessary but flawed, yet incrementally improvable structure for carrying out a relatively peaceful existence among one another, and those whose grudging, bitter misanthropy has led them to the conclusion that the whole thing isn't fair (i.e. easy) so fuck it, burn it all down. In no uncertain terms, this is the ethos driving the radical Left.

Second, I don't know exactly which culture created you, but I'm fairly sure it was a western liberal democracy, as I'm fairly certain is the case with almost all Leftists these days, regardless of how radical. And I'm also fairly certain the culture you decry is the western liberal democratic culture in its current iterations. But before you or anyone else lights the fuse on that, remember that the very culture you want to burn down because it's so loathsome, that's the thing that gave you that shiny device you use to connect with the world, it's the thing that taught you how to articulate your thoughts into written and spoken word, so that you could then go out and bitch about it, and it even lets you bitch about it, freely and with no consequences. This "civilization" is the thing that gives rise to the "morals" and "ethics" that allow you to take your shiny gadgets to a coffee shop, where the barista makes your favorite beverage, instead of simply smashing you over the head and taking your shiny gadgets because he wants them. These principles didn't arise out of thin air, and neither did you, me, or anyone else. This culture is an agreed-upon game that most of us play to ensure we stand a chance at getting though this with as little suffering as possible. It's not perfect, but it works better than anything else I've seen in history.

Old Microbiologist -> FourthAndLong... , 18 August 2017 at 04:12 AM
Not as significant but along a similar trend to re-write history is this pastor asking Chicago mayor Emmanuel to rename parks named for Presidents because they were also slave owners. http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/08/inevitable-chicago-pastor-demands-washington-name-be-removed-from-park-because-of-slavery-ties/
AK -> Tyler... , 18 August 2017 at 04:33 AM
In his inimitable fashion, I'll grant Tyler (and the Colonel, as well) the creditable foresight to call this one. Those of you who find yourselves wishing, hoping, agitating, and activisting for an overturn of the election result, and/or of traditional American culture in general would do well to take their warnings seriously.

If traditional American culture is so deeply and irredeemably corrupt, I must ask, what's your alternative? And how do you mean to install it? I would at least like to know that. Regardless of your answer to question one, if your answer to question two is "revolution", well then you and anyone else on that wagon better be prepared to suffer, and to increase many fold the overall quotient of human suffering in the world. Because that's what it will take.

You want your revolution, but you also want your Wi-Fi to keep working.
You want your revolution, but you also want your hybrid car.
You want your revolution, but you also want your safe spaces, such as your bed when you sleep at night.

If you think you can manage all that by way of shouting down, race baiting, character assassinating, and social shaming, without bearing the great burden of suffering that all revolutions entail, you have bitter days ahead. And there are literally millions of Americans who will oppose you along the way. And unlike the kulaks when the Bolsheviks rode into town, they see you coming and they're ready for you. And if you insist on taking it as far as you can, it won't be pretty, and it won't be cinematic. Just a lot of tragedy for everyone involved. But one side will win, and my guess is it'll be the guys like Tyler. It's not my desire or aim to see any of that happen. It's just how I see things falling out on their current trajectory.

The situation calls to mind a quote from a black radical, spoken-word group from Harlem who were around in the early to mid 60s, called the Last Poets. The line goes, "Speak not of revolution until you are willing to eat rats to survive." Just something to think about when you advocate burning it all down.

johnklis56@gmail.com -> rick... , 18 August 2017 at 07:19 AM
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) has added his name to a growing list of public officials in state governments encouraging the removal of Confederate statues and memorials throughout the South. Late in the day on Wednesday McAuliffe released an official statement saying monuments of Confederate leaders have now become "flashpoints for hatred, division and violence" in a reference to the weekend of violence which shook Charlottesville as white nationalists rallied against the city's planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. McAuliffe further described the monuments as "a barrier to progress" and appealed to state and local governments to take action. The governor said:

As we attempt to heal and learn from the tragic events in Charlottesville, I encourage Virginia's localities and the General Assembly – which are vested with the legal authority – to take down these monuments and relocate them to museums or more appropriate settings. I hope we can all now agree that these symbols are a barrier to progress, inclusion and equality in Virginia and, while the decision may not be mine to make...

It seems the push for monument removal is now picking up steam, with cities like Baltimore simply deciding to act briskly while claiming anti-racism and concern for public safety. Of course, the irony in all this is that the White nationalist and supremacist groups which showed up in force at Charlottesville and which are even now planning a major protest in Lexington, Kentucky, are actually themselves likely hastening the removal of these monuments through their repugnant racial ideology, symbols, and flags.

Bishop James Dukes, a pastor at Liberation Christian Center located on Chicago's south side, is demanding that the city of Chicago re-dedicate two parks in the area that are named after former presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson. His reasons? Dukes says that monuments honoring men who owned slaves have no place in the black community, even if those men once led the free world.

Just a few I've seen....

James F , 18 August 2017 at 07:29 AM
Salve, Publius. Thanks for the article. Col. Lang made an excellent point in the comments' section that the Confederate memorials represent the reconciliation between the North and the South. The same argument is presented in a lengthier fashion in this morning's TAC http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/when-confederate-monuments-represent-reconciliation/ . That reconciliation could have been handled much better, i.e. without endorsing Jim Crow. I wish more monuments were erected to commemorate Longstreet and Cleburne, JB Hood and Hardee. I wish there was more Lee and less Forrest. Nonetheless, the important historical point is that a national reconciliation occurred. Removing the statues is a symbolic act which undoes the national reconciliation. The past which is being erased is not the Civil War but the civil peace which followed it. That is tragic.
Ishmael Zechariah -> Dr.Puck... , 18 August 2017 at 08:14 AM
Dr. Puck,
Do you agree w/ this elected representative's statement: ""I hope Trump is assassinated!" Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange, referring to Republican President Donald Trump."
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/chappelle-nadal-posts-deletes-facebook-post-hoping-for-trump-s/article_406059d6-1aa4-52fc-89ee-2a6a69baaf2e.html
Ishmael Zechariah
Kooshy -> Richardstevenhack ... , 18 August 2017 at 09:21 AM
IMO, most of the problems majority of people (specially the ruling class) have with Donald Trump' presidency is that, he acts and is an accidental president, Ironically, everybody including, him, possibly you, and me who voted for him knows this and is not willing to take his presidency serious and act as such. IMO, he happens to run for president, when the country, due to setbacks and defeat on multiple choice wars, as well as national economic misfortunes and misshapes, including mass negligence of working class, was in dismay and a big social divide, as of the result, majority decided to vote for some one outside of familiar cemented in DC ruling class knowing he is not qualified and is a BS artist. IMO that is what took place, which at the end of the day, ends of to be same.
Croesus -> doug... , 18 August 2017 at 09:52 AM
Netanyahu is under pressure for failing to speak out forcefully against Trump

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/benjamin-netanyahu-resists-calls-to-denounce-trumps-response-to-charlottesville/

Bibi has keen political skills. He hasn't lasted this long based on his mastery of judo.

Fred -> James F... , 18 August 2017 at 10:03 AM
James F,

" Removing the statues is a symbolic act which undoes the national reconciliation."

That is the intent. The coalition of urban and coastal ethnic populists and economic elites has been for increased concentration and expansion of federal power at the expense of the states, especially the Southern states, for generations. This wave of agitprop with NGO and MSM backing is intended to undo the constitutional election and return the left to power at the federal level.

TV , 18 August 2017 at 10:18 AM
I agree with most of Trump's policy positions, but he is negating these positions with his out-of-control mouth and tweets.
As much as I have nothing but contempt and loathing for the "establishment" (Dems, Republicans, especially the media, the "intelligence" community and the rest of the permanent government), Trump doesn't seem to comprehend that he can't get anything done without taming some of these elements, all of whom are SERIOUSLY opposed to him as a threat to their sinecures and riches.
"Who is this OUTSIDER to come in and think that he in charge of OUR government?"
blowback , 18 August 2017 at 10:33 AM
What seems like a balanced eyewitness account of Charlottesville that suggests that although the radicals on both sides brought the violence, it was the police who allowed it to happen.

https://newrepublic.com/article/144365/cops-dropped-ball-charlottesville

The need to keep protesters away from counter-protesters particular when both are tooled should be obvious to anyone, but not so with the protest in Charlottevlle.

doug -> Tyler... , 18 August 2017 at 10:40 AM
-"Trump isnt our last chance. Its your last chance."

Reminds me of the 60's and the SDS and their ilk. A large part of the under 30 crowd idolized Mao's Little Red Book and convinced themselves the "revolution" was imminent. So many times I heard the phrase "Up Against the Wall, MFs." Stupid fools. Back then people found each other by "teach-ins" and the so called "underground press." In those days it took a larger fraction to be able to blow in each other's ear and convince themselves they were the future "vanguard."

These days, with the internet, it is far easier for a smaller fraction to gravitate to an echo chamber, reinforce group think, and believe their numbers are much larger than what, in reality, exists. This happens across the board. It's a rabbit hole Tyler. Don't go down it.

turcopolier , 18 August 2017 at 10:45 AM
Booby

Yes, Forts Bragg, Hood, Lee, AP Hill, Benning, etc., started as temporary camps during WW1 and were so named to encourage Southern participation in the war. The South had been reluctant about the Spanish War. Wade Hampton, governor of SC said of that war, "Let the North fight. the South knows the cost of war." pl

ISL , 18 August 2017 at 10:53 AM
I would like to share my viewpoint. As a firm believer in the media efforts to sabotage Trump and a former supporter (now agnostic, trending negative - Goldman Sachs swamp creatures in the Oval Office????), he greatly disappointed me. First, i will state, that I do not believe Trump is antisemitic (no antisemite will surround himself with rich Jewish Bankers).

But violence on all sides is absolute BS. Nazi violence gets its own sentence and language at least as strong as the language he has no trouble hitting ISIS with. Didn't hear that. So I guess in his mind, the threat the US faced from Nazis during WW2 was less than a ragtag, 3rd world guerilla force whose only successes are because of 1. US, Saudi, and other weapons, and their war on unstable third world countries. Give me a break - did he never watch a John Wayne movie as a kid?

When I discuss nazi's, F-bombs are dropped. I support the right of nazi's to march and spew their vitriolic hatred, and even more strongly support the right of free speech to counter their filth with facts and arguments and history.

I am sorry, but Antifa was not fighting against the US in WW2. If one wants to critique Antifa, or another group, that criticism belongs in a separate paragraph or better in another press conference. Taking 2 days to do so, and then walking it back, is the hallmark of a political idiot (or a billionaire who listens to no one and lives in his own mental echo chamber).

If Trump gets his info and opinions from TV news, despite having the $80+ billion US Intel system at his beck and call, he is the largest idiot on the planet.

sid_finster , 18 August 2017 at 11:29 AM
It doesn't matter whether Trump is getting a raw deal or not. Politics has nothing to do with fairness.

But when you've lost Bob Corker, and even Newt Gingrich is getting wobbly, when Fox News is having a hard time finding Republicans willing to go on and defend Trump, you don't need to be Nostradamus to see what's going to happen.

[Jul 17, 2017] Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons by Curt Mills

Highly recommended!
max Book is just anothe "Yascha about Russia" type, that Masha Gessen represents so vividly. The problem with him is that time of neocon prominance is solidly in the past and now unpleasant question about the cost from the US people of their reckless foreign policies get into some newspapers and managines. They cost the USA tremedous anount of money (as in trillions) and those money consititute a large portion of the national debt. Critiques so far were very weak and partially suppressed voices, but defeat of neocon warmonger Hillary signify some break with the past.
Notable quotes:
"... National Interest ..."
"... Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies." ..."
"... National Interest ..."
"... But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject. ..."
"... New York Observer ..."
"... National Interest ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, " ..."
"... : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

This week's primetime knife fights with Max Boot and Ralph Peters are emblematic of the battle for the soul of the American Right.

To be sure, Carlson rejects the term "neoconservatism," and implicitly, its corollary on the Democratic side, liberal internationalism. In 2016, "the reigning Republican foreign-policy view, you can call it neoconservatism, or interventionism, or whatever you want to call it" was rejected, he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the National Interest Friday.

"But I don't like the term 'neoconservatism,'" he says, "because I don't even know what it means. I think it describes the people rather than their ideas, which is what I'm interested in. And to be perfectly honest . . . I have a lot of friends who have been described as neocons, people I really love, sincerely. And they are offended by it. So I don't use it," Carlson said.

But Carlson's recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being "immoral" and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings , and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson "basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today." But is this assessment fair?

Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies."

Even if Carlson doesn't want to use the label neocon to describe some of those ideas, Boot is not so bashful. In 2005, Boot wrote an essay called "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh." Carlson "has become a Trump acolyte in pursuit of ratings," says Boot, also interviewed by the National Interest . "I bet if it were President Clinton accused of colluding with the Russians, Tucker would be outraged and calling for impeachment if not execution. But since it's Trump, then it's all a big joke to him," Boot says. Carlson vociferously dissents from such assessments: "This is what dumb people do. They can't assess the merits of an argument. . . . I'm not talking about Syria, and Russia, and Iran because of ratings. That's absurd. I can't imagine those were anywhere near the most highly-rated segments that night. That's not why I wanted to do it."

But Carlson insists, "I have been saying the same thing for fifteen years. Now I have a T.V. show that people watch, so my views are better known. But it shouldn't be a surprise. I supported Trump to the extent he articulated beliefs that I agree with. . . . And I don't support Trump to the extent that his actions deviate from those beliefs," Carlson said. Boot on Fox said that Carlson is "too smart" for this kind of argument. But Carlson has bucked the Trump line, notably on Trump's April 7 strikes in Syria. "When the Trump administration threw a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria for no obvious reason, on the basis of a pretext that I question . . . I questioned [the decision] immediately. On T.V. I was on the air when that happened. I think, maybe seven minutes into my show. . . . I thought this was reckless."

But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject.

Boot objects to what he sees as a cavalier attitude on the part of Carlson and others toward allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and also toward the deaths of citizens of other countries. "You are laughing about the fact that Russia is interfering in our election process. That to me is immoral," Boot told Carlson on his show. "This is the level of dumbness and McCarthyism in Washington right now," says Carlson. "I think it has the virtue of making Max Boot feel like a good person. Like he's on God's team, or something like that. But how does that serve the interest of the country? It doesn't." Carlson says that Donald Trump, Jr.'s emails aren't nearly as important as who is going to lead Syria, which he says Boot and others have no plan for successfully occupying. Boot, by contrast, sees the U.S. administration as dangerously flirting with working with Russia, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. "For whatever reason, Trump is pro-Putin, no one knows why, and he's taken a good chunk of the GOP along with him," Boot says.

On Fox last Wednesday, Boot reminded Carlson that he originally supported the 2003 Iraq decision. "You supported the invasion of Iraq," Boot said, before repeating, "You supported the invasion of Iraq." Carlson conceded that, but it seems the invasion was a bona fide turning point. It's most important to parse whether Carlson has a long record of anti-interventionism, or if he's merely sniffing the throne of the president (who, dubiously, may have opposed the 2003 invasion). "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it," Carlson told the New York Observer in early 2004. "It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. . . . I'm enraged by it, actually." Carlson told the National Interest that he's felt this way since seeing Iraq for himself in December 2003.

The evidence points heavily toward a sincere conversion on Carlson's part, or preexisting conviction that was briefly overcome by the beat of the war drums. Carlson did work for the Weekly Standard , perhaps the most prominent neoconservative magazine, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Carlson today speaks respectfully of William Kristol, its founding editor, but has concluded that he is all wet. On foreign policy, the people Carlson speaks most warmly about are genuine hard left-wingers: Glenn Greenwald, a vociferous critic of both economic neoliberalism and neoconservatism; the anti-establishment journalist Michael Tracey; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation ; and her husband, Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert and critic of U.S. foreign policy.

"The only people in American public life who are raising these questions are on the traditional left: not lifestyle liberals, not the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) group, not liberals in D.C., not Nancy Pelosi." He calls the expertise of establishment sources on matters like Syria "more shallow than I even imagined." On his MSNBC show, which was canceled for poor ratings, he cavorted with noninterventionist stalwarts such as Ron Paul , the 2008 and 2012 antiwar GOP candidate, and Patrick J. Buchanan. "No one is smarter than Pat Buchanan," he said last year of the man whose ideas many say laid the groundwork for Trump's political success.

Carlson has risen to the pinnacle of cable news, succeeding Bill O'Reilly. It wasn't always clear an antiwar take would vault someone to such prominence. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney could be president (Boot has advised the latter two). But here he is, and it's likely no coincidence that Carlson got a show after Trump's election, starting at the 7 p.m. slot, before swiftly moving to the 9 p.m. slot to replace Trump antagonist Megyn Kelly, and just as quickly replacing O'Reilly at the top slot, 8 p.m. Boot, on the other hand, declared in 2016 that the Republican Party was dead , before it went on to hold Congress and most state houses, and of course take the presidency. He's still at the Council on Foreign Relations and writes for the New York Times (this seems to clearly annoy Carlson: "It tells you everything about the low standards of the American foreign-policy establishment").

Boot wrote in 2003 in the Weekly Standard that the fall of Saddam Hussein's government "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history" comparable to "events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which everything is different." He continued, "If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if ), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."

Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, "

Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. "This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there's not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea," Carlson says. "All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that's enough to reveal these people have no idea what they're talking about. None."

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest . Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .

Image : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Jul 13, 2017] Progressive Democrats Resist and Submit, Retreat and Surrender by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" ..."
"... Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: " Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'. ..."
"... Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints. ..."
"... Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more! ..."
"... Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen! ..."
"... Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party. ..."
"... This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary. ..."
"... Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.) ..."
"... Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches. ..."
"... They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. ..."
"... Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act ..."
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.

To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.

Progressives by Name and Posture

Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.

Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.

Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.

Progressives in Historical Perspective

In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.

They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advoc