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Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

Oligarchic "Quiet Coup" in the USA, "Greed is good" slogan and loss of trust in neoliberal governments

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Quiet coup The Deep State National Security State / Surveillance State In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Two Party System as polyarchy The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Pareto Law Media-Military-Industrial Complex Groupthink Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Corporatism Inverted Totalitarism US and British media are servants of security apparatus Casino Capitalism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corruption of Regulators
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment The importance of controlling the narrative New American Caste System The Essential Rules for Dominating Population What's the Matter with Kansas Big Uncle is Watching You
Nation under attack meme American Exceptionalism Neo-fascism Bureaucracies Military Bureaucracy Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Toxic Managers The psychopath in the corner office Female Sociopaths Office Stockholm Syndrome Quotes about Psychopaths Humor Etc


Introduction


There is an 'audacious oligarchy' of self-defined rulers who move freely between private industry and government, whose primary objective is preserving and furthering their own power and self-interest.

Jesse's Café American, Audacious Oligarchy

Audacious behaviour is often connected with the weakened self-preservation instinct, typical for sociopaths. So their audacity take the form of Chutzpah (shameless audacity; impudence, unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall). It's inherently connected with the lack of empathy, which is a defining feature of sociopaths. The key question here is: to what extent the US elite became infected with substantial or even dominant number of sociopaths? Including female sociopaths as we saw recently in the reaction of behaviour of a wife of former president on killing Gaddafy (Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died ) ?

In fact this process of self-selection of sociopaths into neoliberal elite reached dangerous level was noted be many, including famous remark of Robert Johnson at Culture Project's IMPART 2012 Festival that essentially defined the term ("Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."):

Oligarchy now is audacious. They don't really care if they are legitimate.

"Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."

Robert Johnson serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund.

Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin) and of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico). Johnson received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a B.S. in both Electrical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As you can see this idea "Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must." does not differ much with the modus operandi of three-letter agencies, so the terms "audacious oligarchy" and "deep state" are closely related: deep state can be viewed as a social system in this audacious oligarchy rules the population.

We can also think about the term "audacious oligarchy" as the term related to the rise of neo-fascism, (be it neoliberal fascism or Inverted Totalitarism). For some details National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature and a very interesting discussion of Robert Johnson remarks on financial oligarchy at “They’re All Standing on the Deck of the Titanic Looking in Each Other’s Eyes” (naked capitalism, April 21, 2013). That means the key elements of fascist ideology are preserved, with the replacement of Arian Nation for financial oligarchy, but without ruthless physical suppression of opposition which are replaced by financial instruments, blacklisting, economic sanctions and color revolutions in "deviant" countries. Like in Third Reich dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. there is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, 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. 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 peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

One interesting side effect of the dominance of financial oligarchy is loss of trusts in experts, especially economic expects, professors who now are nothing more then a prostitutes at the service of financial capital Ian Klaus in "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance gives the following definition:

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

As Robert Johnson noted:

"People don't trust experts. If you saw 'Inside Job', you know why. People do not trust the private markets, and they don't trust government."

See also Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy.

In the case of neoliberal transformation of the USA the state to a large extent seized to defend the population. Instead the state became a predictor, defender of international corporations, as hostile to the US people as Bolshevik rule was to Russians and other nationalities of the USSR. In other word the USA population became hostages of the system much like population of the USSR was. In a way nothing is new in human history.

The most important side effect of neoliberal transformation of the US society is the destruction (or more correctly emasculation) of legal system, which effectively lead to the situation when like in monarchy, some people are above the law. And we can suspect, judging from recent the USSR nomenklatura experience that such a caste might quickly degrades. As Long Aston said "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". If you willfully and recklessly tear down the laws in the name of some misbegotten ideology the benefit to "chosen" few, blowback might come sooner or later. even if you successfully hide this in a smokescreen of sophisticated scam ideology (neoliberalism in case of current crony or casino capitalism, which replaced the New Deal "live and giver other chance to live" motto) the blowback eventually might knock the particular country down. In such system nobody trust anybody and the whole society gradually disintegrates becoming just extended version of a mafia clan. With typical for such clans deadly internal fights for power. Mexican drug cartels saying - plomo y plobo ('silver or lead'): either you accept our bribes or accept our bullets is perfectly applicable in this situation. And that's how "audacious oligarchy really operates at least of international scène. But the law of the jungle has one important difference with the regular law system: any more powerful group of states can became both a judge and executioner for less powerful, or competing group of states.

When you take some self-serving fairy tale and take it an extreme by sticking an 'ism' on the end of it, like is the case with neoliberalism, at the beginning everything is fine and population is carries by this lie with ease. But as soon as people discover this despite all the power of propaganda their standard of living is going down, some trouble appear on the horizon and there is no other way then to concert the state into national security state, as proponent of communism have found in the USSR. And under neoliberalism, the essence of which is redistribution of wealth in favor of the top 0.01% of the world population, this disillusionment in inevitable, unless we experience a new technological revolution, similar to computer revolution. it can't be hidden with fairly tales about "undemocratic nature" of poor state or corruption. People can only be suppressed by brute force. and the lead to overextension of the neoliberal empire.

When the financial oligarchy is completely exempt from the law and in this particular area regulation is burned to the ground to serve the interests of financial oligarchy, strange things start to happen. The first glimpse on which we already saw in 2008. There was a demonstration of an immanent feature of neoliberal regimes which might be called financial sector induced systemic instability of economy. The latter which lead to periodic booms and busts with unpredictable timing, severity and consequences for the society at large, but so far all of those crisis work also as mechanism of redistribution of the society wealth toward the top . this time the US oligarchy managed to swipe the dirt under the rug.

This instability happens automatically and does not depend on the presence of "bad apples" in the system, because the financial sector under neoliberalism functions not as the nerve system of the economy of the particular country, but more like an autoimmune disease. In other words financial sector destabilizes the "immune system" of the country by introducing positive feedback look into economic (and not only economic, look at the USA foreign policy since 1991) activities.

What exactly is neoliberal oligarchy ?

When we say audacious oligarchy we essentially mean neoliberal oligarchy, and first of all financial oligarchy. Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by wealth, family ties, commercial, government and/or military positions. The actual literal translation from the Greek is the "rule of the few". The word oligarchy is derived from the Greek words "ὀλίγος" (olígos), "a few"[2] and the verb "ἄρχω" (archo), "to rule, to govern, to command".

Throughout history, most oligarchies have been tyrannical, relying on public servitude to exist, although some have been relatively benign. Plato pioneered the use of the term in Chapter Four, Book Eight of "The Republic" as a society in which wealth is the criterion of merit and the wealthy are in control.

However oligarchy is not always a rule according to the size of the wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be distinguished from plebs by iether personal wealth or bloodlines as in a monarchy. Although often those two types of distinction are present too. For example, in the USSR the oligarchy was represented by special class of government and party servants (nomenklatura). The same is by-and-large true for Communist China. Those types of oligarchy has a lot of features in common with neoliberal oligarchy, although they are national in character. First of all in both system oligarchs are "working oligarchs". They actively participate in the their business or government activities. The second thing is that neoliberal oligarchy has very interesting connection with the idea of Communist International, and can be viewed as an interesting perversion of this concept ("Capitalism International") with some flavor of Trotskyism -- as it strives for and adopts Trotskyism central idea of permanent revolution as the method of reaching of the world dominance (see, neocons and color revolutions)

At the same time starting from 80th in the USA oligarchy by-and-large started to correspond to European aristocracy as vertical mobility became very limited and suppressed in the USA (actually more then in European countries, despite all the hype about the American dream).

The USA oligarchy by-and-large corresponds to European aristocracy, with substantial number of its members being children of oligarchic families. Vertical mobility, despite hype, is very limited and suppressed (actually more then in European countries). In no way the USA con be considered "the county of opportunities" anymore.

Russian oligarchy is very atypical in this sense, and is a pretty interesting case of a very high vertical mobility. As a country Russia is unique that in its history it several times wiped out its entrenched oligarchy. Two last "rotations" happened in 1917 then large part of old oligarchy lost their power and after neoliberal revolution of 1991 which brought into power the corrupt government of Boris Yeltsin. The drunkard, who imitated French proclaiming "enrich yourself" and launches (with gentle support from USA in a form of Harvard mafia) the most corrupt privatization of state wealth in human history.

But most members of the new, Post-Soviet Russian oligarchy did demonstrated tremendous level of upward mobility. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on 31 December 1991, many directors and sometimes middle managers of state owned Russia-based corporations, especially producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metals managed to privatize their holdings and have become oligarchs. Criminal privatization under Yeltsin regime allowed them to amass phenomenal wealth and power almost overnight. In May 2004, the Russian edition of Forbes identified 36 of these oligarchs as being worth at least US$1 billion. And not of all them came from Nomenklatura. Many members of nomenklatura (even on the level of Politburo) did not fit in the new economic system and stopped being oligarchs.

All modern democracies should be viewed as oligarchies

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered to be oligarchies. this is what his "iron law of oligarchy" is about. In other word when we speak the word democracy about such regimes as current exist in the USA or Western Europe, it is most self-deception.

That gives a pretty sinister meaning to the "promotion of democracy" and "support of democracy" activities, as in reality it is installation of more favorable to the promoter oligarchic group in power, often via coup d'état (with a specific neoliberal variant, which use developed by Gene Sharp political technology, called Color revolution), as recently happened in Libya and Ukraine.

In "modern democracies", the actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is always only one political party, the party of oligarchy.

This is especially true for winner takes all election systems, which create two party environment, with both party being a factions of the same elite. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

Quiet coup

The term "Quiet coup" which means the hijacking of the political power in the USA by financial oligarchy was introduced by Simon H. Johnson (born January 16, 1963). Simon Johnson is a British-American economist, who currently is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, he was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund.

The term was introduced in Simon Johnson article in Atlantic magazine, published in May 2009(The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic). Which opens with a revealing paragraph:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

The wealth of financial sector gave it unprecedented opportunities of simply buying the political power:

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight — a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

He further researched this theme in his book 2010 book 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (ISBN 978-0307379054), coauthored with James Kwak. They also founded and regularly contributes to the economics blog The Baseline Scenario.

Financial oligarchy as an key part of modern neoliberal elite

Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the East India Company. In this regime people move freely from government posts to private industry and back.

In the USA the most rapidly rising part of national oligarchy is financial oligarchy. As Senator Dick Durbin noted referring to the US Congress Banks Frankly Own The Place. Moreover in many cases it is unclear who owns whom, for example whether Goldman Sachs owns NY FED or NY FED Goldman Sachs ( The Fed Under Goldman's Thumb - Bloomberg )

Senators questioned Dudley, 61, on issues ranging from whether some banks are too big to regulate to the Fed’s role in overseeing their commodities businesses.

Some of the criticism was pointed. Warren, a frequent critic of financial regulators, asked Dudley if he was “holding a mirror to your own behavior.”

Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, complained that bank employees involved in misdeeds haven’t been prosecuted and are “too big to jail.”

Dudley repeatedly disagreed with assertions that the New York Fed wasn’t doing enough to regulate banks and said lenders have become stronger and safer in the past few years.

... ... ...

Today’s Senate hearing follows reports that Goldman Sachs fired two bankers after one of them allegedly shared confidential documents from the New York Fed within the firm.

A junior banker, who had joined the company in July from the New York Fed, was dismissed a week after the discovery in late September, along with another employee who failed to escalate the issue, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Goldman Sachs confirmed the memo’s contents.

As Adair Turner noted in The Consequences of Money Manager Capitalism

In the wake of World War II, much of the western world, particularly the United States, adopted a new form of capitalism called “managerial welfare-state capitalism.”

The system by design constrained financial institutions with significant social welfare reforms and large oligopolistic corporations that financed investment primarily out of retained earnings. Private sector debt was small, but government debt left over from financing the War was large, providing safe assets for households, firms, and banks. The structure of this system was financially robust and unlikely to generate a deep recession. However, the constraints within the system didn’t hold.

The relative stability of the first few decades after WWII encouraged ever-greater risk-taking, and over time the financial system was transformed into our modern overly financialized economy. Today, the dominant financial players are “managed money” — lightly regulated “shadow banks” like pension funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and university endowments—with huge pools of capital in search of the highest returns. In turn, innovations by financial engineers have encouraged the growth of private debt relative to income and the increased reliance on volatile short-term finance and massive uses of leverage.

What are the implications of this financialization on the modern global economy? According to Adair Lord Turner, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a former head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority, it means that finance has become central to the daily operations of the economic system. More precisely, the private nonfinancial sectors of the economy have become more dependent on the smooth functioning of the financial sector in order to maintain the liquidity and solvency of their balance sheets and to improve and maintain their economic welfare. For example, households have increased their use of debt to fund education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and leisure. And at the same time, they have become more dependent on interest, dividends, and capital gains as a means to maintain and improve their standard of living.

Another major consequence of financialized economies is that they typically generate repeated financial bubbles and major debt overhangs, the aftermath of which tends to exacerbate inequality and retard economic growth. Booms turn to busts, distressed sellers sell their assets to the beneficiaries of the previous bubble, and income inequality expands.

In the view of Lord Turner, currently there is no countervailing power (in John Kenneth Galbraith terms) able to deal with the consequences of neoliberalism, as he calls it "money manager capitalism.” The net result likely will be years more of economic stagnation and deteriorating living standards for many people around the world.

Finance is a form of modern warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and “the miracle of compound interest” that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May’s 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative article, on the collusion between the US’ “financial oligarchy” and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund’s senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs “go off track” (a euphemism) precisely because the government can’t stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program “goes back on track” once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern—and thus win or lose—under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital—a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup’s executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson’s predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists—at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy’s favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks’ hands—indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the “efficiency costs” of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine”.

The predatory nature of financial oligarchy

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government’s capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, corrupt collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in its most modern form -- neoliberalism.

Second probably is that institutions are more powerful them individuals and replacement or even jailing of corrupt current officials while a quite welcome move, can't by itself lead to drastic changes. You need to reinstall the whole system of government controls dismantled by Clinton-Bush regime. Otherwise one set of players will be simply replaced by the other, no less corrupt, hungry and unprincipled. As Daron Acemoglu pointed out recently, we are in a situation that attempt to fix the financial system will have to involve those same bankers (albeit in lower positions at the time of the crisis) that created the mess in the first place. To push the analogy a bit strongly, even in Germany post 1945 and Iraq post 2003 new governments still needed to work with some civil servants in the judicial and educational system from the previous regime as well as with tainted industrialists.

In theory, the best way to diminish the power of financiers is to limit the size (limiting the damage) and let them fail and crash badly. Also introduction of a tax of transactions (Tobin tax) can help to cool the frenzy of derivative trading. But there is nobody in power who can push those changes. That means the "silent coup" in which financial oligarchy got control of the state is complete.

Loss of trust led to conversion of the country into national security state

Paranoya of financial oligarchy after 2008 when most of the country wished them what was reflected in the slogan of the corner of Wallstreet (see the picture), led to speed up of creation of comprehensive network of spying over the citizens.

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Even if we assume that data collection is passive and never used it is like a ticking bomb or "skeleton in the closet" it is a powerful method of control of population, not the different from what was used by KGB in the USSR or STASI in East Germany.

So it does not really matter much what the data are collected for and what if official justification of such a collection. The mere fact of collection changes the situation to the worse, making opposition to the system practically impossible. The net result is what is matter. And the net result definitely resembles a move in the direction of a tyranny. US Senator Frank Church said in 1975:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.".

Today his words sound even more true then in 1975 when computers were still in their infancy and mainframes dominated the computer landscape. With the proliferation of cheap electronic devices such as PCs and laptops, tablets and cell phones this really became "the abyss from which there is no return".

So the real, the key goal is not what is officially declared. Convenience of access to information has a side effect that it makes collection of information about you trivial and at the same time comprehensive. It is to keep the elite safe from common folks, not all those lies about national security. It is all about the security of the elite.

In other words 1984 dystopia materialized in slightly different, slightly more gentle form. The elite as a whole is not interesting in dismantling the tool that serve its interests so well even if it has some side effects on the elite members themselves. This is another confirmation of The Iron Law of Oligarchy

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism in the USA. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of Stasi in all those activities. As countries of the USSR camp got into similar trap before, nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Phone hacking and police corruption represent neoliberalism attempt to cling to life even entering in 2008 a zombie status. And we do not know if the change is possible (The zombie of neoliberalism can be beaten)

Poor growth figures put a "new" financial collapse back on the cards. The response from politicians, bankers and business leaders is more of the same – more of the same neoliberal policies that got us into this situation in the first place.

Neoliberalism no longer "makes sense", but its logic keeps stumbling on, without conscious direction, like a zombie: ugly, persistent and dangerous. Such is the "unlife" of a zombie, a body stripped of its goals, unable to adjust itself to the future, unable to make plans. It can only act habitually as it pursues a monomaniacal hunger. Unless there is a dramatic recomposition of society, we face the prospect of decades of drift as the crises we face – economic, social, environmental – remain unresolved. But where will that recomposition come from when we are living in the world of zombie-liberalism?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, however, requires more than the internal realignment of a national ruling class. Every semi-stable form of capitalism also needs some sort of settlement with the wider population, or at least a decisive section of it. While the postwar Keynesian settlement contained an explicit deal linking rising real wages to rising productivity, neoliberalism contained an implicit deal based on access to cheap credit. While real wages have stagnated since the late 1970s, the mechanisms of debt have maintained most people's living standards. An additional part of neoliberalism's tacit deal was the abandonment of any pretence to democratic, collective control over the conditions of life: politics has been reduced to technocratic rule. Instead, individuals accepted the promise that, through hard work, shrewd educational and other "life" choices, and a little luck, they – or their children – would reap the benefits of economic growth.

The financial crisis shattered the central component of this deal: access to cheap credit. Living standards can no longer be supported and, for the first time in a century, there is widespread fear that children will lead poorer lives than their parents.

Conclusions

After 2008 the irresponsibility of the financial elites, the power and proliferation of special interest groups that defend interests of oligarchy, the paralysis of Congress and executive power to deal with challenges the financial oligarchy created have created atmosphere of public cynicism.

This correlated with withdrawal from public activity and elections. voter participation in the 1996 Presidential election reached similar to 1924 figure of 49%, less then half of eligible population. And with electronic surveillance reaching it zenith after 9/11/2001, the country quietly slid in the darkness of Inverted Totalitarism

Disillusionment with government and large corporation is a noticeable feature of contemporary America. There is a the widespread sense that big companies and those who run them are immune from prosecution and can't be held accountable by government for their crimes as that they are ... Too Big To Jail. Part of this leniency is connected with corruption of regulators. Which is an immanent part of neoliberal social order. There is also the issue off gaming the system. For very large and profitable multinationals paying some law firm or accounting firm a couple of million dollars to game the tax system in some sleazy way to park most of the income in tax havens represents a small fraction of their tax savings. So the big boys get away with this and middle market firms are the only ones who really pay corporate taxes.

The fact that no one has been imprisoned for the crime committed before 2008 is seen as outrageous by most Americans and large part of Main Street. At the same time, the multibillion-dollar fines and enforcement actions against financial institutions are providing large TBTF firms such as Goldman Sachs with wrong incentives. Paying with shareholders’ money as the price of protecting themselves is a very attractive trade-off. Punishment of individual executives who committed crimes or who failed in their managerial duty to monitor the behavior of their subordinates is short-changed because the principle that leaders should take responsibility for failure and resign contradicts neoliberal worldview.


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[May 20, 2019] The dirty art of politicians entrapment: Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers, gay sex, pedophilia, or what-have-you, all or in combination

Highly recommended!
That remind me how old Kushner tried to smear his relative...
Notable quotes:
"... They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts. ..."
"... The "Russian" female is notably very attractive with a slender build. There is a honey-trap angle here as well. This would likely inspire the boasting (in order to impress her) on the part of the wingnut politician. ..."
"... The far-right is the Troy Horse of transnational corporations and capital and already discredited neoliberal stablishment which comes now disguised under the softening label of "populists". Beware, there seems to be a coordinated effort at several blogs in the ten previous days of the European elections to whitewash the far-right. ..."
"... So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely. ..."
"... As expected the hysteria of "russian" meddling have now publicized to weaken FPÖ in the EU election. Winners? NATO/US parties. ..."
"... Seems indeed to be a honeypot aspect to the entrapment, and it's quite possible Strache stepped down at once to avoid that part to come to light, so that the public revelations would be limited to the economic shenanigans and influence-peddling level. ..."
"... Also, this goes to show that the bulk of our Western politicians, across all the political spectrum, are a bunch of mediocre and quite corrupt fools. For him not to smell that this was a setup from the very first minute, it must be that such proposals are common place all across the board - which will only reinforce my suspicion that our societies, peoples and mankind as a whole would only benefit if we fully wiped out our economic, financial and political establishment and started from scratches. ..."
"... Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers and blow, gay sex, paedofilia, or what-have-you, - all or in combination. Politicians are "all" compromised in these ways. Buck the system or threaten the status quo - whereby it gets somebody's serious attention and the shite hits the fan. ..."
"... The savages in this neoliberal order use the secret services to subvert democracy. Deception and manipulation are the means used to corrupt the public domain. They would push the most pliable and ruthless leaders into office. Catastrophe and violence and disinformation are their most powerful weapons. But I still think that political processes and elections do matter; and what counts is a struggle to improve and reform the system of government. Doing our best to protect and maintain the integrity of electoral processes is something that requires both protests and political campaigns. ..."
"... The very strong implication certainly seems to be that there may be further video of Strache sleeping with the honey pot. He obviously knows what happened that night. If there were video cameras hidden everywhere, that was obviously one of the intentions behind the sting from the outset. ..."
"... B, please do an article on the Nazi penetration of the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, CDU etc, and links to the NSU affair, shredding of millions of documents by the Interior Ministry when demanded by the courts as evidence, links with the Board members and advisory board members of German big business especially Siemens and Deutche Bank and Bayer, etc. ..."
"... It is a wonder Strache's remark "Journalists are the biggest whores on the planet" and how he says he can subvert an entire media outlet to his political agenda by even firing the few remaining fringe elements. ..."
"... I don't think Strache is as harmless as you portray him, B. You fall for his defence strategy if you attribute all his statements to the influence of alcohol. At that time, the man was very confident that he would soon be at the levers of power, which then materialized. It remains to be proven whether he did not put into practice anything of what he talked about at that house in Ibiza. After all, he was talking about the by far most influential newspaper in Austria. ..."
"... Of course it is true that it is the neoliberal globalisers who have brought us to where we stand today. But that doesn' make people like Strache and Salvini any less dangerous. If they rise to total power, the result will be a naked dictatorship. Strache was beaten with his own weapons, you don't have to be under any illusions. ..."
"... Who could have ordered such an elaborate sting operation? ..."
"... The sophisticated operation using actors and a villa prepared with hidden cameras and microphones shows that this is hardly a normal case of dirty campaigning by political opponents. Most likely, either it was an action by a secret service or someone with deep pockets hired former secret agents. ..."
"... If it was an action by secret services, the most plausible explanation seems to be that Western secret services targeted Strache because FPÖ is one of the parties who is in favor of restoring normal relations with Russia ..."
"... François Fillon comes to mind, a French conservative candidate who also had a quite a friendly attitude towards Russia - shortly before the elections, it was revealed (at least claimed) that Fillon had given his wife ficticious employment, and Fillon lost popularity, which helped Macron enormously. ..."
"... Probably, some of the things Strache said during this sting operation were inacceptable, and Fillon may also not be innocent, but if there is a systematic selective targeting of European politicians who want to normalize relations with Russia by secret services, that would be a huge problem for democracy. ..."
"... In 2016, Joseph Mifsud invited George Papadopoulos to Rome and introduced him to "Putin's niece" with the intent of smearing Trump as "Russian puppet" and destroying his election chances. In 2017, someone (who?) invited Heinz-Christian Strache to Ibiza and introduced him to "Russian billionaire's niece" with the intent of smearing Strache as "Russian puppet" and destroying his party's election chances. Notice a pattern? ..."
"... This is a clear case of Germany interfering in Austrian elections. Austria should deport 60 German diplomats, shut down German embassy in Vienna, and impose sanctions on Germany. Also put a German girl interested in Austrian politics in jail for 18 months. ..."
"... Thinking about it, after revealing e-mail of HRC, Podesta etc. were published, their core supporters were enraged about the dirty trick and did not pay attention to the disclosed content, while for the core opponents of HRC she was already sufficiently vilified so the net change in voting intentions that can be attributed to that incident was modest. ..."
"... Anyone who does not directly have his or her family's nose in the EU trough at this point knows that the policies espoused by transatlantic puppets like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron push our countries and our continent towards self-destruction. Life in Europe, post-1968 and pre-2013, has been pretty damn good. There's absolutely no good reason for us to rip up our traditions or turn into a continent of immigrants and mobile job seekers. ..."
"... As Strache explains in the video, Austrian dirty tricks are done "via another country". ..."
"... To those who fill that politics of Strache are obnoxious and that justifies entrapment, remembers that methods of that type are not improvised, and that means that there is an apparatus that does it. We noted similarities with provocations against George Papadopoulos. In the latter case the target was cautious, after all, we had to be well aware of such methods. But anyone who is despised by NATO establishment are similar group can be on the receiving end, think about Assange. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

During the last days a right wing politician in Austria was taken down by using an elaborate sting. Until Friday Heinz-Christian Strache was leader of the far right (but not fascist) Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) and the Vice Chancellor of the country. On Friday morning two German papers, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel published (German) reports (English) about an old video that was made to take Strache down.

The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe. It's pro-Russian position has led to verbal attacks on and defamation of the party from NATO supporting and neoliberal circles.

In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts.

Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones.


A scene from the video. Source: Der Falter (vid, German)

During the six hour long party several schemes get proposed by the "Russian" and are discussed. Strache rejects most of them. He insists several times that everything they plan or do must be legal and conform to the law. He says that a large donation could probably be funneled through an endowment that would then support his party. It is a gray area under Austrian party financing laws. They also discuss if the "Russian" could buy the Kronen Zeitung , Austria's powerful tabloid, and use it to prop up his party.

The evening goes on with several bottles of vodka on the table. Starche gets a bit drunk and boosts in front of the "oligarch daughter" about all his connections to rich and powerful people. He does not actually have these.

Strache says that, in exchange for help for his party, the "Russian" could get public contracts for highway building and repair. Currently most of such contracts in Austria go to the large Austrian company, STRABAG, that is owned by a neoliberal billionaire who opposes the FPOe. At that time Strache was not yet in the government and had no way to decide about such contracts.

At one point Strache seems to understand that the whole thing is a setup. But his right hand man calms him down and vouches for the "Russian". The sting ends with Strache and his companion leaving the place. The never again see the "Russian" and her co-plotter. Nothing they talked about will ever come to fruition.

Three month later Strache and his party win more than 20% in the Austrian election and form a coalition government with the conservative party OeVP led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Even while the FPOe controls several ministries, it does not achieve much politically. It lacks a real program and the government's policies are mostly run by the conservatives.

Nearly two years after the evening on Ibiza, ten days before the European parliament election in which Strache's party is predicted to achieve good results, a video of the evening on Ibiza is handed to two German papers which are known to be have strong transatlanticist leanings and have previously been used for other shady 'leaks'. The papers do not hesitate to take part in the plot and publish extensive reports about the video.

After the reports appeared Strache immediately stepped down and the conservatives ended the coalition with his party. Austria will now have new elections.

On Bloomberg Leonid Bershidsky opines on the case:

Strache's discussion with the Russian oligarch's fake niece shows a propensity for dirty dealing that has nothing to do with idealistic nationalism. Nationalist populists often agitate against entrenched, corrupt elites and pledge to drain various swamps. In the videos, however, Strache and Gudenus behave like true swamp creatures, savoring rumors of drug and sex scandals in Austrian politics and discussing how to create an authoritarian media machine like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's.

I do not believe that the people who voted for the FPOe (and similar parties in other countries) will subscribe to that view. The politics of the main stream parties in Austria have for decades been notoriously corrupt. Compared to them Strache and his party are astonishingly clean. In the video he insists several times that everything must stay within the legal realm. Whenever the "Russian" puts forward a likely illegal scheme, Starche emphatically rejects it.

Bershidsky continues:

Strache, as one of the few nationalist populists in government in the European Union's wealthier member states, was an important member of the movement Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been trying to cobble together ahead of the European Parliament election that will take place next week. On Saturday, he was supposed to attend a Salvini-led rally in Milan with other like-minded politicians from across Europe. Instead, he was in Vienna apologizing to his wife and to Kurz and protesting pitifully that he'd been the victim of a "political assassination" -- a poisonous rain on the Italian right-winger's parade.
...
This leaves the European far right in disarray and plays into the hands of centrist and leftist forces ahead of next week's election. Salvini's unifying effort has been thoroughly undermined, ...

This is also a misreading of the case. The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy.

Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now.

But that Strache stepped down after the sudden media assault only makes him more convincing. The right-wing all over Europe will see him as a martyr who was politically assassinated because he worked for their cause. The issue will increase the right-wingers hate against the 'liberal' establishment. It will further motivate them: "They attack us because we are right and winning." The new far-right block Natteo Salvini will setup in the European Parliament will likely receive a record share of votes.

Establishment writers notoriously misinterpret the new right wing parties and their followers. This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false. The working class understands very well what the establishment parties have done to it and continue to do. The increasing vote share of the far-right is a direct consequence of the behavior of the neoliberal center and of the lack of real left alternatives.

Last week, before the Strache video appeared, Craig Murray put his finger on the wound:

The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.
...
The rejection of the political class manifests itself in different ways and has been diverted down a number of entirely blind alleys giving unfulfilled promise of a fresh start – Brexit, Trump, Macron. As the vote share of the established political parties – and public engagement with established political institutions – falls everywhere, the chattering classes deride the political symptoms of status quo rejection by the people as "populism". It is not populism to make sophisticated arguments that undermine the received political wisdom and take on the entire weight of established media opinion.

If one wants to take down the far right one has to do so with arguments and good politics for the working class. Most people, especially working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money.

While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties. When one talks to these people issues of injustice and inequality always come up. The new 'populist' parties at least claim to fight against the injustice done to the common men. Unlike most of the establishment parties they seem to be still mostly clean and not yet corrupted.

In the early 1990s Strache actually flirted with violent fascists but he rejected their way. While he has far-right opinions, he and his like are no danger to our societies. If we can not accept that Strache and his followers have some legitimate causes, we will soon find us confronted with way more extreme people. The neoliberal establishment seems to do its best to achieve that.

Posted by b on May 19, 2019 at 01:10 PM | Permalink


james , May 19, 2019 1:40:31 PM | 1

b - thanks .. i agree "elaborate sting" and "the video was held back until the right moment"... clearly this was a set up.. strache says he is going to pursue this legally..

"working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust." injustices are being done on a constant basis now and being justified by the msm regularly.. i think this is part of the reason people are seeking alternatives - whatever they might be... power to the people..screw the neoliberal agenda and blackmail artists that are so rampant at present...

Bratislav Metulski , May 19, 2019 1:40:51 PM | 2
Funny thing is e.g.- a German comedian Jan Böhmerman knew before. Already in April he said in a Video call live in Austian television duringthe TV-prize-giving of the trophy "Romy" that he couldn´t attend personally to receive the price because right know he was sitting together with some FPÖ-buddies in a Russian oligarch-villa on Ibiza, sniffing cocain, drinking and negotiating the takeover of the "Krone-Zeitung" (the biggest rag in Austira, smth like the "Bild" in Germany or "The sun" in Britain).

Böhmers management released a statement yesterday that Böhermann did know before but didn´t name the source he knew it from.
https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article193725535/FPOE-Vize-Strache-Was-Boehmermann-mit-dem-Video-zu-tun-hat.html

Cui bono?

Paul Damascene , May 19, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 3
Your article here raises a number of important issues. More or less at random:

* If I understand your characterization of your political leanings, based on this and on the perspectives MoA offers, I share many of your views. And whereas there may be a certain Schadenfreude at seeing a right-wing, B-team operator reveal himself, I agree that the forces behind the sting itself are of potentially far greater interest (and danger)..

* For every sting and smear such as this that we see, how many others take place sub rosa, corrupting our political and social landscapes, leaving no evidence that might trigger criticism or resistance?

* I'm not sure of how this plays out legally, but this seems not just to have been a sting, but entrapment, in which (if these were law enforcement agents) we could protest that the only illegal activity being proposed, was by those conducting the sting.

* If this was, as you suggest, authored by the BND, then this would be a clear instance of election "meddling" -- though not of the sort that our shining democracies are now being warned against. (At least President Putin will not be accused of conducting it, for once. That oligarch's daughter could have come from anywhere, but of course Russia.) Russia gets smeared is probably the larger aim, rather than this particularly Austrian politician.

hallelujah hinton , May 19, 2019 1:55:07 PM | 4
The "Russian" female is notably very attractive with a slender build. There is a honey-trap angle here as well. This would likely inspire the boasting (in order to impress her) on the part of the wingnut politician.
somebody , May 19, 2019 1:56:55 PM | 5
I think the word is protofascist. b. you have got a blind spot seeing geopolitics everywhere. Truth is most of this is simply a battle of billionaires. The key to understand the Ibiza video is the product placement. Everybody there drinks Red Bull plus alcohol (I am not sure about the alcohol the loss of control of the politicians who are present suggests cocaine).

The owner of Red Bull is an Austrian billionaire called Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz is a right wing crank building a media empire in Austria including an "investigative platform" called addendum that is something like the Austrian version of Breitbart.

For some reason "addendum" began to shoot against Rene Benzko, an Austrian real estate billionaire, who intends to take over Kronenzeitung.

And guess what, Rene Benzko was mentioned in the video "as a friend", and a large part of the conversation centered on taking over Kronenzeitung something Rene Benzko is involved in.

Strache, Vice Chancellor of Austria, explained in the video for every Austrian to understand, that his party's scheme is based on accepting illegal contributions via a ngo, and lowering taxes in return. According to what he says in the video he also intends to charge for water by selling the right to the Latvian/Russien "niece of a Russian oligarch" or someone else prepared to pay to his party's ngo.

Anybody who is not a billionaire voting for FPÖ after this must be braindead.

Arioch , May 19, 2019 1:58:49 PM | 6
> with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin

Putin himself though stresses his non involvement in that party, he also tried to bootstrap organizations that could supplant or even challenge U.R. at least in some niches.

While U.R. probably is party of Russian ruling elites, it is hardly one-man-show of LDPR/Zhirinovsky kind and whether Putin is "gray cardinal" of U.R. is very questionable.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:05:52 PM | 7
It is said that children and drunk people always say the truth... Why is it not to be taken into account what he said once drunk enough?

For to be a strong leftist, b, you spend a great effort in discharging this man, while whitewashing the far-right saying they are no danger for our societies and assuring that they are clean, when that is a thing you do not know since they have not had yet the possibility to rule.

They are neither cleaner nor inocuous for our societies. For starters they have chosen as scapegoat the migrants when who is to blame for the wave of migration is the US, NATO and their imperial ambitions, so as to throw poor against poor and that way the elites could continue quietly looting us, while we fight each other. You will never heard anything agsint banks ans elites from anybody in the far-right.

FYI, it is not Matteo Salvini who is forming a coalition of the far-right to conflude to European elections, but it is Bannon from his HQ in a Cisterciense monastery in Italy who is commanding this operation. Salvini is really a piece, having supported Guiado and the Venezuelan coup intend, and said what he would do with the Yellow Vests , "I don't go to the Yellow Vests with Molotov cocktails, if anything, I put them in prison" ...

Then it is AfD, who goes also in the block, whose members have claimed the Germans should be proud of the performance of the German Army during both WW....

Then Vox, financed by MEK and Israeli lobby and promoted by Bannon and the WH, who only wear clear neoliberal economic policies in their, for the rest, confusing program.

The best to test what the far-right will do in Europe is taking a look at what is happening in Brazil during these last days, an attack on education and research as if it was a military target ...This, after the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and wide support to coup d´etat in Venezuela...He is also widely supported and financed by the US and Zionists.

The far-right is the Troy Horse of transnational corporations and capital and already discredited neoliberal stablishment which comes now disguised under the softening label of "populists". Beware, there seems to be a coordinated effort at several blogs in the ten previous days of the European elections to whitewash the far-right.

Bratislav Metulski , May 19, 2019 2:20:38 PM | 8
@4 hallelujah hinton
https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Neuwahlen-Der-gefeierte-Stratege-Kurz-hatte-keine-Optionen-mehr-4425362.html
Telepolis one of the oldest and biggest non-commercial online news and discussion platforms in Germany states in the following article, commenting on his statement at his resignation declaration:

"Glaubt er, man wäre bei Alkohol nachsichtiger? Offenbar schien er sich betrunken kaum mehr im Griff zu haben - und dies ist wohlgemerkt seine Erklärung für die Äußerungen im Video. Erst gegen Ende beginnt er eigenes Fehlverhalten einzuräumen und bittet insbesondere seine Frau um Verzeihung, mit der er ein wenige Monate altes Kind hat. Kenner Straches ahnten an dieser Stelle bereits, dass dieser sich bereits für Dinge entschuldigt, die zu diesem Zeitpunkt der Öffentlichkeit noch gar nicht bekannt sind."

Does he (Strache) really assume he would get more indulgence by blaming it on the alcolhol? Obviously when being drunken he wasn´t in control of himself anymore - and this is actually his explanation for his statements in the video. Somehow at the end he finally begins admitting own misconduct and especially asks his wife for forgiveness, with which he has a few months old child. Experts on Strache suspected from this moment on, that he apologized for things which at this moment are not known to the public, yet"

So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely.

Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 2:26:38 PM | 9
somebody @5:
battle of billionaires.... Anybody who is not a billionaire voting for FPÖ after this must be braindead.
Anyone who believes voting will change anything is braindead. Only supporting protest Movements (like Gillet Jeune) and free press/citizen journalism (Wikileaks/Assange) will have any real effect.
Zanon , May 19, 2019 2:30:32 PM | 0
Great piece - I dont see how Strache actually made anything wrong or atleast nothing not normal to politicians that constantly seek out support by big, powerful people. Most likely the deep state in Austria struck FPÖ just like FBI struck Trump.

As expected the hysteria of "russian" meddling have now publicized to weaken FPÖ in the EU election. Winners? NATO/US parties.

Arioch , May 19, 2019 2:36:33 PM | 1
@hallelujah hinton #4

Also notice how she pretended to be a niece.

Not some very close relative like daughter or sister, which may be fearsome, as "russian mafia" oligarch could be expected to "protect" her of ladykillers viciously. But also not some far relative who would be seen alien and have no financial support.

Just enough distance to be safe to hit on and try to share the oligarch's money. It was both honey&gold trap.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:38:57 PM | 2
Anyone who believes voting will change anything is braindead.

@Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 2:26:38 PM | 9

If voting would be such a waste, why would had taken so hard and long to achieve voting for minorities and women? Why the parties go to such efforts to campaign and disguise themselves as wolves with sheepskin like the far-right?

Why would certain forces need to go to such editorial coordinated efforts through their several blogs out there to give an impression of certain candidates which is opposite to what they really are? Wikilieaks/Assange are part of this efforts, btw

Clueless Joe , May 19, 2019 2:44:05 PM | 4
Metulski:

Seems indeed to be a honeypot aspect to the entrapment, and it's quite possible Strache stepped down at once to avoid that part to come to light, so that the public revelations would be limited to the economic shenanigans and influence-peddling level.

Also, this goes to show that the bulk of our Western politicians, across all the political spectrum, are a bunch of mediocre and quite corrupt fools. For him not to smell that this was a setup from the very first minute, it must be that such proposals are common place all across the board - which will only reinforce my suspicion that our societies, peoples and mankind as a whole would only benefit if we fully wiped out our economic, financial and political establishment and started from scratches.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:44:10 PM | 5
Spanish Colonel ( ret.) Pedro Baños, who was postulated for head of the CNI by the Socialist government of Pedro Sanchez, was object of slander campiagn as "pro-Russian" by the Spanish cluster of Integrity Initiative, only for declarations on the prejudice of sanctions for Spain, and nobody made such noise....
hallelujah hinton , May 19, 2019 3:03:31 PM | 6
Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers and blow, gay sex, paedofilia, or what-have-you, - all or in combination. Politicians are "all" compromised in these ways. Buck the system or threaten the status quo - whereby it gets somebody's serious attention and the shite hits the fan.

Enforcement and and penalties are selective. Selective enforcement. It's how "The Law" operates. Not defending the wingnut pig in the article. I appreciate Sasha's Trojan Horse allegory above.

the pair , May 19, 2019 3:16:52 PM | 7
wow...a bunch of elitist neoliberals with contempt for anyone lacking 10 zeroes on their paychecks and zero useful policies use "russian collusion" to entrap and embarrass a pseudo-right wing politician. who could ever imagine such a scenario? and why learn from the masses you represent when james o'keefe gives you all the inspiration you need?

but at least they blocked the ascension of someone who would trade political favors for money. that kind of nonsense simply won't do in western society.

karlof1 , May 19, 2019 3:24:47 PM | 8
Thanks for this explanation, b! I first saw this reported at Geroman's Twitter and used machine translation of the article he linked, but it lacked the context which you provided. This incident is subsumed within the larger conflict that's trying to keep EU from combining with BRI/EAEU, which means its roots/culprits are NATO/Outlaw US Empire--it points to desperation on their part.
Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 3:25:34 PM | 9
the pair @17

Some will fail to see the sarcasm. Best to use the /sarc tag.

somebody , May 19, 2019 3:34:51 PM | 0
Posted by: hallelujah hinton | May 19, 2019 1:55:07 PM | 4

Sorry, you don't see the Latvian/Russian woman. You see Gudenus' wife who is from Serbia. Whatever the publishing papers got, it was a copy. More will come out.

Copeland , May 19, 2019 4:01:44 PM | 1
The savages in this neoliberal order use the secret services to subvert democracy. Deception and manipulation are the means used to corrupt the public domain. They would push the most pliable and ruthless leaders into office. Catastrophe and violence and disinformation are their most powerful weapons. But I still think that political processes and elections do matter; and what counts is a struggle to improve and reform the system of government. Doing our best to protect and maintain the integrity of electoral processes is something that requires both protests and political campaigns.
BM , May 19, 2019 4:14:36 PM | 2
So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely.
Posted by: Bratislav Metulski | May 19, 2019 2:20:38 PM | 8

The very strong implication certainly seems to be that there may be further video of Strache sleeping with the honey pot. He obviously knows what happened that night. If there were video cameras hidden everywhere, that was obviously one of the intentions behind the sting from the outset.

---

On the issue of "populism" and right-wing parties I confess I have a problem. I certainly want to see the Establishment thrashed, and especially in next week's EU elections, and there is no question that at the moment the right-wing parties have far more potential to upset the establishment than the left. If "Populist" parties are able to radically upset the EU Parliament, that should bring a much-needed hammer and axe to the anti-populist activities of the EU, and hopefully lead to the breakup of the EU.

On the other hand, unlike B, I do have extremely strong worries about the rising power of the far right and their connections to Nazis and neo-Nazis. I am concerned - even without the involvement of Bannon, but far more so with - that the rise of "populism" is a calculated policy of a Nazi segment of the Establishment that is designed specifically to usher in an international Nazi movement across Europe and Latin America under the leadership of and proxies of the - ever more and more Nazi behaving - US (which itself is in so many very real ways descended from Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party and the Japanese war criminals including Bush's family, tight connections with Nazi war criminals in the CIA, and historical leadership figures in the CIA). The large scale and extremely high level infiltration of hardcore Nazis in the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, and CDU politics is a ticking timebomb waiting for its moment. There seems to be similar high level Nazi infiltration in many other countries.

We have to be careful what we wish for!

B, please do an article on the Nazi penetration of the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, CDU etc, and links to the NSU affair, shredding of millions of documents by the Interior Ministry when demanded by the courts as evidence, links with the Board members and advisory board members of German big business especially Siemens and Deutche Bank and Bayer, etc.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 4:21:50 PM | 3
On how there is real danger with these wolves on sheepskin who only try to divide and conquer the working masses of the world, this old article by Ho Chi Minh on the importance of class conscience and the great labor of the University of the East in the former USSR to get workers of the world conscous and united in the common struggle. Also on the importance of having the right to vote:
Colonialism is a leech with two suckers, one of which sucks the metropolitan proletariat and the other that of the colonies. If we want to kill this monster, we must cut off both suckers at the same time. If only one is cut off, the other will continue to suck the blood of the proletariat, the animal will continue to live, and the cut–off sucker will grow again. The Russian Revolution has grasped this truth clearly. That is why it is not satisfied with making fine platonic speeches and drafting "humanitarian" resolutions in favor of oppressed peoples, but it teaches them to struggle; and helps them spiritually, as proclaimed by Lenin in his theses on the colonial question. To the Baku Congress, twenty–one Eastern nations sent delegates. Representatives of Western workers' parties also participated in the work of this congress. For the first time, the proletariat of the conquering Western States and that of the subject Eastern countries fraternally joined hands and deliberated in common on the best means to defeat their common enemy, imperialism .

Following this historic congress, despite internal and external difficulties, revolutionary Russia has never hesitated to come to the help of peoples awakened by its heroic and victorious revolution. One of its first important acts was the founding of the University of the East.(...)

The sixty–two nationalities represented at the University form a "Commune." Its chairman and functionaries are elected every three months by all the students.

A student delegate takes part in the economic and administrative management of the University. All must regularly and in turn work in the kitchen, the library, the club, etc. All "misdemeanors" and disputes are judged and settled by an elected tribunal in the presence of all comrades. Once a week, the "Commune" holds a meeting to discuss the international political and economic situation. From time to time, meetings and evening parties are organized where the amateur artists introduce the art and culture of their country.

The fact that the Communists not only treat the "inferior natives of the colonies" like brothers, but that they get them to participate in the political life of the country, is highly characteristic of the "barbarity" of the Bolsheviks. Treated in their native country as "submissive subjects" or "protéges," having no other right but that to pay taxes, the Eastern students, who are neither electors nor eligible for election in their own country, from whom the right to express their political opinion is withdrawn, in the Soviet Union take part in the election of the Soviets and have the right to send their representatives to the Soviets. Let our brothers of the colonies who vainly seek a change of nationality make a comparison between bourgeois democracy and proletarian democracy.

These students have suffered themselves and have witnessed the sufferings of others. All have lived under the yoke of "high civilization," all have been victims of exploitation and oppression by foreign capitalists . Moreover, they passionately long to acquire knowledge and to study. They are serious and full of enthusiasm. They are entirely different from the frequenters of the boulevards of the Latin Quarter, the Eastern students in Paris, Oxford, and Berlin. It can be said without exaggeration that under the roof of this University is the future of the colonial peoples.

The colonial countries of the Near and Far East, stretching from Syria to Korea, cover an extent of more than 15 million square kilometers and have more than 1,200 million inhabitants. All these immense countries are now under the yoke of capitalism and imperialism. Although their considerable numbers should be their strength, these submissive peoples have never yet made any serious attempts to free themselves from this yoke. Not yet having realized the value of international solidarity, they have not known how to unite for the struggle. Relationships between their countries are not yet established as they are among the peoples of Europe and America. They possess gigantic strength and do not yet realize it. The University of the East, assembling all the young, active, and intelligent leaders of the colonized countries, has fulfilled a great task, namely:

-It teaches to the future vanguard militants the principles of class struggle, confused in their minds by race conflicts and patriarchal customs.
-It establishes between the proletarian vanguard of the colonies a close contact with the Western proletariat, thus preparing the way for the close and effective cooperation which will alone ensure the final victory of the international working class.
-It teaches the colonized people, hitherto separated from one another, to know one another and to unite, by creating the bases of a future union of Eastern countries, one of the wings of the proletarian revolution.
-It sets the proletariat of colonialist countries and example of what they can and must do in favor of their oppressed brothers
.

This is why it is needed to throw the workers from the West against the migrants from the East and South, to avoid the invincible force they would constitute together. This dirty work is made by the far-right in the name of corporate liberal elites. They can play that they fight each other, but as soon as they get seats at the European Parliament, you will find the previous allegedly opponents all together aligned in the same Eurogroup. Time to time.

Bacchante , May 19, 2019 4:38:44 PM | 4
It is a wonder Strache's remark "Journalists are the biggest whores on the planet" and how he says he can subvert an entire media outlet to his political agenda by even firing the few remaining fringe elements. Yet here we can still talk about he was drunk, how his being set up was unjust, and how the poor guy will have to miss his lovers' right cause in Italy. Those vulgar masses are at it again! There can be no justification about the masses' support of far-right causes and the clowns like him. If you think otherwise it is the likes of moonofalabama next in line to be "fired", or eliminated. Legitimize their causes and it is Germany in 1920s all over again.

Two wrongs do not make a right, unfortunately.

Walter , May 19, 2019 4:56:04 PM | 5
"Left/right", I agree, is nearly without semantic value. Nevertheless class interests remain...how is it that this is so? Think about that, comrades.

And then consider wsws report about "At the annual meeting of the Bundeswehr reserve in autumn 2016, Veith announced: "I dream that in 2026 there will be a provincial regiment in each state with a charismatic commander, a troop flag and an organization of between 800 and 2,000 reservists to support the police and the Bundeswehr in emergency situations." " see> "German government prepares troops for domestic missions" @ wsws.org

Considering the overall aspects, it's rational to expect all parties in Europe to make plans, is it not? Of course the working class is not permitted to make such plans...is it?

Pnyx , May 19, 2019 5:04:18 PM | 6
I don't think Strache is as harmless as you portray him, B. You fall for his defence strategy if you attribute all his statements to the influence of alcohol. At that time, the man was very confident that he would soon be at the levers of power, which then materialized. It remains to be proven whether he did not put into practice anything of what he talked about at that house in Ibiza. After all, he was talking about the by far most influential newspaper in Austria.

Of course it is true that it is the neoliberal globalisers who have brought us to where we stand today. But that doesn' make people like Strache and Salvini any less dangerous. If they rise to total power, the result will be a naked dictatorship. Strache was beaten with his own weapons, you don't have to be under any illusions.

I agree with you that this is not the big setback for the right the mainstream parties dream of. But it won't help the fascists in spe in the future either.

Adrian E. , May 19, 2019 5:25:25 PM | 7
Who could have ordered such an elaborate sting operation?

A first association might be the dirty, deceptive campaigning SPÖ used against Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) - the Silberstein affair -, but I think the methods that were chosen are too different to make a common source likely, Strache was targeted in a much more sophisticated way. The Silberstein affair may, however, be the reason why the tapes have partially been published now rather than before the last Austrian elections - at that time, dirty campaigning might have been discredited too much for the tape to have the desired effect,

The sophisticated operation using actors and a villa prepared with hidden cameras and microphones shows that this is hardly a normal case of dirty campaigning by political opponents. Most likely, either it was an action by a secret service or someone with deep pockets hired former secret agents.

If it was an action by secret services, the most plausible explanation seems to be that Western secret services targeted Strache because FPÖ is one of the parties who is in favor of restoring normal relations with Russia.

François Fillon comes to mind, a French conservative candidate who also had a quite a friendly attitude towards Russia - shortly before the elections, it was revealed (at least claimed) that Fillon had given his wife ficticious employment, and Fillon lost popularity, which helped Macron enormously.

Probably, some of the things Strache said during this sting operation were inacceptable, and Fillon may also not be innocent, but if there is a systematic selective targeting of European politicians who want to normalize relations with Russia by secret services, that would be a huge problem for democracy.

In the case of Strache and FPÖ, a different motive may also be plausible. There are connections between FPÖ and neonazis, and there are, in my view, legitimate concerns that Strache is too close to such far-right networks. I don't think it is good when right-wing populists whose rise is mainly due to the unpopularity of the neoliberal elites are equated with Nazis too quickly.

But in the case of FPÖ, this is less far-fetched than in the case of other European right-wing parties - historically, Nazis played an important role in FPÖ in post-war Austria, and it is one of the current right-wing parties that probably has more connections to the extreme right (e.g. via Burschenschaften) than others. I could imagine that someone might have ordered and financed the sting operation out of antifascist principles. While I may recognize the motivation as ethical and even partially agree with it, I don't think the right means were chosen, and such dirty methods can backfire.

Michael Droy , May 19, 2019 5:33:51 PM | 8
"While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties"

Quite. It seems to me that only the Right and the Left have a clue right now, because they have an instinctive mistrust of what they are told in the media.
People like "b" and Craig Murray are to be thanked for explaining that to us middling voters.

You miss the most glaring "injustice". That which shows that GDP in most western countries had doubled in the last 30 odd years, that earnings for the top quartile have gone up by factors of 3 or 4. But that median earnings in US are unchanged, and in say UK are only up 10% or so (unless one is seeking to buy one's own house or flat).

All the improvements in inequality from 1930s to 1980s have been reversed in full. "Populists" (or better "anti-elitists") are driven mostly by sheer anger at how a small group had taken all the Economic gains of the last 35 years.

somebody , May 19, 2019 5:35:30 PM | 9
Posted by: Pnyx | May 19, 2019 5:04:18 PM | 26

I don't know what b. saw in the video what I saw was a discussion of an Orban like take over of Austria by FPÖ.

In other news people are arguing the following
- who will profit most - ÖVP
- why was the video not published after it was produced in 2017 - because ÖVP wanted a coalition with FPÖ
- why was it published now - ÖVP has been renting advertising space for weeks for an election in September (renting before the video came out), Sebastian Kurz will be the saviour who will get the disappointed FPÖ vote
add
- why the emphasis on Kronenzeitung,
who were the people producing the video
why Red Bull everywhere - Red Bull media empire billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he would back Sebastian Kurz in 2017

ÖVP/Kurz/Mateschitz have moved so far to the right that there is not much space for FPÖ anyway. His problems will return when he needs another coalition.

brian , May 19, 2019 5:37:28 PM | 0
'The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe'

other?

Erelis , May 19, 2019 6:09:06 PM | 1
While the right wing parties in Europe don't have a problem with Putin, it does seem that much of the Western European establish has gone full McCarthyite hysterical where they see any contact for any reason with a Russian is automatically criminal. Aside from being a setup it relied the underlying false flag of presenting the woman as a Russian (and hence guility of some crime against the Austrians).

In fact, a suggestion for a column--personal impressions on whether everyday Europeans are falling for anti-Russian propaganda. Polls in the US indicate that Americans simply do not care (they could believe it, but not effecting their daily lives).

S , May 19, 2019 6:36:42 PM | 2
1. The ER (United Russia) party was founded by Sergey Shoygu, Yuriy Luzhkov, and Mintimer Shaymiev. Its chairman is Dmitriy Medvedev, not Vladimir Putin. Putin is not even a member of ER. Putin is the leader of ONF (All-Russia People's Front), which is a nation-wide discussion platform for politicians, professionals, and NGOs.

2. Russian billionaire Igor Makarov denies having a niece: "I was the only child in the family." ( Forbes.ru , in Russian).

3. In 2016, Joseph Mifsud invited George Papadopoulos to Rome and introduced him to "Putin's niece" with the intent of smearing Trump as "Russian puppet" and destroying his election chances. In 2017, someone (who?) invited Heinz-Christian Strache to Ibiza and introduced him to "Russian billionaire's niece" with the intent of smearing Strache as "Russian puppet" and destroying his party's election chances. Notice a pattern?

4. This is a clear case of Germany interfering in Austrian elections. Austria should deport 60 German diplomats, shut down German embassy in Vienna, and impose sanctions on Germany. Also put a German girl interested in Austrian politics in jail for 18 months.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 6:37:32 PM | 3
Thinking about it, after revealing e-mail of HRC, Podesta etc. were published, their core supporters were enraged about the dirty trick and did not pay attention to the disclosed content, while for the core opponents of HRC she was already sufficiently vilified so the net change in voting intentions that can be attributed to that incident was modest.

Leaving aside the discussion of of various factors in that election, this public reaction is typical. Actually, in both cases the core supporters may be energized by the suspicion that this trick was performed by a foreign government. I do not think that there is a particular hostility toward Germany in Felix Austria, but the to the right wing Merkel government is like red cape for a bull. The women who unleashed a wave of refugees. On top of that, traditionally major parties of Austria gained reputation of dirty patronage, so the voters who care about that issue probably do not vote for them.

I do not expect Austrians to demand expulsions of German diplomats -- interference in our democracy -- or other sanctions, but nevertheless it stinks. Making sting operations on politicians has corrupt potential even if it is done by domestic law enforcement, but foreign intelligence services really do not have any excuse.

Thinking about it, the stings against George Papadopoulos described in his book were remarkably similar.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 6:45:53 PM | 4
Great minds think alike, S!

That said, Austrians have a reputation of good manners etc., they will not unload their frustration on a girl. BTW, why there are suspicions of Germany being involved? Again, even extremist Austrians probably would like to have some proof before doing anything. I guess, America is indeed exceptional.

Uncoy , May 19, 2019 6:49:33 PM | 5
For all those of you whining about the corruption of Strache, this is how business and politics is done in Austria. Strache was just talking about the FPÖ's fair share after an election which they would win.

This all starts with Austrian's Presidential Election of 2016. The FPÖ won the presidential election a couple of years ago in May 2016. After the bell, postal votes overturned it! – postal votes more than 90% in favour of the establishment candidate Van der Bellen. Some constituencies full of Van der Bellen votes turned out to have 148% turn out. There was a court case by the FPÖ about procedure and hinting at ballot falsification. The case was judged by a (non-corrupt but under serious pressure) judge to have enough merit that the elections had to be annulled and the election rerun six months later . Austria went without a president at all for six months!

For six months the mainstream Austrian media campaigned non-stop against the FPÖ and Norbert Hofer. Huge efforts were made for voter turnout (it included huge bussing of potential anti-FPÖ constituencies and bribing pensioners to vote against the FPÖ via parties and cakes). With all of that, Van der Bellen scraped in on 4 December 2016, by 348,231 votes. Despite the non-stop anti-FPÖ propaganda and banging on drums, votes for Hofer's fell by less than 100,000 (95,993 votes to be exact). It's just that with six months to prepare the establishment had found enough "dead souls" to win the second round.

In the parliamentary elections of 15 October 2017, the FPÖ were set to win a strong majority in parliament. To defeat the FPÖ and Strache, the conservatives (Völkspartei) were forced to elect a male model non-university graduate 30 year old sex symbol with no work experience outside of politics as party leader. Of course Sebastian Kurz was mainly a figurehead for establishment figures in the venerable Völkspartei. Kurz does have a mind of his own though (I had the opportunity to interact with him personally at a local political discussion group in 2015) and it's hard to know exactly how much of his policy is dictated to him and how much is off his own bat.

Going back to Austrian corruption, there are enormous sums at stake. There is a long entrenched system of corruption in the establishment parties, the Völkspartei and the SPÖ. Strabag does win most of the government contracts. Favour is regularly granted on quid pro basis. The media landscape is very partisan and mostly for sale. Kurz's spiritual predecessor as a powerful head of the Völkspartei if not direct predecessor Wolfgang Schüssel was forced to retire from politics in 2011 due to never-ending corruption scandals. Schüssel's longstanding finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser was caught carrying bags of cash to Lichtenstein and is still under investigation. If his mother-in-law were not the richest woman in Austria (Swarovski Crystal) and devoted to her daughter (Grasser's wife), he would long ago have been in jail.

Politically, Grasser knows where a lot of the bodies are buried from the Schlüssel political machine so either he has to be kept out of jail or he may take others down with him. In elite Austrian circles turning informant would be considered unsportsmanlike so there's an uneasy truce still fought to this day in the courts where Grasser is kept out of jail via procedural methods (detect a pattern) and Grasser doesn't rat out the others.

Strache's sin is not planning to use the advantages which accrue to the governing Austrian party but getting caught out talking about it. Strache is something of a lout, not terribly loyal (he was the Brutus who threw Jörg Haider under the bus in 2005 in a palace putsch). He's a smoker in power who used his power to overturn some very positive anti-smoking laws. But he's less corrupt than any of his equivalents in the Völkspartei and is only a nose ahead of the his equivalents in the SPÖ. His politics and policies of Austria for Austrians are pretty simple. Hence people vote for these policies.

Here's a sample of the SPÖ's wares in the 2010 Vienna elections:

The FPÖ has historically been weakest in Vienna but in 2010 they took 27% of the vote in this SPÖ stronghold, their first step in what has been a steady march to power.

Anyone who does not directly have his or her family's nose in the EU trough at this point knows that the policies espoused by transatlantic puppets like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron push our countries and our continent towards self-destruction. Life in Europe, post-1968 and pre-2013, has been pretty damn good. There's absolutely no good reason for us to rip up our traditions or turn into a continent of immigrants and mobile job seekers. We instinctively abhor what is happening to our nations. By nature Strache is inclined this way himself (he's no great thinker) and has the good sense to ride the wave.

somebody , May 19, 2019 7:11:44 PM | 6
Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 19, 2019 6:45:53 PM | 34

As Strache explains in the video, Austrian dirty tricks are done "via another country".

somebody , May 19, 2019 7:21:16 PM | 7
For all those of you whining about the corruption of Strache, this is how business and politics is done in Austria. Strache was just talking about the FPÖ's fair share after an election which they would win.

So why did he step down?

Here's a sample of the SPÖ's wares in the 2010 Vienna elections:

You mean FPÖ wares .

Hoarsewhisperer , May 19, 2019 7:29:57 PM | 8
...
"This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:"

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

"The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false..."

I can't agree that Spiegel's attitude to Strache's party is condescending toward the working class. Right-wing parties tend to spout a lot of aggressively authoritarian spin tank bullshit to encourage voters to tune out when a R-w politician is telling them what to think. If Strache is adept at separating fact from fiction and superfluous verbiage, then people would appreciate his candor.

In a Democracy, and in theory at least, politicians are supposed to represent and defend the views of the people who voted for them, not vested intere$t$. Or so we've been led to believe...

I'll always remember Spiegel as the folks whose photo-journalists torpedoed Crooked Hillary's feeble-minded Cheonan (NK-SK) bullshit. That story vanished overnight. It's not even referred to in NK smear campaigns. Dead & buried.

somebody , May 19, 2019 8:15:54 PM | 9
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 19, 2019 7:29:57 PM | 38

In a Democracy, and in theory at least, politicians are supposed to represent and defend the views of the people who voted for them, not vested intere$t$. Or so we've been led to believe...

You are making this theory up.

Let's take the American constitution .

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

That's it.

The German constitution is absolutely clear that members of parliament represent all of the people (ie different views and interests) and are bound by their own judgement and conscience only.

As we are discussing Austria, lets see what the Austrian constitution says. Austria has "linguistic and cultural diversity" and the protection of its grown native peoples in its constitution, this means Slovenian, Croatian, Czech, Slovakian, Roma and Hungarian. So the Austrian constitution has a concept of a multinational state where different peoples grow and are protected even if the Viennese "Stammtisch" does not like them.

There is no "democratic theory" that suggests representatives should follow the uninformed and prejudiced views of their electorate against their better judgement.

Strache seems to have specialized in "fake news" - ie mostly invented stuff claiming Muslims, immigrants or whoever were treated in a better way than native Austrians or threatened native Austrians.

It is a very convenient technique when you plan to cut social services, you have someone to blame.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 9:05:45 PM | 0
To those who fill that politics of Strache are obnoxious and that justifies entrapment, remembers that methods of that type are not improvised, and that means that there is an apparatus that does it. We noted similarities with provocations against George Papadopoulos. In the latter case the target was cautious, after all, we had to be well aware of such methods. But anyone who is despised by NATO establishment are similar group can be on the receiving end, think about Assange.

[May 19, 2019] Some Shocking Facts on the Concentration of Ownership of the US Economy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction. ..."
"... In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). ..."
"... In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies. ..."
"... A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2). ..."
"... Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4). ..."
May 19, 2019 | russia-insider.com

A close-knit oligarchy controls all major corporations. Monopolization of ownership in US economy fast approaching Soviet levels

Starting with Ronald Reagan's presidency, the US government willingly decided to ignore the anti-trust laws so that corporations would have free rein to set up monopolies. With each successive president the monopolistic concentration of business and shareholding in America has grown precipitously eventually to reach the monstrous levels of the present day.

Today's level of monopolistic concentration is of such unprecedented levels that we may without hesitation designate the US economy as a giant oligopoly. From economic power follows political power, therefore the economic oligopoly translates into a political oligarchy. (It seems, though, that the transformation has rather gone the other way around, a ferocious set of oligarchs have consolidated their economic and political power beginning from the turn of the twentieth century). The conclusion that the US is an oligarchy finds support in a 2014 by a Princeton University study.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction.

In a later report, we will demonstrate how all sectors of the US economy have fallen prey to monopolization and how the corporate oligopoly has been set up across the country. This post essentially serves as an appendix to that future report by providing the shocking details of the concentration of corporate ownership.

Apart from illustrating the monopolization at the level of shareholding of the major investors and corporations, we will in a follow-up post take a somewhat closer look at one particularly fatal aspect of this phenomenon, namely the consolidation of media (posted simultaneously with the present one) in the hands of absurdly few oligarch corporations. In there, we will discuss the monopolies of the tech giants and their ownership concentration together with the traditional media because they rightfully belong to the same category directly restricting speech and the distribution of opinions in society.

In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). To achieve these goals, it has been crucial for the oligarchs to control and direct the narrative on economy and war, on all public discourse on social affairs. By seizing the media, the oligarchs have created a monstrous propaganda machine, which controls the opinions of the majority of the US population.

We use the words 'monopoly,' 'monopolies,' and 'monopolization' in a broad sense and subsume under these concepts all kinds of market dominance be it by one company or two or a small number of companies, that is, oligopolies. At the end of the analysis, it is not of great importance how many corporations share in the market dominance, rather what counts is the death of competition and the position enabling market abuse, either through absolute dominance, collusion, or by a de facto extinction of normal market competition. Therefore we use the term 'monopolization' to describe the process of reaching a critical level of non-competition on a market. Correspondingly, we may denote 'monopoly companies' two corporations of a duopoly or several of an oligopoly.

Horizontal shareholding – the cementation of the oligarchy

One especially perfidious aspect of this concentration of ownership is that the same few institutional investors have acquired undisputable control of the leading corporations in practically all the most important sectors of industry. The situation when one or several investors own controlling or significant shares of the top corporations in a given industry (business sector) is referred to as horizontal shareholding . (*1). In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies.

A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2).

Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4).

Blackrock had as of 2016 $6.2 trillion worth of assets under management, Vanguard $5.1 trillion, whereas State Street has dropped to a distant third with only $1 trillion in assets. This compares with a total market capitalization of US stocks according to Russell 3000 of $30 trillion at end of 2017 (From 2016 to 2017, the Big Three has of course also put on assets).Blackrock and Vanguard would then alone own more than one-third of all US publicly listed shares.

From an expanded sample that includes the 3,000 largest publicly listed corporations (Russell 3000 index), institutions owned (2016) about 78% of the equity .

The speed of concentration the US economy in the hands of institutions has been incredible. Still back in 1950s, their share of the equity was 10%, by 1980 it was 30% after which the concentration has rapidly grown to the present day approximately 80%. (*5). Another study puts the present (2016) stock market capitalization held by institutional investors at 70%. (*6). (The slight difference can possibly be explained by variations in the samples of companies included).

As a result of taking into account the common ownership at investor level, it emerges that the US economy is yet much more monopolized than it was previously thought when the focus had been on the operational business corporation alone detached from their owners. (*7).

The Oligarch owners assert their control

Apologists for monopolies have argued that the institutional investors who manage passive capital are passive in their own conduct as shareholders as well. (*8). Even if that would be true it would come with vastly detrimental consequences for the economy as that would mean that in effect there would be no shareholder control at all and the corporate executives would manage the companies exclusively with their own short-term benefits in mind, inevitably leading to corruption and the loss of the common benefits businesses on a normally functioning competitive market would bring.

In fact, there seems to have been a period in the US economy – before the rapid monopolization of the last decade -when such passive investors had relinquished control to the executives. (*9). But with the emergence of the Big Three investors and the astonishing concentration of ownership that does not seem to hold water any longer. (*10). In fact, there need not be any speculation about the matter as the monopolist owners are quite candid about their ways. For example, BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink sends out an annual guiding letter to his subject, practically to all the largest firms of the US and increasingly also Europe and the rest of the West. In his pastoral, the CEO shares his view of the global conditions affecting business prospects and calls for companies to adjust their strategies accordingly.

The investor will eventually review the management's strategic plans for compliance with the guidelines. Effectively, the BlackRock CEO has in this way assumed the role of a giant central planner, rather like the Gosplan, the central planning agency of the Soviet command economy.

The 2019 letter (referenced above) contains this striking passage, which should quell all doubts about the extent to which BlackRock exercises its powers:

"As we seek to build long-term value for our clients through engagement, our aim is not to micromanage a company's operations. Instead, our primary focus is to ensure board accountability for creating long-term value. However, a long-term approach should not be confused with an infinitely patient one. When BlackRock does not see progress despite ongoing engagement, or companies are insufficiently responsive to our efforts to protect our clients' long-term economic interests, we do not hesitate to exercise our right to vote against incumbent directors or misaligned executive compensation."

Considering the striking facts rendered above, we should bear in mind that the establishment of this virtually absolute oligarch ownership over all the largest corporations of the United States is a relatively new phenomenon. We should therefore expect that the centralized control and centralized planning will rapidly grow in extent as the power is asserted and methods are refined.

Most of the capital of those institutional investors consists of so-called passive capital, that is, such cases of investments where the investor has no intention of trying to achieve any kind of control of the companies it invests in, the only motivation being to achieve as high as possible a yield. In the overwhelming majority of the cases the funds flow into the major institutional investors, which invest the money at their will in any corporations. The original investors do not retain any control of the institutional investors, and do not expect it either. Technically the institutional investors like BlackRock and Vanguard act as fiduciary asset managers. But here's the rub, while the people who commit their assets to the funds may be considered as passive investors, the institutional investors who employ those funds are most certainly not.

Cross-ownership of oligarch corporations

To make matters yet worse, it must be kept in mind that the oligopolistic investors in turn are frequently cross-owned by each other. (*11). In fact, there is no transparent way of discovering who in fact controls the major institutional investors.

One of the major institutional investors, Vanguard is ghost owned insofar as it does not have any owners at all in the traditional sense of the concept. The company claims that it is owned by the multiple funds that it has itself set up and which it manages. This is how the company puts it on their home page : "At Vanguard, there are no outside owners, and therefore, no conflicting loyalties. The company is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their shareholders -- including you, if you're a Vanguard fund investor." At the end of the analysis, it would then seem that Vanguard is owned by Vanguard itself, certainly nobody should swallow the charade that those funds stuffed with passive investor money would exercise any ownership control over the superstructure Vanguard. We therefore assume that there is some group of people (other than the company directors) that have retained the actual control of Vanguard behind the scenes (perhaps through one or a few of the funds). In fact, we believe that all three (BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard) are tightly controlled by a group of US oligarchs (or more widely transatlantic oligarchs), who prefer not to brandish their power. It is beyond the scope of this study and our means to investigate this hypothesis, but whatever, it is bad enough that as a proven fact these three investor corporations wield this control over most of the American economy. We also know that the three act in concert wherever they hold shares. (*12).

Now, let's see who are the formal owners of these institutional investors

In considering these ownership charts, please, bear in mind that we have not consistently examined to what degree the real control of one or another company has been arranged through a scheme of issuing different classes of shares, where a special class of shares give vastly more voting rights than the ordinary shares. One source asserts that 355 of the companies in the Russell index consisting of the 3000 largest corporations employ such a dual voting-class structure, or 11.8% of all major corporations.

We have mostly relied on www.stockzoa.com for the shareholder data. However, this and other sources tend to list only the so-called institutional investors while omitting corporate insiders and other individuals. (We have no idea why such strange practice is employed

[May 19, 2019] The OPCW, Douma, The Skripals

Notable quotes:
"... The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East. ..."
"... Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense. ..."
"... A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time. ..."
"... The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation. ..."
"... The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know. ..."
"... The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect. ..."
"... Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later). ..."
"... The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all. ..."
"... She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day. ..."
"... If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East. ..."
"... So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility? ..."
"... This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first. ..."
"... If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this. ..."
"... But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval. ..."
"... The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and desperately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end. ..."
"... Theresa May's political career still hangs by a thread, and her "Falklands moment", at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage's Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever. ..."
"... In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they've moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran. ..."
"... The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it's a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Off-Guardian.org,

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma "chemical attack" were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.

You can read the whole article here .

* * *

PRIMARILY UK INITIATIVE?

The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the "War on Terror" the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the "response".

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump's attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma "attack", and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It's possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to "be seen to do something" and Trump's perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.

THE SKRIPAL CONSIDERATION

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn't this way. Since some time in mid to late March it's been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

  1. It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it
  2. Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.
  3. It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the "toxic substance" found in the Skripals' blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government's public claims of "novichok" is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can't completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma "gas attack" and subsequent drive for a concerted western "response" have to do with trying to fix that?

IS THIS WHAT HAPPENED?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless "chemical attack", botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied "response" to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the "reprisals" when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it's unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more "reprisals"? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We'll all know soon enough.

* * *

Back to today...

...and while things have moved on, we're still puzzling over all the same issues.

All these questions stand, and are important, but more important than all of that is the lesson: They tried it before, and just because it didn't work doesn't mean they won't try it again.

Last spring, the Western powers showed they will deploy a false flag if they need too, for domestic or international motives. And they have the motives right now.

The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and desperately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end.

Theresa May's political career still hangs by a thread, and her "Falklands moment", at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage's Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever.

Britain had the most to gain, of all NATO countries, and that is still true. We don't know what they might do.

This time they might even receive greater support from France this time around – since Macron is facing a revolution at home and would kill (possibly literally) for a nice international distraction.

In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they've moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran.

That's not to say Syria is safe, far from it. They are always just one carefully place false-flag away from all-out war. Last year, Mattis (or whoever) decided war with Syria was not an option – that it was too risky or complicated. That might not happen next time.

Clearly, the US hasn't totally seen sense in terms of stoking conflict with Russia – as seen by the decision to pull out of the INF Treaty late last year. And further demonstrated by their attempts to overthrow Russia's ally Nicolas Maduro. Another ripe candidate for a false flag.

The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it's a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media.

But because recognising what they were trying to do last time , is the best defense when they try it again next time .

[May 16, 2019] I have never seen such transparently obvious bullshit from UK elite befores"

May 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Tsigantes , says: May 9, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT

@MarkU Bravo!

As to their "cleverness", there was a time when UK politicians were known for their slippery qualities and subtlety, but those days are long gone. What we have now is barefaced lies, relying purely on repetition and monolithic corporate media ownership. They are not winning arguments because they are clever, I have never seen such transparently obvious bullshit before.

'Clever is as clever does' – once said with a snort – is a compliment too far for the deeply corrupted, vulgar, mediocre nobodies who comprise the self-styled 'elites'. In this group 'cleverness' simply means the lies they are paid to say repeated loudly and often. And because they have the reins on power, the non-compliant are punished by thugs.

[May 14, 2019] How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America

May 14, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

(Bloomberg) -- Rich is relative.

Merely having a net worth of $1 million, it seems, doesn't mean you're wealthy. In Charles Schwab's annual Modern Wealth Survey, the amount people said it took to be considered rich averaged out to $2.3 million. That, the company said, is "more than 20 times the actual median net worth of U.S. households."

It's also a very slight drop from the $2.4 million average in the two previous iterations of the survey.The older one gets, the higher the bar goes, predictably. Among baby boomers (roughly age 55 to 73), the average net worth you need to be considered wealthy is $2.6 million, 35% higher than what millennials envision as the admission price to the plutocracy.

For someone to be deemed merely financially comfortable, the required net worth shrinks significantly. The average amount was $1.1 million, and only Generation Z (about age 9 to age 22, though Schwab's sample was 18 to 22) cited a number below $1 million ($909,600, to be exact.)

The Schwab survey, which took a national sample of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 21 and 75, also revealed that the majority of Americans really crave real estate. More than 50% of respondents across generations said that if they got a $1 million windfall, they'd spend it, and the most popular purchase would be a place to live -- particularly among millennials (roughly age 22 to 37). Those millennials also took issue with the premise of the survey. More than three-quarters of them said their personal definition of wealth was really about the way they live their lives, rather than a discrete dollar amount.

Nevertheless, 60% of them aren't all that worried, since they plan to be wealthy within one to 10 years. The survey results suggest an interesting strategy to help them get there -- ignore their friends' social media posts.

How's that? Well, it seems virtual covetousness has taken on a life of its own for the digital generation. According to the survey, overspending because of what they see on social media (in tandem with the ease with which it takes your cash) was the largest "bad" influence on how they managed their money.

And the negative influence of social media on spending is only going to grow. In March, Instagram announced that it's testing a shopping feature called Checkout that lets users buy things directly within the app, rather than being directed to a retailer's website. So much for one-stop shopping. Now you won't even have to stop.With 59% of the Americans surveyed saying they live paycheck to paycheck, instant gratification comes with a high price. While a strong economy and low unemployment are helping consumers stay current on their debt payments, the largest U.S. banks are seeing losses on credit cards outpace those of auto and home loans at a rate not seen in at least 10 years.And when the bottom does finally fall out, the last thing most Americans will be thinking of is whether they qualify as wealthy.

To contact the author of this story: Suzanne Woolley in New York at swoolley2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

[May 13, 2019] Not Just Ukraine; Biden May Have A Serious China Problem As Schweizer Exposes Hunter s $1bn Deal

Highly recommended!
Neoliberal corruption in full display. As we see forms of nepotism evolve with time...
Notable quotes:
"... Two years of investigations by journalist Peter Schweizer has revealed that Joe Biden may now have a serious China problem. And just like his Ukraine scandal , it involves actions which helped his son Hunter, who was making hand over fist in both countries. ..."
"... Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China , which expanded to $1.5 billion, according to an article by Schweizer's in the New York Post . ..."
"... Hunter Biden and his partners created several LLCs involved in multibillion-dollar private equity deals with Chinese government-owned entities. ..."
"... Perhaps most damning in terms of timing and optics, just twelve days after Hunter and Joe Biden flew on Air Force Two to Beijing, Hunter's company signed a "historic deal with the Bank of China ," described by Schweizer as "the state-owned financial behemoth often used as a tool of the Chinese government." To accommodate the deal, the Bank of China created a unique type of investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). According to BHR, Rosemont Seneca Partners is a founding partner ..."
"... It was an unprecedented arrangement: the government of one of America's fiercest competitors going into business with the son of one of America's most powerful decisionmakers . ..."
"... It doesn't stop there. While Hunter Biden had "no experience in China, and little in private equity," the Chinese government for some reason thought it would be a great idea to give his firm business opportunities instead of established global banks such as Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs. ..."
"... The following August, Rosemont Realty, another sister company of Rosemont Seneca, announced that Gemini Investments was buying a 75 percent stake in the company. The terms of the deal included a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese, who were eager to purchase new US properties. Shortly after the sale, Rosemont Realty was rechristened Gemini Rosemont. ..."
"... "We see great opportunities to continue acquiring high-quality real estate in the US market," said one company executive, who added: "The possibilities for this venture are tremendous." ..."
"... Then, in 2015, BHR partnered with a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in order to purchase American precision-parts maker Henniges - a transaction which required approval from the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the same rubber-stamp committee that approved the Uranium One deal. ..."
"... The vice president was bringing with him highly welcomed terms of a United States Agency for International Development program to assist the Ukrainian natural-gas industry and promises of more US financial assistance and loans. Soon the United States and the International Monetary Fund would be pumping more than $1 billion into the Ukrainian economy. ..."
"... The next day, there was a public announcement that Archer had been asked to join the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural-gas company. Three weeks after that, on May 13, it was announced that Hunter Biden would join, too. Neither Biden nor Archer had any background or experience in the energy sector. - New York Post ..."
"... Then Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees to Ukraine unless President Petro Poroshenko fired his head prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin, who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into natural gas firm Burisma Holdings. ..."
"... Biden bragged about the threat last year, telling an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations: "I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko. ..."
"... As we head into the 2020 elections, it will be interesting to see how Joe Biden dances around his son's lucrative - and very potentially daddy-assisted deals around the world. ..."
May 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Mon, 05/13/2019 - 14:30 111 SHARES

Two years of investigations by journalist Peter Schweizer has revealed that Joe Biden may now have a serious China problem. And just like his Ukraine scandal , it involves actions which helped his son Hunter, who was making hand over fist in both countries.

Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China , which expanded to $1.5 billion, according to an article by Schweizer's in the New York Post .

" If it sounds shocking that a vice president would shape US-China policy as his son -- who has scant experience in private equity -- clinched a coveted billion-dollar deal with an arm of the Chinese government, that's because it is " - Peter Schweizer

Perhaps this is why Joe Biden - now on the 2020 campaign trail - said last week that China wasn't a threat.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/sD9d3TUYHNo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a shot at Biden's comment during a speech at the Claremont Institute's 40th anniversary gala, saying "Look how both parties now are on guard against the threat that China presents to America -- maybe except Joe Biden."

Back to Hunter...

Schweizer connects the dots, writing that "without the aid of subpoena power, here's what we know :"

It was an unprecedented arrangement: the government of one of America's fiercest competitors going into business with the son of one of America's most powerful decisionmakers .

Chris Heinz claims neither he nor Rosemont Seneca Partners, the firm he had part ownership of, had any role in the deal with Bohai Harvest. Nonetheless, Biden, Archer and the Rosemont name became increasingly involved with China.

Archer became the vice chairman of Bohai Harvest, helping oversee some of the fund's investments. - New York Post

National Security implications

As Schweizer also notes, BHR became an "anchor investor" in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) in December 2014. The state-owned energy company is involved with the construction of nuclear reactors.

In April 2016, CGN was charged by the US Justice Department with stealing nuclear secrets from the United States , which prosecutors warned could cause "significant damage to our national security." CNG was interested in sensitive, American-made nuclear components that resembled those used on US nuclear submarines, according to experts.

More China dealings

It doesn't stop there. While Hunter Biden had "no experience in China, and little in private equity," the Chinese government for some reason thought it would be a great idea to give his firm business opportunities instead of established global banks such as Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs.

Also in December 2014, a Chinese state-backed conglomerate called Gemini Investments Limited was negotiating and sealing deals with Hunter Biden's Rosemont on several fronts. That month, it made a $34 million investment into a fund managed by Rosemont.

The following August, Rosemont Realty, another sister company of Rosemont Seneca, announced that Gemini Investments was buying a 75 percent stake in the company. The terms of the deal included a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese, who were eager to purchase new US properties. Shortly after the sale, Rosemont Realty was rechristened Gemini Rosemont.

Chinese executives lauded the deal. - New York Post

"Rosemont, with its comprehensive real-estate platform and superior performance history, was precisely the investment opportunity Gemini Investments was looking for in order to invest in the US real estate market," said Li Ming, chairman of Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Limited and Gemini Investments. "We look forward to a strong and successful partnership."

That partnership planned to use Chinese money to scoop up US properties.

"We see great opportunities to continue acquiring high-quality real estate in the US market," said one company executive, who added: "The possibilities for this venture are tremendous."

Then, in 2015, BHR partnered with a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in order to purchase American precision-parts maker Henniges - a transaction which required approval from the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the same rubber-stamp committee that approved the Uranium One deal.

Tying it back to Ukraine

While we have previously reported on the Bidens' adventures in Ukraine, Schweizer connects the dots rather well here ...

Consider the facts. On April 16, 2014, White House records show that Devon Archer, Hunter Biden's business partner in the Rosemont Seneca deals, made a private visit to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Biden. Five days later, on April 21, Joe Biden landed in Kiev for a series of high-level meetings with Ukrainian officials . The vice president was bringing with him highly welcomed terms of a United States Agency for International Development program to assist the Ukrainian natural-gas industry and promises of more US financial assistance and loans. Soon the United States and the International Monetary Fund would be pumping more than $1 billion into the Ukrainian economy.

The next day, there was a public announcement that Archer had been asked to join the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural-gas company. Three weeks after that, on May 13, it was announced that Hunter Biden would join, too. Neither Biden nor Archer had any background or experience in the energy sector. - New York Post

Hunter was paid as much as $50,000 per month while Burisma was under investigation by officials in both Ukraine and elsewhere.

Then Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees to Ukraine unless President Petro Poroshenko fired his head prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin, who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.

Biden bragged about the threat last year, telling an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations: "I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.

" Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."

Joe Biden says that he had no idea Hunter was on the board of Burisma (for two years after he joined), and that the two never spoke about the Burisma investigation. The former VP claims that Shokin's removal was required due to his mishandling of several cases in Ukraine.

As we head into the 2020 elections, it will be interesting to see how Joe Biden dances around his son's lucrative - and very potentially daddy-assisted deals around the world.


Bastiat , 2 minutes ago link

Stick a fork in Creepy Uncle Sniffy.

Feel it Reel it , 8 minutes ago link

Biden is another scumbag Democrat Lawyer who's the original 'pay for play' politician...A 40+ year history in Political Office with Zero accomplishments except enriching himself and his family...A complete fraud and hypocrite liar.....Lawyers should have never been allowed to run for Office at any level.....Look at all the corruption that has been and is being exposed at the different bureaucracies...Virtually all the corruption has been willfully committed by Lawyers....Pathetic....

LOL123 , 16 minutes ago link

Interesting.... I put: "The Steele Dossier has so many British agents involved it sounds like a British failed coup to overthrow an elected President because he stands in " the way of "profiting goals of " international goals" of global monopoly run by unelected councils and retired instigators as facilitators of discord.

But came out:The Steele Dossier has so many British agents involved it sounds like a British failed coup to overthrow an elected President because he stands in the profiting goals of " international goals" of global monopoly run by unelected councils and retired instigators as facilitators of discord.

To make it sound as if it is Trump profiting.... By no means is that true... Its the " long term" Washington officals that have been profiting. Not a possible 8 year President.

My phone also wont let me thumbs up people i would like to but only a few and also replying is " verboten".

These algorhythms and blocks and censorship is an abuse of constitutional rights which is bad enough, but even worse is that these rights got monopolized by various corporations who bought stock in facebook/ googles options that was stolen from Leader technologies source code ( which Mark zukerberg couldnt write on a good day... He is a front guy and again we have British privy council involed with Clegg head of facebook now voice for Mark... Because Mark is a cut out).

This whole social media internet thing has been hijacked and weaponized by Washingtons same people as Dossier scandel... James Chandeler attorney and backstaber of Leader technology.

See leader technology vs facebook..... But i digress.

We have lost control of the internet.

https://www.fbcoverup.com/docs/library/Michael-T-McKibben-AFI-backgrounder.html

Michael T. McKibben's career spans two phases: international Christian music ministry, and technology innovation. In 2006, he was awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,139,761 for what is now called "social networking."

Psadie , 21 minutes ago link

Biden & Kerry aren't the only ones with a China problem. "Secret Empires" also listed Mitch McConnell having a huge China problem through his wife's shipping company. I bet he doesn't run for re-election. Winning.

Bricker , 23 minutes ago link

Biden thinks he knows something about trade. If thats the case how did America get here?

We got here from career politicians selling America for votes.

#FuckBiden

cleg , 46 minutes ago link

China owns the Clintonista mob.

onewayticket2 , 43 minutes ago link

they all own one another - that's the essence of the problem in politics. and why they have tried so hard to get that outsider, trump, out of the country club.

Koba the Dread , 30 minutes ago link

China funded Bill Clinton's election campaigns through James Riady, an Indonesian Chinese man involved in hard drug smuggling and arms trafficking. The money was laundered through Little Rock banks and corporations. (See Victor Thorn's Hillary and Bill , all three volumes.)

JamcaicanMeAfraid , 48 minutes ago link

"Come on man! This is a joke! He's my son and he's a great buddy. I mean yeah he was drummed out of the Naval Reserve because of his cocaine habit, but come on man, you know, everybody does it! Just ask my good friend Barack, he's a clean, good looking darkie whose done his share of blow. And yeah Hunter fucked his dead brother's widow, but come on man! Have you seen her **** and ***. I might have made a move on her myself, but hey man I'm married."

Joe Biden, From the endless Fear and Mongering Presidential campaign of 2020.

JibjeResearch , 49 minutes ago link

How can a deal of such magnitude escape the Treasury FINCEN?

Get on it ... you IRS/SEC/FBI people!

Koba the Dread , 25 minutes ago link

IRS/SEC/FBI are not investigatory agencies. They are barrier agencies. They protect the anointed, letting them do as they wish, and stomp on anyone else who tries to get in on the gravy train.

Rico , 55 minutes ago link

ah, sociopaths in action...from an earlier post:

//

Sociopaths are the reason all governments, regardless of the particular 'ism', eventually fail...

Looking at human history, fascism is the most common form of government for humans. At least it is the most honest - that the sociopaths are ******* everyone else.... These days we try to hide it by lofty idealism that is incompatible with a predator/prey real world.....

Representative democracy, socialism and communism all fail and all fail for the same reason - sociopaths...

We should be honest with ourselves that there is a small, but statistically significant percentage of the human population that are sociopaths (and more are being born every generation). We can call them predators and we are the prey...any concentration of power attracts sociopaths regardless of the fancy label we put on the political system. Within a short time the system is inundated with sociopaths who invariably game the system to death for their own individual benefit....

Don't like the reality in which you find yourself? Stop voting for sociopaths, stop giving them power...

What political party or system even acknowledge the sociopath problem? That's right, none...so don't expect anything to change after the reset...the pleubs will chose a new sociopath for their leader, who will **** them, and things will go on as they always have...

Only way to combat this is to decentralize power as much as possible...this doesn't solve the sociopath problem, but it does spread them out and keeps them from ganging up together to **** over the peasants...but I won't hold my breath....

Fish Gone Bad , 1 hour ago link

I bet Hunter's tax records must be VERY interesting. Someone really needs to step up and show those bad boys.

pilager , 1 hour ago link

Yes, selling America out again.

TeethVillage88s , 52 minutes ago link

Is this a good time to take a look at 1) Front Men 2) Front Companies 3) Shell Companies 4) Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV/SPE) 5) Offshore Accounts, Offshore Donations, Offshore Campaign or PAC or Party Contributions, Paradise Papers, Panama Papers 6) USA as Tax Haven for foreign accounts 7) USA as an Empire 8) The Rise Of The Fourth Reich notes in book by Jim Marrs

[May 12, 2019] Is rabid warmonger, neocon chickenhawk Bolton a swinger? That s a mental picture that s deeply disturbing yet funny at the same time

Highly recommended!
In this case he looks like Bill Clinton impersonalization ;-) That's probably how Adelson controls Bolton ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Larry Flint had offered a Million dollars to anyone who had proof of republican sexual exploits. He was quickly fingered by someone who attended those clubs. He was forced to accept a temporary position and quietly resigned after a few months so as to avoid facing questions. ..."
May 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

FB , says: Website May 11, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT

@J. Gutierrez Thanks for putting together this commentary J

Bolton a swinger ? LOL that's a mental picture that's deeply disturbing yet funny at the same time

J. Gutierrez , says: May 11, 2019 at 10:42 pm GMT

@FB Yeah brother, that POS was called out during his confirmation hearings during baby Bush's presidency. Larry Flint had offered a Million dollars to anyone who had proof of republican sexual exploits. He was quickly fingered by someone who attended those clubs. He was forced to accept a temporary position and quietly resigned after a few months so as to avoid facing questions.

Someone said they saw him proposition a teenage girl outside one of the swinger clubs he frequented.

Glad you enjoyed the piece take care brother.

[May 12, 2019] The Trans-Pacific Partnership, stopping Brexit, and abandoning an Atlanticist foreign policy were opposed by a CIA and corporate political establishment, who created the fake Steele dossier to bring down Trump

Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

George Papadopoulos's story on why he thinks that the RussiaGate probe was started is something out of The Parallax View but, alas, rings true: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, stopping Brexit, and abandoning an Atlanticist foreign policy were opposed by a CIA and corporate political establishment, who created the fake Steele dossier to bring down Trump (the TPP, and also Brexit, I believe, were in the dossier as reasons why "Putin" wanted Trump to win)

Anne Jaclard | Apr 18, 2019 4:33:48 PM | link

Michael Tracey has a long interview with George Papadopoulos at Patreon .

Don't like Papadopoulos but it's worth listening to.

[May 12, 2019] Judgment Day For John Brennan by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... "The evidence is plain–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia. The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the US and UK and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign." ( "How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election" , Larry C. Johnson, Consortium News) ..."
"... "Brennan was the key to the operation because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court refused to approve several requests by the FBI to initiate taps on Trump associates and Trump Tower as there was no probable cause to do so but the British and other European intelligence services were legally able to intercept communications linked to American sources. Brennan was able to use his connections with those foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, to make it look like the concerns about Trump were coming from friendly and allied countries and therefore had to be responded to as part of routine intelligence sharing. As a result, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn were all wiretapped. And likely there were others. This all happened during the primaries and after Trump became the GOP nominee." ( "The Conspiracy Against Trump" , Philip Giraldi) ..."
"... According to a report in The Guardian (where the story first appeared.): "GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters) played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI's Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016. One source called the British eavesdropping agency the "principal whistleblower". ("British spies were first to spot Trump team's links with Russia ", The Guardian) ..."
"... Okay, so Brennan twisted a few arms and got his foreign Intel buddies to make uncorroborated claims that got the investigative ball rolling, but then what? If there was any meat to Brennan's foreign intel, then Mueller would have dug it up and used it in his report, right? But he didn't. Why? ..."
"... Because there was nothing there, the whole thing was a sham from the get go. Brennan probably "sexed up" the intelligence so it would sound like something it really wasn't. (Think: WMD) Again, if there was even a scintilla of hard evidence that Trump's campaign assistants were in bed with Russia, Mueller would have shrieked it from every mountaintop across America. But he didn't, because there wasn't any. There was no cooperation, no conspiracy and no collusion. Trump was falsely accused. End of story. ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sometime in the next 4 weeks, the Justice Department's inspector general will release an internal review that will reveal the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Among other matters, the IG's report is expected to determine "whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place." Critics of the Trump-collusion probe believe that there was never probable cause that a crime had been committed, therefore, there was no legal basis for launching the investigation. The findings of the Mueller report– that there was no cooperation or collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign– seem to underscore this broader point and suggest that the fictitious Trump-Russia connection was merely a pretext for spying on the campaign of a Beltway outsider whose political views clashed with those of the foreign policy establishment. In any event, the upcoming release of the Horowitz report will formally end the the first phase of the long-running Russiagate scandal and mark the beginning of Phase 2, in which high-profile officials from the previous administration face criminal prosecution for their role in what looks to be a botched attempt at a coup d'etat.

Here's a brief summary from political analyst, Larry C. Johnson, who previously worked at the CIA and U.S. State Department:

"The evidence is plain–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia. The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the US and UK and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign." ( "How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election" , Larry C. Johnson, Consortium News)

Bingo. Attorney General William Barr has already stated his belief that spying on the Trump campaign "did occur" and that, in his mind, it is "a big deal". He also reiterated his commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter in order to find out whether the spying was adequately "predicated", that is, whether the FBI followed the required protocols for such spying, or not. Barr already knows the answer to this question as he is fully aware of the fact that the FBI used information that they knew was false to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Having no hard evidence of cooperation with the Kremlin, senior-level FBI officials and their counterparts at the Obama Justice Department used parts of an "opposition research" document (The Trump Dossier) that they knew was unreliable to procure warrants that allowed them to treat a presidential campaign the same way the intelligence agencies treat foreign enemies; using electronic surveillance, wiretapping, confidential informants and "honey trap" schemes designed to gather embarrassing or incriminating information on their target. Barr knows all of this already which is why the Democrats are doing everything in their power to discredit him and have him removed from office. His determination to "get to the bottom of this" is not just a threat to the FBI, it's a threat to multiple agencies that may have had a hand in this expansive domestic espionage operation including the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the State Department and, perhaps, even the Obama White House. No one knows yet how far up the political food-chain the skulduggery actually goes, but Barr appears to be serious about finding out.

Here's Barr again: "Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant .I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it's being represented."

In other words, Barr knows that the Trump campaign was riddled with spies and he is going to do his damnedest to find out what happened. He also knows that the FISA warrants were improperly obtained using the shabby disinformation from an opposition research "hit piece" (The Steele Dossier) that was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, just like he knows that government agents had concocted a strategy for leaking classified information to the media to fuel the public hysteria. Barr knows most of what happened already. It's just a matter of compiling the research in the proper format and delivering it in a way that helps to emphasize how trusted government agents abused their power by pursuing a vicious partisan plot to either destroy the president's reputation or force him from office. Like Barr said, that's a "big deal".

The name that seems to feature larger than all others in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga, is James Comey, the former FBI Director who oversaw the spying operations that are now under investigation at the DOJ. But was Comey really the central figure in these felonious hi-jinks or was he a mere lieutenant following directives from someone more powerful than himself? While the preponderance of new evidence suggests that the FBI was deeply involved, it does not answer this crucial question. For example, just this week, a report by veteran journalist John Solomon, showed that former British spy Christopher Steele admitted to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that his "Trump Dossier" was "political research", implying that the contents couldn't be trusted because they were shaped by Steele's political bias. Kavalec passed along this information to the FBI which shrugged it off and then, just days later, used the dossier to obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Think about that for a minute. The FBI had "written proof . that Steele had a political motive", but went ahead and used the dossier to procure the warrants anyway. That's what I'd call a premeditated felony.

But evidence of wrongdoing is not proof that Comey was the ringleader, he was just the hapless sad sack who was left holding the bag. The truth is, Comey was just a reluctant follower. The real architect of the Trump-Russia treachery was the boss-man at the nation's premier intelligence agency, the CIA. That's where the headwaters of this shameful burlesque are located, in Langley. More on that in a minute, but first check out this excerpt from an article at The Hill which sums up Comey's role fairly well:

(There) "will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what's causing the 360-degree head spin.

"There are early indicators that troubling behaviors may have occurred in all three scenarios. Barr will want to zero in on a particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, whether its own or those offered up by the then-CIA director.

In addition, the cast of characters leveraged by the FBI against the Trump campaign all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources ("assets," in agency vernacular) shared at times with the FBI. From Stefan Halper and possibly Joseph Mifsud, to Christopher Steele, to Carter Page himself, and now a mysterious "government investigator" posing as Halper's assistant and cited in The New York Times article, legitimate questions arise as to whether Comey was manipulated into furthering a CIA political operation more than an FBI counterintelligence case." ( "James Comey is in trouble and he knows it" , The Hill)

Why is the Inspector General so curious as to whether Comey "was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director? And why did Comey draw from "a cast of characters " . that "all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources"??

Could it be that Comey was just an unwitting pawn in a domestic regime change operation launched by former CIA Director John Brennan, the one public figure who has expressed greater personal animus towards Trump than all the others combined? Could Trump's promise to normalize relations with Russia have intensified Brennan's visceral hatred of him given the fact that Russia had frustrated Brennan's strategic plans in Ukraine and Syria? Keep in mind, the CIA had been arming, training and providing logistical support to the Sunni militants who were trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al Assad. Putin's intervention crushed the jihadist militias delivering a humiliating defeat to Generalissimo Brennan who, soon after, left office in disgrace. Isn't this at least part of the reason why Brennan hates Trump?

Regular readers of this column know that I have always thought that Brennan was the central figure in the Trump-Russia charade. It was Brennan who first referred the case to Comey, just as it was Brennan who "hand-picked" the analysts who stitched together the dodgy Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which said that "Putin and the Russian government aspired to help Trump's election chances.") It was also Brennan who persuaded Harry Reid to petition Comey to open an investigation in the first place. Brennan was chief instigator of the Trump-Russia fiasco, the omniscient puppet-master who persuaded Clapper and Comey to do his bidding while still-unidentified agents strategically leaked stories to the media to inflame passions and sow social unrest. At every turn, Brennan was there guiding the perfidious project along. According to journalist Philip Giraldi, the CIA may have even assisted in the obtaining of FISA warrants on Trump campaign aids as this excerpt from an article at The Unz Review indicates:

"Brennan was the key to the operation because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court refused to approve several requests by the FBI to initiate taps on Trump associates and Trump Tower as there was no probable cause to do so but the British and other European intelligence services were legally able to intercept communications linked to American sources. Brennan was able to use his connections with those foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, to make it look like the concerns about Trump were coming from friendly and allied countries and therefore had to be responded to as part of routine intelligence sharing. As a result, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn were all wiretapped. And likely there were others. This all happened during the primaries and after Trump became the GOP nominee." ( "The Conspiracy Against Trump" , Philip Giraldi)

Can you see how important this is? The FBI was having trouble getting warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, so Brennan helped them out by persuading his foreign intelligence allies (the British and other European intelligence services) to come up with bogus "intercepted communications linked to American sources," which helped to secure the FISA warrants. We have no idea of what these foreign agents heard on these alleged intercepted communications, all we know is that they were effectively used to achieve Brennan's ultimate objective, which was to acquire the means of taking down Trump via a relentless and expansive surveillance campaign.

According to a report in The Guardian (where the story first appeared.): "GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters) played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI's Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016. One source called the British eavesdropping agency the "principal whistleblower". ("British spies were first to spot Trump team's links with Russia ", The Guardian)

Okay, so Brennan twisted a few arms and got his foreign Intel buddies to make uncorroborated claims that got the investigative ball rolling, but then what? If there was any meat to Brennan's foreign intel, then Mueller would have dug it up and used it in his report, right? But he didn't. Why?

Because there was nothing there, the whole thing was a sham from the get go. Brennan probably "sexed up" the intelligence so it would sound like something it really wasn't. (Think: WMD) Again, if there was even a scintilla of hard evidence that Trump's campaign assistants were in bed with Russia, Mueller would have shrieked it from every mountaintop across America. But he didn't, because there wasn't any. There was no cooperation, no conspiracy and no collusion. Trump was falsely accused. End of story.

Here's more from the same article:

"The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump's team and Moscow ahead of the US election." (Guardian)

"The extensive nature of contacts between Trump's team and Moscow"???

Really? This is precisely the type of hyperventilating journalism that fueled the absurd conspiracy theory that the president of the United States was a Russian agent. It's hard to believe that we're even discussing the matter at this point.

There was an interesting aside in John Solomon's article that suggests that he might be thinking along the same lines. He says: "One legal justification cited for redacting the Oct. 13, 2016, email is the National Security Act of 1947, which can be used to shield communications involving the CIA or the White House National Security Council."

Why would Solomon draw attention to "to shielding communications involving the CIA or the White House", after all, the bulk of his article focused on the State Department and the FBI? Is he suggesting that the CIA and Obama White House may have been involved in these spying shenanigans, is that why Kavalec's damning notes (which stated that Steele's dossier could not be trusted.) have been retroactively classified?

Take a look at this email from the FBI's chief investigator in the Russia collusion probe, Peter Strzok, to his fellow agents in April 2017.

"I'm beginning to think the agency (CIA) got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn't shared it completely with us. Might explain all those weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some leaks." -Peter Strzok.

Ha! So even the FBI's chief investigator was in the dark about the CIA's shadowy machinations behind the scenes. Clearly, Brennan wanted to prevent the other junta leaders from fully knowing what he was up to.

All of this is bound to come out in the inspector general's report sometime in the next month or so. Both Attorney General William Barr and IG Horowitz appear to be fully committed to revealing the criminal leaks, the illegal electronic surveillance, the improperly obtained FISA warrants, and the multiple confidential human sources (spies) that were placed in the Trump campaign. They are going to face withering criticism for their efforts, but they are resolutely moving forward all the same. Bravo, for that.

Bottom line: The agents and officials who conducted this seditious attack on the presidency never thought they'd be held accountable for their crimes. But they were wrong, and now their day of reckoning is fast approaching. The main players in this palace coup are about to be exposed, criminally charged and prosecuted. Some of them will probably wind up in jail.

"The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine."

[May 06, 2019] Brain Drain and the Polarization of America

May 06, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Brain Drain and the Polarization of America The highly educated are concentrating together, depriving struggling communities and dividing the country. By Rachel Sheffield and Scott Winship May 3, 2019

Detroit, Michigan | Credit: Hotforphotog; Shutterstock Are we more divided as a nation today than we were before? Our new research within the Joint Economic Committee's Social Capital Project suggests that we are. The findings indicate that Americans are more frequently dividing themselves geographically and along lines of education. Highly educated Americans have increasingly moved to a handful of states over the last several decades, leaving other places behind.

This "brain drain" has clear economic implications. Beyond economics though, it's also likely draining social capital from many places, as communities lose talent and resources that would help support civic institutions. Brain drain and educational sorting exacerbate political and cultural divides as well: Americans segregate themselves into communities where they more frequently reside near those similar to themselves, decreasing the likelihood of rubbing shoulders with those who see the world differently.

The Rust Belt, the Plains, and some states in New England are experiencing high levels of brain drain.

It's not news that highly educated Americans are more likely to move. America's highly educated have consistently been more prone to pack up their bags and seek opportunity outside their hometowns. But surprisingly, there have been few attempts to quantify the magnitude of the problem and assess whether it is getting worse. To rectify that, we created brain drain measures that compare the share of people leaving their birth states who are highly educated to either the highly educated share of people staying in their birth states or the share entering the states who are highly educated. We found that today, highly educated movers in the U.S. tend to leave certain states and regions of the country at higher rates than in the past and concentrate in a smaller group of states that are home to booming metropolitan areas. This leads to growing geographic divides between areas that are thriving and places that struggle. With fewer states retaining and attracting talent, more areas are left behind.

A handful of states have become exclusive destinations for the highly educated. They not only hold onto more of their homegrown talent, but they also gain more highly educated adults than they lose. These talent-magnet states are along the West Coast, as well as the Boston-Washington corridor.

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Beyond the coasts, a few other states, like Texas, are retaining their homegrown talent while simultaneously winning a balance of talent from elsewhere.

These "brain gain" states are like an elite club whose members trade among themselves. For example, California draws the greatest share of its highly educated entrants from other brain gain states: New York, Illinois, and Texas, which are ranked third, fourth, and eighth, respectively, on net brain gain. New York pulls in highly educated entrants primarily from New Jersey (ranked sixth on net brain gain) and California. Massachusetts (ranked second) is also among its top five sending states. The most common origins of Texas's entrants include California, Illinois, and New York. New Jersey draws its highly educated from the likes of New York, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois. New York and New Jersey are among Massachusetts' most common sending states. New York, New Jersey, California, and Virginia (ranked seventh) are among the top states sending highly educated natives to Maryland.

On the opposite side of the coin are the many states that are not only bleeding highly educated adults but failing to attract others to replace them. Rust Belt states -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri -- are particularly plagued by brain drain. Several Plains states -- Iowa and the Dakotas -- as well as states in New England -- Vermont and New Hampshire -- are also experiencing high levels of brain drain. Although this is hardly a new phenomenon for the Rust Belt, it's become a worsening problem over the last 50 years for the other high brain-drain states mentioned.

Brain drain's effects on state economies are obvious. Places that lose more of their highly educated adults are likely going to be economically worse off than those that retain or attract highly educated adults. And if the highly educated are concentrating in fewer areas, then more parts of the country will be prone to economic stagnation. But beyond the economic implications, brain drain also has an impact on social capital. If areas are drained of their most highly educated, those left behind may struggle to support churches, athletic leagues, parent-teacher associations, scouting groups, and so forth. These institutions matter for the well-being of communities, as they bring people together in purposeful relationships, ultimately creating the social fabric of our nation.

Another way that brain drain's educational divides can deplete social capital is by creating deeper political and cultural divides between Americans. The highly educated more often hold liberal political views compared to those with less than a college education. America's major metropolitan areas (many of the states that win the highly educated are home to thriving cities) tend to vote Democratic , while most other areas of the country vote Republican . Those living in urban areas are also more likely to hold liberal political views , whereas those living in rural areas are more commonly conservative.

Thus, as a result of brain drain and self-sorting, Americans are now more likely to live in communities where they are isolated from people who hold different ideologies and values. Less association between people of different viewpoints can exacerbate political divides, as people become more steeped in their own beliefs. When those who are different are further away, it is easier to cast them as a faceless group of opponents upon whom all blame for America's problems belongs, rather than as neighbors with whom to find common ground. Ultimately, social segregation weakens the idea that, as Americans, we share something important in common with one another.

A growing federal government only adds to the problem of geographic divide. Naturally, neither heartland traditionalists nor coastal cosmopolitans want to be ruled by the other camp. However, with more power at the national level, national elections have higher stakes for everyone. Each camp feels threatened when its party loses control. With less association among those with different viewpoints, political discourse turns into fever-pitched discord.

The strength of our relationships is crucial to the strength of our nation. Americans will have to work to make their communities places in which not only the most highly educated benefit, but others as well. We must find ways to reach across the divides that separate us.

Rachel Sheffield is a senior policy advisor in the chairman's office of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, and Scott Winship is the executive director of the committee.

[May 01, 2019] Ray Dalio: Capitalism Is Broken; Dalio Was The Highest Earning American Of 2018

May 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Less than a month ago, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio was warning the world that there would be a "revolution" unless the country could fix its income inequality problem. He's also been repeatedly claiming that capitalism is broken.

Broken, that is, for everyone other than Ray Dalio , who was last year's best paid hedge fund manager, according to DealBook ; and since hedge funders generate the highest current income of all "workers", he was effectively the highest paid American in 2018 (this, of course, excludes capital gains and other non-current income), when it is estimated that Dalio earned $2 billion over the last 12 months , up from a reported $1.3 billion in 2017.

Dalio beat out other big names like Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, who earned $1.5 billion, Ken Griffin of Citadel, who earned $870 million, David Shaw of D.E. Shaw, who earned $500 million, Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management, who earned $465 million and Steve Cohen of Point72, who earned a tiny, by his standards, $70 million.

Of course, this raises the obvious question of whether or not Dalio is doing enough to reform a system that he rails against. "As most of you know, I'm a capitalist, and even I think capitalism is broken," Dalio wrote on Twitter in early April. He then defended the hedge fund business model to NPR last week, stating: "If you were to ask the pensioners and you were to ask our clients, who are teachers or firemen, whether we've contributed to their well-being, they would say that they, we, contribute."

Andrew Ross Sorkin questioned whether or not Dalio is putting his money where his mouth is: "...the magnitude of the hedge fund managers' compensation raises a very basic question about whether capitalism is 'broken'. Even if Mr. Dalio took home $500 million, the rest of his income could pay 10,000 families $150,000 each. "

For a little over a year now, Dalio has been warning any journalist who will listen that the looming market crash and economic downturn, which always seems to be between a year or two years away, will stress the fraying fabric of our disintegrating capitalist system to the point where it simply breaks apart. Central banks, already out of ammo from their pre-crisis stimulus programs will be powerless to pull us back from the precipice, and with our federal debt burden already so heavy, Congress will have little wiggle room to spend us out of the mess (that is, unless they finally cave to the MMTers).

But in his latest 18-page treatise entitled "Why and How Capitalism Needs To Be Reformed (Part 1)" , published - as per usual - on LinkedIn, Dalio kicks his fearmongering approach up to '11', surpassing redistributive rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and going straight for Vladimir Lenin.

According to Dalio, the flaws in the American capitalist system are breeding such horrific inequality between the wealthy and the poor that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the only sensible recourse for the unwashed masses will be a bloody revolution.

To support this theory, Dalio points to statistics showing that the bottom 60% of Americans are lagging further and further behind the top 40% in the areas of education, social mobility, assets, income and - crucially - health. American men earning the least will likely die ten years earlier than those making the most.

In previous essays, Dalio has warned about the threat of economic populism (the anti-establishment trend that helped deliver both Brexit and President Trump's stunning upset victory over Hillary Clinton). Now, he's apparently identifying with populists of a different stripe (namely, those on the left). All of these sources of inequality, Dalio argues, represent an "existential threat" to the American economy, that will only be exacerbated by falling competitiveness relative to other nations and the "high risk of bad conflict."

Conveniently absolving himself and his fellow billionaires of any blame for this sad state of affairs, Dalio claimed that the cause of this sad state of affairs was simply a poorly designed system that can, with a little effort, be corrected.

"These unacceptable outcomes aren't due to either a) evil rich people doing bad things to poor people or b) lazy poor people and bureaucratic inefficiencies, as much as they are due to how the capitalist system is now working," Dalio said.

Maybe we're just conservative old fashioned pragmatists, but isn't there a bit of extremely convenient hypocrisy in calling for socialism in the year that capitalism made you the best paid person in America? And, if we're mistaken, why isn't Dalio shelling out his billions for the cause he so loudly has been advocating for?

John Law Lives , 18 minutes ago link

That's brilliant. The middle class is getting blown away like dust in the wind, and one dude makes an estimated $2 Billion in 12 months betting on a rigged game. It this what has become of the American dream?

Banana_Republic_FUBAR

[Apr 28, 2019] Tit For Tat: Why Did Mueller Let Trump Off the Hook by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
It's a dog & pony show. Trump folded very quickly, in april 2017 or three moth after inauguration. He proved to be no fighter, a weakling, a marionette. Appointment of Bolton and Pompeo just added insult to injury. this is classic bait and switch similar to what was executed by Obama after then election. In a way Trump is a Republican version of Obama.
I wonder if he did not want to fight to the death and sacrifice himself for the course, why he entered the Presidential race at all ? He is not stupid enough not to understand the he will be covered with dirt and all skeletons in his closet will be dug out for display by the US intelligence agencies, which protect that interest of Wall Street and MIC (Israel is a part of the US MIC -- its biggest lobbyist and beneficiary) , not the USA as a sovereign state.
Notable quotes:
"... Mueller did none of these things which simply proves that his final report was what many people had expected from the very beginning; a purely political document that twists the truth to achieve Mueller's particular objectives. But to understand what those objectives are, we need to determine what the real goals of the investigation were. ..."
"... To help sabotage Trump's political agenda ..."
"... To create a cloud of illegitimacy over Trump's election ..."
"... And to prevent Trump from implementing his plan to normalize relations with Russia. ..."
"... These were the real objectives of the investigation, to create a forth branch of government (Special Counsel) that had the power to keep Trump permanently on the defensive while the media made him out to be either an unwitting accomplice in Russian espionage or, even worse, a traitor. ..."
"... The aim was to reign him in and keep the pressure on until a case could be made for his impeachment. Mueller played a key role in this travesty. His assignment was undermine Trump's moral authority by brandishing the cudgel of criminal indictment over his head. This is how a D.O.J. appointee, who had never held public office in his life, became the most powerful man in Washington. ..."
"... "We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments . Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States] We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will." ..."
"... Imagine how terrified the foreign policy establishment must have been when they heard Trump utter these words. No more regime change wars? Are you kidding me? That's what we do: Regime-Change-Is-Us., ..."
"... Interesting, isn't it? Here's Hillary, the "liberal" Democrat, pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria even though the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, stated clearly that "Right now for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia." In other words, if Hillary had been elected, she was all ready to flip the switch and start WW3 ASAP. Is it any wonder why the establishment loved her? ..."
"... War, war and more war, that's the Hillary Doctrine in a nutshell. It was Hillary's relentless hawkishness that pushed leftists into the Trump camp, not that they ever believed that Trump was anything more than what he appeared to be, an unprincipled narcissist with an insatiable lust for power. But they did hope that his dovish comments would steer the country away from nuclear annihilation. That was the hope at least, but then everything changed. And after it changed, Mueller released his report saying: "Trump is not guilty after all!" ..."
"... Think about it: In mid December 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria within 30 days. But instead of withdrawal, the US has been sending hundreds of trucks with weapons to the front lines. The US has also increased its troop levels on the ground, the YPG (Kurdish militia, US proxies) are digging in on the Syria-Turkish border, and the US hasn't lifted a finger to implement its agreements with NATO-ally Turkey under the Manbij Roadmap. The US is not withdrawing from Syria. Washington is beefing up its defenses and settling in for the long-haul. But, why? Why did Trump change his mind and do a complete about-face? ..."
"... Trump made these outrageous demands knowing that they would never be accepted. Which was the point, because the foreign policy establishment doesn't want a deal. They want regime change, they've made that perfectly clear. But wasn't Trump supposed to change all that? Wasn't Trump going to pursue "a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past"? ..."
"... There are other signs of capitulation too; like providing lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military, or nixing the short-range nuclear missile ban, or joining the Saudi's genocidal war on Yemen, or threatening to topple the government of Venezuela, or stirring up trouble in the South China Sea. At every turn, Trump has backtracked on his promise to break with tradition and "stop toppling regimes and overthrowing governments." ' At every turn, Trump has joined the ranks of the warhawks he once criticized. ..."
"... Trump is now marching in lockstep with the foreign policy establishment. In Libya, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Iran, in Lebanon, he is faithfully implementing the neocon agenda. Trump "the peacemaker" is no where to be found, while Trump the 'madman with a knife' is on the loose. ..."
"... It's a dog & pony show. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

Why did Robert Mueller end the Russia investigation when he did? He could have let it drag it out for another year or so and severely hurt Trump's chances for reelection. But he didn't do that. Why?

Of course, we're assuming that the investigation was never intended to uncover the truth. If it was, then Mueller would have interviewed Julian Assange, Craig Murray and retired members of the Intelligence Community (Ray McGovern, Bill Binney) who have shown that the Podesta emails were leaked by an insider (on a thumbdrive) not hacked by foreign agents. Mueller would have also seized the servers at DNC headquarters and done the necessary forensic investigation, which he never did.

He also would have indicted senior-level agents at the FBI and DOJ who improperly obtained FISA warrants by withholding critical information from the FISA court. He didn't do that either.

Mueller did none of these things which simply proves that his final report was what many people had expected from the very beginning; a purely political document that twists the truth to achieve Mueller's particular objectives. But to understand what those objectives are, we need to determine what the real goals of the investigation were. So, here they are:

  1. To help sabotage Trump's political agenda
  2. To create a cloud of illegitimacy over Trump's election
  3. And to prevent Trump from implementing his plan to normalize relations with Russia.

These were the real objectives of the investigation, to create a forth branch of government (Special Counsel) that had the power to keep Trump permanently on the defensive while the media made him out to be either an unwitting accomplice in Russian espionage or, even worse, a traitor.

The aim was to reign him in and keep the pressure on until a case could be made for his impeachment. Mueller played a key role in this travesty. His assignment was undermine Trump's moral authority by brandishing the cudgel of criminal indictment over his head. This is how a D.O.J. appointee, who had never held public office in his life, became the most powerful man in Washington.

My question is simply this: Why did Mueller give up all that power when he did?

I think I can answer that, but first, we need a little more background. Check out this quote from candidate Trump in 2016:

"We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments . Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States] We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will."

Imagine how terrified the foreign policy establishment must have been when they heard Trump utter these words. No more regime change wars? Are you kidding me? That's what we do: Regime-Change-Is-Us., and now this upstart, New York real estate tycoon is promising to do a complete 180 and move in another direction altogether. No more destabilizing coups, no more bloody military interventions, instead, we're going to work collaboratively with countries like Russia and China to see if we can settle regional disputes and fight terrorism together? Really?

At the same time Trump was promising this new era of "peace, understanding, and good will," Hillary Clinton was issuing her war whoop at every opportunity. Here's candidate Hillary trying to drum up support for taking on the Russians in Syria:

"The situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the Assad regime in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, and the Russians in the air When I was Secretary of State, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones."

Interesting, isn't it? Here's Hillary, the "liberal" Democrat, pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria even though the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, stated clearly that "Right now for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia." In other words, if Hillary had been elected, she was all ready to flip the switch and start WW3 ASAP. Is it any wonder why the establishment loved her?

"We have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground," boomed Hillary, meaning that she fully supported the continued use of jihadist proxies in the fight against Assad. "I do think the use of special forces, the use of enablers and trainers in Iraq, which has had some positive effects, are very much in our interests, and so I do support what is happening."

War, war and more war, that's the Hillary Doctrine in a nutshell. It was Hillary's relentless hawkishness that pushed leftists into the Trump camp, not that they ever believed that Trump was anything more than what he appeared to be, an unprincipled narcissist with an insatiable lust for power. But they did hope that his dovish comments would steer the country away from nuclear annihilation. That was the hope at least, but then everything changed. And after it changed, Mueller released his report saying: "Trump is not guilty after all!"

So, what changed? Trump changed.

Think about it: In mid December 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria within 30 days. But instead of withdrawal, the US has been sending hundreds of trucks with weapons to the front lines. The US has also increased its troop levels on the ground, the YPG (Kurdish militia, US proxies) are digging in on the Syria-Turkish border, and the US hasn't lifted a finger to implement its agreements with NATO-ally Turkey under the Manbij Roadmap. The US is not withdrawing from Syria. Washington is beefing up its defenses and settling in for the long-haul. But, why? Why did Trump change his mind and do a complete about-face?

The same thing happened in Korea. For a while it looked like Trump was serious about cutting a deal with Kim Jong un. But then, sometime after the first summit, he began to backpeddle. He never honored any of his commitments under the Panmunjom Declaration and he never reciprocated for Kim's cessation of all nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing. Trump has made no effort to "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula" or to strengthen trust between the two leaders. Then, at the Hanoi Summit, Trump blindsided Kim by making demands that had never even been previously discussed. Kim was told that the North must destroy all of its chemical and biological weapons as well as its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs before the US will take reciprocal steps. In other words, Trump demanded that Kim completely and irreversibly disarm with the feint hope that the US would eventually lift sanctions.

Trump made these outrageous demands knowing that they would never be accepted. Which was the point, because the foreign policy establishment doesn't want a deal. They want regime change, they've made that perfectly clear. But wasn't Trump supposed to change all that? Wasn't Trump going to pursue "a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past"?

Yes, that was Trump's campaign promise. So, what happened?

There are other signs of capitulation too; like providing lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military, or nixing the short-range nuclear missile ban, or joining the Saudi's genocidal war on Yemen, or threatening to topple the government of Venezuela, or stirring up trouble in the South China Sea. At every turn, Trump has backtracked on his promise to break with tradition and "stop toppling regimes and overthrowing governments." ' At every turn, Trump has joined the ranks of the warhawks he once criticized.

Trump is now marching in lockstep with the foreign policy establishment. In Libya, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Iran, in Lebanon, he is faithfully implementing the neocon agenda. Trump "the peacemaker" is no where to be found, while Trump the 'madman with a knife' is on the loose.

Is that why Mueller let Trump off the hook? Was there a quid pro quo: "You follow our foreign policy directives and we'll make Mueller disappear?

It sure looks like it. play_arrow 2 Reply Report


Ajax-1 , 24 minutes ago link

Why? Because logical clear thinking Americans have Russia fatigue. The Deep State knows that the longer the Witch Hunt lasts, the stronger Trump gets.

stant , 24 minutes ago link

the report was finished last august. hed got all the juice in that squeeze. but i also guess he got a call from somebodys in the GOG mafia[continuity of .gov] deepstate after all is their little bitch

youshallnotkill , 27 minutes ago link

Why Did Mueller Let Trump Off the Hook? Why did Epstein only get a slap on the wrist? Why is his lawyer defending Trump on air ? Why did the MSM never look into the credible allegations against Clinton and Trump with regards to Epstein ?

I have an inkling that the answer to these questions is all one and the same.

PopeRatzo , 30 minutes ago link

Donald Trump sure isn't acting like someone who's been "let off the hook".

Francis Marx , 38 minutes ago link

Maybe it just worked out the way it did and there is no conspiracy on Mueller's part.

nmewn , 28 minutes ago link

Likely.

He had to stop before he implicated himself. For instance, still waiting on "the why" he never put Steele or McCabe or Hillary or Perkins Coie or Rosenstein or Comey etc under oath when it was...THEY... who supplied false evidence to a FISA court , "evidence gathered" (according to Steele) from...ta daaah!...Russians ;-)

LetThemEatRand , 36 minutes ago link

You can drive yourself crazy wondering whether it was all theater from the start, or whether they put a gun to the head of the guy who was going to expose it was theater until he started playing along. End result, theater.

Stop buying tickets.

Lord Raglan , 2 minutes ago link

exactly. Just like you can wonder why Justice John Roberts turned on Obamacare and **** on conservatives. Was he sincere or did he get a 3:00 am phone call that if he didn't uphold it, his wife and kids would die in an unfortunate accident?

Anonymous_Beneficiary , 38 minutes ago link

If you have to ask...perhaps you're a moron. It's a dog & pony show.

nmewn , 33 minutes ago link

"Let Him Off The Hook?"

Oh, I dunno...maybe because even with a crack team of demoncraft operatives, Deep State Hillary deadenders and a limitless supply of federal funding even they couldn't come up with "Russian collusion" because...none ever existed? ;-)

[Apr 28, 2019] The US Deep State truly exists on another plane of unreality

That's a clear sign of degradation of the US political elite.
Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 28, 2019 11:56:12 AM | link

That such pieces as Bugajski's article and the RAND Corporation report have appeared about the same time is in itself a suggestion that the US Deep State truly exists on another plane of unreality. I wouldn't be surprised if a third hit-piece advocating regime change in Russia were to come out soon, either in the US or in the UK, but if that happens then we'll know we're really on a path to self-destruction.
Posted by: Jen | Apr 27, 2019 5:38:18 PM | 19

It's easy to be mesmerised into focusing on Fink Tank drivel instead of the stuff happening outside the stale atmosphere of their unventilated tanks. The French peasants seem to have woken up to the fact that the Macron NeoLib govt has betrayed them and is only pretending to listen. It's only a matter of time until the Gillet Jaunes remember the words of jocular Neoliberal poster-boy Grover Norquist about "government small enough to drown in the bathtub."

Of course, when funny-man Grover said that he meant govt too small to responsibly oversee and administer all of its obligations to The People, thereby necessitating the 'outsourcing' of the juiciest govt obligations to Private Profiteers. Unfortunately, when a govt becomes too small and pompous to listen and respond to the legitimate concerns of The People, it runs the risk of having its size compared with the size of the Disenchanted demographic and, eventually, drowned. Hopefully metaphorically, although History says that when the French neglect reform for too long, metaphorical solutions tend to be neglected too.
And France is just the tip of the iceberg. Again.

[Apr 28, 2019] Russiagate post-mortem by Andrew Korybko

Notable quotes:
"... Russia, and specifically President Putin, were presented as the ultimate global bogeyman after Crimea's 2014 reunification and Moscow's 2015 anti-terrorist military intervention in Syria changed the balance of power around the world and unquestionably ushered in the multipolar era after two and a half decades of American unipolarity. ..."
"... It was therefore thought by the ruling anti-Trump faction of the US' permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies ("deep state") at the time that they could easily convince the electorate to vote against the seemingly "anti-systemic" political insurgent by implying that he's a "Russian puppet" and then later, after that didn't work, manufacturing so-called "evidence" purporting to prove this through unverified fake news claims designed to defame him. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | inforos.ru

Mueller report proved that Russiagate was one long series of hoaxes designed to discredit Trump and pave the way for his impeachment

It's finally official -- Trump and his team didn't "collude" with Russia like the Democrats and their supporters incessantly claimed for nearly the past three years. Positive coverage of candidate Trump's promising foreign policy platform by Russian international media and truthful reporting about Clinton's aggressive one don't amount to "hacking" an election, nor do some internet researchers from Russia supposedly sharing some political memes on Facebook. It's now been revealed that Russiagate was one long series of hoaxes designed to discredit Trump and pave the way for his impeachment after it first failed to stop him from winning the presidency. Like the American leader himself has said on several occasions already, Russiagate was an unconstitutional coup attempt against the country's democratically elected leadership, which deserves to be analyzed more in depth.

Russia, and specifically President Putin, were presented as the ultimate global bogeyman after Crimea's 2014 reunification and Moscow's 2015 anti-terrorist military intervention in Syria changed the balance of power around the world and unquestionably ushered in the multipolar era after two and a half decades of American unipolarity.

It was therefore thought by the ruling anti-Trump faction of the US' permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies ("deep state") at the time that they could easily convince the electorate to vote against the seemingly "anti-systemic" political insurgent by implying that he's a "Russian puppet" and then later, after that didn't work, manufacturing so-called "evidence" purporting to prove this through unverified fake news claims designed to defame him.

[Apr 28, 2019] People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths

Notable quotes:
"... The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality. ..."
"... Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

michael , April 22, 2019 at 07:06

"People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths." I think it is a deeper phenomenon than repetition of lies (which have been legal since 2014 with the 'modernization' of Smith-Mundt, our anti-propaganda law).

The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality.

There is an inability to accept the fact that people in DC and NYC and Boston and San Francisco and other Financial/ MIC-driven areas were doing well relative to the bulk of Americans and life was wonderful until the 2016 Election. For these people "America Has Never Stopped Being Great!" (Similar to the "I've got mine, Jack! " attitude of Great Britain, as their labor unions lost unity with rest of the working class.)

Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together.

[Apr 27, 2019] The Essence Of Evil Sex With Children Has Become Big Business In America

Apr 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Sex trafficking -- especially when it comes to the buying and selling of young girls -- has become big business in America, the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.

As investigative journalist Amy Fine Collins notes, "It's become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns . A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day -- and a 'righteous' pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings."

Consider this: every two minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry .

According to USA Today , adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.

Who buys a child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men from all walks of life.

" They could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse ," writes journalist Tim Swarens, who spent more than a year investigating the sex trade in America.

In Georgia alone, it is estimated that 7,200 men (half of them in their 30s) seek to purchase sex with adolescent girls each month , averaging roughly 300 a day.

On average, a child might be raped by 6,000 men during a five-year period of servitude .

It is estimated that at least 100,000 children -- girls and boys -- are bought and sold for sex in the U.S. every year , with as many as 300,000 children in danger of being trafficked each year. Some of these children are forcefully abducted, others are runaways, and still others are sold into the system by relatives and acquaintances.

"Human trafficking -- the commercial sexual exploitation of American children and women, via the Internet, strip clubs, escort services, or street prostitution -- is on its way to becoming one of the worst crimes in the U.S. ," said prosecutor Krishna Patel.

This is an industry that revolves around cheap sex on the fly, with young girls and women who are sold to 50 men each day for $25 apiece , while their handlers make $150,000 to $200,000 per child each year.

This is not a problem found only in big cities.

It's happening everywhere, right under our noses, in suburbs, cities and towns across the nation.

As Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children points out, " The only way not to find this in any American city is simply not to look for it ."

Don't fool yourselves into believing that this is merely a concern for lower income communities or immigrants.

It's not .

It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged child sex workers in the U.S. These girls aren't volunteering to be sex slaves. They're being lured -- forced -- trafficked into it. In most cases, they have no choice.

In order to avoid detection (in some cases aided and abetted by the police ) and cater to male buyers' demand for sex with different women, pimps and the gangs and crime syndicates they work for have turned sex trafficking into a highly mobile enterprise, with trafficked girls, boys and women constantly being moved from city to city, state to state, and country to country.

For instance, the Baltimore-Washington area, referred to as The Circuit , with its I-95 corridor dotted with rest stops, bus stations and truck stops, is a hub for the sex trade.

No doubt about it: this is a highly profitable, highly organized and highly sophisticated sex trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex.

Every year, the girls being bought and sold gets younger and younger.

The average age of those being trafficked is 13. Yet as the head of a group that combats trafficking pointed out, "Let's think about what average means. That means there are children younger than 13. That means 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds. "

"For every 10 women rescued, there are 50 to 100 more women who are brought in by the traffickers. Unfortunately, they're not 18- or 20-year-olds anymore," noted a 25-year-old victim of trafficking. " They're minors as young as 13 who are being trafficked. They're little girls."

Where did this appetite for young girls come from?

Look around you.

Young girls have been sexualized for years now in music videos, on billboards, in television ads, and in clothing stores. Marketers have created a demand for young flesh and a ready supply of over-sexualized children.

"All it takes is one look at MySpace photos of teens to see examples -- if they aren't imitating porn they've actually seen, they're imitating the porn-inspired images and poses they've absorbed elsewhere," writes Jessica Bennett for Newsweek . "Latex, corsets and stripper heels, once the fashion of porn stars, have made their way into middle and high school."

This is what Bennett refers to as the " pornification of a generation ."

"In a market that sells high heels for babies and thongs for tweens, it doesn't take a genius to see that sex, if not porn, has invaded our lives ," concludes Bennett . "Whether we welcome it or not, television brings it into our living rooms and the Web brings it into our bedrooms. According to a 2007 study from the University of Alberta, as many as 90 percent of boys and 70 percent of girls aged 13 to 14 have accessed sexually explicit content at least once."

In other words, the culture is grooming these young people to be preyed upon by sexual predators. And then we wonder why our young women are being preyed on, trafficked and abused?

Social media makes it all too easy. As one news center reported, "Finding girls is easy for pimps. They look on MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks. They and their assistants cruise malls, high schools and middle schools. They pick them up at bus stops. On the trolley. Girl-to-girl recruitment sometimes happens." Foster homes and youth shelters have also become prime targets for traffickers.

Rarely do these girls enter into prostitution voluntarily. Many start out as runaways or throwaways, only to be snatched up by pimps or larger sex rings. Others, persuaded to meet up with a stranger after interacting online through one of the many social networking sites, find themselves quickly initiated into their new lives as sex slaves.

Debbie , a straight-A student who belonged to a close-knit Air Force family living in Phoenix, Ariz., is an example of this trading of flesh. Debbie was 15 when she was snatched from her driveway by an acquaintance-friend. Forced into a car, Debbie was bound and taken to an unknown location, held at gunpoint and raped by multiple men. She was then crammed into a small dog kennel and forced to eat dog biscuits. Debbie's captors advertised her services on Craigslist. Those who responded were often married with children, and the money that Debbie "earned" for sex was given to her kidnappers. The gang raping continued. After searching the apartment where Debbie was held captive, police finally found Debbie stuffed in a drawer under a bed. Her harrowing ordeal lasted for 40 days.

While Debbie was fortunate enough to be rescued, others are not so lucky. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 800,000 children go missing every year (roughly 2,185 children a day).

With a growing demand for sexual slavery and an endless supply of girls and women who can be targeted for abduction, this is not a problem that's going away anytime soon.

For those trafficked, it's a nightmare from beginning to end.

Those being sold for sex have an average life expectancy of seven years , and those years are a living nightmare of endless rape, forced drugging, humiliation, degradation, threats, disease, pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, torture, pain, and always the constant fear of being killed or, worse, having those you love hurt or killed.

Peter Landesman paints the full horrors of life for those victims of the sex trade in his New York Times article " The Girls Next Door ":

Andrea told me that she and the other children she was held with were frequently beaten to keep them off-balance and obedient. Sometimes they were videotaped while being forced to have sex with adults or one another. Often, she said, she was asked to play roles: the therapist patient or the obedient daughter. Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners--toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens--as well as what she called a "damage group." "In the damage group, they can hit you or do anything they want to," she explained. "Though sex always hurts when you are little, so it's always violent, everything was much more painful once you were placed in the damage group."

What Andrea described next shows just how depraved some portions of American society have become. "They'd get you hungry then to train you" to have oral sex. "They put honey on a man. For the littlest kids, you had to learn not to gag. And they would push things in you so you would open up better. We learned responses. Like if they wanted us to be sultry or sexy or scared. Most of them wanted you scared. When I got older, I'd teach the younger kids how to float away so things didn't hurt."

Immigration and customs enforcement agents at the Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va., report that when it comes to sex, the appetites of many Americans have now changed. What was once considered abnormal is now the norm. These agents are tracking a clear spike in the demand for harder-core pornography on the Internet . As one agent noted, "We've become desensitized by the soft stuff; now we need a harder and harder hit."

This trend is reflected by the treatment many of the girls receive at the hands of the drug traffickers and the men who purchase them. Peter Landesman interviewed Rosario , a Mexican woman who had been trafficked to New York and held captive for a number of years. She said: "In America, we had 'special jobs.' Oral sex, anal sex, often with many men. Sex is now more adventurous, harder."

A common thread woven through most survivors' experiences is being forced to go without sleep or food until they have met their sex quota of at least 40 men . One woman recounts how her trafficker made her lie face down on the floor when she was pregnant and then literally jumped on her back, forcing her to miscarry.

Holly Austin Smith was abducted when she was 14 years old, raped, and then forced to prostitute herself. Her pimp, when brought to trial, was only made to serve a year in prison.

Barbara Amaya was repeatedly sold between traffickers, abused, shot, stabbed, raped, kidnapped, trafficked, beaten, and jailed all before she was 18 years old. "I had a quota that I was supposed to fill every night. And if I didn't have that amount of money, I would get beat, thrown down the stairs. He beat me once with wire coat hangers, the kind you hang up clothes, he straightened it out and my whole back was bleeding."

As David McSwane recounts in a chilling piece for the Herald-Tribune : "In Oakland Park, an industrial Fort Lauderdale suburb, federal agents in 2011 encountered a brothel operated by a married couple. Inside 'The Boom Boom Room,' as it was known, customers paid a fee and were given a condom and a timer and left alone with one of the brothel's eight teenagers, children as young as 13. A 16-year-old foster child testified that he acted as security, while a 17-year-old girl told a federal judge she was forced to have sex with as many as 20 men a night."

One particular sex trafficking ring catered specifically to migrant workers employed seasonally on farms throughout the southeastern states, especially the Carolinas and Georgia , although it's a flourishing business in every state in the country. Traffickers transport the women from farm to farm, where migrant workers would line up outside shacks, as many as 30 at a time , to have sex with them before they were transported to yet another farm where the process would begin all over again.

This growing evil is, for all intents and purposes, out in the open.

Trafficked women and children are advertised on the internet, transported on the interstate, and bought and sold in swanky hotels.

Indeed, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , the government's war on sex trafficking -- much like the government's war on terrorism, drugs and crime -- has become a perfect excuse for inflicting more police state tactics (police check points, searches, surveillance, and heightened security) on a vulnerable public , while doing little to make our communities safer.

So what can you do?

Educate yourselves and your children about this growing menace in our communities.

Stop feeding the monster: Sex trafficking is part of a larger continuum in America that runs the gamut from homelessness, poverty, and self-esteem issues to sexualized television, the glorification of a pimp/ho culture -- what is often referred to as the pornification of America -- and a billion dollar sex industry built on the back of pornography, music, entertainment, etc.

This epidemic is largely one of our own making, especially in a corporate age where the value placed on human life takes a backseat to profit. It is estimated that the porn industry brings in more money than Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Yahoo .

Call on your city councils, elected officials and police departments to make the battle against sex trafficking a top priority, more so even than the so-called war on terror and drugs and the militarization of law enforcement.

Stop prosecuting adults for victimless "crimes" such as growing lettuce in their front yard and focus on putting away the pimps and buyers who victimize these young women.

Finally , the police need to do a better job of training, identifying and responding to these issues; communities and social services need to do a better job of protecting runaways, who are the primary targets of traffickers; legislators need to pass legislation aimed at prosecuting traffickers and "johns," the buyers who drive the demand for sex slaves; and hotels need to stop enabling these traffickers, by providing them with rooms and cover for their dirty deeds.

That so many women and children continue to be victimized, brutalized and treated like human cargo is due to three things: one, a consumer demand that is increasingly lucrative for everyone involved -- except the victims; two, a level of corruption so invasive on both a local and international scale that there is little hope of working through established channels for change; and three, an eerie silence from individuals who fail to speak out against such atrocities.

But the truth is that we are all guilty of contributing to this human suffering. The traffickers are guilty. The consumers are guilty. The corrupt law enforcement officials are guilty. The women's groups who do nothing are guilty. The foreign peacekeepers and aid workers who contribute to the demand for sex slaves are guilty. Most of all, every individual who does not raise a hue and cry over the atrocities being committed against women and children in almost every nation around the globe -- including the United States -- is guilty.


dibiase , 1 hour ago link

How many teenage drug addicts and runaway die a year with out the police doing anything when they are found dead of an overdose with a man 40 years their senior???

Anthony Aaron , 1 hour ago link

The penalties for this need to be really severe -- capital punishment should be on the table in every case.

One day, when the law fails too much for too long, folks will get out their 2nd Amendment hardware and start to take back their streets and their cities and their lives and that will be when all of the **** starts coming to a halt.

dibiase , 59 minutes ago link

Then why are epstien/dershawitz/clinton/trump, etc still alive...???

Remember epstien used mar a largo to find his girls... TRUMPTARDS

DemandSider , 22 minutes ago link

And Bill was one of Epstein's best buddies, and flew on his plane, often.

dibiase , 18 minutes ago link

Bill was also buddies with zump....

Troy Ounce , 1 hour ago link

Here are the paedophile logos.

See the somewhere? Be aware?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3560069/The-symbols-pedophiles-use-signal-sordid-sexual-preferences-social-media.html

Lord Raglan , 1 hour ago link

I'd like to see the sources of data in this story. I find most of it hard to believe. Everything now is so exaggerated and over the top. A man has to be out of his mind to have sex with an underage girl. In my state, it is probably a 30 year prison sentence, not to mention being in possession of kiddy ****. I'm sure it is a problem but nothing like that portrayed in this sensationalizing article. I've been in every big city in the US and I've never seen a hooker that is obviously underage.

adr , 1 hour ago link

If you have enough money and are part of the protected class, you can do anything you want.

Pizzagate would have blown the whole thing wide open. Wall St tycoons, politicians, celebrities, all part of a massive operation. The story was quickly buried because it would have brought about a total revolution. It also would have tanked the stock market as the CEOs of a lot of Fortune 500 companies would go down.

Behind it all are the Tribesmen who see those who aren't them as livestock to feed those who want and will pay handsomely for it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Tim Cook has a harem of adolescent boys. People think Kevin Spacey is a pig, bit they have no idea. The moral depravity of high society in today's world is unfathomable to most people. They simply can not believe it because they are hopelessly naive.

himmelhund , 1 hour ago link

this is not the "protected class" paying 50$ for little kids. The protected class pays much more if they pay at all and they get "volunteers" in many cases.

this is ordinary shitheads paying for child slavery

[Apr 25, 2019] The Great Deformation Why Income Inequality Has Become Intractable

Apr 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Details III

"Middle class" households (in the 61 st to 99 th
percentiles of the size distribution) rely mainly on
wage incomes.

Bottom 60% households rely roughly equally on
wages and fiscal transfers net of taxes. They
appear to have negative saving and negligible
wealth.

After transfers and capital gains, the share of the
top 1% has risen, while the bottom 60% income
share has been stable. Hence the middle class
has been squeezed.

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F04%2Fthe-great-deformation-why-income-inequality-has-become-intractable.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" />

Synoia , April 23, 2019 at 11:15 am

Why no mention of the tripling of oil prices and the end of the Vietnam war as contributors to stagflation?

The oil price increased costs across the board.

The end o the Vietnam war, including the "Vietnamization" started in about 1993 cut Government money creation.

John Wright , April 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

As has been mentioned at NC before, historian Walter Scheidel did not find prior eras when lessening income equality occurred peacefully.

I find it noteworthy that Scheidel is an historian, not an economist or political science professor, so he is somewhat outside the normally viewed expert classes quoted in op-eds/media.

Scheidel sees violent transformations and demographic contractions as, historically, the only drivers to lessen inequality.

see http://tuvalu.santafe.edu/~bowles/Scheidel.pdf

From slide 9 of the above:

"Summary of the argument"

"Development tends to increase resource inequality (Agrarianism; Industrialism)"

"Violent shocks are the only factors capable of significantly reducing resource inequality (for a while)"

"Violence: Mass-mobilization wars, Transformative revolutions, State collapse"
"Demographic contraction: Pandemics"

"Other factors are exotic or ineffective (abolition of slavery, migration, financial crises)"

Sheidel has that financial crises CAN lessen inequality, at least temporarily.

In the USA, in 2008 crisis, the political class prevented this from happening as they "avoided a new great depression"

When one looks at the current political system and control of the media in the USA, it can be postulated that the small rays of hope (such as Bernie, AOC or liberal economists) may be tolerated by those in control because they offer some cheap palliative "hope" to the masses.

Yves closing comment " I would not give self-reform much hope." may be an excellent prediction.

I believe the extremely wealthy are looking to game the system, keeping the rabble at bay as inexpensively as possible, using the top 10% as buffers.

And I wait for the Democrats to blame Russia

[Apr 25, 2019] A Sign Of The Times Court Documents Indicate 7,819 Boy Scout Troop Leaders Abused 12,254 Victims

Fish rots from the head. Neoliberal society is amoral society.
Apr 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

This is a very difficult article for me to write. As a young child I was a member of the Cub Scouts, and I still have very fond memories from those days. Throughout my life I always had a tremendous amount of respect for the Boy Scouts, and so it greatly saddened me to learn about the abuse that has been running rampant in that organization. Of course this is just a very small part of a much larger trend that is plaguing our society , but if this kind of abuse is pervasive even among the Boy Scouts, what organization is truly safe for America's kids? Have we gotten to the point as a society where our children are literally not safe anywhere? According to ABC News , court documents that were just released indicate that 12,254 victims were abused by 7,819 Boy Scout troop leaders over the years

An expert who has been working with the Boy Scouts revealed that there may have been as many as 7,819 allegedly sexually abusive troop leaders and volunteers in the storied organization, according to newly released court documents.

More than 7,800 individuals allegedly abused 12,254 victims, according to the court testimony.

This is what can happen when a society has absolutely no moral foundation whatsoever. These days, many Americans seem to believe that our country will be turned in the right direction if we can just get the correct political leaders into place, but that is not true at all.

No political solution is going to fix this kind of evil. Our core problems are moral and spiritual in nature, and most people don't seem to understand that.

A lawyer named Jeff Anderson is searching for even more Boy Scout victims, and he says that his firm has already identified 130 perpetrators in New York and 50 in New Jersey According to ABC News , court documents that were just released indicate that 12,254 victims were abused by 7,819 Boy Scout troop leaders over the years

An expert who has been working with the Boy Scouts revealed that there may have been as many as 7,819 allegedly sexually abusive troop leaders and volunteers in the storied organization, according to newly released court documents.

More than 7,800 individuals allegedly abused 12,254 victims, according to the court testimony.

This is what can happen when a society has absolutely no moral foundation whatsoever. These days, many Americans seem to believe that our country will be turned in the right direction if we can just get the correct political leaders into place, but that is not true at all.

No political solution is going to fix this kind of evil. Our core problems are moral and spiritual in nature, and most people don't seem to understand that.

A lawyer named Jeff Anderson is searching for even more Boy Scout victims, and he says that his firm has already identified 130 perpetrators in New York and 50 in New Jersey


Dan'l , 1 hour ago link

"Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting." The courts had to let the fags in as Scout Masters, so who is surprised?

All of Jewllywood is overrun with pedos

Cloud9.5 , 55 minutes ago link

Our handlers have romanticized deviancy to the point that these people cannot be called out. We have been weighed in the balance and found lacking. The good, the bad and the ugly will be swept away with what is coming.

GeoffreyT , 7 minutes ago link

Are you really stupid enough to think that homosexual paedophiles never got into positions of authority in the scouts until the scouts permitted openly gay scout leaders?

You should be thankful that you were an ugly kid - that's the only way you would have escaped their clutches, if you're this naïve as an adult.

Paedophiles have always been attracted to any job that involves close unsupervised contact with children .

Anyone in that sort of job should always be immediately suspect: paedophiles are very rare in the broad population, but they're not rare in professions that involve close, unsupervised contact with kids.

HideTheWeenie , 1 hour ago link

52 years ago I went to Boy Scout Camp outside of Rhinelander, WI.

On the third night a scoutmaster, who I didn't know, woke me up around 11:30 pm to go to the Deer Field to look at stars. Being a smart ***, I said, "Oh, I went with the other group and we just got back." The next day I was on the next bus outta there. Told 'em my brother was coming back from Viet Nam ( which was almost true).

So basically, no surprise. I would've been safer and had more fun with better stories to tell spending the night with Harvey Weinstein.

gigi fenomen , 1 hour ago link

Just like a spider builds his web around the light, the homosexual infiltrates places where he can have private access to boys – including the priesthood and the boy scouts.

This is similar to the way the heterosexual gets a job as like, a lifeguard at a beach in Miami, or joins a rock band.

I have no idea why people wouldn't simply assume that huge numbers of homosexuals would be signing up for to be Boy Scout Scout Masters, and why they didn't control for that – for instance, not allowing them to join unless they were married with kids, or had otherwise proved they were not faggots.

But then the decision to just allow open faggots – that is just it is just unfathomable.

How did we create a society that puts political correctness and the alleged emotions of pederasts above the safety of our children?

Who is responsible for this?

MOST IMPORTANTLY

These faggots ARE NOT ******* PEDOPHILES!

THEY ARE HOMOSEXUALS!

"Pedophile" is a specific term that means sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Boy Scouts are pubescent boys in their early teens.

THIS IS NORMAL HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR.

During the Catholic Church pederasty scandal, they started talking about "pedophiles" instead of homosexuals, as an attempt to distinguish between "good homos" and "bad homos."

BUT ALL HOMOSEXUAL HAVE A PREFERENCE FOR YOUNG TEENAGE BOYS!

THAT IS WHAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS!

THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF "GOOD HOMO" AND THAT IS THE KIND THAT IS FLYING THROUGH THE AIR AFTER HAVING BEEN THROWN OFF A ROOF!

[Apr 24, 2019] A President is a prisoner of the White House like a Pope is a prisoner of the Vatican.

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:28 pm GMT

A President is a prisoner of the White House like a Pope is a prisoner of the Vatican.
It would take a reformer of the highest order to cleanse and straighten both of these institutions. Unfortunately, contemporary effeminate western society does not produce such men. Trump is the personification of the egotist and blowhard- he is self-assured and not reflective. He is sharp and clever but certainly no major intellect. His spontaneity , which is one enduring trait of his, is cancelled out by his buffoonish gaffes. He has no real lasting principles since his worldview lacks any transcendent or spiritual dimension. Men like Trump, notwithstanding their overbearing and dictatorial persona, are easily manipulated by sycophants and courtiers. The latter never confront- they grovel and burrow their way into positions of influence, or perhaps use subtle methods of blackmail.

But Trump was, and is, still better than Hillary or any other of the Tweedle-Dem front runners. As Americans , we are ill served by the mediocrity and mendacity of our political so called "elites," who are the laughing stock of history.

[Apr 24, 2019] One of the reasons I voted for DJT was because I wanted to know if the unelected elites (who control the Deep State) would ever voluntarily surrender the reigns of power in DC without bloodshed.

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

JEinCA , says: April 23, 2019 at 11:05 pm GMT

One of the reasons I voted for DJT was because I wanted to know if the unelected elites (who control the Deep State) would ever voluntarily surrender the reigns of power in DC without bloodshed. Now I unequivocally know the answer to that question. There is no democracy, there is no Republic and any Constitutional Rights us American citizens have left hang by a thread (think 1st and 2nd Amendments).

At this point Trump is either a hostage of the Deep State or he has joined them.

[Apr 23, 2019] Justin Elliott on Sheldon Adelson by Scott

Notable quotes:
"... This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Kesslyn Runs , by Charles Featherstone; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; Zen Cash ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; and LibertyStickers.com . ..."
"... To me, it is not so much the lies that major media organizations may broadcast, but the enormous amount of news of major importance that the networks censor that is doing the greatest harm. ..."
Oct 24, 2018 | scotthorton.org
Journalist Justin Elliott comes on the show to talk about casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has become one of President Trump's biggest donors. Although Trump derided him early in his campaign, the two have formed a close partnership with Adelson providing tens of millions in funding so long as Trump continues the correct policies with respect to Israel, Palestine, and Iran. Elliott and others have also speculated that Trump is trying to get Adelson approval to open a casino in Japan, helping him to expand his gambling empire in Asia.

Discussed on the show:

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica . He has produced stories for The New York Times and National Public Radio, and his reporting with NPR on the Red Cross' troubled post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti won a 2015 Investigative Reporters and Editors award. Follow him on Twitter @JustinElliott .

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Kesslyn Runs , by Charles Featherstone; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; Zen Cash ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; and LibertyStickers.com .

Check out Scott's Patreon page.

William on October 26, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Whether Adelson or some other plutocrat, American politics is awash in money, and it this money is crippling our democracy. I don't think that I have heard this topic discussed on any news program, and I don't expect to. To me, it is not so much the lies that major media organizations may broadcast, but the enormous amount of news of major importance that the networks censor that is doing the greatest harm.

Americans never get to see what they need to know. Keeping the peasants ignorant is the current mass media program, and they are doing a great job of it.

[Apr 23, 2019] CIA, the counerstone of the deep state, might have agenda that is radically different from the US national interest and reflect agenda of the special interest groups

CIA is actually a state within the state as Church commission revealed and it has an immanent tendency to seek control over "surface state" and media. In other words large intelligence apparatus might well be incompatible with the democratic governance.
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA has a track record of acting out of self interest since its inception and should not be believed. That being said, the public is almost completely unaware of the agency's misdeeds. ..."
May 23, 2017 | nakedcapitalism.com

"In the long run, the CIA can't deceive the Chinese government without also deceiving, in some way, the American public. This leaves us with an obvious problem: Should we believe anything the CIA says?" [RealClearWorld]. "It's a tough question for a democracy to answer. Trust is built on the tacit agreement that the "bad things" an agency does are good for the country.

If the public believes that that is no longer the case – if it believes the agency is acting out of self-interest and not national interest – then the agreement is broken. The intelligence agency is seen as an impediment of the right to national self-determination, a means for the ends of the few."

Huey Long <

RE: Hall of Mirrors/Believing the CIA

The CIA has a track record of acting out of self interest since its inception and should not be believed. That being said, the public is almost completely unaware of the agency's misdeeds.

I think the reason folks like Manning, Snowden and Assange are so reviled by the agency is because they are a threat to the CIA's reputation more than anything else.

[Apr 22, 2019] the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity -- with the fortunes of young Americans more dependent on the income and education of their parents than elsewhere.

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , April 20, 2019 at 04:20 AM

Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron
https://nyti.ms/2GpsQoQ
NYT - Joseph E. Stiglitz - April 19, 2019

We can save our broken economic system from itself.


Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:23 AM
Despite the lowest unemployment rates since the late 1960s, the American economy is failing its citizens. Some 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate or decline in the past 30 years. This is not surprising, given that the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity -- with the fortunes of young Americans more dependent on the income and education of their parents than elsewhere.

But things don't have to be that way. There is an alternative: progressive capitalism. Progressive capitalism is not an oxymoron; we can indeed channel the power of the market to serve society.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's regulatory "reforms," which reduced the ability of government to curb the excesses of the market, were sold as great energizers of the economy. But just the opposite happened: Growth slowed, and weirder still, this happened in the innovation capital of the world.

The sugar rush produced by President Trump's largess to corporations in the 2017 tax law didn't deal with any of these long-run problems, and is already fading. Growth is expected to be a little under 2 percent next year.

This is where we've descended to, but not where we have to stay. A progressive capitalism based on an understanding of what gives rise to growth and societal well-being gives us a way out of this quagmire and a way up for our living standards.

Standards of living began to improve in the late 18th century for two reasons: the development of science (we learned how to learn about nature and used that knowledge to increase productivity and longevity) and developments in social organization (as a society, we learned how to work together, through institutions like the rule of law, and democracies with checks and balances).

Key to both were systems of assessing and verifying the truth. The real and long-lasting danger of the Trump presidency is the risk it poses to these pillars of our economy and society, its attack on the very idea of knowledge and expertise, and its hostility to institutions that help us discover and assess the truth.

There is a broader social compact that allows a society to work and prosper together, and that, too, has been fraying. America created the first truly middle-class society; now, a middle-class life is increasingly out of reach for its citizens.

America arrived at this sorry state of affairs because we forgot that the true source of the wealth of a nation is the creativity and innovation of its people. One can get rich either by adding to the nation's economic pie or by grabbing a larger share of the pie by exploiting others -- abusing, for instance, market power or informational advantages. We confused the hard work of wealth creation with wealth-grabbing (or, as economists call it, rent-seeking), and too many of our talented young people followed the siren call of getting rich quickly.

Beginning with the Reagan era, economic policy played a key role in this dystopia: Just as forces of globalization and technological change were contributing to growing inequality, we adopted policies that worsened societal inequities. Even as economic theories like information economics (dealing with the ever-present situation where information is imperfect), behavioral economics and game theory arose to explain why markets on their own are often not efficient, fair, stable or seemingly rational, we relied more on markets and scaled back social protections.

The result is an economy with more exploitation -- whether it's abusive practices in the financial sector or the technology sector using our own data to take advantage of us at the cost of our privacy. The weakening of antitrust enforcement, and the failure of regulation to keep up with changes in our economy and the innovations in creating and leveraging market power, meant that markets became more concentrated and less competitive.

Politics has played a big role in the increase in corporate rent-seeking and the accompanying inequality. Markets don't exist in a vacuum; they have to be structured by rules and regulations, and those rules and regulations must be enforced. Deregulation of the financial sector allowed bankers to engage in both excessively risky activities and more exploitive ones. Many economists understood that trade with developing countries would drive down American wages, especially for those with limited skills, and destroy jobs. We could and should have provided more assistance to affected workers (just as we should provide assistance to workers who lose their jobs as a result of technological change), but corporate interests opposed it. A weaker labor market conveniently meant lower labor costs at home to complement the cheap labor businesses employed abroad.

We are now in a vicious cycle: Greater economic inequality is leading, in our money-driven political system, to more political inequality, with weaker rules and deregulation causing still more economic inequality.

If we don't change course matters will likely grow worse, as machines (artificial intelligence and robots) replace an increasing fraction of routine labor, including many of the jobs of the several million Americans making their living by driving.

The prescription follows from the diagnosis: It begins by recognizing the vital role that the state plays in making markets serve society. We need regulations that ensure strong competition without abusive exploitation, realigning the relationship between corporations and the workers they employ and the customers they are supposed to serve. We must be as resolute in combating market power as the corporate sector is in increasing it.

If we had curbed exploitation in all of its forms and encouraged wealth creation, we would have had a more dynamic economy with less inequality. We might have curbed the opioid crisis and avoided the 2008 financial crisis. If we had done more to blunt the power of oligopolies and strengthen the power of workers, and if we had held our banks accountable, the sense of powerlessness might not be so pervasive and Americans might have greater trust in our institutions.

There are many other areas in which government action is required. Markets on their own won't provide insurance against some of the most important risks we face, such as unemployment and disability. They won't efficiently provide pensions with low administrative costs and insurance against inflation. And they won't provide an adequate infrastructure or a decent education for everyone or engage in sufficient basic research.

Progressive capitalism is based on a new social contract between voters and elected officials, between workers and corporations, between rich and poor, and between those with jobs and those who are un- or underemployed.

Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all. It was a mistake not to include the public option in Obamacare: It would have enriched choice and enhanced competition, lowering prices. But one can design public options in other arenas as well, for instance for retirement and mortgages. This new social contract will enable most Americans to once again have a middle-class life.

As an economist, I am always asked: Can we afford to provide this middle-class life for most, let alone all, Americans? Somehow, we did when we were a much poorer country in the years after World War II. In our politics, in our labor-market participation, and in our health we are already paying the price for our failures.

The neoliberal fantasy that unfettered markets will deliver prosperity to everyone should be put to rest. It is as fatally flawed as the notion after the fall of the Iron Curtain that we were seeing "the end of history" and that we would all soon be liberal democracies with capitalist economies.

Most important, our exploitive capitalism has shaped who we are as individuals and as a society. The rampant dishonesty we've seen from Wells Fargo and Volkswagen or from members of the Sackler family as they promoted drugs they knew were addictive -- this is what is to be expected in a society that lauds the pursuit of profits as leading, to quote Adam Smith, "as if by an invisible hand," to the well-being of society, with no regard to whether those profits derive from exploitation or wealth creation.

ken melvin -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:07 AM
https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/a-guide-to-statistics-on-historical-trends-in-income-inequality

Check out the inequality curves about half way thru the article

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:19 AM
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's regulatory "reforms," which reduced the ability of government to curb the excesses of the market, were sold as great energizers of the economy. But just the opposite happened: Growth slowed, and weirder still, this happened in the innovation capital of the world....

-- Joseph Stiglitz

[ Really important. ]

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:41 AM
Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all. It was a mistake not to include the public option in Obamacare: It would have enriched choice and enhanced competition, lowering prices. But one can design public options in other arenas as well, for instance for retirement and mortgages. This new social contract will enable most Americans to once again have a middle-class life....

-- Joseph Stiglitz

[ What a splendid essay. ]

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 07:21 AM
https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1119592496173129728

Paul Krugman‏ @paulkrugman

Very good and smart from one of our greatest economists. (I don't think laypeople fully appreciate Joe Stiglitz's greatness as a theorist) "Progressive capitalism" is a good phrase, in part because it does involve reviving a lot of the original progressive agenda

6:23 AM - 20 Apr 2019

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Good choice. THANKS!
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:28 AM
Socialist! Capitalist! Economic Systems as Weapons
in a War of Words https://nyti.ms/2ZncMwz
NYT - Andrew Ross Sorkin - April 19, 2019

The economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses Bernie Sanders, social policy and how we define ourselves -- and one another.

Joseph Stiglitz settled into a booth at his favorite diner on the Upper West Side last week with a curious, almost satisfied smile on his face.

He won a Nobel Prize nearly two decades ago for identifying the inequities and imperfections in market economies and has spent a career warning of the perils of wealth concentration, railing against monopoly power and championing higher taxes.

At last, a lot of people seem to be listening.

"It's been a long fight," he said.

The cause has been taken up by the new stars of the left, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and can trace much of its current momentum to the rumpled rabble-rousing of Senator Bernie Sanders. The policy points Mr. Stiglitz talks about -- a higher minimum wage, a public option for health insurance and more -- could just as easily come from the mouths of any of those seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020.

And yet they demonstrate how the words we choose to talk about our economic priorities are almost as important as the priorities themselves.

Last year, for the first time in a decade, a Gallup poll showed that Democrats had a more positive view of socialism than they did of capitalism. Those two words may play a pivotal role in our next election: Some Democrats have embraced the label of socialist, one long attacked by Republicans. And even some of those who have profited most from American-style free markets have worried about their sustainability, with the billionaire investor Ray Dalio going so far as to say that "capitalism is broken."

Mr. Stiglitz, stabbing his fork into his salad, said he believed there had been a critical misunderstanding of the terms themselves -- and the economic theories behind them -- that had allowed for their weaponization.

"The meanings of the words have changed over time," said Mr. Stiglitz, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton and a former chief economist of the World Bank. And the words have become the subject of a branding battle crossing political and generational divides.

The professor in Mr. Stiglitz shared a history lesson that reached back to the early 20th century, about how socialism and communism became linked. And he made the case that Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, wasn't actually a socialist -- at least as the identity has long been defined.

Mr. Sanders's agenda -- which drew a fair share of cheers during a Fox News town-hall-style meeting this week -- is not focused on "ownership of the means of production" or a statist system, Mr. Stiglitz said. "He's really concerned about the social contract of health, education," he added.

It is not surprising that Mr. Sanders's supporters trend young, a group for which the word "socialism" holds no fears of conflict with the Soviets or baggage associated with the Berlin Wall.

"Some people are trying to attach more emotions to the historical legacy of socialism
, which was never the same as communism, but in the United States those distinctions have gotten blurred," Mr. Stiglitz said.

The attacks from the right have been anything but subtle. Just this month, Mr. Trump declared, "We're going into the war with some socialists." And Republicans have posited that Venezuela's challenged economy is the inevitable result of any movement in the policy directions embraced by the left.

The word leaves a bad taste even in the mouths of many on the left, including Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, who lived through the height of the Cold War. "I do reject socialism as an economic system," she said on "60 Minutes" last weekend. "If people have that view, that's their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party."

(In Europe, Mr. Stiglitz said, similarly minded politicians might rightly be called social democrats. A simple switch in word order emphasizes the "social" instead of "socialist.")

It all comes back to semantics, Mr. Stiglitz said. And perception was on his mind when titling his new book, "People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent," which is to be published next week.

In it, he maps out a plan that he calls a "social contract" to improve jobs, health, education, housing and retirement. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if it turned into the economic platform for a presidential candidate.

Mr. Stiglitz proposes using a combination of market forces and government nudges -- a higher minimum wage and an expanded earned-income tax credit, for example -- to help the poorest among us. He also supports a "public option" to improve competition in the private sector in areas like health care and even retirement savings.

That's not to say he views government as a panacea. For example, he wants to see the mortgage industry privatized. "In a private-sector economy, to have this huge piece of the economy that's not run by the private sector is odd," he said. Still, he also recommends a public option so that the government could support the mortgage market in certain cases.

Mr. Stiglitz said he had chosen "progressive capitalism" for his book's title because he worried about triggering a visceral reaction to the word "socialism."

"I'm trying to avoid some of the emotions that are still attached," he said. "I try in my title to use progressive capitalism to try to say I believe in a market economy, but I also believe in government regulation."

Even as popular figures on the left have embraced the label of socialist -- Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America -- others have sought, like Mr. Stiglitz, to underscore their capitalist views. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who formally announced his candidacy for president this week, calls himself a proponent of "democratic capitalism."

If the evolving meaning of socialism strikes you as an inventive bit of rebranding, Mr. Stiglitz believes the conservative idea of American capitalism as an unfettered free-market system is itself a myth.

"There is no Darwinian capitalism," he said. "Everybody would say you need some degree of regulation of banks. I mean, no one is talking about real laissez-faire banking."

Even the word "capitalist" has evolved, Mr. Stiglitz said. It is only since the late 20th century and the rise of the economist Milton Friedman, he contends, that "capitalist" stopped being a dirty word. It was once used in what he called "a pejorative way."

Capitalists were "people who were exploiting workers," he said.

That is an opinion, of course. And it is a view that is not hard to come by in some circles now, either.

Language changes, and as convenient as it can be to use linguistic shorthand, it's important to remember that beneath the words are ideas -- the things we should be talking about.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:34 AM
Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on "People,
Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism
for an Age of Discontent"
https://www.moaf.org/events/general/2019-04-24-nobel-laureate-joseph-stiglitz-on-people-power-and-profits-progressive-capitalism-for-an-age-of-discontent

Evening Lecture Series

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Event Location:
Fordham University – Lincoln Center Campus
140 West 62 Street, McNally Amphitheatre | Ground Floor

... Stiglitz has long sounded the alarm about growing economic inequality in the United States. As chief economist of the World Bank and Chairman of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors, he saw first-hand the toll that financial deregulation, globalization and government inaction can take on a community. This has played out over and over again in cities and towns across the United States, feeding into the resentment that fueled Donald Trump's election in 2016. The question we should ask ourselves today, Stiglitz says, is "What can we do about it?"

In his new book, People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent, Stiglitz answers that question by laying out a 21st Century Social Contract to rebuild the American middle class and reinvigorate the American economy. Many candidates will likely use Stiglitz's timely advice in their 2020 presidential campaigns.

Prof. Stiglitz will be interviewed by Bruce Greenwald, the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia Business School and the academic co-director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. Described by The New York Times as "a guru to Wall Street's gurus," Greenwald is an authority on value investing with additional expertise in productivity and the economics of information.

[Apr 21, 2019] It is stunning that the entirety of federal law enforcement, intelligence, and State department embraced and fortified Russian misinformation in their jihad against Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Nevertheless, while it appeared to the Clinton partisans in the Obama White House, in the DoJ, the CIA, the FBI and overseas in the UK, that the e-mail case had been quashed sufficiently to preserve the likelihood of Clinton's accession, they had enough reservations to exploit a garbage pail of political dirt to take out an "insurance policy." ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock , 21 April 2019 at 12:15 PM

Who is taking the over/under on whether Barr will actually investigate the origins of the attempted entrapment of Trump in Russia collusion and the roles played by key players in US law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as the Brits & Aussie government agencies therein?

I'm willing to bet that it will all be swept under the rug and that Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Lynch & Rice will not be testifying to any grand jury. Barr has received multiple criminal & conspiracy referrals from Rep. Devin Nunes. However, Trump himself disregarded Nunes recommendation to declassify several documents & communications including the FISA application on Carter Page. The question is does Trump want to get to the bottom of the conspiracy? So far all he's done is tweet. IMO, Barr is the epitome of a Swamp Rat.

Tom22ndState -> blue peacock... , 21 April 2019 at 05:43 PM
"Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." – Sun Tzu

I have a feeling that President Trump will declassify and release the relevant documents in a manner that they will have maximum effect. It is stunning that the entirety of federal law enforcement, intelligence, and State department embraced and fortified Russian misinformation in their jihad against Trump.

This must never happen again. At least the operation was run by political hacks, former analysts who fancied themselves as operators. Their ham- fisted prints are over this shit storm. Thank you God for Comey, Brennan, and Clapper -- the three stooges of espionage.

Mad Max_22 , 21 April 2019 at 06:17 PM
I suppose that it's possible that AG Barr's DoJ will mount a serious investigation into the many tentacles ongoing governmental debacle that began with the Lynch DoJ providing political direction and cover for Comey's FBI to lie down on the Clinton e-mail investigation. Which came first, the cover up, or the capitulation, is not completely clear. Perhaps it was a hand in glove affair. Suffice it to say that by any standard of competence, it was a faux effort.

In my opinion, what was not done should constitute the elements of an obstruction violation. It would be a difficult charge to argue before a jury. Was the level of incompetence such that a reasonable person could not believe that it could not exist in the FBI, that there had to be malicious intent?

Nevertheless, while it appeared to the Clinton partisans in the Obama White House, in the DoJ, the CIA, the FBI and overseas in the UK, that the e-mail case had been quashed sufficiently to preserve the likelihood of Clinton's accession, they had enough reservations to exploit a garbage pail of political dirt to take out an "insurance policy."

Once again the question, could they possibly have been so incompetent. "What the heck" appears to have been the launching pad; Clinton's going to win anyway, Trump will be crushed under the unmaskings, leaks, and innuendo; and no one will ever find out.

But Trump wins, and the unwholesome political cabal is now stuck with an investigation of an incoming President whom they had tried to frag on the skimpiest evidentiary grounds imaginable. And worse, he appears to be sensing there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, and Cardinal Jim Comey is a shitty liar, and now he's out, and what is going to happen to this garbage scow they've launched, now with Comey gone. How do they kill this thing? Worse, how do they kill the political riot this thing has caused. They can't; they double down; they take out another insurance policy - Jim Comey's good bud, Bob Mueller with a posse of partisan attorneys, many vets of the Obama DoJ, a couple of squads of FBI Agents, including two who were prominent in the e mail case and the Steele inquiry, and a set up akin to a shadow DoJ. What could go wrong? They would hound the bastard out of office.

Which returns us to the question of whether Barr will mount a serious investigation into the political scandal of the last 100 years, at least. I suppose it is possible, but right now I'm not optimistic. For one thing Barr appeared at the big press conference with Rod Rosenstein. Rod Rosenstein is at minimum a critical witness. There is every reason to suspect that Comey, McCabe, Mueller, and Rosenstein conferred before Comey's leak to the NYT via a lawyer friend in furtherance of Mueller's appointment.

Going side by side with Rosenstein at this juncture doesn't augur well.

On the other hand, the continuing lunatic behavior of the demented left may give Barr no other choice but to sort the mess out once and for all for the good of the country. We'll see.

jdledell , 21 April 2019 at 06:28 PM
The biggest take I got out of the Mueller report is that Trump is a sleazy character and that is not what I want from the president, the Face of America to the rest of the world. Whether the Deep State went after Trump in an organized fashion is just noise in my ears. To me that is just normal political infighting the same as Trump and other Republicans went after Obama for being an illegitimate President as a non-citizen.
turcopolier , 21 April 2019 at 06:28 PM
Sorry, but it IS NOT "normal political infighting" for the cabal to have sought and still to seek the overthrow of of the legitimate head of state and government.

[Apr 21, 2019] Even if we got a candidate against the War Party the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump betayal his voters, surrounded himself with neocons, continues to do Bibi's bidding, and ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

Highly recommended!
Here we need to look at the candidate political history, their actions before the election. "Trump scam" like "Obama scam" was based on the fact that they do not have political history, they were what Romans called "Tabula rasa". A "clean state" politician into which voters can project their wishes about domestic and foreign policy. That was a dirty. but very effective trick.
But the most important factor in Trump win was the he was competing against despicable warmonger Hillary Clinton, the establishment candidate who wanted to kick the neoliberal globalization can down the road. So the "lesser evilism" card was also in play consciously or unconscionably as well. So with Hillary as the opposition candidate it was a kind of implementation of the USSR style elections on a new level. but with the same with zero choice. Effectively the US electorate was disenfranchised when FBI has thrown Sander under the bus by exonerating Hillary. In a way FBI was the kingmaker in 2016 elections.
And please note that the Deep State launched a color revolution against Trump to keep him in check. Only later it became evident that he from the very beginning was a pro-Israel neoconservative, probably fully controlled by pro-Israel forces. That Trump electorate bought MIGA instead of MAGA from the day one.
Notable quotes:
"... The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down? ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock -> turcopolier ... , 21 April 2019 at 12:36 PM

Col. Lang,

In a recent call from Trump requesting his opinion on China, Jimmy Carter noted that China has not spent a dime on war since 1979, whereas we've spent trillions & continue to spend even more.

China invested trillions in their infrastructure while ours crumbles. They've invested in building the world's manufacturing capacity while we dismantled ours. We spend twice per capita on healthcare compared to any other western country, yet chronic diseases like diabetes keeps growing. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined yet how superior is our weaponry compared to the Russians who spend one-tenth of what we spend? We've financialized our economy and socialized speculative losses of Wall St mavens but when some politicians talk about spending on the commons then socialism is labeled bad.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/this-is-water/

The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

[Apr 21, 2019] Muller report implicates Obama administration in total and utter incompetence, if not pandering to the foreign intervention into the USA elections. The latter is called criminal negligence in legal speak.

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , April 20, 2019 2:30 am

"Within approximately five hours of Trump's statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton's personal office. "
The report shows that Russia coordinated with Trump even if he was unaware of it.

Do you understand that you implicate Obama administration in total and utter incompetence, if not pandering to the foreign intervention into the USA elections. The latter is called criminal negligence in legal speak.

So all our three letter agencies with their enormous budgets and staff including NSA which intercepts all incoming/outgoing communications (and probably most internal communications) can't protect the USA elections from interference that they knew about ? Why they did not warn Trump?

Or NSA assumed that it was yet another CIA "training exercise" imposing as Russian hackers?

It not clear why Russia need such a crude methods as, for example, hacking Podesta email via spearfishing (NSA has all the recodings in this case), as you can buy, say a couple of Google engineers for less then a million dollars (many Google engineers hate Google with its cult of performance reviews and know that they are getting much less then their Facebook counterparts, so this might well be not that difficult) and get all you want without extra noise.

Historically Soviet and, especially, East German intelligence were real experts in utilizing "humint". With the crash of neoliberal ideology that probably is easier for Russians now then it was for Soviets or East Germans in 60th-80th.

For example, from my admittedly nonprofessional point of view, the most logical assumption about DNC hack is that it was a mixture of the internal leak (download of the files to the UCB drive) and Crowdstrike false flag operation (cover up operation which included implanting Russian (or Ukrainian) malware from Vault 7 to blame Russians.

And that Gussifer 2.0 was most probably a fake personality created specifically to increase credibility of this false flag operation (see for example http://g-2.space/ and https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/guccifer-2-clinton-foundation-hack-leak/ )

likbez , April 20, 2019 1:12 pm

Arne,

April 20, 2019 11:15 am

"Do you understand that you implicate Obama administration"

They did screw up.

Wrong. The fact that they did not warn/brief Trump suggests that this was an a deliberate and pre-planned attempt to entrap him by initiating Russian contacts by FBI/CIA/MI6 moles

We have some cursory evidence of at least four attempts to link Trump to Russians supposedly conducted by intelligence services ( https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/russiagate/ ):

  1. Moscow Trump Tower set up (via FBI mole Felix Saters), https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/the-fbi-tried-and-failed-to-entrap-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html
  2. DNC email setup (via CIA and FBI contractor Crowdstrike ) https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/test-it-yourself-the-2-second-rounding-fact-pattern-in-the-dnc-emails-by-william-binney-and-larry-jo.html
  3. Veselnitskaya Trump tower meeting set up (via MI6 mole Rob Goldstone). https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/httpstruepunditcomexclusive-six-u-s-agencies-conspired-to-illegally-wiretap-trump-british-intel-used-as-fr.html
  4. Papadopoulos set up ( via Josef Misfud (MI6) and Stefan Halper (CIA) ). At the time Halper probably was reporting to the current CIA director Gina Haspel who was at this time CIA station chief in GB. She is a Brennan protégé, of recent Skripals dead ducks hoax fame.

Surveillance was specifically established to collect compromising material on Trump and his associates with high level official in Obama administration (and probably Obama himself) playing coordinating role.

Colonel Lang's blog is a good source of information on those issues with posts by former intelligence specialists.

And please note that I am not a Trump supporter. I resent him and his policies.

[Apr 21, 2019] Escobar The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch. ..."
"... But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire. ..."
"... This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart. ..."
"... The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically. ..."
"... The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why. ..."
"... Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak. ..."
"... Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel. ..."
"... he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking." ..."
"... No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency" ..."
"... Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange. ..."
"... George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s ..."
"... Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Made-by-FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals...

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it's that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don't get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/456414-assange-wkileaks-asylum-london/video/5cb1c797dda4c822558b463f

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil's Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

"The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request."

That's far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange's legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d'oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using "shock troops enlisted in the media -- those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth."

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange's arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing "scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation" of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

"The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President's Intelligence Advisory Board)."

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange's lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange's safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It's a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to "investigate". Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

T he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking."

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency", usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It's a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the "so-called 'Espionage Court'" of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It's all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.


JailBanksters , 40 minutes ago link

Not to mention the Pentagram has silenced 100,000 whistleblower complaints by Intimidation, threats, money or accidents over 5 years . A Whistleblower only does this when know there is something seriously wrong. Just Imagine how many knew something was wrong but looked the other way.

ExPat2018 , 47 minutes ago link

George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s

Betrayed , 2 hours ago link

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood.

Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

assange and wikileaks are the real criminals despite being crimeless. the **** is a sanctioned criminal, allowed to be criminal with the system because the rest of the sanctioned criminals would be exposed if she was investigated.

this is not the rule of laws. this is the law of rulers.

_triplesix_ , 2 hours ago link

Anyone seen Imran Awan lately?

Four chan , 34 minutes ago link

yeah those ***** go free because they got everything on the stupid dems and they are muslim.

assange exposes the podesta dws and clinton fraud against bernie voters+++ and hes the bad guy. yeah right

hillary clinton murdered seth rich sure as **** too.

[Apr 21, 2019] Mark Ames: The FBI Has No Legal Charter But Lots of Kompromat

Notable quotes:
"... Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico). ..."
"... The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005. ..."
"... Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself. ..."
"... Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either. ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled

I made the mistake of listening to NPR last week to find out what Conventional Wisdom had to say about Trump firing Comey, on the assumption that their standardized Mister-Rogers-on-Nyquil voice tones would rein in the hysteria pitch a little. And on the surface, it did-the NPR host and guests weren't directly shrieking "the world is ending! We're all gonna die SHEEPLE!" the way they were on CNN. But in a sense they were screaming "fire!", if you know how to distinguish the very minute pitch level differences in the standard NPR Nyquil voice.

The host of the daytime NPR program asked his guests how serious, and how "unprecedented" Trump's decision to fire his FBI chief was. The guests answers were strange: they spoke about "rule of law" and "violating the Constitution" but then switched to Trump "violating norms"-and back again, interchanging "norms" and "laws" as if they're synonyms. One of the guests admitted that Trump firing Comey was 100% legal, but that didn't seem to matter in this talk about Trump having abandoned rule-of-law for a Putinist dictatorship. These guys wouldn't pass a high school civics class, but there they were, garbling it all up. What mattered was the proper sense of panic and outrage-I'm not sure anyone really cared about the actual legality of the thing, or the legal, political or "normative" history of the FBI.

For starters, the FBI hardly belongs in the same set with concepts like "constitutional" or " rule of law." That's because the FBI was never established by a law. US Lawmakers refused to approve an FBI bureau over a century ago when it was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt. So he ignored Congress, and went ahead and set it up by presidential fiat. That's one thing the civil liberties crowd hates discussing - how centralized US political power is in the executive branch, a feature in the constitutional system put there by the holy Founders.

In the late 1970s, at the tail end of our brief Glasnost, there was a lot of talk in Washington about finally creating a legal charter for the FBI -70 years after its founding. A lot of serious ink was spilled trying to transform the FBI from an extralegal secret police agency to something legal and defined. If you want to play archeologist to America's recent history, you can find this in the New York Times' archives, articles with headlines like "Draft of Charter for F.B.I. Limits Inquiry Methods" :

The Carter Administration will soon send to Congress the first governing charter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The proposed charter imposes extensive but not absolute restrictions on the bureau's employment of controversial investigative techniques, .including the use of informers, undercover agents and covert criminal activity.

The charter also specifies the duties and powers of the bureau, setting precise standards and procedures for the initiation ,and conduct of investigations. It specifically requires the F.B.I. to observe constitutional rights and establishes safeguards against unchecked harassment, break‐ins and other abuses.

followed by the inevitable lament, like this editorial from the Christian Science Monitor a year later, "Don't Forget the FBI Charter". Which of course we did forget-that was Reagan's purpose and value for the post-Glasnost reaction: forgetting. As historian Athan Theoharis wrote , "After 1981, Congress never seriously considered again any of the FBI charter proposals."

The origins of the FBI have been obscured both because of its dubious legality and because of its original political purpose-to help the president battle the all-powerful American capitalists. It wasn't that Teddy Roosevelt was a radical leftist-he was a Progressive Republican, which sounds like an oxymoron today but which was mainstream and ascendant politics in his time. Roosevelt was probably the first president since Andrew Jackson to try to smash concentrated wealth-power, or at least some of it. He could be brutally anti-labor, but so were the powerful capitalists he fought, and all the structures of government power. He met little opposition pursuing his imperial Social Darwinist ambitions outside America's borders-but he had a much harder time fighting the powerful capitalists at home against Roosevelt's most honorable political obsession: preserving forests, parks and public lands from greedy capitalists. An early FBI memo to Hoover about the FBI's origins explains,

"Roosevelt, in his characteristic dynamic fashion, asserted that the plunderers of the public domain would be prosecuted and brought to justice."

According to New York Times reporter Tim Wiener's Enemies: A History of the FBI , it was the Oregon land fraud scandal of 1905-6 that put the idea of an FBI in TR's hyperactive mind. The scandal involved leading Oregon politicians helping railroad tycoon Edward Harriman illegally sell off pristine Oregon forest lands to timber interests, and it ended with an Oregon senator and the state's only two House representatives criminally charged and put on trial-along with dozens of other Oregonians. Basically, they were raping the state's public lands and forests like colonists stripping a foreign country-and that stuck in TR's craw.

TR wanted his attorney general-Charles Bonaparte (yes, he really was a descendant of that Bonaparte)-to make a full report to on the rampant land fraud scams that the robber barons were running to despoil the American West, and which threatened TR's vision of land and forest conservation and parks. Bonaparte created an investigative team from the US Secret Service, but TR thought their report was a "whitewash" and proposed a new separate federal investigative service within Bonaparte's Department of Justice that would report only to the Attorney General.

Until then, the US government had to rely on private contractors like the notorious, dreaded Pinkerton Agency, who were great at strikebreaking, clubbing workers and shooting organizers, but not so good at taking down down robber barons, who happened to also be important clients for the private detective agencies.

In early 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte wrote to Congress asking for the legal authority (and budget funds) to create a "permanent detective force" under the DOJ. Congress rebelled, denouncing it as a plan to create an American okhrana . Democrat Joseph Sherley wrote that "spying on men and prying into what would ordinarily be considered their private affairs" went against "American ideas of government"; Rep. George Waldo, a New York Republican, said the proposed FBI was a "great blow to freedom and to free institutions if there should arise in this country any such great central secret-service bureau as there is in Russia."

So Congress's response was the opposite, banning Bonaparte's DOJ from spending any funds at all on a proposed FBI. Another Congressman wrote another provision into the budget bill banning the DOJ from hiring Secret Service employees for any sort of FBI type agency. So Bonaparte waited until Congress took its summer recess, set aside some DOJ funds, recruited some Secret Service agents, and created a new federal detective bureau with 34 agents. This was how the FBI was born. Congress wasn't notified until the end of 1908, in a few lines in a standard report - "oh yeah, forgot to tell you-the executive branch went ahead and created an American okhrana because, well, the ol' joke about dogs licking their balls. Happy New Year!"

The sordid history of America's extralegal secret police-initially named the Bureau of Investigation, changed to the FBI ("Federal") in the 30's, is mostly a history of xenophobic panic-mongering, illegal domestic spying, mass roundups and plans for mass-roundups, false entrapment schemes, and planting what Russians call "kompromat"- compromising information about a target's sex life-to blackmail or destroy American political figures that the FBI didn't like.

The first political victim of J Edgar Hoover's kompromat was Louis Post, the assistant secretary of labor under Woodrow Wilson. Post's crime was releasing over 1,000 alleged Reds from detention facilities near the end of the FBI's Red Scare crackdown, when they jailed and deported untold thousands on suspicion of being Communists. The FBI's mass purge began with popular media support in 1919, but by the middle of 1920, some (not the FBI) were starting to get a little queasy. A legal challenge to the FBI's mass purges and exiles in Boston ended with a federal judge denouncing the FBI. After that ruling, assistant secretary Louis Post, a 71-year-old well-meaning progressive, reviewed the cases against the last 1500 detainees that the FBI wanted to deport, and found that there was absolutely nothing on at least 75 percent of the cases. Post's review threatened to undo thousands more FBI persecutions of alleged Moscow-controlled radicals.

So one of the FBI's most ambitious young agents, J Edgar Hoover, collected kompromat on Post and his alleged associations with other alleged Moscow-controlled leftists, and gave the file to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives-which promptly announced it would hold hearings to investigate Post as a left subversive. The House tried to impeach Post, but ultimately he defended himself. Post's lawyer compared his political persecutors to the okhrana (Russia, again!): "We in America have sunk to the level of the government of Russia under the Czarist regime," describing the FBI's smear campaign as "even lower in some of their methods than the old Russian officials."

Under Harding, the FBI had a new chief, William Burns, who made headlines blaming the terror bombing attack on Wall Street of 1920 that killed 34 people on a Kremlin-run conspiracy. The FBI claimed it had a highly reliable inside source who told them that Lenin sent $30,000 to the Soviets' diplomatic mission in New York, which was distributed to four local Communist agents who arranged the Wall Street bombing. The source claimed to have personally spoken with Lenin, who boasted that the bombing was so successful he'd ordered up more.

The only problem was that the FBI's reliable source, a Jewish-Polish petty criminal named Wolf Lindenfeld, turned out to be a bullshitter-nicknamed "Windy Linde"-who thought his fake confession about Lenin funding the bombing campaign would get him out of Poland's jails and set up in a comfortable new life in New York.

By 1923, the FBI had thoroughly destroyed America's communist and radical labor movements-allowing it to focus on its other favorite pastime: spying on and destroying political opponents. The FBI spied on US Senators who supported opening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union: Idaho's William Borah, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Thomas Walsh of the Judiciary Committee, and Burton K Wheeler, the prairie Populist senator from Montana, who visited the Soviet Union and pushed for diplomatic relations. Harding's corrupt Attorney General Dougherty denounced Sen. Wheeler as "the Communist leader in the Senate" and "no more a Democrat than Stalin, his comrade in Moscow." Dougherty accused Sen. Wheeler of being part of a conspiracy "to capture, by deceit and design, as many members of the Senate as possible and to spread through Washington and the cloakrooms of Congress a poison gas as deadly as that which sapped and destroyed brave soldiers in the last war."

Hoover, now a top FBI official, quietly fed kompromat to journalists he cultivated, particularly an AP reporter named Richard Whitney, who published a popular book in 1924, "Reds In America" alleging Kremlin agents "had an all-pervasive influence over American institutions; they had infiltrated every corner of American life." Whitney named Charlie Chaplin as a Kremlin agent, along with Felix Frankfurter and members of the Senate pushing for recognition of the Soviet Union. That killed any hope for diplomatic recognition for the next decade.

Then the first Harding scandals broke-Teapot Dome, Veterans Affairs, bribery at the highest rungs. When Senators Wheeler and Walsh opened bribery investigations, the FBI sent agents to the senators' home state to drum up false bribery charges against Sen. Wheeler. The charges were clearly fake, and a jury dismissed the charges. But Attorney General Dougherty was indicted for fraud and forced to resign, as was his FBI chief Burns-but not Burns' underling Hoover, who stayed in the shadows.

"We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail This must stop."

With the Cold War, the FBI became obsessed with homosexuals as America's Fifth Column under Moscow's control. Homosexuals, the FBI believed, were susceptible to Kremlin kompromat-so the FBI collected and disseminated its own kompromat on alleged American homosexuals, supposedly to protect America from the Kremlin. In the early 1950s, Hoover launched the Sex Deviates Program to spy on American homosexuals and purge them from public life. The FBI built up 300,000 pages of files on suspected homosexuals and contacted their employers, local law enforcement and universities to "to drive homosexuals from every institution of government, higher learning, and law enforcement in the nation," according to Tim Weiner's book Enemies. No one but the FBI knows exactly how many Americans' lives and careers were destroyed by the FBI's Sex Deviants Program but Hoover-who never married, lived with his mother until he was 40, and traveled everywhere with his "friend" Clyde Tolson .

In the 1952 election, Hoover was so committed to helping the Republicans and Eisenhower win that he compiled and disseminated a 19-page kompromat file alleging that his Democratic Party rival Adlai Stevenson was gay. The FBI's file on Stevenson was kept in the Sex Deviants Program section-it included libelous gossip, claiming that Stevenson was one of Illinois' "best known homosexuals" who went by the name "Adeline" in gay cruising circles.

In the 1960s, Hoover and his FBI chiefs collected kompromat on the sex lives of JFK and Martin Luther King. Hoover presented some of his kompromat on JFK to Bobby Kennedy, in a concern-trollish way claiming to "warn" him that the president was opening himself up to blackmail. It was really a way for Hoover to let the despised Kennedy brothers know he could destroy them, should they try to Comey him out of his FBI office. Hoover's kompromat on MLK's sex life was a particular obsession of his-he now believed that African-Americans, not homosexuals, posed the greatest threat to become a Kremlin Fifth Column. The FBI wiretapped MLK's private life, collecting tapes of his affairs with other women, which a top FBI official then mailed to Martin Luther King's wife, along with a note urging King to commit suicide.

FBI letter anonymously mailed to Martin Luther King Jr's wife, along with kompromat sex tapes

After JFK was murdered, when Bobby Kennedy ran for the Senate in 1964, he recounted another disturbing FBI/kompromat story that President Johnson shared with him on the campaign trail. LBJ told Bobby about a stack of kompromat files - FBI reports "detailing the sexual debauchery of members of the Senate and House who consorted with prostitutes." LBJ asked RFK if the kompromat should be leaked selectively to destroy Republicans before the 1964 elections. Kennedy recalled,

"He told me he had spent all night sitting up and reading the files of the FBI on all these people. And Lyndon talks about that information and material so freely. Lyndon talks about everybody, you see, with everybody. And of course that's dangerous."

Kennedy had seen some of the same FBI kompromat files as attorney general, but he was totally opposed to releasing such unsubstantiated kompromat-such as, say, the Trump piss files-because doing so would "destroy the confidence that people in the United States had in their government and really make us a laughingstock around the world."

Imagine that.

Which brings me to the big analogy every hack threw around last week, calling Trump firing Comey "Nixonian." Actually, what Trump did was more like the very opposite of Nixon, who badly wanted to fire Hoover in 1971-2, but was too afraid of the kompromat Hoover might've had on him to make the move. Nixon fell out with his old friend and onetime mentor J Edgar Hoover in 1971, when the ailing old FBI chief refused to get sucked in to the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers investigation, especially after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times. Part of the reason Nixon created his Plumbers team of black bag burglars was because Hoover had become a bit skittish in his last year on this planet-and that drove Nixon crazy.

Nixon called his chief of staff Haldeman:

Nixon: I talked to Hoover last night and Hoover is not going after this case [Ellsberg] as strong as I would like. There's something dragging him.

Haldeman: You don't have the feeling the FBI is really pursuing this?

Nixon: Yeah, particularly the conspiracy side. I want to go after everyone. I'm not so interested in Ellsberg, but we have to go after everybody who's a member of this conspiracy.

Hoover's ambitious deputies in the FBI were smelling blood, angling to replace him. His number 3, Bill Sullivan (who sent MLK the sex tapes and suicide note) was especially keen to get rid of Hoover and take his place. So as J Edgar was stonewalling the Daniel Ellsberg investigation, Sullivan showed up in a Department of Justice office with two suitcases packed full of transcripts and summaries of illegal wiretaps that Kissinger and Nixon had ordered on their own staff and on American journalists. The taps were ordered in Nixon's first months in the White House in 1969, to plug up the barrage of leaks, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. Sullivan took the leaks from J Edgar's possession and told the DOJ official that they needed to be hidden from Hoover, who planned to use them as kompromat to blackmail Nixon.

Nixon decided he was going to fire J Edgar the next day. This was in September, 1971. But the next day came, and Nixon got scared. So he tried to convince his attorney general John Mitchell to fire Hoover for him, but Mitchell said only the President could fire J Edgar Hoover. So Nixon met him for breakfast, and, well, he just didn't have the guts. Over breakfast, Hoover flattered Nixon and told him there was nothing more in the world he wanted than to see Nixon re-elected. Nixon caved; the next day, J Edgar Hoover unceremoniously fired his number 3 Bill Sullivan, locking him out of the building and out of his office so that he couldn't take anything with him. Sullivan was done.

The lesson here, I suppose, is that if an FBI director doesn't want to be fired, it's best to keep your kompromat a little closer to your chest, as a gun to hold to your boss's head. Comey's crew already released the piss tapes kompromat on Trump-the damage was done. What was left to hold back Trump from firing Comey? "Laws"? The FBI isn't even legal. "Norms" would be the real reason. Which pretty much sums up everything Trump has been doing so far. We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"-and while those norms may mean everything to the ruling class, it's an open question how much these norms mean to a lot of Americans outside that club.

Huey Long , May 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Wow, and this whole time I thought the NSA had a kompromat monopoly as they have everybody's porn site search terms and viewing habits on file.

I had no idea the FBI practically invented it!

3.14e-9 , May 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

The Native tribes don't have a great history with the FBI, either.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/thing-about-skins/comey-fbi-destructive-history-native-people/

voteforno6 , May 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

Has anyone ever used the FBI's lack of a charter as a defense in court?

Disturbed Voter , May 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

The USA doesn't have a legal basis either, it is a revolting crown colony of the British Empire. Treason and heresy all the way down. Maybe the British need to burn Washington DC again?

Synoia , May 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Britain burning DC, and the so call ed "war" of 1812, got no mention in my History Books. Napoleon on the other hand, featured greatly

In 1812 Napoleon was busy going to Russia. That went well.

Ignim Brites , May 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

Wondered how Comey thought he could get away with his conviction and pardon of Sec Clinton. Seems like part of the culture of FBI is a "above and beyond" the law mentality.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

Back in the early 1970s a high school friend moved to Alabama because his father was transferred by his employer.

My friend sent a post card describing among other things the fact that Alabama had done away with the requirement of a math class to graduate high school, and substituted a required class called "The Evils of Communism" complete with a text-book written by J. Edgar Hoover; Masters of Deceit.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

In Dallas,Texas my 1959 Civics class had to read the same book. We all were given paperback copies of it to take home and read. It was required reading enacted by Texas legislature.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

So I'd guess you weren't fooled by any of those commie plots of the sixties, like the campaigns for civil rights or against the Vietnamese war.

I can't really brag, I didn't stop worrying about the Red Menace until 1970 or so, that's when I started running into returning vets who mostly had no patience for that stuff.

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 8:35 am

We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"

Or as David Broder put it (re Bill Clinton): he came in and trashed the place and it wasn't his place.

It was David Broder's place. Of course the media play a key role with all that kompromat since they are the ones needed to convey it to the public. The tragedy is that even many of the sensible in their ranks such as Bill Moyers have been sucked into the kompromat due to their hysteria over Trump. Ames is surely on point in this great article. The mistake was allowing secret police agencies like the FBI and CIA to be created in the first place.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 8:37 am

Sorry, my initial reaction was that people who don't know the difference between "rein" and "reign" are not to be trusted to provide reliable information. Recognizing that as petty, I kept reading, and presently found the statement that Congress was not informed of the founding of the FBI until a century after the fact, which seems implausible. If in fact the author meant the end of 1908 it was quite an achievement to write 2008.

Interesting to the extent it may be true, but with few sources, no footnotes, and little evidence of critical editing who knows what that may be?

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

Do you even know who Mark Ames is?

Petty .yes.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

Who he is is irrelevant. I don't take things on faith because "the Pope said" or because Mark Ames said. People who expect their information to be taken seriously should substantiate it.

Bill Smith , May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Yeah, in the first sentence

Interesting article though.

Fiery Hunt , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Yeah, Kathatine, you're right .very petty.

And completely missed the point.

Or worse, you got the point and your best rejection of that point was pointing out a typo.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

I neither missed the point nor rejected it. I reserved judgment, as I thought was apparent from my comment.

sid_finster , May 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

But Trump is bad. Very Bad.

So anything the FBI does to get rid of him must by definition be ok! Besides, surely our civic-minded IC would never use their power on the Good Guys™!

Right?

JTMcPhee , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Ah yes, the voice of "caution." And such attention to the lack of footnotes, in this day when the curious can so easily cut and paste a bit of salient text into a search engine and pull up a feast of parse-able writings and video, from which they can "judiciously assess" claims and statements. If they care to spend the time, which is in such short supply among those who are struggling to keep up with the horrors and revelations people of good will confront every blinking day

Classic impeachment indeed. All from the height of "academic rigor" and "caution." Especially the "apologetic" bit about "reign" vs "rein." Typos destroy credibility, don't they? And the coup de grass (sic), the unrebuttable "plausibility" claim.

One wonders at the nature of the author's curriculum vitae. One also marvels at the yawning gulf between the Very Serious Stuff I was taught in grade and high school civics and history, back in the late '50s and the '60s, about the Fundamental Nature Of Our Great Nation and its founding fathers and the Beautiful Documents they wrote, on the one hand, and what we mopes learn, through a drip-drip-drip process punctuated occasionally by Major Revelations, about the real nature of the Empire and our fellow creatures

PS: My earliest memory of television viewing was a day at a friend's house - his middle-class parents had the first "set" in the neighborhood, I think an RCA, in a massive sideboard cabinet where the picture tube pointed up and you viewed the "content" in a mirror mounted to the underside of the lid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5onSwx7_Cn0 The family was watching a hearing of Joe McCarthy's kangaroo court, complete with announcements of the latest number in the "list of known Communists in the State Department" and how Commyanism was spreading like an unstoppable epidemic mortal disease through the Great US Body Politic and its Heroic Institutions of Democracy. I was maybe 6 years old, but that grainy black and white "reality TV" content had me asking "WTF?" at a very early age. And I'd say it's on the commentor to show that the "2008" claim is wrong, by something other than "implausible" as drive-by impeachment. Given the content of the original post, and what people paying attention to all this stuff have a pretty good idea is the general contours of a vast corruption and manipulation.

"Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no."

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

It is the author's job to substantiate information, not the reader's. If he thinks his work is so important, why does he not make a better job of it?

Edward , May 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

I think the MLK blackmail scheme is well-established. Much of the article seems to be based on Tim Wiener's "Enemies: A History of the FBI".

nonsense factory , May 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

Interesting article on the history of the FBI, although the post-Hoover era doesn't get any treatment. The Church Committee hearings on the CIA and FBI, after the exposure of notably Operation CHAOS (early 60s to early 70s) by the CIA and COINTELPRO(late 1950s to early 1970s) by the FBI, didn't really get to the bottom of the issue although some reforms were initiated.

Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico).

The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005.

Maybe this is legitimate, but this only applies to their protection of the interests of large corporations – as the 2008 economic collapse and aftermath showed, they don't prosecute corporate executives who rip off poor people and middle-class homeowners. Banks who rob people, they aren't investigated or prosecuted; that's just for people who rob banks.

When it comes to political issues and national security, however, the FBI has such a terrible record on so many issues over the years that anything they claim has to be taken with a grain or two of salt. Consider domestic political activity: from the McCarthyite 'Red Scare' of the 1950s to COINTELPRO in the 1960s and 1970s to targeting of environmental groups in the 1980s and 1990s to targeting anti-war protesters under GW Bush to their obsession with domestic mass surveillance under Obama, it's not a record that should inspire any confidence.

Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself.

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences. The Saudi intelligence agency role in 9/11 was buried for over a decade, as well. Since 9/11, most of the FBI investigations seem to have involved recruiting mentally disabled young Islamic men in sting operations in which the FBI provides everything needed. You could probably get any number of mentally ill homeless people across the U.S., regardless of race or religion, to play this role.

Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either.

Ultimately, this is because FBI executives are paid off not to investigate Wall Street criminality, nor shady U.S. government activity, with lucrative positions as corporate board members and so on after their 'retirements'. I don't doubt that many of their junior members mean well and are dedicated to their jobs – but the fish rots from the head down.

Andrew Watts , May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences.

The Clinton Administration had other priorities. You know, I think I'll let ex-FBI Director Freeh explain what happened when the FBI tried to get the Saudis to cooperate with their investigation into the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

"That September, Crown Prince Abdullah and his entourage took over the entire 143-room Hay-Adams Hotel, just across from Lafayette Park from the White House, for six days. The visit, I figured, was pretty much our last chance. Again, we prepared talking points for the president. Again, I contacted Prince Bandar and asked him to soften up the crown prince for the moment when Clinton, -- or Al Gore I didn't care who -- would raise the matter and start to exert the necessary pressure."

"The story that came back to me, from "usually reliable sources," as they say in Washington, was that Bill Clinton briefly raised the subject only to tell the Crown Prince that he certainly understood the Saudis; reluctance to cooperate. Then, according to my sources, he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential library. Gore, who was supposed to press hardest of all in his meeting with the crown Prince, barely mentioned the matter, I was told." -Louis J. Freeh, My FBI (2005)

In my defense I picked the book up to see if there was any dirt on the DNC's electoral funding scandal in 1996. I'm actually glad I did. The best part of the book is when Freeh recounts running into a veteran of the Lincoln Brigade and listens to how Hoover's FBI ruined his life despite having broken no laws. As if a little thing like laws mattered to Hoover. The commies were after our precious bodily fluids!

verifyfirst , May 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I'm not sure there are many functioning norms left within the national political leadership. Seemed to me Gingrich started blowing those up and it just got worse from there. McConnell not allowing Garland to be considered comes to mind

lyman alpha blob , May 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Great article – thanks for this. I had no idea the FBI never had a legal charter – very enlightening.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Thanks to Mark Ames now we know what Pres. Trump meant when he tweeted about his tapes with AG Comey. Not some taped conversation between Pres. Trump & AG Comey but bunch of kompromat tapes that AG Comey has provided Pres. Trump that might not make departing AG Comey looked so clean.

[Apr 21, 2019] John Brennan's Police State USA

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers. ..."
"... Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer. ..."
"... The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway. ..."
"... No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way ..."
"... " ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people." ..."
"... All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests. ..."
"... A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops. ..."
"... The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter. ..."
"... "The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result " ..."
"... But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world. ..."
"... I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter! ..."
"... Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them. ..."
"... The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself. ..."
"... Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. ..."
"... That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era. ..."
"... The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it. ..."
"... [The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. ..."
"... Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran. ..."
"... Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington. ..."
"... Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say. ..."
"... Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse. ..."
"... Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.) ..."
"... Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress? ..."
"... Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies. ..."
Oct 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Fran Macadam , October 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

A credible reading of the diverse facts, Mike.
Kirk Elarbee , October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT
Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/everyone-hacked-everyone-hacked-everyone-spy-spin-fuels-anti-kaspersky-campaign.html

utu , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT
Again Mike Whitney does not get it. Though in the first part of the article I thought he would. He was almost getting there. The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope.

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer.

Pamela Geller: Thank You, Larry David

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/10/19/pamela-geller-thank-larry-david/

anon , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT
OK.

The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway.

No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way

The one thing I am not positive about. If the elite really believe that Russia is a threat, then Americans have done psych ops on themselves.

The US was only interested in Ukraine because it was there. Next in line on a map. The rather shocking disinterest in investing money -- on both sides -- is inexplicable if it was really important. Most of it would be a waste -- but still. The US stupidly spent $5 billion on something -- getting duped by politicians and got theoretical regime change, but it was hell to pry even $1 billion for real economic aid.

ThereisaGod , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
" ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people."

All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests.

jilles dykstra , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT
I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA, 1492 to the Present. A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops.
Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT
@jilles dykstra

You should be aware that Zinn's book is not, IMO, an honest attempt at writing history. It is conscious propaganda intended to make Americans believe exactly what you are taking from it.

DESERT FOX , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT
The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter.

Until that fact changes Americans will continue to fight and die for Israel.

TG , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm GMT
"The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result "

But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world.

I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter!

Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them.

Anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT
Whitney is another author who declares the "Russians did it" narrative a psyop. He then devotes entire columns to the psyop, "naww Russia didn't do it". There could be plenty to write about – recent laws that do undercut liberty, but no, the Washington Post needs fake opposition to its fake news so you have guys like Whitney in the less-mainstream fake news media.

So Brennan wanted revenge? Well that's simple enough to understand, without being too stupid. But Whitney's whopper of a lie is what you're supposed to unquestionably believe. The US has "rival political parties". Did you miss it?

Jake , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
The US is doing nothing more than acting as the British Empire 2.0. WASP culture was born of a Judaizing heresy: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. That meant that the WASP Elites of every are pro-Jewish, especially in order to wage war, physical and/or cultural, against the vast majority of white Christians they rule.

By the early 19th century, The Brit Empire's Elites also had a strong, and growing, dose of pro-Arabic/pro-Islamic philoSemitism. Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

So, by the time of Victoria's high reign, the Brit WASP Elites were a strange brew of hardcoree pro-Jewish and hardcore pro-Arabic/islamic. The US foreign policy of today is an attempt to put those two together and force it on everyone and make it work.

The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself.

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

Fair enough. I didn't know that about the foreword. If accurate, that's a reasonable approach for a book.

Here's the problem.

Back when O. Cromwell was the dictator of England, he retained an artist to paint him. The custom of the time was for artists to "clean up" their subjects, in a primitive form of photoshopping.

OC being a religious fanatic, he informed the artist he wished to be portrayed as God had made him, "warts and all." (Ollie had a bunch of unattractive facial warts.) Or the artist wouldn't be paid.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/08/cromwell-portraitist-samuel-cooper-exhibition

Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so.

All I am asking is that American (and other) history be written "warts and all." The triumphalist version is true, largely, and so is the Zinn version. Gone With the Wind and Roots both portray certain aspects of the pre-war south fairly accurately..

America has been, and is, both evil and good. As is/was true of every human institution and government in history. Personally, I believe America, net/net, has been one of the greatest forces for human good ever. But nobody will realize that if only the negative side of American history is taught.

Wally , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Hasbarist 'Kenny', you said:

"There must be something really dirty in Russigate that hasn't yet come out to generate this level of panic."

You continue to claim what you cannot prove.

But then you are a Jews First Zionist.

Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark
Russia-gate has jumped the shark with laughable new claims about a tiny number of "Russia-linked" social media ads, but the US mainstream media is determined to keep a straight face

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/10/robert-parry/jumping-the-shark/

Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

+ review of other frauds

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Jake

Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

Thanks for the laugh. During the 19th century, the Sauds were toothless, dirt-poor hicks from the deep desert of zero importance on the world stage.

The Brits were not Saudi proponents, in fact promoting the Husseins of Hejaz, the guys Lawrence of Arabia worked with. The Husseins, the Sharifs of Mecca and rulers of Hejaz, were the hereditary enemies of the Sauds of Nejd.

After WWI, the Brits installed Husseins as rulers of both Transjordan and Iraq, which with the Hejaz meant the Sauds were pretty much surrounded. The Sauds conquered the Hejaz in 1924, despite lukewarm British support for the Hejaz.

Nobody in the world cared much about the Saudis one way or another until massive oil fields were discovered, by Americans not Brits, starting in 1938. There was no reason they should. Prior to that Saudi prominence in world affairs was about equal to that of Chad today, and for much the same reason. Chad (and Saudi Arabia) had nothing anybody else wanted.

Grandpa Charlie , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

'Putin stopped talking about the "Lisbon to Vladivostok" free trade area long ago" -- Michael Kenney

Putin was simply trying to sell Russia's application for EU membership with the catch-phrase "Lisbon to Vladivostok". He continued that until the issue was triply mooted (1) by implosion of EU growth and boosterism, (2) by NATO's aggressive stance, in effect taken by NATO in Ukraine events and in the Baltics, and, (3) Russia's alliance with China.

It is surely still true that Russians think of themselves, categorically, as Europeans. OTOH, we can easily imagine that Russians in Vladivostok look at things differently than do Russians in St. Petersburg. Then again, Vladivostok only goes back about a century and a half.

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm GMT
@utu

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration.

I generally agree with your comment, but that part strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. While relations with Russia certainly haven't improved, how have they really worsened? The second round of sanctions that Trump reluctantly approved have yet to be implemented by Europe, which was the goal. And apart from that, what of substance has changed?

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era.

Ludwig Watzal , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
It's not surprising that 57 percent of the American people believe in Russian meddling. Didn't two-thirds of the same crowd believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, too? The American public is being brainwashed 24 hours a day all year long.

The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it.

This disinformation campaign might be the prelude to an upcoming war.
Right now, the US is run by jerks and idiots. Watch the video.

anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
Only dumb people does not know that TRUMP IS NETANYAHU'S PUPPET.

The fifth column zionist jews are running the albino stooge and foreign policy in the Middle East to expand Israel's interest against American interest that is TREASON. One of these FIFTH COLUMNISTS is Jared Kushner. He should be arrested.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/donald-trumps-likudist-campaign-against-iran/5614264

[The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.

Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be "terminated" if there was any renegotiation, according to Politico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he'd been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump's shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu's and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu's campaigns. He was Trump's main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson's real interest has been in supporting Israel's interests in Washington -- especially with regard to Iran.]

Miro23 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
A great article with some excellent points:

Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.

American dominance is very much tied to the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency, and the rest of the world no longer want to fund this bankrupt, warlike state – particularly the Chinese.

First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington's proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.

The CIA run US/Israeli/ISIS alliance.

Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say.

They are given the political line and they broadcast it.

The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.

At some point Americans are going to get a "War on Domestic Terror" cheered along by the media. More or less the arrest and incarceration of any opposition following the Soviet Bolshevik model.

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT
@utu

On the plus side, everyone now knows that the Anglo-US media from the NY Times to the Economist, from WaPo to the Gruniard, and from the BBC to CNN, the CBC and Weinstein's Hollywood are a worthless bunch of depraved lying bastards.

Thales the Milesian , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
Brennan did this, CIA did that .

So what are you going to do about all this?

Continue to whine?

Continue to keep your head stuck in your ass?

So then continue with your blah, blah, blah, and eat sh*t.

You, disgusting self-elected democratic people/institutions!!!

AB_Anonymous , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse.

The thing is, no matter how thick the mental cages are, and how carefully they are maintained by the daily massive injections of "certified" truth (via MSM), along with neutralizing or compromising of "troublemakers", the presence of multiple alternative sources in the age of Internet makes people to slip out of these cages one by one, and as the last events show – with acceleration.

It means that there's a fast approaching tipping point after which it'd be impossible for those in power both to keep a nice "civilized" face and to control the "cage-free" population. So, no matter how the next war will be called, it will be the war against the free Internet and free people. That's probably why N. Korean leader has no fear to start one.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
An aside:

All government secrecy is a curse on mankind. Trump is releasing the JFK murder files to the public. Kudos! Let us hope he will follow up with a full 9/11 investigation.

Think Peace -- Art

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
@utu

The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Good point. That was probably one of the objectives (and from the point of view of the deep-state, perhaps the most important objective) of the "Russia hacked our democracy" narrative, in addition to the general deligitimization of the Trump administration.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm GMT
And, keep in mind, Washington's Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained.

Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.)

Are committees of six congressman and six senators, who meet in secret, just avoiding the grave constitutional questions of war? We the People cannot even interrogate these politicians. (These politicians make big money in the secrecy swamp when they leave office.)

Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress?

Spying is one thing – covert action is another – covert is wrong – it goes against world order. Every year after 9/11 they say things are worse – give them more money more power and they will make things safe. That is BS!

9/11 has opened the flood gates to the US government attacking at will, the various peoples of this Earth. That is NOT our prerogative.

We are being exceptionally arrogant.

Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies.

Think Peace -- Art

Rurik , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Ben10

right at 1:47

when he says 'we can't move on as a country'

his butt hurt is so ruefully obvious, that I couldn't help notice a wry smile on my face

that bitch spent millions on the war sow, and now all that mullah won't even wipe his butt hurt

when I see ((guys)) like this raging their inner crybaby angst, I feel really, really good about President Trump

MAGA bitches!

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA

A Peoples History of the USA? Which Peoples?

Tradecraft46 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
I am SAIS 70 so know the drill and the article is on point.

Here is the dealio. Most reporters are dim and have no experience, and it is real easy to lead them by the nose with promises of better in the future.

[Apr 21, 2019] Deciphering Trumps Foreign Policy by Oscar Silva-Valladares

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. ..."
"... The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player. ..."
"... Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance. ..."
"... Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline. ..."
"... Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. ..."
"... A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions ..."
"... Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination. ..."
Oct 28, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. Alternative social forces, like the ones behind Trump's presidential triumph, only have a limited impact on domestic and ultimately on foreign policy. A conceptual detour and a brief on history and on Trump's domestic setting when he was elected will help clarifying these theses.

Beyond the different costumes that it wears (dealing with ideology, international law, and even religion), foreign policy follows domestic policy. The domestic policy actors are the social forces at work at a given point of time, mainly the economic agents and their ambitions (in their multiple expressions), including the ruling power elite. Society's aspirations not only relate to material welfare, but also to ideological priorities that population segments may have at a given point of time.

From America's initial days until the mid 1800s, there seems to have been a broad alignment of US foreign policy with the wishes of its power elite and other social forces. America's expansionism, a fundamental bulwark of its foreign policy from early days, reflected the need to fulfill its growing population's ambitions for land and, later on, the need to find foreign markets for its excess production, initially agricultural and later on manufacturing. It can be said that American foreign policy was broadly populist at that time. The power elite was more or less aligned in achieving these expansionist goals and was able to provide convenient ideological justification through the writings of Jefferson and Madison, among others.

As the country expanded, diverging interests became stronger and ultimately differing social forces caused a significant fracture in society. The American Civil War was the climax of the conflicted interests between agricultural and manufacturing led societies. Fifty years later, a revealing manifestation of this divergence (which survived the Civil War), as it relates to foreign policy, is found during the early days of the Russian Revolution when, beyond the ideological revulsion of Bolshevism, the US was paralyzed between the agricultural and farming businesses seeking exports to Russia and the domestic extractive industries interested in stopping exports of natural resources from this country.

The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player.

Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance.

Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline.

Trump won his presidency because he was able to get support from the country's growing frustrated white population. His main social themes (bringing jobs to America by stopping the decline of its manufacturing industry, preventing further US consumer dependence on foreign imports and halting immigration) fitted well with the electors' anger. Traditional populist themes linked to foreign policy (like Russophobia) did not play a big role in the last election. But whether or not the Trump administration can align with the ruling power elite in a manner that addresses the key social and economic needs of the American people is still to be seen.

Back to foreign policy, we need to distinguish between Trump's style of government and his administration's actions. At least until now, focusing excessively on Trump's style has dangerously distracted from his true intentions. One example is the confusion about his initial stance on NATO which was simplistically seen as highly critical to the very existence of this organization. On NATO, all that Trump really cared was to achieve a "fair" sharing of expenditures with other members and to press them to honor their funding commitments.

From immigration to defense spending, there is nothing irrational about Trump's foreign policy initiatives, as they just reflect a different reading on the American people's aspirations and, consequently, they attempt to rely on supporting points within the power elite which are different from the ones used in the past.

Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. A far-reaching lesson, although still being ignored, is that China's economic might is showing that capitalism as understood in the West is not winning, much less in its American format. It also shows that democracy may not be that relevant, as it is not necessarily a corollary or a condition for economic development. Perhaps it even shows the superiority of China's economic model, but this is a different matter.

As Trump becomes more aware about his limitations, he has naturally reversed to the basic imprints of America's traditional foreign policy, particularly concerning defense. His emphasis on a further increase in defense spending is not done for prestigious or national security reasons, but as an attempt to preserve a job generating infrastructure without considering the catastrophic consequences that it may cause.

On Iran, Obama's initiative to seek normalization was an attempt to walk a fine line (and to find a less conflictive path) between supporting the US traditional Middle East allies (mainly the odd combination of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) and recognizing Iran's growing aspirations. Deep down, Obama was trying to acknowledge Iran's historical viability as a country and a society that will not disappear from the map, while Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, may not be around in a few years. Trump's Iran policy until now only represents a different weighing of priorities, although it is having far reaching consequences on America's credibility as a reliable contractual party in international affairs.

In the case of Afghanistan, Trump's decision to increase boots on the ground does not break the inertia of US past administrations. Aside from temporary containment, an increasing military presence or a change in tactics will not alter fundamentally this reality.

Concerning Russia, and regardless of what Trump has said, actions speak more than words. A continuous deterioration of relations seems inevitable.

Trump will also learn, if he has not done so already, about the growth of multipolar forces in world's events. Russia has mastered this reality for several years and is quite skillful at using it as a basic tool of its own foreign goals. Our multipolar world will expand, and Trump may even inadvertently exacerbate it through its actions (for instance in connection with the different stands taken by the US and its European allies concerning Iran).

While fulfilling the aspirations of the American people seems more difficult within the existing capitalist framework, there are also growing apprehensions coming from America's power elite as it becomes more frustrated due to its incapacity of being more effective at the world level. America's relative adolescence in world's history will become more and more apparent in the coming years.

A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions. The US has never suffered the consequences of an international conflict in its own backyard. The American Civil War, despite all the suffering that it caused, was primarily a domestic event with no foreign intervention (contrary to the wishes of the Confederation). The deep social and psychological damage caused by war is not part of America's consciousness as it is, for instance in Germany, Russia or Japan. America is insensitive to the lessons of history because it has a very short history itself.

Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination.

Oscar Silva-Valladares is a former investment banker that has lived and worked in North and Latin America, Western & Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Philippines and Western Africa. He currently chairs Davos International Advisory, an advisory firm focused on strategic consulting across emerging markets.


Related

[Apr 21, 2019] CNN's Dana Bash Warns Trump If You Cross The Deep State, They Will Get Back At You; Even If You re The President by Tim Hains

Video
May 17, 2017 | www.realclearpolitics.com
On CNN Tuesday evening, reporter Dana Bash responded to this report in the day's New York Times alleging that Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to end investigations into former national security advisor Mike Flynn by quipping that the "deep state" -- intelligence agencies and the DoD -- "know how t get back" at people who cross them, "even if you're the president of the United States."

DANA BASH, CNN: So explosive. So incredibly serious. The Times report also says that James Comey created similar memos after the other meetings that he had with the president. So this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe the most explosive, but it's very clear that James Comey wanted to get out there that this happened, created this paper trail real time, contemporaneously rather, in order to protect himself from exactly what happened last week, him being fired, him being blamed. You know, wanting to know that he has sort of the information at his disposal if, in fact, this happened...

If you just take a step back, Wolf, just in the past 24 hours, right or wrong, what this president has done, his first 100 plus days, even before he came into office is pick fights with the intelligence community and now the law enforcement community. Particularly the way, never mind he fired James Comey, but the way in which he did it, not giving him the respect of actually telling him in person or at least not having him find out from cable news.

So we know that they talk about the deep state -- well these are communities that have a lot of loyalty within -- and know how to get back, even if you're the president of the United States.

And the fact is that when the intelligence community found out about the conversation that the president had with the Russians, talking about classified information, we don't know all the details.

We're told that it wasn't as bad as it might have seemed initially, that's what the White House sources are saying, but still, the intelligence community leaked that out. Now we know that the FBI director was keeping notes on many things. But the fact that this is the first one that he made clear and made public.

It's so incredibly explosive, as Jeff said, is the clearest most dangerous sign yet of potential obstruction of justice. Makes you think, what else is going to happen? And it's very hard for Republicans who have in the past 24 hours been more aggressively critical of the president begging for a crisis-free day or crisis-free hour, very hard for them not to take this incredibly seriously.

[Apr 20, 2019] Did Assange lied about Seth Rich?

Assange actually undermined the key pre-condition of the Deep state existence -- secrecy.
Notable quotes:
"... Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. ..."
"... The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire. ..."
"... HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

I'm just going to toss this one here at the end because I'm seeing it go around a lot in the wake of the Mueller report.

Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich.

This claim is unsubstantiated because, as we discussed in Smear 4, the public has not seen a shred of evidence proving who was or was not WikiLeaks' source, so there's no way to know there was any deception happening there. We've never seen any hard proof, nor indeed anything besides official narrative, connecting the Russian government to Guccifer 2.0 and Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, and Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller's timeline. Longtime Assange friend and WikiLeaks ally Craig Murray maintains that he knows the source of the DNC Leaks and Podesta Emails were two different Americans, not Russians, and hints that one of them was a DNC insider. There is exactly as much publicly available evidence for Murray's claim as there is for Mueller's.

Mainstream media has been blaring day after day for years that it is an absolute known fact that the Russian government was WikiLeaks' source, and the only reason people scoff and roll their eyes at anyone who makes the indisputably factual claim that we've seen no evidence for this is because the illusory truth effect causes the human brain to mistake repetition for fact.

The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire.

And I guess that's it for now. Again, this article is an ongoing project, so I'll be updating it and adding to it regularly as new information comes in and new smears need refutation. If I missed something or got something wrong, or even if you spotted a typo, please email me at admin@caitlinjohnstone.com and let me know. I'm trying to create the best possible tool for people to refute Assange smears, so I'll keep sharpening this baby to make sure it cuts like a razor. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who helped! Phew! That was long.


motherjones , 52 minutes ago link

We don't have to like Julian Assange, but the release of the "Collateral Damage" video alone is enough to justify defending Assange and the freedom of the press.

Ozymandiasssss , 1 hour ago link

She really didn't debunk the thing about Seth Rich very well. Basically just said that whatever Mueller said wasn't true, which doesn't go very far for me. He definitely did imply that he got at least some of his info from Rich so if there is some sort of proof of that, it needs to be supplied; otherwise Mueller's story is the only one.

bh2 , 1 hour ago link

HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

beemasters , 2 hours ago link

I have recently seen a political cartoon with Dotard then saying: "I love Wikileaks" + " I will throw her in jail" and now saying: "I know nothing about Wikileaks" + "I will throw him in jail"

It summed up perfectly that swine's lack of integrity.

Downtoolong , 2 hours ago link

It's so simple. Assange and Wikileaks exposed Hillary, Podesta, and the entire DNC to be lying, deceiving, hypocritical, disingenuous, elitist bastards. His crimes are miniscule compared to that, and all who attempt to condemn Assange only show us that they are members of that foul group.

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

Yet Dotard didn't push hard at all to get Killary, Podesta & friends charged...not even tweets calling for it since he got elected.

TotalMachineFail , 3 hours ago link

Excellent thorough content. And Kim Schmitz pointed out they'll drag things on for as long as possible and try to add additional things as they go. Such a bunch of sad, pathetic control freaks. Covering up their own failures, crimes and short comings with a highly publicized distraction putting the screws to a single journalist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBs1dgYL-7w

When the next world leader is Kashoggied nobody is going to care.

freedommusic , 3 hours ago link

“ Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange .

And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files , 32 pages , but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.”

—Bill Binney (NSA 30 year vet)

( source )

RussianSniper , 3 hours ago link

Long story!

Important topic!!

Assange and Snowden are freedom fighters, exposing the duplicitous, corrupt, and criminals to the entire world.

The hundreds of millions of mindless zombies are so brainwashed by the fake news industry, that if Assange and Snowden are not spies, they are criminal in some capacity.

I have liberal, conservative, and libertarian leaning friends, and virtually every one of them believe Assange and Snowden are traitors to America, got innocent people killed, are rapists, or too cowardly to stand trial in the USA.

What has happened to common sense and some necessary cynicism?

Dugald , 2 hours ago link

The trouble with Common Sense is it's not all that common.....

LetThemEatRand , 3 hours ago link

Why even bother arguing with these people. Assange gave up his liberty to reveal the truth, and the American public said in essence "so what." No one except the leakers and whistle-blowers faced any punishment, and I can't think of a single national politician who even talks about doing anything about the misconduct that was revealed. Yeah, a small percentage of the population is outraged at what was revealed, but the vast majority literally don't give a ****.

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Hehe... I guess you will find out how wrong you are in 2020 :-) His release of Hillary's emails gave Trump 2016... and him turning his back on Assange took away his chances in 2020

chunga , 3 hours ago link

Most regular readers on ZH know but this is an echo chamber for "Always Trumpers" so there won't be many commenters on this article. Rather than defend his DOJ's extradition attempts with implausible theories they'll be chattering back and forth about the Mueller Report.

/winning

LetThemEatRand , 2 hours ago link

Agreed. It's amazing to me that people who claim to be believers of the MAGA message don't see the harm associated with the arrest of Assange, and all of the other uniparty **** Trump is perpetuating. A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

ZENDOG , 3 hours ago link

Whole lot of yadda yadda yadda about someone 99.9% of Americans don't know.

And even less who give a ****.

Hillary dead yet?

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Yeah and yet.... everyone seemed to credit Hillary's loss to the release of her emails on wikileaks... Hmm that narrative that seems to be trying to minimize the impact on Trumps chances in 2020 really breaks down in the face of that fact doesn't it?? Trump has no hope... just stop... get behind a republican that has a chance... Trump doesn't... he lost half of his base... get over it...

[Apr 19, 2019] The USSR was a kind of guarantor of sanity of the USA elite, supressing built-in suisidal tendences. With it gove they went off the rail

For Western world, especially people of the USA, the collapse of the USSR was really geopolitical catastrophe, as Putin once put it. It unleaseshed cannibalistic instincts of neoliberal elite.
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Drew Hunkins , April 18, 2019 at 12:39

" "Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski "

Yeah, I can.

There never would have been a war on Iraq in 1991 nor an obliteration of Iraq in 2003, which has lasted until the present day. The destruction of Yugoslavia never would have taken place and the wars and proxy wars on Syria and Libya would have only existed in the twisted and depraved imaginations of the Zionist and militarist psychos in our midst.

TINA never would have been an imperative and the working people of the Western world (primarily the U.S.) wouldn't be in a race to the bottom as it comes to wages, healthcare insurance, poverty levels, infant mortality, life-expectancy, union power in the workplace, secure retirements, and outlandish housing costs. With the demise of the USSR the millionaire capitalist-investor class really took the gloves off and saw no reason to provide the working masses with certain life-affirming policies, it was time to really sock it to the bottom 90%.

Despite some its faults, the world's people have been paying dearly for the demise of the USSR.

For further reading on what I've outlined above:
"Blood Lies" by Grover Furr
"Blackshirts and Reds" by Michael Parenti
"Fool's Crusade" by Diana Johnstone
"Against Empire" by Michael Parenti
essays and articles by Paul Craig Roberts
essays and articles by Andre Vltchek

Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:31

In short, without an antidote, the US does what the neocons and Israel decide to do. Welcome to the world of "my way, or the highway" cowboy mentality

Rob Roy , April 18, 2019 at 20:26

Actually, people in the USSR lived lives of constant fear (they call it the “Time of Terror”) that their friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers, even their children, would “tattle” on them and they would wind up in the torture chambers. They lived in stark, nearly unbearable poverty; the only comfort was that they all were in the same godforsaken boat. Communism might be a good idea on paper, but in reality, because of the ignorance of the bureaucratic leadership, it was a dismal failure.

The demise of the USSR would have no effect whatsoever on the hegemonic madness of the US which, under the guiding light of the Monroe Doctrine (established way before the USSR), carries on destroying one country after another. I would ask, “What would the world do without the USA?” Live in a much more peaceful world for sure. As for Omar, I wish her the fortitude to continue telling the truth. Again, Max Blumenthal proves himself one of the world’s best reporters.

OlyaPola , April 19, 2019 at 05:33

“constant fear”

The years of 1928 to 1953 were not constant since there were the years 1954 and subsequent.

Drew Hunkins , April 19, 2019 at 10:22

That’s not true Rob Roy. You’re parroting Western capitalist talking points. A whole host of brand new scholarly literature has hit the shelves in just the last few years proving the USSR was nowhere near as horrible as the Washington imperialist media made it out to be. In fact, under Stalin the Soviet Union made substantial gains in women’s rights, literacy, healthcare and industrial wages. Also, had it not been for Stalin’s agrarian plan there would have been more famines and more severe famines.

And as everyone knows, if Stalin never crash course industrialized the country they never would have defeated Nazi Germany.

Far from the USSR being a police-state it was often seen as a giant trough in which, for example, rent wouldn’t be paid and no one would come around to collect it.

Please see the following books for a truth trip: “Blood Lies” by Grover Furr and “Stalin, Waiting for the Truth” by Grover Furr. Also, Michael Parenti’s “Blackshirts and Reds is excellent.

Dump Pelousy , April 18, 2019 at 20:52

Micheal Perenti is the best. He was the Truth To Power voice before 9/11, before all the yuppie reporters sold their souls for “access” and a talking heads show. I watched it happen in slow motion with great dismay.

mp66 , April 18, 2019 at 22:23

Spot on. The western owner class was forced to share at least one plate with the rest of the population to make the west appear superior in material terms, and with that incentive or threat gone, there is no more need for a plate, few crumbs under the table should be sufficient. But as usual, greed goes along with stupidity, they forgot that doing so for decades undermines the stability of the system. Trump, Brexit, trade wars, abrogations of treaties, blatant disregard for bare basics of international law etc. are just symptoms of deeper discontent across the globe.

[Apr 19, 2019] The USSR was a kind of garantor of sanity of the USA elite, suppressing built-in suicidal tendences. With it gone they went off the rail

For Western world, especially people of the USA, the collapse of the USSR was really geopolitical catastrophe, as Putin once put it. It unleashed cannibalistic instincts of neoliberal elite.
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Drew Hunkins , April 18, 2019 at 12:39

" "Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski "

Yeah, I can.

There never would have been a war on Iraq in 1991 nor an obliteration of Iraq in 2003, which has lasted until the present day. The destruction of Yugoslavia never would have taken place and the wars and proxy wars on Syria and Libya would have only existed in the twisted and depraved imaginations of the Zionist and militarist psychos in our midst.

TINA never would have been an imperative and the working people of the Western world (primarily the U.S.) wouldn't be in a race to the bottom as it comes to wages, healthcare insurance, poverty levels, infant mortality, life-expectancy, union power in the workplace, secure retirements, and outlandish housing costs. With the demise of the USSR the millionaire capitalist-investor class really took the gloves off and saw no reason to provide the working masses with certain life-affirming policies, it was time to really sock it to the bottom 90%.

Despite some its faults, the world's people have been paying dearly for the demise of the USSR.

For further reading on what I've outlined above:
"Blood Lies" by Grover Furr
"Blackshirts and Reds" by Michael Parenti
"Fool's Crusade" by Diana Johnstone
"Against Empire" by Michael Parenti
essays and articles by Paul Craig Roberts
essays and articles by Andre Vltchek

Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:31

In short, without an antidote, the US does what the neocons and Israel decide to do. Welcome to the world of "my way, or the highway" cowboy mentality

Rob Roy , April 18, 2019 at 20:26

Actually, people in the USSR lived lives of constant fear (they call it the “Time of Terror”) that their friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers, even their children, would “tattle” on them and they would wind up in the torture chambers. They lived in stark, nearly unbearable poverty; the only comfort was that they all were in the same godforsaken boat. Communism might be a good idea on paper, but in reality, because of the ignorance of the bureaucratic leadership, it was a dismal failure.

The demise of the USSR would have no effect whatsoever on the hegemonic madness of the US which, under the guiding light of the Monroe Doctrine (established way before the USSR), carries on destroying one country after another. I would ask, “What would the world do without the USA?” Live in a much more peaceful world for sure. As for Omar, I wish her the fortitude to continue telling the truth. Again, Max Blumenthal proves himself one of the world’s best reporters.

OlyaPola , April 19, 2019 at 05:33

“constant fear”

The years of 1928 to 1953 were not constant since there were the years 1954 and subsequent.

Drew Hunkins , April 19, 2019 at 10:22

That’s not true Rob Roy. You’re parroting Western capitalist talking points. A whole host of brand new scholarly literature has hit the shelves in just the last few years proving the USSR was nowhere near as horrible as the Washington imperialist media made it out to be. In fact, under Stalin the Soviet Union made substantial gains in women’s rights, literacy, healthcare and industrial wages. Also, had it not been for Stalin’s agrarian plan there would have been more famines and more severe famines.

And as everyone knows, if Stalin never crash course industrialized the country they never would have defeated Nazi Germany.

Far from the USSR being a police-state it was often seen as a giant trough in which, for example, rent wouldn’t be paid and no one would come around to collect it.

Please see the following books for a truth trip: “Blood Lies” by Grover Furr and “Stalin, Waiting for the Truth” by Grover Furr. Also, Michael Parenti’s “Blackshirts and Reds is excellent.

Dump Pelousy , April 18, 2019 at 20:52

Micheal Perenti is the best. He was the Truth To Power voice before 9/11, before all the yuppie reporters sold their souls for “access” and a talking heads show. I watched it happen in slow motion with great dismay.

mp66 , April 18, 2019 at 22:23

Spot on. The western owner class was forced to share at least one plate with the rest of the population to make the west appear superior in material terms, and with that incentive or threat gone, there is no more need for a plate, few crumbs under the table should be sufficient. But as usual, greed goes along with stupidity, they forgot that doing so for decades undermines the stability of the system. Trump, Brexit, trade wars, abrogations of treaties, blatant disregard for bare basics of international law etc. are just symptoms of deeper discontent across the globe.

[Apr 17, 2019] What Are We to Make of Gina Haspel by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. ..."
"... Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes. ..."
"... Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck. ..."
"... I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men. ..."
"... Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs. ..."
"... just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light. ..."
"... A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Before Gina became the Chief of Staff for Rodriguez, what role did she play in the waterboarding of two AQ operatives in Thailand? It appears that she was at least witting of what was going on. Did she have the authority to decide what measures to apply to the two? Did she make such decisions?

Those are facts still to be determined. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are others who I respect that are adamant in opposing her nomination. The only thing I know for sure is that her nomination will be a bloody and divisive political battle. If it comes down to embracing waterboarding as an appropriate method to use on suspected terrorists, then a majority of Americans are supportive of that practice and will cheer the appointment of Haspel.

That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. It is true that one man's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.

Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes.

Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck.


Cee , 18 March 2018 at 12:55 PM

PT,

I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men.

No to her confirmation.

steve , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
IIRC, Haspel was the chief of staff to whom Rodriguez refers. That does not sound like a bit player. Would you say that Kelly is a bit player in the Trump admin? As you say, we should know the facts, but so far it looks like she both participated in torture and in its cover-up.

Steve

tv , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
Is waterboarding "torture?" It does not draw blood nor leave any physical damage. Psychological damage? These ARE admitted terrorists.
BillWade , 18 March 2018 at 01:20 PM
With all the crap going on at the FBI, the last thing we need now is a divisive candidate for any top level government position (torture advocacy is divisive for many of us).

A woman, a lesbian, who cares as long as they are a capable and decent law-abiding individual.

Publius Tacitus -> tv... , 18 March 2018 at 01:23 PM
Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs.

And where do you get "admitted" terrorists from? In America, even with suspected terrorists, there is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. At least we once believed in that standard.

Apenultimate said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 March 2018 at 01:26 PM
And I very much respect you for your position on this (it is this American's view as well).

What amazes me (and yet doesn't) is the example of Rodriguez's supposed introspection "How bad could this be?" Really?!? That just strikes me as not having any feel for the media, US citizenry, or even common sense, and just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light.

Laura , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
PT -- Thank you. Much to consider in these times. I come down on the "no torture and waterboarding is torture" side of the debate but am also just eager for some competence and professional experience in key positions.

That these positions may be mutually exclusive says a great deal about our current situation. Again, thank you, for your opinions and information.

Kooshy , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean.

At the end of the day that don't matter, since as a policy, and base on your own statement, this country's government will prosecut and punish for liking of torture but not torture and tortures. And, furthermore, is not even willing to do away with it, per it's elected president. Trying to show a clean, moral, democracy on the hilltop image, is a BS and a joke.

[Apr 17, 2019] Haspel is not the "underling". Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Haspel is not the "underling" . Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy. ..."
"... In the real organization chart for the empire the CIA is above the President. This has been the case in the US since Kennedy. ..."
"... Trump will not fire Haspel. He can't. He's just an actor playing a role in a show, and Haspel is one of the producers/writers of that show. If she doesn't put firing in the script then Trump cannot say those lines. I doubt he really wants to anyway. ..."
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Apr 16, 2019 4:41:41 PM | link

"If Trump were not in on the schemes he would just fire his underlings!"

This sentiment indicates a failure to understand the power dynamics at play here. Haspel is not the "underling" . Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy.

In the real organization chart for the empire the CIA is above the President. This has been the case in the US since Kennedy.

Trump cannot fire Haspel or Pompeo. They can fire him, though, and with a sniper's bullet if they want.

Unfortunately for the oligarchy, that would cause additional complications at a time when they have lots of tricky and inexplicably unstable (for them) operations ongoing, which is why they are just steering Trump around instead of replacing him. And Trump is willfully cooperating, even if they are not filling him in on the plans.

Trump will not fire Haspel. He can't. He's just an actor playing a role in a show, and Haspel is one of the producers/writers of that show. If she doesn't put firing in the script then Trump cannot say those lines. I doubt he really wants to anyway.

[Apr 17, 2019] Deep State and the FBI Federal Blackmail Investigation

Highly recommended!
Intelligence agencies, once created, has their own development dynamics and tend to escape from the control of civilians and in turn control them. Such an interesting dynamics. In any case, the intelligence agencies and first of all top brass of those agencies constitute the the core of the "deep state". Unlike civiliant emplorres they are protected by the veil of secrecy and has access to large funds. Bush the elder was probably the first deep state creature who became the president of the USA, but "special relationship" of Obama and Brennan is also not a secret.
Another problem is that secrecy and access to surveillance, Which gives intelligence agencies the ability to blackmail politicians.
Availability of unaccounted financial resources make them real kingmakers. In a sense, as soon as such agencies were created the tail started waging the dog.
Notable quotes:
"... Serving under nine presidents, from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, the FBI was turned into a "Gestapo by Hoover whose modus operandi was blackmail". That's how President Harry Truman (1943-53) reportedly characterized Hoover's bureau. How else do you think he survived for so long – five decades – as the nation's top law enforcer? ..."
"... One of Hoover's mainstay sources is strongly believed to be Mafia crime bosses who had lots of dirt on politicians, from bribe-taking to vote-rigging, to illicit sexual affairs. It is suspected that the Mafia had their own dossier of images on Hoover in a compromising homosexual tryst which, in turn, kept him under their thumb. ..."
"... JFK was particularly wide open to blackmail owing to his rampant promiscuity and extra-marital liaisons, including with screen idol Marilyn Monroe. Kennedy more than once confided to his aides that "the bastards" had him nailed. It was for this reason that he made the thuggish Texan Senator Lyndon B Johnson his vice president even though he detested LBJ. Hoover and Johnson were longtime associates and the former no doubt pulled a favor to get LBJ into the White House. ..."
"... However, Hoover's blackmail on JFK was not enough to curtail his defiance of rabidly anti-communist Cold War politics. Against the hostility of the Pentagon, CIA and FBI, Kennedy pursued a courageous policy of detente with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Such a policy no doubt led to his assassination by the Deep State in Dallas on November 22, 1963. There is ample evidence that Hoover and Johnson, who became the new president, then colluded with the Deep State assassins to cover up the assassination as the act of lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald – a cover-up that persists to this day. ..."
"... But Hoover and Johnson got their revenge by subsequently letting Nixon know that there was classified information on him – thanks to FBI wiretaps. The specter of incrimination is possibly a factor in Nixon becoming increasingly paranoid during this presidency, culminating in the ignominy of the Watergate scandal that ended his career. ..."
"... Hoover certainly was the devious architect of a malign Deep State machine. But he was not alone. He instilled a culture and legacy that pervades the top echelons of the bureau. And not just the FBI. The early Cold War years saw the formation of the CIA and the NSA under the Machiavellian guidance of men like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms and a host of others ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

No other individual in modern US history has a more sinister legacy than John Edgar Hoover, the founder and lifetime director of the FBI. He founded the bureau in 1924 and was its director until his death in 1972 at the age of 77.

Serving under nine presidents, from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, the FBI was turned into a "Gestapo by Hoover whose modus operandi was blackmail". That's how President Harry Truman (1943-53) reportedly characterized Hoover's bureau. How else do you think he survived for so long – five decades – as the nation's top law enforcer?

J Edgar Hoover and his henchmen kept files on thousands of politicians, judges, journalists and other public figures, according to biographer Anthony Summers. Hoover ruthlessly used those files on the secret and often sordid private lives of senior public figures to control their career conduct and official decisions so as to serve his interests.

And Hoover's interests were of a rightwing, anti-communist, racist bigot.

Ironically, his own suppressed homosexuality also manifested in witch-hunts against homosexuals in public life.

It was Hoover's secret files that largely informed the McCarthyite anti-communist inquisitions of the 1950s, whose baleful legacy on American democracy, foreign policy and freedom of expression continues to this day.

One of Hoover's mainstay sources is strongly believed to be Mafia crime bosses who had lots of dirt on politicians, from bribe-taking to vote-rigging, to illicit sexual affairs. It is suspected that the Mafia had their own dossier of images on Hoover in a compromising homosexual tryst which, in turn, kept him under their thumb.

Absurdly, the FBI chief maintained that there was "no such thing as the Mafia" in public statements.

Two notorious cases of how FBI wiretapping worked under Hoover can be seen in the presidencies of John F Kennedy (1961-63) and Richard Nixon (1969-74).

As recounted by Laurent Guyénot in his 2013 book , 'JFK to 9/11: 50 Years of Deep State', Hoover made a point of letting each new president know of compromising information he had on them. It wouldn't be brandished overtly as blackmail; the president would be briefed subtly, "Sir, if someone were to have copies of this it would be damaging to your career". Enough said.

JFK was particularly wide open to blackmail owing to his rampant promiscuity and extra-marital liaisons, including with screen idol Marilyn Monroe. Kennedy more than once confided to his aides that "the bastards" had him nailed. It was for this reason that he made the thuggish Texan Senator Lyndon B Johnson his vice president even though he detested LBJ. Hoover and Johnson were longtime associates and the former no doubt pulled a favor to get LBJ into the White House.

However, Hoover's blackmail on JFK was not enough to curtail his defiance of rabidly anti-communist Cold War politics. Against the hostility of the Pentagon, CIA and FBI, Kennedy pursued a courageous policy of detente with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Such a policy no doubt led to his assassination by the Deep State in Dallas on November 22, 1963. There is ample evidence that Hoover and Johnson, who became the new president, then colluded with the Deep State assassins to cover up the assassination as the act of lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald – a cover-up that persists to this day.

As for Richard Nixon, it is believed that "Tricky Dicky" engaged in secret communications with the US-backed South Vietnamese regime on the cusp of the presidential elections in 1968. Nixon promised the South Vietnamese stronger military support if they held off entering peace talks with communist North Vietnam, which incumbent President Johnson was trying to organize. LBJ wanted to claim a peace process was underway in order to boost the election chances of his vice president Hubert Humphrey.

Nixon's scheming prevailed. The Vietnam peace gambit was scuttled, the Vietnam war raged on, and so the Democrat candidate lost. Nixon finally got into the White House, which he had long coveted from the time he lost out to JFK back in 1960.

But Hoover and Johnson got their revenge by subsequently letting Nixon know that there was classified information on him – thanks to FBI wiretaps. The specter of incrimination is possibly a factor in Nixon becoming increasingly paranoid during this presidency, culminating in the ignominy of the Watergate scandal that ended his career.

These are but only two examples of how Deep State politics works in controlling and subverting American democracy. The notion that lawmakers and presidents are free to serve the people is a quaintly naive one. For the US media to pretend otherwise, and to hail the FBI as some kind of benign bastion of justice, while also deprecating claims of "Deep State" intrusion as "conspiracy theory", is either impossibly ignorant of history – or a sign of the media's own compromised complicity.

Nonetheless, to blame this culture of institutionalized blackmail and corruption on one individual – J Edgar Hoover – is not fair either.

Hoover certainly was the devious architect of a malign Deep State machine. But he was not alone. He instilled a culture and legacy that pervades the top echelons of the bureau. And not just the FBI. The early Cold War years saw the formation of the CIA and the NSA under the Machiavellian guidance of men like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms and a host of others.

Once formed, the Deep State – as an alternate, unaccountable, unelected government – does not surrender its immense power willingly. It has learnt to hold on to its power through blackmail, media control, incitement of wars, and, even ultimately, assassination of American dissenters.

The illegal tapping of private communications is an oxygen supply for the depredations of the American Deep State.

Thinking that such agencies are not actively warping and working the electoral system to fix the figurehead in the White House is a dangerous delusion.

So too are claims that American democracy is being "influenced" by malign Russian enemies, as the US intelligence chiefs once again chorused in front of the Senate this past week. The consummate irony of it!

The real "influence campaigns" corrupting American democracy are those of the "All-American" agencies who claim to be law enforcers and defenders of national security.

US citizens would do well to refresh on the untold history of their country to appreciate how they are being manipulated.

We might even surmise that a good number of citizens are already aware, if only vaguely, of the elite corruption – and that is why Washington DC is viewed with increasing contempt by the people.

[Apr 17, 2019] Haspel revelation sheds a whole new light on the death of those two poor little hamsters, or was it guinea pigs, said to be starved while the police was investigating the premises of Skripal.

Notable quotes:
"... With Haspel around they might have succombed to her nasty ways of torturing. ..."
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

willie , Apr 16, 2019 6:29:03 PM | link

This sheds a whole new light on the death of those two poor little hamsters, or was it guinea pigs, said to be starved while the police was investigating the premises of Skripal.

With Haspel around they might have succombed to her nasty ways of torturing.

[Apr 17, 2019] Putin's remark about people with breifcases and impotent US presidents

With Haspel at the helm of CIA, the threat of waterboarding the President is also very real;-)
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bart Hansen , Apr 16, 2019 6:41:05 PM | link

Concerning who is pulling the strings, please forgive a repost of an interview with one who knows. On 31 May 2017 Putin gave an interview with Le Figaro where he said:

"I have already spoken to three US Presidents. They come and go, but politics stay the same at all times. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones. These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration."

A long list of people with briefcases so far ends with Gina.

[Apr 16, 2019] It s A Wake Up Call 7 Charts That Clearly Show The Middle Class Is Being Left Behind

Notable quotes:
"... The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said: "The middle class is increasingly only a dream for many. This bedrock of our democracies and economic growth is not as stable as in the past." ..."
"... Only incomes in the top 25% were able to outpace this rate on an annual basis, according to the Atlanta Fed. For everyone else, a greater share of income must be allocated to property taxes, leaving less to spend on everything else. ..."
"... Equity ownership in companies, both public and private, is also sliding for the upper middle class. The share of equity ownership for citizens in the 50th to 90th percentile of net worth has fallen and the top 1% of Americans still own the majority of shares. ..."
"... By the end of 2018, net worth as a share of the U.S. total had shrunk considerably for the upper middle class. During the course of just one generation, U.S. wealth held by households from the 50th to the 90th percentile fell from 35.2% of the total to 29.1%. Most of this wealth has been transferred to the top 1% of U.S. households. ..."
"... Stefano Scarpetta, OECD director of employment, labor and social affairs said: "There is a risk of a spiral to the extent that the middle class is the one main sources of political and economic stability." ..."
Apr 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

New data from the Federal Reserve detailing citizens' net worth shows that the issue of being "left behind" has now spread to all Americans aside from the top 10%, according to Bloomberg . This means that even the upper middle class is starting to feel the pain of income stagnation. The growth of upper middle class income continues to lag behind that of those both lower and higher than them on the socioeconomic ladder, according to the data.

The cost of many items purchased by the upper middle class, including things like college education and cars, is outpacing inflation. That is causing upper middle class households to tap into more expensive forms of debt. The debt these households is taking on is shifting from mortgages to credit with higher financing costs.

In addition, the overall middle class' share of total income is falling while home prices have increased faster than median incomes.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said: "The middle class is increasingly only a dream for many. This bedrock of our democracies and economic growth is not as stable as in the past."

Credit card rates recently hit a "generational high" despite the low prime rate. The spread between the prime rate and credit card interest rates is at its highest point in almost 10 years.

2018 property taxes rose by 4% annually, on average, according to an analysis of more than 87 million U.S. single family homes by ATTOM Data Solutions.

Todd Teta, chief product officer for ATTOM Data Solutions said : "Property taxes levied on homeowners rose again in 2018 across most of the country. While many states across the country have imposed caps on how much taxes can go up, which probably contributed to a slower increase in 2018 versus 2017. There are still many factors at play that can contribute to local property tax hikes, and without major changes in the way a community runs public services, tax rates must rise to pay for them."

Only incomes in the top 25% were able to outpace this rate on an annual basis, according to the Atlanta Fed. For everyone else, a greater share of income must be allocated to property taxes, leaving less to spend on everything else.

Equity ownership in companies, both public and private, is also sliding for the upper middle class. The share of equity ownership for citizens in the 50th to 90th percentile of net worth has fallen and the top 1% of Americans still own the majority of shares.

By the end of 2018, net worth as a share of the U.S. total had shrunk considerably for the upper middle class. During the course of just one generation, U.S. wealth held by households from the 50th to the 90th percentile fell from 35.2% of the total to 29.1%. Most of this wealth has been transferred to the top 1% of U.S. households.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has said that the middle class is "essential" for growth and countries where it thrives are healthier, more stable, better educated and have lower crime rates while boasting higher life satisfaction.

The OECD defines middle class as households with incomes between 75% and and 200% of the national median. Over the last 3 decades, incomes have increased 33% less than the average of the richest 10%, according to the OECD. Real income of the middle class has grown only 0.3% a year since the financial crisis.

Stefano Scarpetta, OECD director of employment, labor and social affairs said: "There is a risk of a spiral to the extent that the middle class is the one main sources of political and economic stability."

Rising to the middle class is also getting tougher. More skills are needed, as more than 50% of middle income workers are now in high skilled occupations, up from about 33% two decades ago.

"It's a wake up call. Overall there is a need to really focus on targeted policy intervention for those with specific problems. General policies may not work very well," Scarpetta concluded.


CarmenSandiego , 5 minutes ago link

Hahaha real state mafia. 200% price increase wtf???

green dragon , 54 minutes ago link

Work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week: Jack Ma demands of his staff at Alibaba

Welcome to Globalism, you are now seeing managers from non-western countries bringing their values into the western organizations as they climb the ladder. Not all countries share the same cultural values and work ethics.

7 Signs that you may have become a Corporate Slave


1. You sleep less than an average of 6 hours every night.

2. Part of your daily routine involves turning the floor lights on, when you arrive, and off, when you leave.

3. You have never attended your daughter's dance recital.

4. You can't remember the last time you had a day off, let alone a vacation with your family.

5. You are constantly anxious about your performance, or rather the way it is perceived by your manager.

6. You feel you cannot talk to your manager, your HR or your colleagues about your grievances.

7. ­­Your work-life balance has taken a nose dive.

WorkingClassMan , 1 hour ago link

Our political whores...******* us into poverty, day after day, year after year. I hope I am alive to see (and take part in) the day people get fed up enough to actually reach critical mass and DO something about it.

It used to be easy to buy subservience with bread & circuses, but now even those things are growing out of reach. Hopefully we reach critical mass breaking point and the political whores' minions (the boys in blue, etc..) don't have the capacity to stop what transpires. Nothing less than a cathartic release of blood will do for me personally speaking.

JibjeResearch , 1 hour ago link

I understand you... but ....

I'm not waiting/hoping for people to rise up.... because they are too dumb..

I"m busy hedging so that I will win in the long run ..

gatorengineer , 1 hour ago link

Article lost me when it showed health care cost rising less than wages...

AHBL , 1 hour ago link

What is mind boggling is that one sees how Republicans and Democrats caused this by deregulating (finance, trade, immigration, etc) and allowing multinationals free reign and yet...you have Trump supporting assholes blaming "communist democrats" when this is all a result of the private sector running wild.

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump was transparently chosen to be the fake "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before

Notable quotes:
"... Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap. ..."
"... It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new. ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kiza , Apr 16, 2019 5:33:36 PM | link

Trump is like a voodoo doll into which every sh**bag sticks pins. Firstly, it is irrelevant whether he was a swamp creature before election or was coopted into it after.

Secondly, Trump was transparently chosen to be the "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before.

Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap.

This is where we are now, Assange was the most prominent member of the real opposition to the regime, where they try to confuse with plenty of faux opposition. Therefore, the Assange's head had to be chopped off publicly and his slowly rotting corpse will now be on display through "courts of justice" for the next couple of years as a warning to the consumers of alternative media. Go back to reading the approved "journalism" or ... To understand better one just needs to read/re-read Solzhenitsyn.

The other major ongoing life-extension activity, overlapping with repression, is the confiscation of guns from the last remaining armed Western population (lots of leftist oxen pulling that cart). Having too many guns amongst the population is bad for resolving personal conflicts peacefully, but it is even worse for the abusive, exploitative regime. Thus, taking the guns away is doing the right thing for a totally wrong reason.

It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new.

Therefore, where is a Western Solzhenitsyn to document artistically what transpires in a society deeply in debt and in social & moral decline?

[Apr 16, 2019] The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they re angling for war with Iran.

Highly recommended!
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Return of the Just April 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

You're right. I see people like Robert Kagan's opinions being respectfully asked on foreign affairs, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams being hired to direct our foreign policy.

The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they're angling for war with Iran.

It's preposterous and sickening. And it can't be allowed to stand, so you can't just stand off and say you're "wrecked". Keep fighting, as you're doing. I will fight it until I can't fight anymore.

Ken Zaretzke , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Fact-bedeviled JohnT: “McCain was a problem for this nation? Sweet Jesus! There quite simply is no rational adult on the planet who buys that nonsense.”

McCain had close ties to the military-industrial complex. He was a backer of post-Cold War NATO. He was a neoconservative darling. He never heard of a dictator that he didn’t want to depose with boots on the ground, with the possible exception of various Saudi dictators (the oil-weaponry-torture nexus). He promoted pseudo-accountability of government in campaign finance but blocked accountability for the Pentagon and State Department when he co-chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs with John Kerry.

And, perhaps partly because of the head trauma and/or emotional wounds he suffered at the hands of Chinese-backed Commies, it’s plausible to think he was regarded by the willy-nilly plotters of the deep state as a manipulable, and thus useful, conduit of domestic subversion via the bogus Steele dossier.

Unfortunately, the episode that most defines McCain’s life is the very last one–his being a pawn of M-16 in the the deep state’s years-long attempt to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.

Joe Dokes , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm
Measuring success means determining goals. The goals of most wars is to enrich the people in charge. So, by this metric, the war was a success. The rest of it is just props and propaganda.
Andrew Stergiou , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:11 am
“Pyrrhic Victory” look it up the Roman Empire Won but lost if the US is invaded and the government does not defend it I would like to start my own defense: But the knee jerk politics that stirs America’s cannon fodder citizens is a painful reminder of a history of jingoist lies where at times some left and right agree at least for a short moment before the rich and powerful push their weight to have their way.

If All politics is relative Right wingers are the the left of what? Nuclear destruction? or Slavery?

Peter Smith , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:13 am
My goodness! I am also a veteran, but of the Vietnam war, and my father was a career officer from 1939-1961 as a paratrooper first, and later as an intelligence officer. He argued vigorously against our Vietnam involvement, and was cashiered for his intellectual honesty. A combat veteran’s views are meaningless when the political winds are blowing.

Simply put, we have killed thousands of our kids in service of the colonial empires left to us by the British and the French after WWII. More practice at incompetent strategies and tactics does not make us more competent–it merely extends the blunders and pain; viz the French for two CENTURIES against the Britsh during the battles over Normandy while the Planagenet kings worked to hold their viking-won inheritance.

At least then, kings risked their own lives. Generals fight because the LIKE it…a lot. Prior failures are only practice to the, regardless of the cost in lives of the kids we tried to raise well, and who were slaughtered for no gain.

We don’t need the empire, and we certainly shouldn’t fight for the corrupt businessmen who have profited from the never-ending conflicts. Let’s spend those trillions at home, so long as we also police our government to keep both Democrat and Republican politicians from feathering their own nests. Term limits and prosecutions will help us, but only if we are vigilant. Wars distract our attention while corruption is rampant at home.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:25 am
Thanks, I appreciate this article.
I’ll make two points, my own opinion:
it’s the same story as Vietnam, the bull about how the politicians or anti-war demonstrators tied the military ‘hand,’ blah, blah.
Nonsense. Invading a nation and slaughtering people in their towns, houses…gee…what’s wrong with that, eh?
The average American has a primitive mind when it comes to such matters.
Second point I have, is that both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump should be dragged to a world court, given a fair trial and locked up for life with hard labor… oh, and Cheney too,for all those families, in half a dozen nations, especially the children overseas that suffered/died from these creeps.
And, the families of dead or maimed American troops should be apologized to and compensation paid by several million dollars to each.
The people I named above make me sick, because I have feelings and a conscience. Can you dig?
kingdomofgodflag.info , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
Though there is a worldly justification for killing to obtain or maintain freedoms, there is no Christian justification for it. Which suggests that Christians who die while doing it, die in vain.

America’s wars are prosecuted by a military that includes Christians. They seldom question the killing their country orders them to do, as though the will of the government is that of the will of God. Is that a safe assumption for them to make? German Christian soldiers made that assumption regarding their government in 1939. Who was there to tell them otherwise? The Church failed, including the chaplains. (The Southern Baptist Convention declared the invasion of Iraq a just war in 2003.) These wars need to be assessed by Just War criteria. Christian soldiers need to know when to exercise selective conscientious objection, for it is better to go to prison than to kill without God’s approval. If Just War theory is irrelevant, the default response is Christian Pacifism.

Mark Thomason , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
“has gone un-investigated, unheard of, or unpunished.”

The one guy who did tell us has just been arrested for doing exactly that.

The arrest is cheered by those who fantasize about Russiagate, but it is expressly FOR telling us about these things.

Stephen J. , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:51 am
“Iraq Wrecked” a lot of innocent people. Millions are dead, cities reduced to rubble, homes and businesses destroyed and it was all a damned lie. And the perpetrators are Free.
Now there is sectarian violence too, where once there was a semblance of harmony amongst various denominations. See article link below.

“Are The Christians Slaughtered in The Middle East Victims of the Actions of Western War Criminals and Their Terrorist Supporting NATO ‘Allies’”?

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/are-christians-slaughtered-in-middle.html

the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:53 am
We are a globalist open borders and mass immigration nation. We stand for nothing. To serve in this nation’s military is very stupid. You aren’t defending anything. You are just a tool of globalism. Again, we don’t secure our borders. That’s a very big give away to what’s going on.
the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:57 am
If our nation’s military really was an American military concerned with our security we would have secured our border after 9/11, reduced all immigration, deported ALL muslims, and that’s it. Just secure the borders and expel Muslims! That’s all we needed to do.

Instead we killed so many people and imported many many more Muslims! And we call this compassion. Its insane.

Kouros , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Maybe if Talibans get back in power they will destroy the opium. You know, like they did when they were first in power…. It seems that wherever Americans get involved, drugs follow…
JohnT , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm
“Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” In Eisenhower’s televised farewell address January 17, 1961.
Rational thought would lead one to believe such words from a fellow with his credentials would have had a useful effect. But it didn’t. In point of fact, in the likes of Eric Prince and his supporters the notion of war as a profit center is quite literally a family affair.
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm
The military-industrial complex couldn’t accomplish this all by its lonesome self. The deep state was doing its thing. The two things overlap but aren’t the same. The deep state is not only or mainly about business profits, but about power. Power in the world means empire, which requires a military-industrial complex but is not reducible to it.

We now have a rare opportunity to unveil the workings of the deep state, but it will require a special counsel, and a lengthy written report, on the doings in the 2016 election of the FBI (Comey, Strzok, et. al.), and collaterally the CIA and DIA (Brennan and Clapper). Also the British government (M-16), John McCain, and maybe Bush and Obama judges on the FISA courts.

[Apr 16, 2019] CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. alone expelled 60 Russian officials. Trump was furious when he learned that EU countries expelled less than 60 in total. A year ago the Washington Post described the scene: ..."
"... Today the New York Times portraits Gina Haspel's relation with Trump. The writers seem sympathetic to her and the CIA's position. They include an anecdote of the Skripal expulsion decision that is supposed to let her shine in a good light. But it only proves that the CIA manipulated the president for its own purpose: ..."
"... Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. ..."
"... Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option. ..."
"... If the NYT piece is correct, the CIA director, in cooperation with the British government, lied to Trump about the incident. Their aim was to sabotage Trump's announced policy of better relations with Russia. The ruse worked. ..."
"... The NYT piece does not mention that the pictures Gina Haspel showed Trump were fake. It pretends that her lies were "new information" and that she was not out to manipulate him: ..."
"... The job of the CIA director is to serve the president, not to protect the agencies own policies. ..."
"... The 1970s movie 3 Days of The Condor is about the evils of the See Eye A. Also they create trial balloon in the movie about taking middle east oil. This later happens in real life with NeoCon See Eye A stooges - Poppy Bush then later GW Bush-Cheney, Clintons and Oboma all agency owned men. ..."
"... The head of the See Eye A is to serve the elites-Central banksters not the President. They did not serve JFK. Any President who crosses the central bankers aka roth-schilds ends up dead. ..."
"... It is interesting to see that nations that have traditionally been pro-American feel that the threat posed by American power is growing. ..."
"... Haspel was CIA station chief in London in 2016, when U.S. and Brit intel agencies conspired to stop Trump's candidacy. In her position, Haspel had to know about the plotting, more likely she participated in it. That Brennan supported her argues for the latter. ..."
"... Photos of fake dead ducks and fake sickened children confirm the Skripal story is, in turn, completely fake. It says a lot that the NY Times either does not know this or that its contempt for its readership matches the contempt by which the intelligence agencies hold for their putative boss. ..."
"... Thanks for bringing this Skripal segment to light, b, as most of us don't read the NY Times in any form. Haspel likely had a hand in the planning of the overall scheme of which the Skripal saga and Russiagate are interconnected episodes. Clearly, the Money Power sees the challenge raised by Russia/China/Eurasia as existential and is trying to counter hybridly as it knows its wealth won't save it from Nuclear War. ..."
"... after integrity initiative, we know the uk is full of shite on most everything... thus, the msm will not be talking about integrity initiative.. ..."
"... once Teresa May has spoken in Parliament, and Trump committed to expelling embassy staff, there is no way any alternative version of the truth is possible. ..."
"... Skripal of course was a colleague of Steele, and possibly the only person he asked to get info for the dossier beyond what Nellie Ohr had already given him. His evidence might have been crucial. The CIA and others have a strong motive to kill Skripal and a stronger one to blame the Russians. ..."
"... The fact that the 'Dirty Dossier' and the 'Skripal "story"' both originate in one and the same small town in the UK, tells you all you need to know about both. ..."
"... Haspel will not be fired. ..."
"... It is clear the USA, France, Israel and UK are fasting approaching ungovernable .. no one in government can keep the lies of the other hidden, and none of the governed believes anyone in government, the MSM, the MIC or the AIG (ATT, Intel and Google). .. ..."
"... The actors in government, their lawyers, playmates and corporations have become the laughing stock of the rest of the world. ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

An ass kissing portrait of Gina Haspel, torture queen and director of the CIA, reveals that she lied to Trump to push for more aggression against Russia.

In March 2018 the British government asserted, without providing any evidence, that the alleged 'Novichok' poisoning of Sergej and Yulia Skripal was the fault of Russia. It urged its allies to expel Russian officials from their countries.

The U.S. alone expelled 60 Russian officials. Trump was furious when he learned that EU countries expelled less than 60 in total. A year ago the Washington Post described the scene:
President Trump seemed distracted in March as his aides briefed him at his Mar-a-Lago resort on the administration's plan to expel 60 Russian diplomats and suspected spies.

The United States, they explained, would be ousting roughly the same number of Russians as its European allies -- part of a coordinated move to punish Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil.

"We'll match their numbers," Trump instructed, according to a senior administration official. "We're not taking the lead. We're matching."

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials -- far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on.

The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.

The expulsion marked a turn in the Trump administration's relation with Russia:

The incident reflects a tension at the core of the Trump administration's increasingly hard-nosed stance on Russia: The president instinctually opposes many of the punitive measures pushed by his Cabinet that have crippled his ability to forge a close relationship with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

The past month, in particular, has marked a major turning point in the administration's stance, according to senior administration officials. There have been mass expulsions of Russian diplomats, sanctions on oligarchs that have bled billions of dollars from Russia's already weak economy and, for the first time, a presidential tweet that criticized Putin by name for backing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Today the New York Times portraits Gina Haspel's relation with Trump. The writers seem sympathetic to her and the CIA's position. They include an anecdote of the Skripal expulsion decision that is supposed to let her shine in a good light. But it only proves that the CIA manipulated the president for its own purpose:

Last March, top national security officials gathered inside the White House to discuss with Mr. Trump how to respond to the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian intelligence agent.

London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical.
...
During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the "strong option" was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia's attack.

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option.

The Skripal case was widely covered and we followed it diligently (scroll down). There were no reports of any children affected by 'Novichok' nor were their any reports of dead ducks. In the official storyline the Skripals, before visiting a restaurant, fed bread to ducks at a pond in the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.

They also gave duck-bread to three children to do the same. The children were examined and their blood was tested. No poison was found and none of them fell ill . No duck died. (The duck feeding episode also disproves the claim that the Skripals were poisoned by touching a door handle.)

If the NYT piece is correct, the CIA director, in cooperation with the British government, lied to Trump about the incident. Their aim was to sabotage Trump's announced policy of better relations with Russia. The ruse worked.

The NYT piece does not mention that the pictures Gina Haspel showed Trump were fake. It pretends that her lies were "new information" and that she was not out to manipulate him:

The outcome was an example, officials said, of how Ms. Haspel is one of the few people who can get Mr. Trump to shift position based on new information.

Co-workers and friends of Ms. Haspel push back on any notion that she is manipulating the president. She is instead trying to get him to listen and to protect the agency, according to former intelligence officials who know her.

The job of the CIA director is to serve the president, not to protect the agencies own policies. Hopefully Trump will hear about the anecdote, recognize how he was had, and fire Haspel. He should not stop there but also get rid of her protector who likely had a role in the game:

Ms. Haspel won the trust of Mr. Pompeo, however, and has stayed loyal to him. As a result, Mr. Trump sees Ms. Haspel as an extension of Mr. Pompeo, a view that has helped protect her, current and former intelligence officials said.

Posted by b on April 16, 2019 at 08:37 AM |