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|"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans
and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average
-- Gore Vidal
“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”
-- Leonard Pinkney
The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.
“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”
Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State
I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ? Or in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible if three letter agencies like CIA exist? Probably not as "deep state" sooner or later (usually sooner) makes surface state just an instrument for providing legitimacy of deep state rule.
Presedent Truman probably did not suspect that by sighing the National Security Act of 1947 he signed a death sentence tothe form of democracy that the USA was having up to 1950th.
As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council. In 1952, Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency (NSA).
Since JFK assassination we can talk about "inverted totalitarism" (The term introduced by late Professor Sheldon Wolin) as the form on government which become entrenched on on federal level (the related term if the "deep state"), while remnants of democracy are delegated to state and local levels. Growth of power of intelligence agencies inevitably makes them political players. Nowhere it was more clear then in 2016 Presendential electio, when by derailing Sanders FBI essenatially ensure Trump win and then in cooperation of other againces (and first of all CIA Brennan) lauched a color regoluation againast Trump trying to deposer him vi Special Procecutor mechnism.
Does the "the first after the post" rule along with enforcing two party system on the population also is instrumental with establishing slightly camouflaged one party state with two "Pepsi" vs. "Coca Cola" parties which serve as a spoilers for those to the left or the right of the center, subverting and emasculating new social movements into their (currently neoliberal) stagnant and elite oriented framework. The effect is so profound that it created the impression that "first after the post" can't be used in any country pretending to be a democracy?
There are also addition questions:
The fact that parties represent interests radically different from interests of their voters is not new. As George Washinton put it:
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." President George Washington Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796
Later the same idea was later coined as the "iron law of oligarchy". So on federal level neither republic, not democracy exists. We level in empire with no participatory democracy (unless voting to the lesser evil of two preselected by the elite candidate can be viewed as a democracy). In latest Presidential election it was intelligence agencies who were kingmakers, derailing Sanders. But it still exists on local level below the level of state, although even there financial oligarchy managed to spoil the broth -- on municipal level it is bankers who control the politics as they are interested in loans for public projects.
In other word decomicatinc elements in the neoliberal political system are just facade for the dictatorship of financial oligarchy. And pretty brutal one (The Saker - The Unz Review, Feb 23, 2018):
But first, full disclosure: I don’t have much faith in the so-called “democratic process”. Just look at the EU and tell me: do you really believe that the people in power represent the will and interests of the people who, supposedly, elected them? There are exceptions, of course, Switzerland is probably one of the comparatively most democratic countries out there, but mostly what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent. As for the US, for decades now every time the people voted for “A” they always got “non-A” as a result. It is almost comical.
So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power. Putting it differently, the “democratic process” is the device by which the real and hidden rulers of the world (or “worldwide behind the scenes powers“, to use the expression of Ivan Il’in), legitimize their power and prevent their overthrow. This is the same technique followed by used car dealerships when they place tens, sometimes, hundreds of US flags on their lots before a car sale: it’s just a basic trick to induce the ‘correct’, patriotic, state of mind.
This is also the reason why there are elections every 4 years in the US: the more illegitimate and despotic any putatively “democratic” regime is, the more often it will organize elections to, so to speak, “increase the dose” of patriotically-induced stupor in its people and give them the illusion that the regime is legitimate, their opinion matters and all is well.
Finally, when needed, slogans such as “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” are used to put to sleep those who might have doubts. In terms of real people power “democracies” are probably the least truly democratic regimes imaginable simply because they are by far the most capable of hiding who really runs the country and where their real centers of power are. Do I really need to add that the worst kind of “democracy” is the capitalist one? You disagree? Then why do you think that Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly declared “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!“? Nowhere is the concentration of capital easier to achieve than in a society which makes it possible for the real ruling class to hide its power behind a screen of electoral farces.
As Sheldon Wolin put it, all we have under neoliberalism is inverted totalitarism and a nationally security state with modem equivalent of STASI level of total surveillance instead of democracy. The neoliberal elite firmly guar the levers of power and try to eliminate any challenger before it represent a real political threat to the neoliberal social system. Even minor threats are mercilessly squashed. Look at what happened to Trump.
Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80% or even 90%) living under the dictatorship (for lower 50% this is even worse -- neo-slavery as "debt slaves" or "wage slaves"), struggling to meet ends and thus excluded from the democratic process. Moreover, most of the US population spend their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation, or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and adapted to the strict authoritarian rule at work ?
Another large question: can a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda and systematic betrayal of election promises (in this repect Trump is not different from Barak Obama) as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )?
Add to this completely brainwashed population ready to vote against their economic interests and for indefinite and costly wars for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. For example, despicable warmonger, war criminal(with destruction of Libya and Syria under the belt), staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts. Despite clear signs of the deep systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and closely related process of de-legitimization of neoliberal elite (look what percentage of the Americans trust Congress) all she wanted is to kick the neoliberal can down the road. And still almost half of the country voted for her.
Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises. Any level of betrayal is OK, as parties in reality do not control the behaviour of their leaders as long as they remain on neoliberal platform, and they and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance.
In case of Trump and Obama this was a complete betrayal. In a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experience who due to the lack of personal political history during elections was able to pretend to be the politician, while he clearly is not -- he is a marionette of MIC (much like Barak was marionette of CIA; just look at "very close" and pretty unusual relations between him and Brennan) as well as Brannan role in color revolution against Trump
Poor people are automatically excluded from politics. most of their energy needs to be spend on task related to mere survival and desperate attempt to spread their meager paycheck to the next without falling into the laps of loan sharks.
Middle class can afford attempts to analyze the political situation and personal efforts to understand the political system in which they live. And because of that can have informed political opinion. Theoretically. In reality there also many obstacles here. One fundamental obstacle is so called The iron law of oligarchy. The second, related, is the existence of the deep state.
First of all let me ask a simple question: What is the level of interest in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity), if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA.
Also the middle class in not uniform. There is substantial caste of Americans deeply connected with the imperial state (servants of the empire so to speak) and they also represent a political force with interests different form the average middle class American. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy). They have their own opinion and interest in such issues as permanent war for permanent peace. And without draft this issue does not touch too deeply ordinary middle class American, who do not need to fight and die for the empire.
The second factor is constant brainwashing be neoliberal MSM. Unless a person make a conscious effort to exclude them and rely of alternative media he/she can't form any informed political opinion. You will almost never even her the term "neoliberalism" in neoliberal MSM like NYT or WaPo or CNN or MSNBC. This is a taboo. But you will hear a lot about "evil Russians" or "evil Chinese" which is a perfect distraction, a smoke screen, designed to hide the real problems facing the US society after 40 years of dominance of neoliberalism as a social system.
My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR even more efficiently that so called "one party" system. Which, while providing the same results, looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population.
The "first after the post" system "by design" provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force. Emerging parties are cooped iether under Democratic or Republic umbrella and then emasculated. This mechanism is no less effective the Soviet one party rule, but more subtle, requires less violence and suppression of dissidents, and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy. The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of oligarchy was actually discovered by observing the evolution of the political party leadership.
The situation when the current (neoliberal) ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called "revolutionary situation". In 2008 the protest was squashed by electing "Trojan horse" Obama, who proved to be the king of "bait and switch" maneuver. Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what a person who like Obama pretended essentially to be an independent candidate slightly (at least formally) opposing the most negative effects of neoliberalism on population (anti-globalization stance, accent of creation jobs within the USA, etc) -- Donald Trump. Who later proved to be Republican version of Obama. Not without help of "deep state" which launched unprotected and well coordinated company of leaks and 24 x 7 negative news to discredit his personality and administration. Going as far as in a very elegant really Machiavellian way using fake accusations ("Russiagate) appointing a special prosecutor using Obama/Hillary supporters in the Judicial department (effectively coup d'état as special procedure is big burden which effectively paralyses any administration and Clinton presidency had shown). And when it did not work, they tried to accuse him of being racist (using 1 Charlottesville events) or even insane person. Looks like for Trump, even if he has some intention to implement anti-neoliberal measures -- the resistance proved to be way too strong and such intension did not last even half a year. Bombing Syria army air field with Tomahawks was an early signal of surrender. Removing Bannon, and adding troops to Afghan war make this turn around and betrayal of Trump voters in best Obama style virtual certainty.
It was clear that there is a widespread feeling among the majority of the US population now that the current neoliberal system of governance, installed by victorious neoliberals after 1980, is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wouldn't like to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a revolutionary situation, a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible arise. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings in 2008 and then in 2012, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society also has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".
In such cases, the ruling elite typically decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). But in this particular case the USA already is in engaged in several wars (or occupations), so the nostalgia for good time what the USSR existed proved to be irresistible. And the pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016-2017 in neoliberal MSM suggest that a large part of the US elite decided to "waive a dead chicken" (actually Hillary made Russophobia a part of her election campaign, effectively unleashing a new neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA). As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”
|People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” -- John Kenneth Galbraith|
In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Throwing Sanders under the bus represented exactly this maneuver. The were not stopped even by the fact that they are promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems ("We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality") The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the levels achieved by communist propagandists in during best days of the USSR. And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal" vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative" (or "bustard neoliberal" ;-) who during election campaign rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire. But later quickly recognized that this heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state and can be harmful for his health ;-). The hissy fit in neoliberal media and the emergence of certain figures from the intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" as the leaders of "color revolution" against Trump (so called "Purple revolution") were to be expected but caught Trump absolutely unprepared.
There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democracy for whom" -- it is clear that this is the democracy for the top 1% or, at best, top 20% of population. a more interesting observation is that as Trump election has shown, neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past are ready to go to extreme methods including coup d'état to preserve their power, the democracy be damned.
Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience, which were practiced from 1980th. They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology) way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem with indoctrination as Soviet society did not correspond to Marx expectations -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist. The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism. This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a small "legitimate" emasculated subset that was in like with Bolshevism. Neoclassical economy in the USA plays exactly the same role and is even worse. At least with some effort Soviet student can get all the works of Marx and Lenin. Here, in the USA, chances to read Keynes and other "deviant" economists for university students are virtually zero. They are completely distracted from fundamental issues by high doze of mathematics (misused and abused -- called mathiness). Which is used as smoke screen which hide the poverty of ideas of neo-classical economy.
But deteriorating economy and stagnation does make neoliberal propaganda less effective. Like people of the USSR were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming, thinking people in the USA are resort of alternative sources of news or even, God forbid, visit "naked capitalism", RT, or other "disapproved" by neoliberal propagandists sites. Even thoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion (displacing Christianity, so much about fake myth the USA is Christian nation; it is not) , started to have doubts. Alternative sources of information in 2016-2017 started to play such and outside role that the company about "fake news" was launched to suppress them. They did not stop people from reading, say, Guardian, RT, unz.com, American conservative, Asia Times, to name a few.
But still the general level political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is probably as low if not lower that it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marx and Lenin soviet voters with university education usually have strong doubt about soviet system ). Let's honestly ask yourselves what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs. neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.
That means the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis) is open to review (see Myth about intelligent voter). Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful in the USA, despite being a primitive variation of classic "divide and conquer" strategy. In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed? But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed? And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.
In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact). See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.
Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.
The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.
But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy). In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.
The same is true for countries. Especially for those which use "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in the efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. See color revolutions for details. Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation with the Communist Party and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT). That's the situation we have in the USA now.
The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word) was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful "presstitutes" instead of political analysts. But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%.
Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: "entrepreneurs" (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from political self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges. In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite.
The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.
But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy). In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. The same is true for countries. Especially for those which use "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. See color revolutions for details. Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT). That's the situation we have in the USA now.
Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.
The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population. In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”
As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy. Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement) shows that all too well.
Like in case of communist regimes before, under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population. Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar workers that were affected. Times changed.
Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance.
Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR. But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.
If we assume that this is true, the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.
Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party. In other words the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part, voting behavior of the USA "white block" electorate.
During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that had made its members rich...But the deep state was in ascendance since Truman (who can be viewed as the father of national security state). So dismounting of the republic was a long continues process with temporary reversal after Church commission, when the power of intelligence agencies were temporary curtailed and they were put under more close control of Senate and House. But later a new "neoliberal" deep state emerged under Reagan and those gains were reversed. I personally view Trump as a Bush III. But resilience of US political system might prevent the worst outcome -- a war with Russia or China.
I would prefer if Sanders were elected. But FBI pushed him under the bus by exonerating Hillary. I think the USA now badly need a "New New Deal", biot some crazr "chrstria capitalism that Bannon professed (see Bannonism). But the question is: "What social forces will support it ?" I see no strong social forces able to take on entrenched "corporatism" -- a merger of Wall Street and MIC interests and corresponding economic power. Add to this Silicon valley and unprecedented capability of surveillance. In the absence of alternatives, the crisis of neoliberalism became a chronic one.
In this sense the "Russiagate" campaign might be interpreted as an attempt of the neoliberal elite to rally people around the flag and hide Hillary political fiasco due to the crisis of neoliberalism. The later led to the surprise victory of Trump, because the voters rejected establishment candidate. Also as for the level of warmongering Hillary probably is close or surpass Trump. So in a way the US voters were put by FBI between Scylla and Charybdis. Of course, Russians are not saints and they are an obstacle on the path to global US led neoliberal empire, but still I think that the whole thing is overdone.
A good (IMHO) overview of our current political can be found in London review of books. See What We Don t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking by Jackson Lears
American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus.Of course, for correct framework we need to refer to classic Sheldon Wolin book. As he pointed out merge of corporate power with the ascendance of the "deep state" and technological progress proved to be an unstoppable factor that doomed the New Deal. Also defeated financial sector borrowed Bolsheviks methods and created "professional counter-revolutionaries" via think tanks, subservient press, etc. Milton Friedman Chicago school and Monte Perelin society were probably the most famous promoters of neoliberalism. See also The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic
|Poliarchy Bulletin, 2015||Poliarchy Bulletin, 2014||2013||2012||2011||2010|
Mar 21, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
backwardsevolution March 19, 2018 at 7:08 amAbby , March 19, 2018 at 9:51 pm
Great article. I hope Brennan is running scared, along with Power. It's like the Irish Mafia.
"Meanwhile, the Washington Post is dutifully playing its part in the deep-state game of intimidation. The following excerpt from Sunday's lead article conveys the intended message: "Some Trump allies say they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI. 'This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI's going to win,' said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. 'You can't fight the FBI. They're going to torch him.'"
That sounds like something "Six Ways From Sunday" Schumer would say. In fact, I'd bet money that it is the shyster himself. That guy should be removed from the Senate in leg irons. He is a menace to society.geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 3:02 am
I agree that they are a big threat to life on earth. From the amount of ecological damage that our wars create, the number of people who we have killed or misplaced, to their planned war with Russia that could see the end of the human race and animals. That so many people are believing this Russian propaganda crap is beyond belief. These are the same people who used to question what the intelligence agencies were saying, but not any more.
The fact that most of congress and people in other governments have made up the Russian propaganda is what needs to be exposed. This is a huge crime against humanity, IMO. This includes Bernie of all people. They are doing this so they can get their war on with Russia and escalate the Syrian war.Mike S , March 20, 2018 at 12:59 am
Agreed. All Maxine "Lip Flappin" Waters does nowadays, like Adam Schiff, is ignore their districts in favor of Russiagate and get Trump out. They don't deserve their congressional positions. I wish to add a comment Coleen Rowley's piece. An update: Law Professor Jonathan Turley says Andrew M. will still get his pension, just have to wait until he's 57 (now 50). Can you understand this? What will it take to punish these arrogant evil little punks? And why should we pay their pensions, especially when so many of us get nothing!Brad Owen , March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm
Ain't no one touching Schumer, and as for our president all he has to do is make another $10B donation to his favorite country and all this will go away. They done sold this country out many times over.jean , March 20, 2018 at 2:53 pm
The draining of the swamp has now begun, and battle is about to be joined. That's the word from Alex Jones, Roy Potter and that youtube crowd of similar "guerilla journalists", who fill in for the Deep State-captured and untrustworthy MSM.
The Deep State miscalculated the alignment of forces for the upcoming, somewhat covert, civil war within the governing apparatus; Trump knows the military has his back, especially the Marines, and they are part & parcel of the Constitution. The Deep State is a sick Post-WWII mistake, rogue and criminal, and will be rolled up. There are a lot of jewels hidden in their unacknowledged black programs of great benefit to the World, if we can wrestle them away from these weaponizing psychopaths of the Deep State.saveourliberty , March 20, 2018 at 8:35 pm
Unfortunately whistleblowers like Bill Binny and others can't get airtime on in corporate media but can get a voice on Alex Jones.
William Binney High Ranking NSA Whistle Blower Interview with Alex. Video for Bill Binney alex jones
Jun 14, 2017 -- Uploaded by N Jacobson
William Binney High Ranking NSA Whistle Blower Interview w/ Alex Jones 6-14-17 William Binney, and ..
Whistleblower Reveals NSA Blackmailing Top Govt Officials -- YouTube
Video for Russ tice alex jones
Jun 8, 2014 -- Uploaded by The Alex Jones Channel
NSA whistleblower Russell Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off theAndrew , March 20, 2018 at 7:04 am
Attacks on Alex Jones might be warranted, but I find those trivial in comparison for how he has awakened the masses and has given a bully-pit to those that have been silenced by the MSM. Choose your battles. Jones isn't one I want to silence though we can never let our guard down to co-option neither.mike k , March 19, 2018 at 7:46 am
An open threat to torch the POTUS and there are no consequences for making such threats? Like Brennan's clear threat? No judicial system to deal with those threats?Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 6:32 am
The quaint idea that the public should "just trust" the "intelligence" (sic) "community" (sic) is trotted out by the propaganda media whenever anyone dares to question this gang of spies and dirty tricksters. As if these scum are somehow paragons of virtue and truthfulness! And the mass of Americans just swallow this rotten bait, and continue their profound sleep ..Wolfbay , March 20, 2018 at 6:54 am
Yes, the secret agencies must be nearly abolished, as completely incompatible with democracy.toni , March 21, 2018 at 11:51 am
There are only 17 secret agencies. No room to cut.Skip Scott , March 19, 2018 at 8:06 am
Why do you think that there all the shows on television and the movies where the good guy is the cop, or some federal agent?backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 8:34 am
I am wondering if Trump is going to make it out of this alive. I know they don't want to tip their hand to the public, but if their media circus performance doesn't gain sufficient traction, it'll probably be time for a "lone nut" assassin. I can see the pure evil in Brennan's eyes. He is dripping with hatred. Not that I like Trump, but our so-called intelligence agencies must be brought to heel if we are to have any hope for the future. People like Brennan need to be prosecuted and go to jail.laninya , March 19, 2018 at 11:22 am
Skip Scott -- Trump should keep his mouth shut, I know, but I can't blame the guy for speaking out, especially when he's been hounded by the press with something like 90+% negative coverage. He was right about his phones being "tapped", and everyone said he was out of his mind for saying such a thing. The Steele dossier is a phony, made-up dossier purposely invented to spy on Trump and bring in the Special Prosecutor. Everyone who had a hand in this should be behind bars. This has been an attempted coup against a duly-elected President.
When the Inspector General's Report comes out, when Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy finally get the information they've been asking for, I think we're going to see people go to jail. They're now looking into Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation.
Never mind the damage being done re relations between Russia and the U.S. and the possible nuclear threat. These people truly are insane. I agree with you, these intelligence agencies really have gone rogue and need to be "brought to heel".Steve Naidamast , March 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm
The day Trump keeps his mouth shut or stops tweeting is the day he and his revolution will be over. What do you think is smoking all these malefactors out into the open?Typingperson , March 19, 2018 at 9:33 pm
Former CIA Officer, Kevin Shipp, spoke out in an article I saw the other day that the FBI is working very methodically on the investigations into the Clinton Foundation. He expects that when it comes out so many "heads will roll" in the Congress and the Executive branch that we will have a Constitutional crises portending a collapse of the US government.
Can't wait to see these fireworks :-)Abby , March 19, 2018 at 9:55 pm
Not holding my breath -- but I hope so!Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 1:27 am
I read this article and I too hope that Shipp is right about this. The Clinton foundation and everything connected to them is rotten. They robbed Haiti's reconstruction funds and gave their friends and family members special access to bilking them. Everyone knew that they did that, yet no one said a word about it.Realist , March 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm
Steve, I watched this Youtube video of Kevin Shipp talking to this Group of citizens, last evening. It is really very informative. The title of the video was: "CIA Officer exposes the shadow government" dated Feb 19, 2018. This video is really worth watching.Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm
These guys brought down the World Trade Center just to further their geopolitical agenda. Nothing is beyond their treachery. They don't have to assassinate the man, as they did the hapless Skripal's just to smear Russia one more time. They can bring down Airforce One and blame it on the Russians in some kind of grand two-fer, if they so choose (everyone knows those Russians just can't quit their evil ways).
These spooks and their collaborators in the Pentagon, the MIC, Capitol Hill and the MSM have as effectively seized all power in this country as the Stalinists did in the Soviet Union. Idiots like Schumer sometimes unwittingly let the cat out of the bag, and he was right in pin-pointing who runs this country and to what extent they will go to destroy you to maintain their stake in ruling the planet .
All this has been clear for a long time now, yet nothing is ever done about it, probably because the task is too immense, these devils are too numerous and too deeply entrenched. Everything they say or do before the public is simply stagecraft and dramatics, and that includes all the gibbering that emanates from Congress each day, dispensed to you in a direct feed by the propaganda organs of the mass media which now includes most of the internet. You want to hear the truth? Go read a novel, maybe the publishing monolith will occasionally let slip an accurate description of our world couched in metaphor, a glitch in the Matrix, if you will.Skip Scott , March 21, 2018 at 8:47 am
Realist, very true, and you have summarized it so well. I am afraid this Skirpal incident in U.K. has been staged as a prelude to attack on Syria by U.S., U.K., Israel, and France, with Germany and other Western Nations cheering from the side.
Most likely, a false flag event will staged in Syria very soon to justify it. And there will be some sort of action in Ukraine too. U.S., U.K., and France are deep in debt. China is rising economically, and I am afraid that these Western Imperial Nations will not let go their complete dominance over the planet without a fight.
Events may take a very sad and violent turn in no time.KiwiAntz , March 20, 2018 at 12:02 am
That is a very scary scenario you propose about Air Force One, and quite conceivable. The way things are heating up, I suspect something in that order of magnitude very soon.geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 12:51 am
Trump is completely safe & will not be taken out? Why? Because Candidate Trump has completely backtracked from every foreign policy statements he made such as seeking peace with Russia? It's no coincidence that Trump was made to pay a visit to the one of the Deepstate's intelligence agencies at the CIA?
Trump would have been taken into a office & shown a continuous looped, Zapruder film of JFK getting his head blasted apart, as a warning of what happened to the last President who tried to destroy their power & influences? Remember Chuck Schumer's threat in 2017, warning Trump that the Intelligence Agencies have a number of ways, to take you down, if you rock the boat? Trump was shown what to expect if he doesn't toe the line & do what he's told by his real masters? Confirmation of Trump's obedience to the Deepstate agenda is that as he's now singing from the same song sheet that the Deepstate is singing from, completely backtracking most of his his election promises, making America great again, not by diplomacy but by endless war mongering & foreign interventions with no end in sight?Litchfield , March 20, 2018 at 9:17 am
We have known for sometime that the CIA and Google (not to mention WaPo and Jeff's garage sale site) are tight. Julian Assange's "When Google Met Wikileaks" is a go to for this. And you know that Eric Schmidt and Hillary Clinton are close connivers.Gregory Herr , March 20, 2018 at 6:45 pm
I wonder to what extent Trump is whistling past the graveyard. Most women understand the dynamic: When you know you are under threat, pretend not to notice anything untoward . . . So as not to trigger something really bad happening. If the picture changed dramatically -- say, with indictments of co-conspirators in the DNC shenanigans or the FBI collusion, or the Russiagate farce -- Trump might do some kind fo about-face. The big question, though, is his real relationship to and heartfelt convictions regarding Netanyahu/Israel.Gregory Herr , March 20, 2018 at 7:15 pm
"Power also saw fit to remind Trump where the power lies, so to speak. She warned him publicly that it is "not a good idea to piss off John Brennan." Didn't Michael Hastings piss off Brennan?Joe Tedesky , March 19, 2018 at 9:06 am
Washington is like a continuing Soap Opera, as the real bad guys battle it out with the other really bad guys. We the people are mere pawns in their hands, to be influenced and duped to no end, as the lies swirl around and around until a citizen is completely buffaloed into submission.
While reading this about John Brennan I could not help but think of JFK firing Allen Dulles. Again with the rhyming.
backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 9:07 amTom Ratliff , March 19, 2018 at 11:36 am
Two short interviews with James Kallstrom at this site:
"Former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom said that there was a plot among "high-ranking" people throughout government -- "not just the FBI," who coordinated in a plot to help Hillary Clinton avoid indictment.
"I think we have ample facts revealed to us during this last year and a half that high-ranking people throughout government, not just the FBI, high-ranking people had a plot to not have Hillary Clinton, you know, indicted," Kallstrom told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo.
"I think it goes right to the top. And it involves that whole strategy -- they were gonna win, nobody would have known any of this stuff, and they just unleashed the intelligence community. Look at the unmaskings. We haven't heard anything about that yet. Look at the way they violated the rights of all those American citizens."
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-18/ex-fbi-assistant-director-there-was-high-ranking-plot-protect-hillary-brennanPaul E. Merrell, J.D. , March 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm
Yes, very interesting interview with Kallstrom -- on mainstream media, which is important. Seems too many people understand what's really transpired for Trump -- or anyone -- to be in mortal danger. We'll see.
Brennan's tweet suggests he knows the walls are closing in on him.geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 1:15 am
I agree. If you're very strong, you don't bother making public threats against powerful people. You just break their backs without comment. Brennan comes across like he's been backed into a corner where he has no weapons and from which he knows there is no escape.
Mike Whitney suspects that John Brennan was the mastermind behind Russia-gate. http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/is-john-brennan-the-mastermind-behind-russiagate/Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 1:53 am
It is what I already sussed out, Paul. In reading Whitney's piece, it reminded me that over the last eight years the State Department in their press gatherings continuously mocked any RT reporters and disrespected them. You could easily surmise from this that they had a hand in these propaganda smears and lies.Bob H , March 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm
"Mike Whitney suspects that John Brennan was the mastermind behind Russia-gate." Looking at the pictures of Barack Obama with John Brennen, they seemed to have very cozy relationship. I wonder about Obama's role in this Russia-Gate. There are many unanswered questions about the top-echelons' role in this bizarre drama which may end up in many ominous consequences for the country and for the World.Stephen J. , March 19, 2018 at 9:40 am
Dave P(et.al.) it's getting more involved every day. It is interesting that the interview was on Fox as it indicates prominent Republicans may be leaning towards a more thorough investigation. However, if the investigation includes an inquiry into Cambridge Analytica they are likely to find that most of the fake news on Facebook that was influential in throwing the election to Trump was the result of Breitbart strategy with no Russian connection. Some Republicans may be willing to do this, but if it were conclusive I doubt whether either the Democrats or the Trump administration would come out on top; there are very few innocents that didn't add to the stench of the swamp. BTW: thanks for that valuable link B.E.!Bob Van Noy , March 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm
Is This the Land of the Free?
How will it end, or will it go on without end?
This feasting on blood that these demons depend
Will these diabolical devils ever be arraigned and indicted
And will we ever see the land of the free tried and convicted?
[more info at link below]
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
"It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby committing two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early in his regime."
Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, April 15/16, 2017.David Hamilton , March 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm
H. W., Kuwait, Sept. 11, 1990
https://www.politico.com/story/2009/09/president-bush-responds-to-iraqi-invasion-of-kuwait-sept-11-1990-026997Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , March 19, 2018 at 11:13 pm
Yes, this "H.W., Kuwait" is the war crime that started the era of ruthless war-making in which we are now trapped. It is the era of the kicked-down Vietnam Syndrome, where we are free once again to enrich our mercenary corporations as we project our military force 'exceptionally' to 'creatively destroy' in our noble quest to guide the world to do things our way. Some may recall how, back then, the pundit and Congressional classes deployed propaganda that was the prototype for what we have since become accustomed to. "We are doing this for peace, so all you dissenters shut up." Nobody then would acknowledge that we had covertly -- and treacherously -- aided and abetted both Iran and Iraq during their 8-year war that immediately preceded our war. (Hush, hush, wink, wink, said the media.) Thus, we had no moral or legal standing to pronounce any country guilty of 'aggression', as we did Saddam's country, who we had also green-lighted into settling his border dispute with force. That alone was enough to reveal our collective disregard for Muslim life. The rules of engagement that allowed water treatment plants to be bombed only confirmed our disregard. Warnings of unintended (or intended?) consequences then, as later, went unheeded, such as the certainty of blow back when one betrays so many peoples of the world who thought we had 'principles'. Is it any wonder there was blow back, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing? (By the way, Rep. Dick Gephardt, criticized in this article, eventually led a valiant but futile effort to derail the war momentum in the House.) Peace.Michael Kenny , March 19, 2018 at 11:01 am
Paul Craig Roberts is a bit off. Each of the war crimes he mentions were waging wars of aggression. But there were a multitude of lesser war crimes committed in each of those wars. And his count is off. Bush's wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen did not cease being wars of aggression in 2008 simply because 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue acquired new tenants that year. Obama gets credit for the continuation of those four wars in addition to the wars first launched while he was in office. And Trump likewise must be given credit for his continuations of wars of aggression launched by his predecessors.Skip Scott , March 20, 2018 at 8:21 am
For over 50 years, I have applied the rule that I never take the word of anyone who has ever been connected with the CIA.Realist , March 20, 2018 at 11:17 pm
Bullshit. I've seen your posts going back months, and you are a typical MSM propaganda apologist. If you know anything about "Operation Mockingbird", then you know that all of your past comments are "connected with the CIA".faraday's law , March 19, 2018 at 11:05 am
I'm telling ya, the guy seems like the amazing schizoid man these days.Linda Wood , March 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm
I think the intelligence agencies are the true source of nearly all of the problems..instead of gathering intelligence the IAs are effecting the events about which the intelligence is supposed to be about. Certainty Intelligence agencies can be credited with 9/11 and the war on Iraq. Interconnected between nations, shuffling in open-source form, secret sharing, false flag event production, and media delivered propaganda are activities which define the intelligence agencies. Secret means slave citizens are denied the knowledge that would allow them to understand how corrupt our societies are; so that the leaders of such societies can continue in the office that commands the power.Dr. Ip , March 19, 2018 at 11:17 am
Brilliantly stated, faraday's law. You've raised the all-important point that the intelligence agencies are are not simply gathering intelligence, they are also engaging in covert action, unlawfully, unaccountably, and unscrutinized. For all we know they could be spending their virtually unlimited funds on creating our enemies, thereby creating a need for our military industrial complex, the only entity that benefits from their work.Marshall Smith , March 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm
Seems like the two wings of the Anglo-American establishment alliance are working in concert to defeat all who stand in their way and regain dominance over the western world. In Britain, Teresa May and the Tories -- who are losing popularity to the resurgent Labour party and its progressive leader Jeremy Corbyn -- are trying to blame Russia for a nerve agent attack. The blame game over there is evidence-free of course and the lies and weasel-word assertions are being effectively countered by, among others, ex-Ambassador Craig Murray ( https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/ ) in post after post.
Over here, where the establishment Democrats and their cabal of friendly old Republicans (think: Mitt Romney) have lost their hold on direct power, they are trying to assert it through their long-time henchmen in the intelligence services. Ever since Wild Bill Donovan and the Dulles brothers, the intelligence services have been looking after their own survival and proliferation (and the profits of their masters) while, as a side-benefit, the United States got some security.
This clash of the services with Trump is only the latest in a series of clashes which Presidents have mostly lost (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, even Obama backed down after he became President) unless they were card-carrying members of the clan like Bush the First. So, you can expect Trump to lose as well unless he has the armed forces behind him and can purge the services of his enemies. We actually might have a night of the long knives coming. The question is of course if Caesar can survive the knifings!
Not that this Caesar is an Augustus or Marcus AureliusHerman , March 19, 2018 at 11:45 am
You present some interesting points, but John Brennan is no "Wild Bill Donovan" or even a William Casey with the backup of the fraternity of OSS which no longer has meetings. It seems to me that Brennan's and his diminishing followers' power lies with the media that has done the dance of "valued sources" and perception manipulation of the masses. Actually, "night of the long knives" occurred in Saudi Arabia when Prince "Bandar Bush" was captured and "interviewed" not by the FBI or the CIA, but most probably by individuals with videos of confessions which summarized the long history of the activities involving operatives conducting activities during the presidential administrations of both political parties but continuously for clans such as the Bush Dynasty and assorted associates within the institutions that are now domestically profiting from the policies of the President.
Yes, Pres. Trump and his advisers (such as Peter Thiel and even possibly Erik Prince and individuals of varied backgrounds possibly to even include Rabbis, Cardinals and other wise men not members of the Brookings Institution or the CFR) knew the obstacles and the nature of the enemies that would unit against a Populist Movement. In addition to advisers aware of the cyber world and the underworld of intelligence/counter-intelligence operations, advisers aware of the functioning of institutions and how institutions change their "culture" were absolutely necessary when the "resistance" was sending the message non-stop that Pres. Trump was only a temporary resident of the White House, and he would follow the path of Nixon, but in short order! Well, it seems that even the FBI is cleaning house internally and even Brennan's supporters within the old intelligence community leadership are giving their endorsement to the President's choice for CIA Dir. and she has a loyal following among the rank and file members of that institution.
Yes, ministers of Egypt wanted to present documents on the Muslim Brotherhood and it's relationship with the Obama Adm.; and Prince Salman will probably bring gifts during his State Visit. Pres. Trump and his team will decide the time and date to unwrap the evidence that will shatter the camera lens and stop the presses! No knives or guns, please!Sam F , March 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm
"Moral turpitude is a legal concept in the United States and some other countries that refers to "an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community". This term appears in U.S. immigration law beginning in the 19th century."
I guess the "community" Brennan was referring to was the Deep State. Not willingly but perhaps fortuitously Trump finds himself on the battlefield playing David and Goliath is there wearing a stone proof helmet. Obama liked to go after leakers, so long as the were underling leakers. If Trump is successful, which is to be hoped for but unlikely, how will the New York Times and Washington Post fill their editorial pages?
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is a paraphrase but apt.
But beyond this crisis is the larger one of how to harness the Deep State to reflect the nation's interests, not those few who run things now. Some say start to rid foreign intelligence of its operational arm which has been at the forefront of regime change and other mischief.Joe Wallace , March 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm
Yes, the CIA operations division should be made small because it is abused for the hidden agendas of oligarchy, that the People would never approve. It should be monitored by an agency reporting directly to Congress.Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 6:55 am
Herman and Sam F:
"But beyond this crisis is the larger one of how to harness the Deep State to reflect the nation's interests, not those few who run things now. Some say start to rid foreign intelligence of its operational arm which has been at the forefront of regime change and other mischief."
"Yes, the CIA operations division should be made small because it is abused for the hidden agendas of oligarchy, that the People would never approve. It should be monitored by an agency reporting directly to Congress."
Not until Citizens United v FEC is overturned will we have a foreign policy that reflects the nation's interests, administered by elected officials who actually represent the will of the electorate. The Deep State, through the CIA, pursues a foreign policy that is often at odds with the wishes of the vast majority of the people in this country .Stephen J. , March 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Yes, but the judiciary that decided Citizens United are corruption leaders installed by corrupt politicians installed by the dictatorship of the rich. Until the rich are overthrown there will be no democracy in the US.mike k , March 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm
Has the System Become Corrupted?
I believe the system has become corrupted. The same people who parrot the words "rule of law" are according to numerous reports working hand in glove with terrorists. They even pass "laws" against terrorism, while at the same time consorting with terrorists. I guess "our hypocrite leaders" are above the law? The latest horrific terrorist bombing in Manchester raises questions about the spy agency "MI5."
[read more at link below] http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/06/has-system-become-corrupted.htmlLinda Wood , March 20, 2018 at 7:04 pm
Our problem is how to shock the American public into awareness of who their real enemies are: the Oligarchs, Deep State, Zionazis, MSM, MIC. What kind of major disclosure could start the ball rolling? What kind of outrage would be too much for the zombified public to brush off and continue sleeping? What the hell would it take to knock the middle class out of it's putrid comfort zone?Skip Scott , March 21, 2018 at 10:22 am
zendeviant, I think it will come to a national refusal to fund illegal activity on the part of our federal government. I don't think it will come to violence, which would accomplish less than nothing. Instead, I think the American people will take legal action to stop the hemorrhage of black funding.Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 7:54 am
Funding is not the issue. They just print the money and give it out. Our tax dollars are just demanded to make sure we are in submission. The Pentagon isn't even audited, and at this point would be impossible to audit. Legal action requires an uncompromised judiciary. Haven't seen that in my lifetime. It will take real "boots on the ground" from the people to get any real change. TPTB will only budge when their backs are against the wall.Deniz , March 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm
Fair question, Mike, although perhaps annoying at times to very well-meaning people. Middle class comfort is indeed the security of a corrupt government, and so affluence destroys democracy.
As you know, I have advocated a College of Policy Debate constituted to protect all points of view, and to conduct moderated text-only debate among university experts of several disciplines, of the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Debate summaries commented by all sides are to be made available for public study and comment.
The debates would require a higher standard of argument in foreign and domestic policy on all sides, and would have much reduced the group-think that led to our endless mad wars since WWII. Extreme and naïve politicians would be easier to expose, and media commentators would have a starting point and a standard for media investigation and analysis.
While most politicians will ignore and attack careful analysis, and "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay" (Mencken), the CPD can bring the knowledge of society into public debate, educate the electorate, discourage propaganda, and expose the wrongs of society and the corruption of government that desperately need reform.
If such a rational mechanism fails to awaken the public and cause reform, then we are doomed to overthrow of the dictatorship of the rich, requiring far greater degradation to motivate the people, and greater violence than any previous revolution due to the advance of technology. I fear that both will in fact occur, after a long era of US corruption.orwell , March 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Brennans screech confirms that Trump is not just smoke and mirrors. He really hit the bureaucracy where it hurts, their pensions -- brilliant move.Stephen J, , March 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm
It's nice to see that everybody here agrees about this situation. Really refreshing, and no pro-CIA/FBI TROLLS !!!!!!Herry Smith , March 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm
Article of interest at link below. http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/march/19/pompeo-and-haspel-are-symptoms-of-a-deeper-problem/backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 4:39 pm
I remember that Larry Johnson described this threat in detail more than a year ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMkR_5Sesgg It was on RT but he made a lot of sense. Appears to have been vindicated.Gregory Kruse , March 19, 2018 at 2:05 pm
Herry Smith -- thanks for posting that interview. Larry Johnson was excellent, articulate, and he's going to be proven right.Dr. Ip , March 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm
"Shortly before his re-election in 2012, Obama reportedly was braced at a small dinner party by wealthy donors who wanted to know whatever happened to the 'progressive Obama.' The President did not take kindly to the criticism, rose from the table, and said, 'Don't you remember what happened to Dr. King?'"Bob Ford , March 19, 2018 at 3:15 pm
" Trump and Brennan represent equally criminal factions of the ruling class, divided over foreign policy, particularly in the civil war in Syria, and more generally towards Russia.
Brennan and the Democrats speak for powerful sections of the military-intelligence apparatus embittered by the failure of US intervention in Syria and Trump's apparent abandonment of the Islamic fundamentalist groups armed by the CIA to fight the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad. They want to push further into the Syrian slaughter, regardless of the risk of open military conflict with Russia, the world's second strongest nuclear power. "
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/19/pers-m19.htmlBob Van Noy , March 19, 2018 at 3:39 pm
It is imperative to bring about a cleansing of the FBI and DOJ, removing high-ranking officials who place politics and personal agendas ahead of enforcing the law fairly and without bias. Will that mean a "war" with the deep state? Or are there enough people within the FBI and DOJ who WANT to remove the stains from their agencies? If so, we may see more corruption exposed in the coming days.
A cleansing of the CIA or NSA is probably not feasible, even though it is sorely needed. If the president tried, he would probably be regime-changed.JWalters , March 19, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Craig Murray has been totally reliable on Russiagate from the beginning. There is an excellent synopsis of his web reporting with commentary at Unz for those interested. http://www.unz.com/article/russian-to-judgement/KiwiAntz , March 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm
Excellent link. Thanks very much. His theory that the murder of the ex-Russian spy in England was an Israeli false flag operation seems to me the most plausible theory, for the reasons he states. And it fits so well into the overall picture.Typingperson , March 20, 2018 at 12:47 am
What a Banana Republic America has become? Russia has just had it's election & we have had all the usual negative comments by Western Leaders regarding Putin & Russia's supposed lack of a democratic process in voting?
Russians, at least, voted for a well known individual in Putin with a proven track record, so they know exactly what they can look forward to, secure in that knowledge of certainty? Russia has no Deepstate puppeteer's pulling the strings behind the scenes!
Contrast that with America? The whole Political system is corrupt & dominated by Corporate money paying off its Leaders? The sick joke is America claims it's a Democracy which it isn't? It's a Fascist Oligarchy ruled by a unelected Deepstate, & it doesn't matter what Party or Leader you voted for, the Deepstate, shadow Govt never just marches on & rules?
It also raises the issue, is there any point in American's actually getting out & voting every 4 yrs, they may as well just stay home & have a beer instead, as this electoral process is a complete & utter farce! America's Deepstate Govt doesn't need or care for your vote? Your vote doesn't matter in the overall scheme of things? And that, by definition, is what America has become, a Banana Republic!Michael Wilk , March 19, 2018 at 4:06 pm
True. And sad.backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Speaking for myself, I'd love nothing more than to see that degenerate orange-painted child take the intel agencies and their scum-willing leaders down several pegs, just to remind them who is supposed to be working for whom. Alas, the Great Orange Dope hasn't the brains to do anything but screw things up. But give the boy credit for trying, bless his toupée-glue-crusted head.Michael Wilk , March 19, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Dumb like a fox: to be smart or cunning, but pretend you don't know what you're doing. President Trump is letting them hang themselves. As someone said above, he is smoking them out. It is working beautifully too. Who, besides Trump, could have or would have put up with what he's had to contend with? It took a tough, hard-shelled individual who wouldn't cow, someone who would hang in there long enough while the others (the Inspector General, intelligence committees) could do their work.
I grant you that President Trump's brain is not like Slick Willy's or polished smooth like the last Narcissist in Chief, but he's right about a lot of things: you can't have a country without borders; you can't have a country without making your own steel and a healthy manufacturing base; and you can't have a country run by the intelligence agencies.
I'm putting my money on Trump.backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm
That might be true if this country respected the borders of other nations or if it actually brought back steel-making and a healthy manufacturing base. But Caligula Drumpf never intended to bring any of that back, nor will he even try. Oh, he'll make a few token statements bragging about his exaggerated actions having actually achieved success, but that's all it will be is empty boasting. Let's face it: Drumpf supporters were had.Michael Wilk , March 20, 2018 at 9:05 am
Too early to call. It took years to ship all of the jobs overseas (thanks, Slick Willy!), and it will take years to bring them back. Did you think Trump was magical, that he could bring the jobs back in one year with the wave of a wand or something? I mean, he's been a tad busy fighting the intelligence community, hasn't he?
If given the chance, he will secure the borders, decrease immigration, institute a merit-based immigration system, bring some jobs back (a lot are being automated). The globalists are losing, but it takes time.
The Swamp will take time to drain as well, but it's proceeding along quite nicely.Bart Hansen , March 19, 2018 at 5:28 pm
But Drumpf won't even try to bring the jobs back. This is not a matter of how quickly he can do something he's never going to do, but about his will to actually follow through on his campaign promises. There's simply no reason to believe Drumpf will bother. Why would he? He's got no stake in bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.F. G. Sanford , March 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm
That "six ways from Sunday" saying may keep Schumer in line; but for Trump, what could they possibly have against him that would in the least embarrass or bother his voters, himself or his family? Day after day he crosses a variety of moral red lines.jaycee , March 19, 2018 at 7:23 pm
That "moral turpitude" reference seems to imply that there is some -- yet to be revealed -- scandal held in abeyance, fully capable of delivering a decisive blow. And, the "deep staters" are merely waiting for the right moment to pull this shark-toothed rabbit out of the hat. I can't help but wonder what you suspect they'll try next, Ray but this whole thing reminds me of an old friend's advice given to me during a dark and desolate period of my own life: "If they had something really good, they'd have used it by now."backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 8:25 pm
A word of caution -- the intensely partisan fighting may induce a certain fascination as a spectator, like eye-witnessing the aftermath of a vehicle accident, but what is happening is without precedent, at least in modern history. Former heads of the nation's top intelligence organization do not attack sitting presidents, let alone in such a visceral vituperative and public fashion. This is indication of deep fissures, quite beyond politics as most citizens understand. As the World Socialist Web Site published today: "There is no recent parallel for statements and actions such as those of the past three days. One would have to go back to the period before the American Civil War to find equivalent levels of tension, which in the late 1850s erupted in violence in the halls of Congress before exploding in full-scale military conflict."
Trump is a maverick outsider so it's hard to get a handle on what or who he represents, but the Brennan/deep state side of the dispute is very much aligned with the corporate DNC Democratic Party. That they seem, by Brennan's comments, to consider themselves as the representation of "America" as they abandon constitutional and etiquette norms and articulate visceral hatred towards political rivals should serve as fair warning.Abe , March 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm
jaycee -- great post. I agree with what you've said: what is happening IS without precedent, Brennan/deep state ARE aligned with the Democrats, and they believe only THEY represent the true "America".
Dangerous game by very dangerous people who are systematically destroying the Constitution in their quest to retain power.
Over and over I've heard people who know Trump well say that he listens to them, but then makes up his own mind. They say he wants to stay true to what he promised to the American people, that that is actually important to him. Of course he's willing to compromise some, but he wants the basics of what he promised.
If the Swamp takes him out, the lid is going to come off.JWalters , March 19, 2018 at 10:32 pm
Chuck Schumer is a leading Democratic Party figure of the pro-Israel Lobby and a rabid Senate warhawk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=456&v=DlV5WChUWFk
Kevin Zeese: "He basically is a Senator for Israel. He totally supports the Israeli foreign policy viewpoint, which is a very hawkish, if you were a Republican you would call him a neocon."
Ariel Gold: "He has come out in strong opposition to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and was very supportive of New York Governor Cuomo's order to ban BDS in New York state, and Schumer made a direct statement in support of that."
Thomas Hedges: "Schumer's staunch support for Israel has prompted him for example, to criticize the Obama administration, when in 2016, the United States abstained from a UN Security Council resolution re-affirming something the Council had almost unanimously upheld since 1979. Namely, that Israel's settlement building projects on Palestinian land violated international law."
Ben Norton: "Schumer criticized the Obama administration for abstaining on this very basic resolution, which every other country voted for. So the US was still a pariah, because the US didn't vote for it, it just abstained on it. But to Schumer that was not enough, he wanted it to be completely vetoed, because anything that Israel does is sacrosanct, and anyone who criticizes it, in Schumer's eyes, is not someone he wants to ally with politically, so he'd rather affectively ally with Trump."
Thomas Hedges: "The most recent showing of that allegiance was [ ] when Schumer supported Trump's decision to launch an air strike on an Air Force base in Syria, something Israel also strongly supported. [ ] But perhaps Schumer's greatest show of allegiance to Israel, was his decision to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, without which experts have warned, would put the United States and Iran on a collision course."
Ben Norton: "Under President Obama, Schumer was one of the most prominent Democrats to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, and he was of course fearmongering about Iran, which to him is the devil incarnate, and he actually made factually false statements about the nuclear agreement, and claimed that it would allow Iran in 10 years to produce nuclear weapons etc."
Thomas Hedges: "Leading up to his decision, Schumer reassured Zionists that he was consulting the most credentialed men in Washington, including Henry Kissinger, an opponent of the deal, and the man who orchestrated the violent coup in Chile that toppled its democratically elected leader, as well as the architect of the very bloody Vietnam war."
Chuck Schumer: I spent some time with Dr. Kissinger, I'm spending time with excellence.
Ariel Gold: So it threatened to pull us into another war, and we're back in that threat again with Trump winning the election we hear a lot about undoing the Iran nuclear deal, and it's one of the things that Israel has been saying they would like to see come out of the Trump administration.
Thomas Hedges: Schumer's willingness to oppose the deal early on, which created an opening for other undecided Democrats to do the same, is a strong display of support for Israel.Opus Doi , March 19, 2018 at 7:40 pm
Spot on about Chuck Schumer. The following link, from a Jewish-run, anti-Zionist website, proves that Schumer lies to Americans for the benefit of Israel. He puts Israel's interests above those of the US. He is an Israeli mole in the US government. "Schumer says he opposed the Iran deal because of 'threat to Israel'" http://mondoweiss.net/2018/03/schumer-opposed-because/backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 8:35 pm
America will triumph over you. Wo wo wo. Wo wo wo. Doo doo-doo doo doo! ?
Brennan is history's most hilarious DCI. His grandiose hissy fit suggests that CIA continues the Dulles tradition of infiltrating the civil service with 'focal points -' illegal CIA moles infiltrating US government agencies -- and the IG fumigated one key out in firing McCabe.Opus Doi , March 20, 2018 at 7:56 am
Opus Doi -- and the MSM and the Left see the "crime" being that McCabe was fired, not that McCabe broke the law. Kind of like when they didn't see a crime in Hillary using her own personal servers, but saw the crime as being that the emails might have been hacked by a foreign government. That they had no evidence of this didn't matter.
Brennan sounds like a desperate man. They must be getting closer to him.Kenneth Rapoza , March 19, 2018 at 8:46 pm
See how this works? The article is about Brennan. The comment is about Brennan's CIA. But immersive CIA propaganda immediately diverts the topic to CIA's synthetic warring factions, Hillary! Trump! Hillary! Trump!
People need to come to grips with the fact that the past four presidents -- the ones you hate and the ones you like -- were all drawn from CIA nomenklatura. DCI Bush; Bill Clinton, recruited by Cord Meyer at Oxford; spy brat and hopeless Arubusto 'wildcatter' GW Bush; and Obama, son of spooks, grandson of spooks, greased into Harvard by Alwaleed bin-Talal's bagman, invisible student at Columbia, honored guest of the future acting president of Pakistan before his career even started. Before CIA took over directly they thwarted (Truman, Eisenhower's disarmament plan, Carter's human rights initiative,) purged (Nixon, Carter,) shot at (Ford,) and shot (Kennedy, Reagan) their presidential figureheads.
CIA runs your country. You're not going to get anywhere until you stop bickering about their presidential puppet rulers.backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 10:22 pm
Who makes the laws? He who makes the laws can break the laws. I would bet my life that Brenna, Hillary and all the "deep state" actors do not see one second in jail nor pay a nickel in fines.E. Leete , March 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm
Comey and McCabe were fired for breaking the law. Lots of laws have been broken. The only thing separating the U.S. and a Third World country is the Rule of Law. Start breaking laws and looking the other way on corruption and you've got a Banana Republic. Jail time coming up for some of them.Bob H , March 19, 2018 at 9:59 pm
"Give me control over a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." -- Meyer A Rothschild
Whoever controls the creation and destruction of money, as well as credit regulation (this is the deep state; the massive financial matrix including the MIC -- all run by wealthpower giants with their insatiable desires for power to control nothing less than the entire planet) controls the government including the spook/spy agencies (this is the shadow government).
the two are intimately connected, of course, and function thru unbridled unconstitutional powers of secrecy -- empowered by the state secrets privilege
nothing changes until we once and for all time do away with the bankers having the power to issue our money as debt
because, again, it all starts with private control of money creation -- the most enormous farce in all of history and it rules yet today
"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." -- Theodore Roosevelt
"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." -- Woodrow WilsonHello Good World , March 19, 2018 at 11:26 pm
The mention of John Brennan brings to mind the bizarre death of Rolling Stone's writer, Michael Hastings, who was reported to be working on a story about Brennan just before he had his "accident".
https://news.vice.com/article/primary-sources-emails-show-fbi-worked-to-debunk-conspiracy-theories-following-michael-hastings-deathSkip Scott , March 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm
Imagine if a Trump tweet alleged that a man who was found guilty by the FBI was really innocent. Imagine if Trump tweeted that a man was really guilty despite no evidence found after almost 2 years of investigation.
What would be the response to either tweet be from the MS Media? Our MS Media is nothing more than Democrat Propaganda, and that situation will doom us to Russian interference. Every election the Russians can do the same as 2016: release the truth about justice not served.j. D. D. , March 20, 2018 at 7:59 am
I'm no fan of Trump, but Hillary had absolutely no intention to "address the needs of the people". They are all globalizing warmongers who know how to say what needs to be said to get elected, and then do whatever their paymasters tell them. Hillary's speeches to her banker buddies unearthed via Podesta's email account show that she felt it necessary to have "private views" separate from her "public views". How much plainer could it be than that!Abe , March 21, 2018 at 11:38 am
"Does one collect a full pension in jail?" Brilliant, provocative and persuasive, in the way that any follower of Ray McGovern has come to expect.IsItAnyWonder , March 20, 2018 at 11:10 am
As the Russia-gate fictions erode and Israel-gate emerges, the Hasbara troll army is scraping the bottom of the propaganda barrel.
Here we have "j. D. D." and the shrill refrain of "BobS"
For more hilarious Hasbara antics from comrade "BobS", see the CN comments at
Comrade "BobS" and fellow Hasbara troll "will" are positively obsessed about Reagan era "dirty wars" Central and South America. That's understandable.
Israel has advised, trained and equipped, and ran "dirty war" operations in the Latin American "dirty war" conflicts in Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia. In the case of the Salvadoran "bloodbath", the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.
McGovern certainly understands what sort of "ally" Israel can be.
So keep on yappin' "BobS". We got you.geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 3:05 pm
USMC activated. Well, I'd put my two-cents on POTUS. Just like we've all seen throughout our lives when the supposed tough guy starts making threats he is really scared Sh**less. Lots of these clowns are just going to disappear during the late night hours of the day never to be heard from again.
Our society is sitting on a knifes edge, anything at all happens to Trump and the entire nation will just burn to the ground with literal blood in the streets. No one needs to pound their chest and say what tough guy acts they will do since most of the heavy lifting is already going on with Spec Ops and very soon USMC.
Most of us would not have the skills are knowledge to do what is needed. Foggy Bottom is about to get a big enema along with the CIA to our benefit. Guys like Brennan are scared rats in a sinking ship, good riddance!will , March 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm
Excuse me Mr. Williamson, I think you are precisely right. This indeed is the time to get it all out. Expose it all. Lay it all out and go for it. These people have it coming to them.Abe , March 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm
What an amazingly illuminating article. Devin Nunes, who perfectly ok with wire taps as long as the target aren't from his party is somehow a noble individual. While I agree that Brennan should be in prison, it should be for torturing people ...Drogon , March 20, 2018 at 6:45 pm
As the Russia-gate fictions erode and Israel-gate emerges, the Hasbara propaganda troll army keeps on sending in the clowns.
For more hilarious Hasbara antics from "works for a living" comrade "will", see the CN comments at
Comrade "will" and his fellow Hasbara troll "BobS" recite the same propaganda script, going on and on about the war in Latin America.
Of course, the trolls never mention the fact that the US government, especially the CIA, recruited an all-too-eager Israel to "support" the Central and South American military forces and intelligence units engaged in violent and widespread repression during the Reagan and Bush era "dirty wars".
Recently declassified 1983 US government documents have obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act. One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration's National Security Council and reads: "As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador."
Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail. Chapin says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, "we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years (I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard)."
The Reagan and Bush era "dirty wars" were bad enough. The Israeli-Saudi-US Axis jumped the shark with Bush the Lesser and Obama wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Under Trump, Israel remains only to happy to continue providing "support" for Al Qaeda and ISIS.
So keep on blabbin', Hasbara troll team mates "will" and "BobS". We got you.Ray McGovern , March 21, 2018 at 1:05 am
"It is an open secret that the CIA has been leaking like the proverbial sieve over the last two years or so" And this is supposed to be a bad thing? I'm sorry, but the more leaks the better IMO.Abe , March 21, 2018 at 11:04 am
Drogon, You're right; usually the more leaks the better ..BUT these are "AUTHORIZED" leaks to co-opted journalists and PR people like Palmieri designed to give some "substance" to Russia-gate, for example. ray
Speaking of "AUTHORIZED" leaks: http://whitehouse.georgewbush.org/initiatives/posters/images/leaking-secrets.jpg
Mar 22, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Abe , March 21, 2018 at 1:40 pm
Standard Tea Party libertarian-ish right-wing Republican railing about the "Democrat" Party
In fact, both the Democratic and Republican War Parties (both slavishly pro-Israel) are fervent advocates of Corporate Socialism, who are willing to do some nuclear damage to stay in power and "protect Israel", an Apartheid Socialist State (ASS) regime that has attempted to colonize the Levant.
So stop huffing that Tea Party hash pipe and get a clue
Mar 21, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
The rapid rise of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral, economic, and political issue of our time. Yet, it gets almost no coverage from the corporate media.
How often do network newscasts report on the 40 million Americans living in poverty, or that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major nation on earth? How often does the media discuss the reality that our society today is more unequal than at any time since the 1920s with the top 0.1% now owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%? How often have you heard the media report the stories of millions of people who today are working longer hours for lower wages than was the case some 40 years ago?
How often has ABC, CBS or NBC discussed the role that the Koch brothers and other billionaires play in creating a political system which allows the rich and the powerful to significantly control elections and the legislative process in Congress?
We need to ask the hard questions that the corporate media fails to ask
Sadly, the answer to these questions is: almost never. The corporate media has failed to let the American people fully understand the economic forces shaping their lives and causing many of them to work two or three jobs, while CEOs make hundreds of times more than they do. Instead, day after day, 24/7, we're inundated with the relentless dramas of the Trump White House, Stormy Daniels, and the latest piece of political gossip.
We urgently need to discuss the reality of today's economy and political system, and fight to create an economy that works for everyone and not just the one percent.
We need to ask the hard questions that the corporate media fails to ask: who owns America, and who has the political power? Why, in the richest country in the history of the world are so many Americans living in poverty? What are the forces that have caused the American middle class, once the envy of the world, to decline precipitously? What can we learn from countries that have succeeded in reducing income and wealth inequality, creating a strong and vibrant middle class, and providing basic human services to everyone?
We need to hear from struggling Americans whose stories are rarely told in newspapers or television. Unless we understand the reality of life in America for working families, we're never going to change that reality.
Until we understand that the rightwing Koch brothers are more politically powerful than the Republican National Committee, and that big banks, pharmaceutical companies, and multinational corporations are spending unlimited sums of money to rig the political process, we won't be able to overturn the disastrous US supreme court decision on Citizens United, move to the public funding of elections and end corporate greed.
Until we understand that the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and that people cannot make it on $9 or $10 an hour, we're not going to be able to pass a living wage of at least $15 an hour.
Until we understand that multinational corporations have been writing our trade and tax policies for the past 40 years to allow them to throw American workers out on the street and move to low-wage countries, we're not going to be able to enact fair laws ending the race to the bottom and making the wealthy and the powerful pay their fair share.
Until we understand that we live in a highly competitive global economy and that it is counterproductive that millions of our people cannot afford a higher education or leave school deeply in debt, we will not be able to make public colleges and universities tuition free.
Until we understand that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all and that we spend far more per capita on healthcare than does any other country, we're not going to be able to pass a Medicare for all, single-payer program.
Until we understand that the US pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs because pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever price they want for life-saving medicine, we're not going to be able to lower the outrageous price of these drugs.
Until we understand that climate change is real, caused by humans, and causing devastating problems around the world, especially for poor people, we're not going to be able to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into sustainable forms of energy.
We need to raise political consciousness in America and help us move forward with a progressive agenda that meets the needs of our working families. It's up to us all to join the conversation -- it's just the beginning.Bernie Sanders is hosting a town hall on Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class on Monday 19 March at 7pm before a live audience in the auditorium of the US Capitol. It will be live-streamed by the Guardian
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com
CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:32 pm GMT@EliteCommInc.
God Save the Queen.
It's really that simple.
Good God. How disgusting. You're suggesting that the plebeian mass of ignorant white trash calling themselves the British nation should actually rule themselves by way of a democratically elected parliament, their national loyalty centered on a constitutional monarch who is head of the English national Christian church.
Good God, the first thing that scum would do is vote to send the immigrants home, beginning with the mayor of London, followed by the rape gangs of Rotherham and elsewhere.
Fortunately, that can never happen. The media and the K-to-middle-aged education system tell the people how to despise themselves and their natural inclination to self-preservation, while the political machines tell the people who they can have to represent them. Thus, the so-called parliamentary representatives of the people are not representatives of the people in government, but representative of government to the people. Propagandist, that is, i.e., traitors.
Mar 20, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Sid Finster said in reply to Bill Herschel... 20 March 2018 at 10:42 AMThis country is neither a democracy nor a democratic republic. It is a de facto oligarchy, in which ordinary citizens have but little say.
Wishing otherwise does not make it so.
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com
CanSpeccy , Website March 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT@Anon
Anon from TN
Yes, this is the British version of Russiagate, no doubt: no evidence, numerous versions that contradict each other, lots of hot air and finger pointing. At the moment we do not know what Skripal was poisoned with or by whom, we can't even be sure that anyone was poisoned with anything. All we have is hot air, just like with Iraq WMD. From the same very "reliable" sources: British intelligence services and British PM. Neither ever lies, just ask Tony Blair. Not to mention that we are currently on version #5 (poisoned in the car, where apparently a British cop and more than 30 other people rode with him, if we are to believe previous statements). Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand. He did it, right in the middle of Britain in Salisbury, next to the British chemical weapons facility. Credo quia absurdum.
Actually, having no definite story, and constantly updating the narrative with ridiculous red herrings, is probably the best way to go with a fake terror attack. With a different herring to pursue each day, the truth seeking citizen soon becomes exhausted and relapses back into the normal pattern of going to work and feeding a family, but with a reinforced sense of their own lack of power to either control, or even understand the world in which they live.
This is the end time of democracy. We are now entering an age of psycho-totalitarianism. People do what the elite require because their brainwashed friends, neighbors, and children otherwise turn against them. They are demonized and humiliated as racists, anti-Semites, dog whistlers and all the rest of the bullshit lexicon of political correctness not for their actions but merely for their thoughts.
Jun 28, 2013 | www.theguardian.com
Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden are upset about something, they just can't say what. In a letter sent to the National Security Agency this week about a fact sheet on its surveillance programs, the senators complained about what they refer to only as "the inaccuracy". The inaccuracy is "significant". The inaccuracy could "decrease public confidence in the NSA's openness and its commitment to protecting Americans' constitutional rights". But, because the information underlying it is classified, the inaccuracy can't be described.
This is either a frustrating illustration of the absurdities of America's secrecy regime, or the start of a pretty solid vaudeville act.
The frenzied public debate over the NSA leaks has focused on the correctness of the government surveillance programs themselves. But America cannot properly debate these and future surveillance efforts until it decides what can be debated.
As an official in the first Obama administration, I worked in jobs requiring top secret clearance. I know firsthand how essential secrecy can be to effecting policy goals and how devastating leaks can be. I navigated diplomatic relationships threatened by the indiscriminate release of WikiLeaks documents, and volunteered on the taskforce that sifted through them, piecing together the damage done. But it is also true that a culture of over-classification has shielded too much from public debate and that more could be disclosed without damaging the efficacy of intelligence programs.
Trillions of new pages of text are classified each year. More than 4.8 million people now have a security clearance, including low level contractors like Edward Snowden . A committee established by Congress, the Public Interest Declassification Board, warned in December that rampant over-classification is "imped[ing] informed government decisions and an informed public" and, worse, "enabl[ing] corruption and malfeasance". In one instance it documented, a government agency was found to be classifying one petabyte of new data every 18 months, the equivalent of 20m filing cabinets filled with text.
It is difficult to argue that all or even most of that information should be classified. By keeping too many secrets, America has created fertile ground for their escape. Already, the Obama administration has been forced to initiate six espionage prosecutions for leaks – twice as many as every previous administration combined.
It has also left the American people disillusioned and mistrustful. This is especially true of a new generation raised in a networked world that has made them expect far greater transparency from the institutions around them. According to a recent Pew Research Center/ USA Today poll , a clear majority of young people (60%) feels that the NSA leaks served the public interest.
The leaks illustrate how bad the lack of trust has become - and present an opportunity for greater disclosure.
There is no doubt that some secrecy is essential to the efficacy of surveillance programs like those revealed by the NSA leaks. The specific sources and methods of such programs should be protected. However, it is entirely possible to protect those specifics while also broadly disclosing to the public the scope of information subject to collection, and the rationale behind doing so.
That level of disclosure should be the norm for future programs, and can still be instated in the case of the current NSA surveillance programs. Two Congressmen – Democrat Adam Schiff, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, and Republican Todd Rokita – introduced a bill last week that would call on the Department of Justice to declassify the legal justifications for NSA surveillance efforts. Universal public disclosure of individual decisions could impede the efficacy of the program, but there is no reason the Department of Justice can't disclose its generalized legal reasoning. That's a drawer in the stadium of filing cabinets that America can safely open.
"You can't have 100% security and then have 100% privacy," President Obama said in the days immediately following the leaks. "We're going to have to make some choices as a society." But the government can and should let Americans know what choices it is that they're making. The intelligence community might find Americans, particularly young Americans most suspicious of government institutions, more sympathetic to their delicate balancing act as informed participants.
Mar 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
The National Security Act of 1947 codified the reality of the imperial American military for the baby-boom generation and beyond. The War Department became the Defense Department; the CIA we know today was formed from the Office of Strategic Services. The 1947 NSA document amounted to a formal re-arrangement of the country's priorities coming out of WWII -- when the victorious United States of America became the "leader of the free world." We forget that before World War Two changed everything, the US military was a shadow of what it was to become.
Over these 70 years, the executive in the White House has ping-ponged back-and-forth between the moderate left and the moderate right, between the Democratic and Republican Parties. (Trump may be the exception in being far right.) Every four years there's a national "conversation" of sorts about who's going to live in the White House and make executive decisions and who's going to legislate in Congress. You couldn't come up with a better example to illustrate the idea of a civilian political see-saw than January 20, 2016, the day Barack Obama handed the civilian reins over to Donald Trump. Meanwhile, over those same 70 years, the National Security State (as an institution led by the Pentagon) has existed as a steadily ascending through-line leading to today's post-9/11 world. Our imperial military has been, and remains, virtually untouchable through the electoral process that chooses civilian leadership. Just like assault weapons on a small scale, the National Security State thrives beyond the reach of American politics. In my mind, White House Chief of Staff and former four-star Marine General John Kelly resides in this protected zone as a power behind the civilian throne.
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
walter, March 2018 at 03:03 PM
Jack, in my opinion, there is no "US". The "US" doesn't have an interest.
There are individuals who behave in their own individual self interest.
The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media......these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests".
Its a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest.
This is my understanding of "the Borg" and "US interests", "US foreign policy goals"....they are actually individual interests shaped by what individuals who work in this realm believe they should believe and espouse to achieve their own goals. Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed
Mar 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
kralizec -> Conscious Reviver Wed, 03/14/2018 - 07:59 Permalinkshortonoil -> Bes Wed, 03/14/2018 - 08:51 Permalink
Jeepers Cripes, y'all need to get a room and ass-hammer it out!
Latter Day America, there are no pristine people to choose from to populate any goddamned post in government, period! Everybody has baggage, everybody is compromised.
This is the latter days of Rome 2.0 dipshits, got it? It is why one batch of clowns find it impossible to see one thing Trump (or anybody in any country...except Czar Valdimir Putin in Russia...for whatever reason...default/nobody else to pick...when the real answer even there is none of the above though many people refuse to see it) can do right and while the other batch is mystified at those incapable of seeing (albeit sometime thin) distinctions between evils in the era of this-is-as-good-as-it'll-get. Cue the inevitable endless circle jerk.
... ... ...CatInTheHat -> crossroaddemon Tue, 03/13/2018 - 23:29 Permalink
Trump, and all of DC have as much power to affect what is coming as a flea does trying to bench press 300 lbs. Those of them who are aware of the true situation are scared shit less. Pompeo's appointment is just validating what is really about to come down! When they can't intimidate the public into submission, they will try using a club.
Thanks for saying that. I detest Clinton and I want JUSTICE for what the evil treasonous psychopaths did in 2016, but I also know Bibi and MBS have Trump on a short leash and Islamaphobes fill his home and cabinet.
The soft coup is now complete and a war with Iran inevitable.
Mar 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
SlapHappy | Mar 13, 2018 1:46:05 PM | 18
As if it needs saying, the current ruling junta in the US absolutely does not have the interests of the American people or the nation at large in mind, they're answering to a different set of masters at this point.
Until we can purge the fifth column that's infested the halls of power in this country and obviously in the UK and much of Europe - at least the EU - we'll continue to fight wars for Zionism and all that will be left of the US and Russia when this is over will be bombed-out nuclear wastelands, which is exactly what the Zionists want to have happen.
They did it to Germany and Russia in WWII, and they're going to do it to the US, Russia, and possibly China in WWIII, which is spooling up as we dissect the latest maniacal machinations of the war cabal.
Mar 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Noirette | Mar 12, 2018 10:51:11 AM | 20
I keep vague track of Trump support by consulting various sites. DT enthusiasts are all very keen on GAB, the censorship on twitter - reddit - youtube and other pop. drives them totally crazy.
My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in).
DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.)
Technotopists are going out of fashion (> global warming disasters.) -- The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc.
On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' as is always the case in these kind of 'tribal' belonging scenes, they have dragged in family members / friends, through the usual conduits of social influence in micro-circles. Which has been made exceptionally easy by the terminal idiocy, blindness and contradictions of the MSM, Dems and the PTB (incl. top Republicans, corporations, etc.) generally. Authoritarian impulses (which DT embraces in part - the WALL is a good ex. - for the rest, hmm..) will flourish up to a point.
The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident.
The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out?
About non-posts, I was going to go into the murder of Kim Jong-Nam (brother of today's Kim) which ties two threads together - NKorea and murder by nerve gas. (Hoarse mentioned this in the other thread.)
Mar 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on March 10, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. As depressing and predictable as it is to see Democrats yet again prostituting themselves to financiers, payback may finally be coming. From Lambert in Water Cooler yesterday :
Senate: Poll: Five Senate Dems would lose to GOP challenger if elections held today" [ The Hill ]. "New polls published Thursday morning in Axios show Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) would all lose reelection to GOP challengers if voters were heading to the polls this week." Blue Dogs all. Why vote for a fake Republican when you can vote for a real one?
So these Blue Dogs who are gutting the already underwhelming Dodd Frank may not be with us much longer, at least politically. And even though the party is remarkably insistent on adhering to a strategy of corporate toadying that has led it to hemorrhage seats at all levels of government, if these seats all go red, it might be a message even the Democrats might not be able to ignore.
By Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator. Originally published at Alternet
This act of regulatory vandalism highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.
As if to maximize the possibility of another major financial crisis, the Trump administration and the GOP have recently been busy undercutting the limited safeguards established a decade ago via Dodd-Frank. The latest example of this stealth attack on Wall Street reform is the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, appropriately sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Appropriate, because this is literally a "crapo" bill. It provides a few "technical tweaks" to Dodd-Frank in the same way in which protection payouts to organized crime provide businesses with "insurance" against property damage. In reality, it is an act of regulatory vandalism, which highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.
We have grown to expect no less from the GOP, whose sole r aison d'etre these days seems to be filling the trough from which America's fat cats can perpetually gorge themselves. What is truly disturbing, however, is that the Republican effort is being given bipartisan cover by more than a dozen Democratic senators: Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both from Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Tom Carper of Delaware. To this esteemed group, we should also add Senator Angus King (ME), an Independent who regularly caucuses with the Democrats. So, in reality, it's a filibuster-proof "Baker's Dirty Dozen." Digging into the details, perhaps this is what Senator Mitch McConnell had in mind when he predicted more bipartisanship in Congress this year . In co-sponsoring this bill, the 13 senators are providing cover for the GOP when the inevitable fallout comes, dissipating the Democrats' political capital with the electorate in the process.
Yes, we get it: some of these senator incumbents are in red states that voted heavily for Donald Trump in the last election. And the latest polls suggest many are vulnerable in this year's elections. But the last time we checked, there didn't seem to be an overwhelming wave of populist protest demanding regulatory relief for banks. All 50 states -- red and blue -- suffered from the last financial crisis, and it's hard to believe voters in Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana or Missouri would be more likely to support Senators Tester, Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly or McCaskill because they backed a bank deregulation bill (which in reality goes well beyond helping small community banks). Nor do the 2018 races factor as far as Senators Warner, Coons, or Bennet are concerned, given that none are up for re-election this year.
No, the more likely answer is money, plain and simple. The numbers aren't in for 2017, but an analysis of the Federal Election Commission data from the 2016 election appears to explain what is driving this newfound solicitousness toward the banks. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) points out that "nine of the twelve Democrats supporting the deregulatory measure count the financial industry as either their biggest or second-biggest donor." (At least now we have a better understanding as to why Hillary Clinton's " responsibility gene " induced her to select running mate Tim Kaine, who received "large contributions from Big Law partners that represent Wall Street," as opposed to a genuine finance reformer, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is vigorously opposing the new bill.)
We also know ( courtesy of the CRP ) that Mark Warner's last campaign in 2014:
"included among his 20 largest donors the mega Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Goldman's employees and PACs gave Warner's campaign $71,600 while JPMorgan Chase gave the Warner campaign committees $50,566 Senator Heidi Heitkamp is also up for reelection this year and her number one contributor at present is employees and/or PACs of Goldman Sachs which have contributed $79,500 thus far."
Naturally, all of the senators claim their motives are pure. With no hint of irony, a spokesman for Tim Kaine suggested that , "Campaign contributions do not influence Senator Kaine's policy positions." Likewise, an aide for Mark Warner vigorously contested the idea that campaign donations from Wall Street ever influenced the Virginia senator's decision-making on policy matters. Sure, and it was shocking to find out that gambling took place in Rick's Café.
It is true, as Senator Jon Tester (another co-sponsor) notes , that the proposed changes introduced in the Crapo bill (notably the increase in the asset size from $50 billion to $250 billion of those banks that are considered "systemically important" and therefore subject to greater oversight and tighter rules) do not affect the likes of Wall Street banks such as Citigroup, JP MorganChase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, all of which are still covered by the most stringent oversight provisions of Dodd-Frank. But the increased asset threshold does exempt the U.S. bank holding companies of systemically significant foreign banks: Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse, all of whom were implicated in multiple violations of both American and international banking laws in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.
Deutsche Bank alone has paid billions of dollars for its role in perpetuating mortgage fraud, money-laundering and interest rate manipulation (the LIBOR scandal), which ideally should invite more regulatory scrutiny, not less. Instead, a new law ostensibly crafted to provide a few "technical fixes" for Dodd-Frank is now reducing the regulatory oversight of a bank that has been cited in an IMF report as one of Germany's "global systemically important financial institutions." Translating the couched-IMF-speak, the report suggests that Deutsche Bank on its own has the potential to set off a new global contagion, given the scale of its derivatives exposure. Not only too big to fail, but evidently too big to regulate properly either, aided and abetted by members of a party who claim to be appalled at the level of corruption in the Trump administration.
Another side-effect of raising the regulatory threshold to $250 billion in assets is that it diminishes the chance of obtaining an early warning detection signal from somewhat smaller financial institutions. As the experience of Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns illustrated, smaller problems that remain hidden in the shadows can ultimately metastasize if left alone, and become much bigger -- and more systemically dangerous -- later.
So when Senator Kaine nobly suggests that he is merely providing relief for "small community banks and credit unions" in his home state, or Jon Tester argues that he is only helping local banks suffering from Dodd-Frank's regulatory overkill, both are being extraordinarily disingenuous. The reality is that increasing the oversight threshold by 500 percent does not just help a few "small community banks and credit unions" crawl out from a thicket of onerous and costly regulation. Even former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who favored some regulatory relief for community banks, felt that $250 billion threshold was excessive ly lax.
In fact, ( per the Americans for Financial Reform ), the increase "removes the most severe mandate for 25 of the 38 largest banks," which together "account for over $3.5 trillion in banking assets, more than one-sixth of the U.S. total." Additionally, as Pat Garofalo writes : "The bill also includes an exemption from capital standards -- essentially the amount of money that banks need to have on hand in case things go south -- that benefits some big financial firms, and even more are lobbying to be included." In other words, this isn't just George Bailey's friendly neighborhood bank that is getting some regulatory relief here.
All of this newfound regulatory laxity comes at a time when many of the largest Wall Street banks have again resurrected the same practices that almost destroyed them a decade ago. Bank credit analyst Chris Whalen observes : "The leader of this effort is none other than Citigroup (NYSE:C), which has surpassed JP MorganChase (NYSE:JPM) to become the largest derivatives shop in the world. Citi has embraced the most notorious product of the roaring 2000s, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation or 'CDO' security, a product that fraudulently leverages the real world and literally caused the bank to fail a decade ago."
Another example: Trump and his henchman, Mick Mulvaney, have also joined the big banks in attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which by virtue of the Crapo act, will be blocked "from collecting key data showing when and where families of color are being overcharged for home loans or steered into predatory products."
Let's be honest here: even in its original form, Dodd-Frank was the bare minimum the government could have done in the wake of the 2008 disaster. But lobbyists, paid-for politicians and co-opted bank-friendly regulators have been busy "applying technical fixes" to the bill virtually from the moment it was passed a decade ago. The upshot is that the much-trumpeted Wall Street reform is a joke when compared to the comprehensive legislation passed in the aftermath of the Great Depression (which set the stage for decades of relative financial stability). Under Dodd, the banks are purportedly subject to "meaningful stress tests" ( in the words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell ), but the tests are neither particularly stressful, nor do they adequately reflect today's twin dangers of off-balance sheet leverage and the concentration of big banks' on-balance sheet assets in relatively low-return loans.
What should have been done after the global financial crisis? Professors Eric Tymoigne and Randall Wray proposed the following :
"Any of the 'too big to fail' financial institutions that needed funding should have been required to submit to Fed oversight. Top management should have been required to proffer resignations as a condition of lending (with the Fed or Treasury holding the letters until they could decide which should be accepted -- this is how Jessie Jones resolved the bank crisis in the 1930s). Short-term lending against the best collateral should have been provided, at penalty rates. A comprehensive 'cease and desist' order should have been enforced to stop all trading, all lending, all asset sales, and all bonus payments until an assessment of bank solvency could have been completed. The FDIC should have been called-in (in the case of institutions with insured deposits), but in any case, the critically undercapitalized institutions should have been dissolved according to existing law: at the least cost to the Treasury and to avoid increasing concentration in the financial sector."
A number of conclusions can be drawn from this whole sordid episode. An obvious one is that our model of campaign finance is completely broken. While it is encouraging to see some Democratic politicians increasingly adopting the Sanders model of fundraising, swearing off large corporate donations , not enough are doing so. Democrats are united in their concern pertaining to foreign threats that pose risks to the integrity of U.S. elections, but the vigorous opposition to Vladimir Putin and the Russians isn't extended to the domestic oligarchs destroying American democracy (and the economy) from within.
The whole history behind Senator Crapo's bill shows how quickly bank lobbyists can routinely exploit their financial muscle to turn a seemingly innocuous bill into something which pokes yet more holes into the Swiss Cheese-like rules already in place for Dodd. The Baker's Dirty Dozen have accepted donations from Wall Street that not only constrain their ability to implement genuine reforms in finance (and other areas) but also discourage the mobilization of voters, who see this legislative horror show, and consequently opt out of showing up to vote at elections because they know that the system is rigged and dominated by corporate cash (making their votes irrelevant).
Ironically, no less a figure than Donald Trump exploited that voter cynicism in 2016. In striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, and Wall Street (and made effective mockery of Hillary Clinton's ties to Goldman Sachs) and thereby mobilized blue-collar voters in marginal Rust Belt states, giving him his path to the presidency. Of course, we now know that this was all bait-and-switch politics, likely facilitated by forces outside the U.S., along with large corporation donations from domestic elites. We've probably reached the endgame as far as this " investment approach to politics " as it disintegrates into a cesspool of corruption and further financial fragility. It may take another crash before this problem is truly fixed.
In the meantime, this bipartisan subversion of Wall Street reform not only risks making the next crisis at least as bad as 2008, but also reinforces the notion that both parties are equally corrupt, catalyzing the collapse of the American political order . In a further sick twist of fate, the twin corrosive forces of "golden rule politics" (i.e., he who has the gold rules) and a rapidly deflating "bubble-ized" economy could all come to a head under the watch of Donald the Unready. But he won't own this disaster alone, thanks to the help of compromised Wall Street Democrats.
Part 3 - A False Promise
This 'Washington Consensus' is the false promise promoted by the West. The reality is quite different. The crux of neoliberalism is to eliminate democratic government by downsizing, privatizing, and deregulating it. Proponents of neoliberalism recognize that the state is the last bulwark of protection for the common people against the predations of capital. Remove the state and they'll be left defenseless .
Think about it. Deregulation eliminates the laws. Downsizing eliminates departments and their funding. Privatizing eliminates the very purpose of the state by having the private sector take over its traditional responsibilities.
Ultimately, nation-states would dissolve except perhaps for armies and tax systems. A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism.
Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged.
The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy.
What matters to the one percent and the media conglomerates that disseminate their worldview is that the official definitions are accepted by the masses. The real effects need never be known. The neoliberal ideology (theory) thus conceals the neoliberal reality (practice). And for the masses to accept it, it must be mass produced. Then it becomes more or less invisible by virtue of its universality.
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Mar 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> Harry... 10 March 2018 at 06:25 PMYou have a good point, but I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian. Karl Rove's dream to return the economy to the late 19th Century standard.JTMcPhee -> to steve... 11 March 2018 at 12:56 PM
The Clintonoid project seems set on taking it to the late 16th century. Probably with a return of chattel slavery. I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcySoros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them.
Do you really contend that Soros and the Koch brothers, and people like Adelson, aren't busily "undermining American democracy," whatever that is, via their organizations (like ALEC and such) in favor of their oligarchic kleptocratic interests, and going at it 24/7?
The phrase "reductio ad absurdam" comes to mind, for some reason...
Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play...
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
VietnamVet 10 March 2018 at 05:27 PMColonel,
Have you seen the movie "Wind River" yet? It is the best depiction I've seen of the USA descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation.
NBC News daily has Kumbaya propaganda to facilitate importing of cheap labor and goods. But, what good is a service economy if there is no service? Just like Soviet propaganda, corporate media today is in service of the oligarch owners and sold out party elite. It tries to avoid the truth. Although, NBC did report on the astronomical rise in cost of ambulance service. A couple thousand dollars for mile and half trip to the hospital. They said it was due to the 2008 recession and the cutting of local volunteer emergency services to save tax money.
Rather than tax the wealthy and corporations, the middle class is going into debt to pay for education, medical bills, and $40 Northern Virginia one-way tolls. Federal taxes on the middle class support the endless wars.
I agree the Democrats shot themselves in the foot because they are unconcerned for the bottom 80% except for their identity issues. They serve their paymasters.
The recent Italian election documents the complete collapse of left leaning parties that ignored the plight of the workers in the West. To me, to win, the left in America must write off student debt, implement Medicare for All, end the forever wars and tax George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pierre Omidyar, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family to pay for it. To work, criminal bankers need to be jailed and corporate boards required to manage for long term profits that benefit society not just quarterly and themselves only.
The six largest banks in America have over 10 trillion dollars in assets, equivalent to 54% of the GDP of this nation. This is wealth, this is power, this is who owns America.
Ten years after the big crash of 2007-08, caused by the Wall Street mafia, sending waves of financial destruction around the globe, the awful Trump administration that literally put the Goldman Sachs banksters in charge of the US economy, wants to reset the clock bomb of another financial disaster by deregulating the financial sector! And guess what: the corporate Democrats followed again!
Putting aside that Russiagate fiasco, Bernie Sanders was one more time the only voice of resistance against the Wall Street mafia in a hypnotized by the banking-corporate money US senate.
As Bernie stated:
Just ten years ago, as a result of greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, this country was plunged into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The official unemployment rate soared up to 10% and the real unemployment rate jumped to over 17%. At the height of the financial crisis more than 27 million Americans were unemployed, underemployed or stopped working altogether because they could not find employment. 15 million families - as a result of that financial crisis - lost their homes to foreclosure, as more and more people could not afford to pay their mortgages. As a result of the illegal behavior of Wall Street, American households lost over 13 trillion dollars in savings. That is what Wall Street did 10 years ago.
Believe it or not - and of course we are not going to hear any discussion of this at all -- the four largest banks in America are on average 80% bigger today than they were before we bailed them out because they were "too big to fail". Incredibly, the six largest banks in America have over 10 trillion dollars in assets, equivalent to 54% of the GDP of this nation . This is wealth, this is power, this is who owns America.
If any of these financial institutions were to get into a financial trouble again, there is no doubt that, once again, the taxpayers of this country will be asked to bail them out. Except this time, the bail out might even be larger than it was in 2008.
Bernie is right, the facts are all there, except that, again, he is the only one who speaks about it.
Recall that according to chapter 20 conclusions of the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, " As a result of the rescues and consolidation of financial institutions through failures and mergers during the crisis, the U.S. financial sector is now more concentrated than ever in the hands of a few very large, systemically significant institutions. "
Recall also that in December 1, 2010, the Fed was forced to release details of 21,000 funding transactions it made during the financial crisis, naming names and dollar amounts. Disclosure was due to a provision sparked by Bernie Sanders. The voluminous data dump from the notoriously secret Fed shows just how deeply the Federal Reserve stepped into the shoes of Wall Street and, as the crisis grew and the normal channels of lending froze, the Fed effectively replaced Wall Street and money centers banks in terms of financing. The Fed has thus far reported, without even disclosing specifics of its lending from its discount window, that it supplied, in total, more than $9 trillion to Wall Street firms, commercial banks, foreign banks, corporations and some highly questionable off balance sheet entities. (Much smaller amounts were outstanding at any one time.)
Bill Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, states:
In the savings loan debacle, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, George Akerlof and Paul Romer, who until recently was Chief Economist to the World Bank, wrote that economists didn't realize - because they lacked any theory of fraud - that deregulation was bound to create widespread fraud and a crisis. Now, we know better if we learn the lessons of this crisis, we need not recreate it.
Very conservative, anti-regulatory people hold the White House and key positions in the House and the Senate, and the first thing the industry does is gut regulation. Why? Because it makes the CEOs so wealthy to run these frauds and predation. It's not necessarily good for the banking industry, but it is extremely good for the most senior leaders and they are the ones, of course, who hire and fire the lawyers and the lobbyists, and effectively hire and fire key members of Congress.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/PMkNsa3WtMwApparently, our memories are indeed so short that we have learned nothing from the 2008 Wall Street crash. Bernie Sanders (and probably Elizabeth Warren to some extend), are left alone again to fight against the Wall Street mafia because, apparently, the rest of the US political class has been bought from it.
Mar 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com
"Empire" and "superpower" accurately symbolize the projection of American power abroad, but for that reason they obscure the internal consequences. Consider how odd it would sound if we were to refer to "the Constitution of the American Empire" or "superpower democracy." The reason they ring false is that "constitution" signifies limitations on power, while "democracy" commonly refers to the active involvement of citizens with their government and the responsiveness of government to its citizens.
For their part, "empire" and "superpower" stand for the surpassing of limits and the dwarfing of the citizenry. The increasing power of the state and the declining power of institutions intended to control it has been in the making for some time. The party system is a notorious example.
...Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment.
What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic. In the United States, however, it has been apparent for decades that corporate power has become so predominant in the political establishment, particularly in the Republican Party
...At the same time, it is corporate power, as the representative of the dynamic of capitalism and of the ever-expanding power made available by the integration of science and technology with the structure of capitalism, that produces the totalizing drive
.. a pervasive atmosphere of fear abetted by a corporate economy of ruthless downsizing, withdrawal or reduction of pension and health benefits; a corporate political system that relentlessly threatens to privatize Social Security and the modest health benefits available, especially to the poor. With such instrumentalities for promoting uncertainty and dependence, it is almost overkill for inverted totalitarianism to employ a system of criminal justice that is punitive in the extreme, relishes the death penalty and is consistently biased against the powerless.
Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers.
That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.
What is at stake, then, is nothing less than the attempted transformation of a tolerably free society into a variant of the extreme regimes of the past century. In that context, the national elections of 2004 represent a crisis in its original meaning, a turning point. The question for citizens is: Which way?Sheldon Wolin Sheldon Wolin is the author, most recently, of Alexis de Tocqueville: Man Between Two Worlds (Princeton). A new edition of his book Politics and Vision is forthcoming. He is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University.
Mar 07, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The Intel Community Lie About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus
Americans tend to be a trusting lot. When they hear a high level government official, like former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, state that Russia's Vladimir ordered and monitored a Russian cyber attack on the 2016 Presidential election, those trusting souls believe him. For experienced intelligence professionals, who know how the process of gathering and analyzing intelligence works, they detect a troubling omission in Clapper's presentation and, upon examining the so-called "Intelligence Community Assessment," discover that document is a deceptive fraud. It lacks actual evidence that Putin and the Russians did what they are accused of doing. More troubling -- and this is inside baseball -- is the fact that two critical members of the Intelligence Community -- the DIA and State INR -- were not asked to coordinate/clear on the assessment.
You should not feel stupid if you do not understand or appreciate the last point. That is something only people who actually have produced a Community Assessment would understand. I need to take you behind the scenes and ensure you understand what is intelligence and how analysts assess and process that intelligence. Once you understand that then you will be able to see the flaws and inadequacies in the report released by Jim Clapper in January 2017.The first thing you need to understand is the meaning of the term, the "Intelligence Community" aka IC. Comedians are not far off the mark in touting this phrase as the original oxymoron. On paper the IC currently is comprised of 17 agencies/departments:
- Air Force Intelligence,
- Army Intelligence,
- Central Intelligence Agency aka CIA,
- Coast Guard Intelligence,
- Defense Intelligence Agency aka DIA,
- Energy Department aka DOE,
- Homeland Security Department,
- State Department aka INR,
- Treasury Department,
- Drug Enforcement Administration aka DEA,
- Federal Bureau of Investigation aka FBI,
- Marine Corps Intelligence,
- National Geospatial Intelligence Agency aka NGIA or NGA,
- National Reconnaissance Office aka NRO,
- National Security Agency aka NSA,
- Navy Intelligence
- The Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
But not all of these are "national security" agencies -- i.e., those that collect raw intelligence, which subsequently is packaged and distributed to other agencies on a need to know basis. Only six of these agencies take an active role in collecting raw foreign intelligence. The remainder are consumers of that intelligence product. In other words, the information does not originate with them. They are like a subscriber to the New York Times. They get the paper everyday and, based upon what they read, decide what is going on in their particular world. The gatherers of intelligence are:
- The CIA collects and disseminates intelligence from human sources, i.e., foreigners who have been recruited to spy for us.
- The DIA collects and disseminates intelligence on the activities and composition of foreign militaries and rely primarily on human sources but also collect documentary material.
- The State Department messages between the Secretary of State and the our embassies constitutes the intelligence reviewed and analyzed by other agencies.
- NGIA collects collects, analyzes, and distributes geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) in support of national security. NGA was known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) until 2003. In other words, maps and photographs.
- NRO designs, builds, and operates the reconnaissance satellites of the U.S. federal government, and provides satellite intelligence to several government agencies, particularly signals intelligence (SIGINT) to the NSA, imagery intelligence (IMINT) to the NGA, and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) to the DIA.
- NSA analyzes signal intelligence, including phone conversations and emails.
Nine of the other agencies/departments are consumers. They do not collect and package original info. They are the passive recipients. The analysts in those agencies will base their conclusions on information generated by other agencies, principally the CIA and the NSA.
The astute among you, I am sure, will insist my list is deficient and will ask, "What about the FBI and DEA?" It is true that those two organizations produce a type of human intelligence -- i.e., they recruit informants and those informants provide those agencies with information that the average person understandably would categorize as "intelligence." But there is an important difference between human intelligence collected by the CIA and the human source intelligence gathered by the FBI or the DEA. The latter two are law enforcement agencies. No one from the CIA or the NSA has the power to arrest someone. The FBI and the DEA do.
Their authority as law enforcement agents, however, comes with limitations, especially in collecting so-called intelligence. The FBI and the DEA face egal constraints on what information they can collect and store. The FBI cannot decide on its own that skinheads represent a threat and then start gathering information identifying skinhead leaders. There has to be an allegation of criminal activity. When such "human" information is being gathered under the umbrella of law enforcement authorities, it is being handled as potential evidence that may be used to prosecute someone. This means that such information cannot be shared with anyone else, especially intelligence agencies like the CIA and the NSA.
The "17th" member of the IC is the Director of National Intelligence aka DNI. This agency was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for the ostensible purpose of coordinating the activities and products of the IC. In theory it is the organization that is supposed to coordinate what the IC collects and the products the IC produces. Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle.
An important, but little understood point, is that these agencies each have a different focus. They are not looking at the same things. In fact, most are highly specialized and narrowly focused. Take the Coast Guard, for instance. Their intelligence operations primarily hone in on maritime threats and activities in U.S. territorial waters, such as narcotic interdictions. They are not responsible for monitoring what the Russians are doing in the Black Sea and they have no significant expertise in the cyber activities of the Russian Army military intelligence organization aka the GRU.
In looking back at the events of 2016 surrounding the U.S. Presidential campaign, most people will recall that Hillary Clinton, along with several high level Obama national security officials, pushed the lie that the U.S. Intelligence agreed that Russia had unleashed a cyber war on the United States. The initial lie came from DNI Jim Clapper and Homeland Security Chief, Jeb Johnson, who released the following memo to the press on 7 October 2016 :
"The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."
This was a deliberate deceptive message. It implied that the all 16 intelligence agencies agreed with the premise and "evidence of Russian meddling. Yet not a single bit of proof was offered. More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release:
- "The USIC is confident . . ."
- "We believe . . ."
If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist.
Hillary Clinton helped perpetuate this myth during the late October debate with Donald Trump, when she declared as fact that:
"We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing."
What is shocking is that there was so little pushback to this nonsense. Hardly anyone asked why would the DEA, Coast Guard, the Marines or DOE have any technical expertise to make a judgment about Russian hacking of U.S. election systems. And no one of any importance asked the obvious -- where was the written memo or National Intelligence Estimate laying out what the IC supposedly knew and believed? There was nothing.
It is natural for the average American citizen to believe that something given the imprimatur of the Intelligence Community must reflect solid intelligence and real expertise. Expertise is supposed to be the cornerstone of intelligence analysis and the coordination that occurs within the IC. That means that only those analysts (and the agencies they represent) will be asked to contribute or comment on a particular intelligence issue. When it comes to the question of whether Russia had launched a full out cyber attack on the Democrats and the U.S. electoral system, only analysts from agencies with access to the intelligence and the expertise to analyze that intelligence would be asked to write or contribute to an intelligence memorandum.
Who would that be? The answer is simple -- the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, State INR and the FBI. (One could make the case that there are some analysts within Homeland Security that might have expertise, but they would not necessarily have access to the classified information produced by the CIA or the NSA.) The task of figuring out what the Russians were doing and planned to do fell to five agencies and only three of the five (the CIA, the DIA and NSA) would have had the ability to collect intelligence that could inform the work of analysts.
Before I can explain to you how an analyst work this issue it is essential for you to understand the type of intelligence that would be required to "prove" Russian meddling. There are four possible sources -- 1) a human source who had direct access to the Russians who directed the operation or carried it out; 2) a signal intercept of a conversation or cyber activity that was traced to Russian operatives; 3) a document that discloses the plan or activity observed; or 4) forensic evidence from the computer network that allegedly was attacked.
Getting human source intel is primarily the job of CIA. It also is possible that the DIA or the FBI had human sources that could have contributed relevant intelligence.
Signal intercepts are collected and analyzed by the NSA.
Documentary evidence, which normally is obtained from a human source but can also be picked up by NSA intercepts or even an old-fashioned theft.
Finally there is the forensic evidence . In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked.
What Do Analysts Do?
Whenever there is a "judgment" or "consensus" claimed on behalf to the IC, it means that one or more analysts have written a document that details the evidence and presents conclusions based on that evidence. On a daily basis the average analyst confronts a flood of classified information (normally referred to as "cables" or "messages"). When I was on the job in the 1980s I had to wade through more than 1200 messages -- i.e., human source reports from the CIA, State Department messages with embassies around the world, NSA intercepts, DIA reports from their officers based overseas (most in US embassies) and open source press reports. Today, thanks to the internet, the average analyst must scan through upwards of 3000 messages. It is humanly impossible.
The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people.
Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved :
This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.
Limiting the drafting and clearance on this document to only the CIA, the NSA and the FBI is highly unusual because one of the key analytical conclusions in the document identifies the Russian military intelligence organization, the GRU, as one of the perpetrators of the cyber attack. DIA's analysts are experts on the GRU and there also are analysts in State Department's Bureau of INR who should have been consulted. Instead, they were excluded.
Here is how the process should have worked in producing this document:
- One or more analysts are asked to do a preliminary draft. It is customary in such a document for the analyst to cite specific intelligence, using phrases such as: "According to a reliable source of proven access," when citing a CIA document or "According to an intercept of a conversation between knowledgeable sources with access," when referencing something collected by the NSA. The analyst does more than repeat what is claimed in the intel reports, he or she also has the job of explaining what these facts mean or do not mean.
- There always is an analyst leading the effort who has the job of integrating the contributions of the other analysts into a coherent document. Once the document is completed in draft it is handed over to Branch Chief and then Division Chief for editing. We do not know who had the lead, but it was either the FBI, the CIA or the NSA.
- At the same time the document is being edited at originating agency, it is supposed to be sent to the other clearing agencies, i.e. those agencies that either provided the intelligence cited in the draft (i.e., CIA, NSA, DIA, or State) or that have expertise on the subject. As noted previously, it is highly unusual to exclude the DIA and INR.
- Once all the relevant agencies clear on the content of the document, it is sent into the bowels of the DNI where it is put into final form.
That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions:
- Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.
- We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.
- We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.
- We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.
Sounds pretty ominous, but the language used tells a different story. The conclusions are based on assumptions and judgments. There was nor is any actual evidence from intelligence sources showing that Vladimir Putin ordered up anything or that his government preferred Trump over Clinton.
How do I know this? If such evidence existed -- either documentary or human source or signal intercept -- it would have been cited in this document. Not only that. Such evidence would have corroborated the claims presented in the Steele dossier. But such evidence was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified."
It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document.
That simple fact should tell you all you need to know. The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.
LeaNder , 07 March 2018 at 05:59 PMGood summary argument, PT. Thanks. Helpful reminder.turcopolier , 07 March 2018 at 06:10 PM
But, makes me feel uncomfortable. Cynical scenario. I'd prefer them to be both drivers and driven, somehow stumbling into the chronology of events. They didn't hack the DNC, after all. Crowdstrike? Steele? ...
But yes, all the 17 agencies Clinton alluded to in her 3rd encounter with Trump was a startling experience:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/19/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-blames-russia-putin-wikileaks-rele/LeaNderFlavius , 07 March 2018 at 06:19 PM
One other point on which Tacitus and I differ is the quality of the analysts in the "minors." The "bigs" often recruit analysts from the "minors" so they can't be all that bad. And the analysts in all these agencies receive much the same data feed electronically every day. There are exceptions to this but it is generally true. I, too, read hundreds of documents every day to keep up with the knowledge base of the analysts whom I interrogated continuously. "How do you know that?" would have been typical. plWell done.Richardstevenhack , 07 March 2018 at 06:23 PM
"The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged.
Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it?
Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup.
The whole sequence reminds me in some ways of the sub prime mortgage bond fiasco: garbage risk progressively bundled, repackaged, rebranded and resold by big name institutions that should have known better.
I have only two questions: was it misfeasance, malfeasance, or some ugly combination of the two? And are they going to get away with it?Re this: " In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked."ann , 07 March 2018 at 11:22 PM
To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC.
All three allegedly examined those images and concurred with CrowdStrike's analysis.
Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence.
In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich.
The "assessment" that Putin ordered any of this is pure mind-reading and can be utterly dismissed absent any of the other evidence Publius points out as necessary.
The same applies to any "estimate" that the Russian government preferred Trump or wished to denigrate Clinton. Based on what I read in pro-Russian news outlets, Russian officials took great pains to not pick sides and Putin's comments were similarly very restrained. The main quote from Putin about Trump that emerged was mistranslated as approval whereas it was more an observation of Trump's personality. At no time did Putin ever say he favored Trump over Clinton, even though that was a likely probability given Clinton's "Hitler" comparison.
As an aside, I also recommend Scott Ritter's trashing of the ICA. Ritter is familiar with intelligence estimates and their reliability based on his previous service as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and in Russia implementing arms control treaties.
Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia
His analysis of the NSA document leaked by NSA contractor Reality Winner which supposedly supported the Russia theory is also relevant.
Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in 'Russiagate' Case
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/leaked-nsa-report-is-short-on-facts-proves-little-in-russiagate-case/This is a wonderful explanation of the intelligence community. And I thank you for the explanation. My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected. However inadequate my summary is it looks like the Democrats are less skilled in propaganda than the Repubs. And what else is the difference?Richardstevenhack , 08 March 2018 at 03:02 AMMueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling."blue peacock , 08 March 2018 at 04:12 AM
His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government.
It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already.GZC #12English Outsider , 08 March 2018 at 05:57 AM
Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating.
IMO, the conspiracy is significantly larger in scale and scope than anything the Russians did.
Yes, indeed we'll have to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. But also what facts these other investigations reveal.Thank you for setting out the geography and workings of this complex world.turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:53 AM
Might I ask how liaison with other Intelligence Communities fits in? Is intelligence information from non-US sources such as UK intelligence sources subject to the same process of verification and evaluation?
I ask because of the passage in your article -
"But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." "
Does this leave room for the assertion that although the "Dossier" was unverified in the US it was accepted as good information because it had been verified by UK Intelligence or by persons warranted by the UK? In other words, was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?EO,turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:54 AM
" ... was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?" I would say yes and especially yes if the contact for this piece of data was conducted at the highest level within the context of the already tight liaison between the US IC and Mi-6/GCHQ. PT may think differently. plGZCjsn -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:20 AM
A lot of smoke? Only if you wish to place a negative value on everything the Trump people did or were. plThe CIA appears to be trying to right the wrongs done them with the creation of the DNI:turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 08:54 AM
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/08/dems-m08.htmljsnturcopolier -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:01 AM
The wrongs done them? I hope that was irony. plGZCturcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 09:24 AM
Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. If he is anything like the many like him whom I observed in my ten business years, then he has cut corners legally somewhere in international business. they pretty much all do that. Kooshy, a successful businessman confirmed that here a while back. These other guys were all business hustlers including Flynn and their activities have made them vulnerable to Mueller. IMO you have to ask yourself how much you want to be governed by political hacks and how much by hustlers. pljsnDH , 08 March 2018 at 09:50 AM
hy this socialist pub would fing it surprising that former public servants seek elected office is a mystery to me. BTW, in re all the discussion here of the IC, there are many levels in these essentially hierarchical structures and one's knowledge of them is conditioned by the perspective from which you viewed them. plRe 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance.Publius Tacitus -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:53 AM
Also, the Seymour Hersh tape certainly seems authentic as far as Seth Rich being implicated in the DNC dump.GZC,jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:15 AM
Are you really this obtuse?
You insist (I guess you rely on MSNBC as your fact source) that Manafort, Page, etc. all "have connections to Russia or Assange." You are using smear and guilt by association. Flynn's so-called connection to Russia was that he accepted an invite to deliver a speech at an RT sponsored event and was paid. So what? Nothing wrong with that. Just ask Bill Clinton. Or perhaps you are referring to the fact that Flynn also spoke to the Russian Ambassador to the US after the election in his capacity as designated National Security Advisor. Zero justification for investigation.
Stone? He left the campaign before there had even been a primary and only had text exchanges with Assange.
Your blind hatred of Trump makes you incapable of thinking logically.Sir,jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:25 AM
The most sarcastic irony was intended. This is what the real left looks like, its very different from Clintonite Liberals, not that I agree with their ideological program, though I believe parts have their place.
Liberals have, I believe, jumped the shark: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/07/progressive-journalists-jump-the-shark-on-russiagate/
If the get their way with the new McCarthyism, the implications for dissent, left or right, seem to me to be about the same:
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/federalist-68-the-electoral-college-and-faithless-electors.html#intelligenceSir,LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 10:40 AM
And to your second comment, yes I agree about the complexity of institutions and how situationally constrained individual experiences are, if that was the point.
I'll also concede my brief comments generalize very broadly, but it's hard to frame things more specific comments without direct knowledge, such as the invaluable correspondents here. I try to avoid confirmation bias by reading broadly and try to provide outside perspectives. My apologies if they're too far outside.
I suppose it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of how many former IC self affiliated with which party in choosing to run. I'm just guessing but I'll bet there's more CIA in the D column and more DIA among the Rs.love this coinage Flavius: Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallengedSid Finster , 08 March 2018 at 11:06 AM
a lie "circumstantial"? http://recycledknowledge.blogspot.de/2005/05/seven-degrees-of-lie.html"We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found.Sarah B said in reply to turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:27 AM
That said, I have no doubt that Mueller will find *something*, simply because an aggressive and determined prosecutor can always find *something*, especially if the target is engaged in higher level business or politics. A form unfiled, an irregularity in an official document, and overly optimistic tax position.
If nothing else works, there's always the good old standby of asking question after question until the target makes a statement that can be construed as perjury or lying to investigators.My perspective, after reading that linked article by the WSWS, is that both, the IC and the DoD, are trying to take over the whole US political spectrum, in fact, militarizing de facto the US political life....Barbara Ann -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:35 AM
Now, tell me that this is not an intend by the MIC ( where all the former IC or DoD people finally end when they leave official positions )to take over the government ( if more was needed after what has happened with Trump´s ) to guarantee their profit rate in a moment where everything is crimbling....
Btw, have you read the recently released paper, "WorldWide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" by Daniel R. Coats ( DNI )? You smell fear from the four corners....do not you?Those immortal words are attributed to Lavrentiy Beria, Colonel and you are not the first to draw the comparison re Mueller's investigation. For those who do not know Beria was head of the NKVD under Stalin.Barbara Ann -> Sid Finster... , 08 March 2018 at 11:36 AMOnly if you were discussing BDS.Sarah B , 08 March 2018 at 11:38 AMHere is the paper in question I am mentioning above: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/2018-ATA---Unclassified-SSCI.pdf Some neutral analyst is saying that from 28 pages, 24 are dedicated to Russia and China, then Iran and NK, in this order...and that it is an official recognition of the new multipolar order....Peter VE said in reply to johnf... , 08 March 2018 at 11:55 AMThe BBC reported this morning that a police officer who was amongst the earliest responders to the "nerve gas" poisoning of Col. Skripal is also being treated for symptoms. How was it that many "White Helmets" who were filmed where the sarin gas was dropped on Khan Sheikhoun last April suffered no symptoms?Jack -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:59 AMSirThe Twisted Genius , 08 March 2018 at 12:59 PM
That's a good way to present it political hacks vs hustlers. The fact is Flynn has pled guilty to perjury. Nothing else like collusion with the Russians. And his sentencing is on hold now as the judge has ordered Mueller to hand over any exculpatory evidence. Clearly something is going on his case for the judge to do that.
Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that.The select group of several dozen analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI who produced the January 2017 ICA are very likely the same group of analysts assembled by Brenner in August 2016 to form a task force examining "L'Affaire Russe" at the same time Brennan brought that closely held report to Obama of Putin's specific instructions on an operation to damage Clinton and help Trump. I've seen these interagency task forces set up several times to address particular info ops or cyberattack issues. Access to the work of these task forces was usually heavily restricted. I don't know if this kind of thing has become more prevalent throughout the IC.LeaNder said in reply to Richardstevenhack ... , 08 March 2018 at 01:01 PM
I am also puzzled by the absence of DIA in the mix. When I was still working, there were a few DIA analysts who were acknowledged throughout the IC as subject matter experts and analytical leaders in this field. On the operational side, there was never great enthusiasm for things cyber or info ops. There were only a few lonely voices in the darkness. Meanwhile, CIA, FBI and NSA embraced the field wholeheartedly. Perhaps those DIA analytical experts retired or moved on to CYBERCOM, NSA or CIA's Information Operations Center.I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 ...LeaNder said in reply to Fred... , 08 March 2018 at 02:29 PM
Richard, over here the type of software is categorized under Advanced Persistent Threat, and beyond that specifically labeled the "Sofacy Group". ... I seem to prefer the more neutral description 'Advanced Persistent Threat' by Kaspersky. Yes, they seem to be suspicious lately in the US. But I am a rather constant consumer, never mind the occasional troubles over the years.
APT: Helps to not get confused by all the respective naming patterns in the economic field over national borders. APT 1 to 29 ...? Strictly, What's the precise history of the 'Bear' label and or the specific, I assume, group of APT? ...
Kasperky pdf-file - whodunnit?
Ever used a datebase checking a file online? Would have made you aware of the multitude of naming patterns.
More ad-hoc concerning one item in your argument above. To what extend does a standard back-up system leave relevant forensic traces? Beyond the respective image in the present? Do you know?
Admittedly, I have no knowledge about matters beyond purely private struggles. But yes, they seemed enough to get a vague glimpse of categories in the field of attribution. Regarding suspected state actors vs the larger cybercrime scene that is.Even mentioning those is just further evidence that something really did happen.Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:18 PM
I appreciate you are riding our partially shared hobby horse, Fred. ;)
But admittedly this reminds me of something that felt like a debate-shift, I may be no doubt misguided here. Nitwit! In other words I may well have some type of ideological-knot in the relevant section dealing with memory in my brain as long-term undisciplined observer of SST.
But back on topic: the argument seemed to be that "important facts" were omitted. In other words vs earlier times were are now centrally dealing with omission as evidence. No?Ask National Security Advisor General McMaster.Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:20 PM
Even Trump now says Putin meddled.
What more evidence do you needGeneral McMaster has seen the evidence and says the fact of Russian meddling can no longer be credibly denied.turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 03:34 PM
That doesn't stop the right-wing extremists from spinning fairy tales.DaveDave -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:50 PM
It is politically necessary for Trump to say that. Tell me, what is meant by "Russian meddling"in this statement by McMaster? plRussian meddling is hacking our election systems.Publius Tacitus -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:02 PM
The right wing (re: Hannity and Limbaugh) have been trying mightily to discredit this investigation by smearing Mueller's reputation, even though he is a conservative republican.
They are doing this so that if Mueller's report is damning, they can call it a "witch hunt."
I would think that if Trump is innocent, he would cooperate with this investigation fully.
You are insinuating that McMaster is a liar even though he has access to information that you don't.Just because trump is stupid is not an excuse for you. You accept a lie without one shred of actual evidence. You are a lemmingFred -> LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 04:04 PMLeaNder,Fred -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:07 PM
"omission as evidence. " Incorrect. Among the omissions was the fact that the dossier was paid for by a political campaign and that the wife of a senior DOJ lawyer's wife was working for Fusion GPS. Then there's the rest of the political motivations left out.Dave,Linda , 08 March 2018 at 04:16 PM
Putin hired Facebook. That company seems to do well helping out foreign governments.
If you have seen the classified information that would be necessary to back up your conclusions, it should not be discussed in this forum. As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publically done. Having said that, I pretty much agree with your conclusion except for the indication that the analysts lied.turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:26 PMDaveturcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:36 PM
What does "hacking our elections" mean? Does it means breaking into voting systems and changing the outcome by altering votes? Or does it mean information operations to change US voters' minds about for whom they would vote? If the latter you must know that we (the US) have done this many times in foreign elections, including Russian elections, Israeli elections, Italian elections, German elections, etc., or perhaps you think that a different criterion should be applied to people who are not American. As for McMasters, I am unimpressed with him. He displays all the symptoms of Russophobia. He has special information? Information can be interpreted many ways depending on one's purpose. plLindaJamesT -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 04:37 PM
PT does not have access to the classified information underlying but your argument that "As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publicly done." doesn't hold water for me since I have seen sources and methods disclosed by the government of the US many times when it felt that necessary. One example that I have mentioned before was that of the trial of Jeffrey Sterling (merlin) for which I was an expert witness and adviser to the federal court for four years. In that one the CIA and DoJ forced the court to allow them to de-classify the CIA DO's operational files on the case and read them into the record in open court. I had read all these files when they were classified at the SCI level. IMO the perpetrators in the Steel Memo case are and were merely hiding behind claims of sources and methods protection in order to protect themselve. plI continue to learn things around here that I could never learn anywhere else. It is a privilege to read the Colonel, TTG, and Publius Tacitus.turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:47 PMDaveLeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 04:49 PM
If you use denigrating language like "wild eyed" to attack your interlocutors you will not be welcome here. plMueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind.Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
Not aware of this. Can you help me out?
No doubt vaguely familiar with public lore, in limited ways. As always.So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?LeaNder said in reply to Fred ... , 08 March 2018 at 05:10 PM
Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?
Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.Ok, true. I forgot 'Steele'* was used as 'evidence'.m -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:29 PM
Strictly, Pat may have helped me out considering my 'felt' "debate-shift". Indirectly. I do recall, I hesitated to try to clarify matters for myself.
* ...Depends on what crime the "hack" committed. Fudging on taxes or cutting corners? Big whoop. Laundering $500 mil for a buddy of Vlad's? Now you got my attention and should have the voters' attention.m -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:33 PM
This is a political process in the end game. Clinton lied about sex in the oval Office and was tried for it. Why don't we exercise patience in the process and see if this President should be tried?I ain't a lawyer but don't prosecutors hold their cards (evidence) close to their chests until the court has a criminal charge and sets a date for discovery?Publius Tacitus -> Linda ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:45 PMLinda,J , 08 March 2018 at 07:08 PM
You betray your ignorance on this subject. You clearly have not understood nor comprehended what I have written. So i will put it in CAPS for you. Please read slowly.
THIS TYPE OF DOCUMENT, IF IT HAD A SOURCE OR SOURCES BEHIND IT, WOULD REFERENCE THOSE SOURCES. AN ANALYST WOULD NOT WRITE "WE ASSESS." IF YOU HAVE A RELIABLE HUMAN SOURCE OR A RELIABLE PIECE OF SIGINT THE YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ASSESS. YOU SIMPLY STATE, ACCORDING TO A KNOWLEDGEABLE AND RELIABLE SOURCE.
GOT IT. And don't come back with nonsense that the sources are so sensitive that they cannot be disclose. News flash genius--the very fact that Clapper put out this piece of dreck would have exposed the sources if they existed (but they do not). In any event, there would be reference to sources that provided the evidence that such activity took place at the direction of Putin.
IT DOES NOT EXIST.Colonel,Steve McIntyre -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:41 PM
The granddaddy of them all is #16, and what have they contributed?I'm eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the Skripal poisoning. I'm sure I'm not alone in the hope that you will write on it.The Twisted Genius -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:59 PMPublius Tacitus,The Twisted Genius -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 08:26 PM
I notice other Intelligence Community Assessments also use the term "we assess" liberally. For example, the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment and the 2012 ICA on Global Water Security use the "we assess" phrase throughout the documents. I hazard to guess that is why they call these things assessments.
The 2017 ICA on Russian Interference released to the public clearly states: "This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment. This document's conclusions are identical to the highly classified assessment, but this document does not include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence on key elements of the influence campaign. Given the redactions, we made minor edits purely for readability and flow."
I would hazard another guess that those minor edits for readability and flow are the reason that specific intelligence reports and sources, which were left out of the unclassified ICA, are not cited in that ICA.Dave,Publius Tacitus -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:55 PM
As far as I know, no one has reliably claimed that election systems, as in vote tallies, were ever breached. No votes were changed after they were cast. The integrity of our election system and the 2016 election itself was maintained. Having said that, there is plenty of evidence of Russian meddling as an influence op. I suggest you and others take a gander at the research of someone going by the handle of @UsHadrons and several others. They are compiling a collection of FaceBook, twitter and other media postings that emanated from the IRA and other Russian sources. The breadth of these postings is quite wide and supports the assessment that enhancing the divides that already existed in US society was a primary Russian goal.
I pointed this stuff out to Eric Newhill a while back in one of our conversations. He jokingly noted that he may have assisted in spreading a few of these memes. I bet a lot of people will recognize some of the stuff in this collection. That's nothing. Recently we all learned that Michael Moore did a lot more than unwittingly repost a Russian meme. He took part in a NYC protest march organized and pushed by Russians. This stuff is open source proof of Russian meddling.TTG
Nice try, but that is bullshit just because recent assessments come out with sloppy language is no excuse. Go back and look at the assessment was done for iraq to justify the war in 2003. Many sources cited because it was considered something Required to justify going to war. As we have been told by many in the media that the Russians meddling was worse or as bad as the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9-11. With something so serious do you want to argue that they would downplay the sourcing?
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
likbez -> Dave... 08 March 2018 at 11:44 PMDave,Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
Is it so difficult to understand that there are strong incentives to create the "Russia Threat" to hide the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. The current can of political worms and infighting in Washington, DC between POTUS and intelligence agencies factions supporting anti-trump color revolution clearly demonstrate that this crisis is systemic in nature. In this sense, we can talk about the transformation of the US political system into something new.
One feature of this new system is that the US foreign policy now is influenced, if not controlled by intelligence agencies. The latter also proved to be capable of acting as the kingmakers in the US Presidential elections (this time with side effects: derailing Sanders eventually led to the election of Trump; that's why efforts to depose Trump commenced immediately.)
A large part of the US elite is willing to create the situation of balancing on the edge of nuclear war because it allows them to swipe the dirt under the carpet and unite the nation on bogus premises, suppressing the crisis of confidence in the neoliberal elite. Neo-McCarthyism witch hunt serves exactly this purpose.
Also now it is clear that the intelligence agencies and Pentagon, play active, and maybe even decisive part in determining the US foreign policy, US population and elected POTUS be damned.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his staff showed this new arrangement in Syria in July 2017. And the fact that he was not fired on the spot might well signify the change in political power between the "deep state" and the "surface state". With the latter one step closer to being just a Potemkin Village.So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?Flavius said in reply to LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 01:54 PM
Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?
Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.It will be interesting to see why the interviewing FBI Agents to whom Flynn has admitted to the Mueller Op telling a lie, or lies, did not avail Flynn the opportunity of the 'lie circumstantial." From what I think I know about the case, the answers to the questions put to Flynn were already known to the Agents from wire overhears; and their substance did not constitute a crime in any case. Why would not the Agents interviewing Flynn have said "If you're telling me this, we have reason to think that you're mistaken?" If I'm correct in my understanding, in my opinion, the Agents conducted themselves in a very chickenshit fashion and I would suspect an Agenda was in play.
Making a more general observation regarding the Mueller Op, it seems to me that not the least reprehensible effect of its existence is that de facto it has usurped the authority of the White House and the State Department to conduct Foreign Policy vis a vis Russia. For example, I doubt very much whether Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind. And even if Mueller did, what would, what could the WH or State response have been given the mishapen political climate and the track record of outrageous leaking that so far have gone on without consequence to the leaker.
So the net effect is that Mueller's office is conducting our Russian foreign policy. Authority without either responsibility or expertise is not a desirable thing when it comes to forging correct relations with a nuclear power.
Mar 08, 2018 | www.unz.com
Waggle My Authority , March 7, 2018 at 8:32 pm GMT"Is Donald Trump a Traitor?"gustafus , March 7, 2018 at 11:46 pm GMT
Donald Trump is in no position to give aid or comfort to anyone. Trump, like all US presidents, is an interchangeable figurehead of the CIA regime that rules the US with formal impunity in municipal law. John Kennedy was the last president that didn't know he was a puppet ruler. After CIA killed him, subsequent presidents were purged (Nixon, Carter,) terrorized by assassins (Ford,) or shot (Reagan) by CIA in illegal domestic operations. CIA then installed four presidents (Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama) directly from the ranks of CIA nomenklatura under strict control (remember Obama's instant U-turn on torture after public CIA threats of revolt?)
Even before CIA formally seized head of state powers with their JFK coup, the agency negated independent presidential action, arrogating autonomy for clandestine crime in defiance of Truman and Congress, and thwarting the Eisenhower/Herter disarmament initiative.
Why should Russia care which CIA puppet they shake hands with? They know who's in charge. Putin said as much in public. The US government is CIA.
Tune in next week for another episode of Simple Answers to Stupid Questions.@Waggle My AuthorityWaggle My Authority , March 8, 2018 at 2:50 am GMT
There is a small sea change – the internet and social media have dispersed and castrated the information food chain to the chagrin of our enemies at the CIA .
Trump may be in a position to save us from their tyranny. He has finally settled into the cockpit and is playing with the knobs and levers of government. A Kennedy type action couldn't happen today.
Hell, they barely got away with 9/11 and OKC.
Las Vegas was a HUGE CLUSTER FUCK – probably an arms deal gone bad – with the Mexican security guard fleeing the country. 50-some victims WANT ANSWERS – along with the Las Vegas police Dept.
Don't think the CIA is infallible – they appear to be less than Hollywood style supermen.
One look at Brennan gave me hope. He's a buffoon who had power. But he's just not that special.
I think the shooting in Florida was another fuck up . too many kids are reporting multiple shooters, and the simultaneous "security drill" – smells like yesterday's fish course.
There IS A SEA CHANGE – and a bunch of desperation by the likes of Mueller and Sessions.
Horse trading as I type trying to pin something on Mr. Smith and his loyal followers – because the brains in this country don't gravitate to the CIA or FBI who are now just low rent hucksters with guns.@AnonAnon Disclaimer , March 8, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT
CIA can afford to be incompetent. When you have impunity, it doesn't matter whether you get caught. Look at Salandria's testimony that CIA did a lot of heavy-handed signaling: Sure we did it. What are you gonna do about it?
gustafus points up what Russ Baker called 'ruthlessness and ineptitude,' That's because even when the story falls apart, the OPSEC fails, the DCI still has his get-out-jail-free card.Trump isn't a traitor. He's a grifter. It's clear he and Kushner were running a grift during the transition. Russian adoptions : that's pretty funny you have to admit! Kompromat you ask?mark green , March 8, 2018 at 7:13 am GMT
When asked whether Russia has such material, Mr Isaev, who is also director of the Russian Institute of Contemporary Economics, replied: "Of course we have it!"animalogic , March 8, 2018 at 9:02 am GMT
Great essay. The Russiagate hoax is indeed a mean-spirited political fantasy. Unfortunately, this fraud is being nourished by powerful Trump-haters in government, elite newsrooms and broadcasting booths, think tanks, as well as on numerous Ivy League college campuses.
Incredibly, the hysteria, loathing and mockery directed against Trump began the moment he announced his candidacy. And it's never let up.
On the day of Trump's inauguration, 'anti-fascist protesters' were making threats and showing contempt for America's elected president. Based on TV coverage, it seemed to be a global phenomena. It was chilling.
To what extent was Soros, et al, funding these events and pulling strings?
After all, Trump campaigned on less war, normalizing relations with Russia, and restoring America's Main Street economy. What's so outrageous about that? Many of these objectives should have been embraced by the Left. But they weren't. The usual activists were too busy hating Trump and his legion of 'deplorables'.
By comparison, the Right didn't explode in rage like this when Obama was elected and inaugurated.
For what it's worth, there's nothing criminal or ever wrong about spinning, prevaricating and stretching the truth to manipulate public opinion. Sure, it's sleazy and destructive; but it's done each and every day in America. Just pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV. There it is. It's how our fractured culture operates.
Oddly, the seething, hate-filled, anti-Trump derangement syndrome that is now in high gear is only tenuously connected to Trump's actual policies. It is Trump the man (and what/who he represents) that countless 'progressives' despise. Only Trump's removal from office (or death) will satisfy them.
As for the Russia-Trump plot to fool the public and 'steal' the US election, that conspiracy theory is similarly unhinged.
There are, after all, so many sources, stories, suppositions, rumors, headlines, Facebook yarns and political ads/endorsements in circulation at any given moment that the idea that one Russia-based internet campaign could 'brainwash' a nation of already-programmed robots into choosing the 'wrong' candidate is ridiculous.
Like it or not, half-truths, propaganda, and nonsensical fairytales are part of America's fabric. Like guided missiles, sophisticated BS comes raining down upon us continuously. Our brains are covered with it.
The only way to resist these odious waves of disinformation is to question everything and engage in genuine critical thinking. This includes rejecting the implausible 'Russiagate' conspiracy theory.This is aa very good point:Realist , March 8, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT
"Anyone invested in any type of social group that functions along authoritarian lines is susceptible to this type of pressure, regardless of how savvy or intelligent they are."@Waggle My AuthorityJake , March 8, 2018 at 11:50 am GMT
The CIA is just a part of the Deep State." three celebrity journalists employed by a billionaire to provide the masses " That tells almost all we need to know. Our 'mainstream' journalists, like our academics, see themselves as honest, objective, impartial, tellers of truth. Actually, they are whores to the super rich.jilles dykstra , March 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm GMT@Jakejacques sheete , March 8, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT
Rockefeller bought a news agency to change his image from profiteer to philanthropist. It worked. John F. Flynn, 'Gold von Gott, Die Rockefeller-Saga', Berlin 1937 ('God's Gold : The Story of Rockefeller and His Times', Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1932)The Alarmist , March 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm GMT
The Cult of Authority
Love the title. Depressed by the fact.@AnonDieter Kief , March 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm GMT
I dunno I think the whole air of ineptitude around The Company is just a cover. Why else would GHW Bush have been in Dallas at the time and then rocket just a few years later to its top job? Yeah, I know, it could have been KBR pulling all the strings, but I would still assert The Company was used as the vehicle to pre-position all the other necessary elements, like Papa Cruz, a former anti-Batista foot soldier, showing up a few years to UT just in time to radicalise LHO and set him up as the fall guy. And at the centre of all this, though I'm not sure how except that he ran against Jeb! and Ted, is Donald J Trump.Waggle My Authority , March 8, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
Gradually, everyone gets the message: if you don't want to be excommunicated, you had better believe, or pretend to believe, the official narrative of the cult. It isn't a question of deception, belief, gullibility, or even intelligence. It is a question of power, social pressure, and fear of ostracization and exile. Anyone invested in any type of social group that functions along authoritarian lines is susceptible to this type of pressure, regardless of how savvy or intelligent they are.
That's a tad too simple, I'd guess. Those well-known journalists would be free, really, to think, write and talk otherwise. What would happen to them would not be as bad s your above cited argument claims to be true (=happening, in case of dissident thinking).
What I would find appropriate would be to say: They rather want to be with the crowd. In mass-societies, it's attractive to be with the crowd – and it's a way of being, too, which can numb the mind, no matter how critical the positions are, somebody articulates.
So – the antidote to the mass-oriented way of thinking is the critical and enlightend one: Based on rather on the soundness of it's arguments than on ideas of mass-information. It's imperative would be: Soundness of the arguments always first!
That would mean for the Intercept: There's a real danger there, to lose one's mind while achieving mass-compatibility. If you'd reformulate your argument in this slightly altred way, I'd fully agree with you and your otherwise great article, Mr. Hopkins.@RealistJoe Hide , March 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
Interesting point. In the 70′s CIA made the decision to further diffuse their agency, and that has proceeded to a degree never envisioned at the time. Now CIA includes illegal moles in every relevant US government branch and organization, eyes-only exchange of agents with foreign agencies, and all major mafias involved in transnational organized crime, for example,
Is it just headless chaos? Who runs it all? Find the source of impunity. When anyone else gets away with a crime, the impunity is derived, conditional, procedural, dependent on winks and nods. Only the DCI can use the magic national security words and stop a prosecution cold by classifying the criminals, the evidence, and the charge.
Nope, don't fuzz it up, CIA's in charge here.To C.J. Hopkins,
Great article. Mind-bendingly humorous description of true events.
You might consider that the "bosses" of these journalists are not at all the top of the control pyramid, and that they themselves are probably controlled through blackmail in the threat of exposure of their pedophilia, sexually deviate, degenerate histories.
Mar 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Valissa -> jsn... , 01 March 2018 at 07:44 PM
jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! T he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations).
Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible.
Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.
I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:
The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/
Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.
By throwing every problem in Putin's lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn't really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one's own failures. It's always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.
That said, there's a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.
... Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.
Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn't provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He's simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.
I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.
My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg
Mar 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Putin then ... vented his frustration with the U.S. political system saying " it has demonstrated its inefficiency and has been eating itself up."
" It's quite difficult to interact with such a system, because it's unpredictable ," Putin said.
Russian hopes for a detente and better ties with Washington have been dashed by the ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia. Speaking about the bitter tensions in Russia-West relations, Putin said they have been rooted in Western efforts to contain and weaken Russia.
"We are a great power, and no one likes competition," he said.
Turning his attention to a particularly sensitive topic, Putin said he was dismayed by what he described as the U.S. role in the ouster of Ukraine's Russia-friendly president in February 2014 amid massive protests.
Putin charged that the U.S. had asked Russia to help persuade then-President Viktor Yanukovych not to use force against protesters and then "rudely and blatantly" cheated Russia, sponsoring what he called a "coup. " Russia responded by rushing through a referendum in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, whose result was an overwhelming majority voting to join Russia.
" Few expected us to act so quickly and so resolutely, not to say daringly ," Putin said.
He described the Western sanctions over Crimea and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine as part of "illegitimate and unfair" efforts to contain Russia, adding that "we will win in the long run." He added that "those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves."
Responding to a question about Russia's growing global leverage, Putin responded: "If we play strongly with weak cards, it means the others are just poor players, they aren't as strong as it seemed, they must be lacking something."
* * *
Finally, Putin, who presented a sweeping array of new Russian nuclear weapons last week , voiced hope that nuclear weapons will never be used -- but warned that Russia will retaliate in kind if it comes under a nuclear attack.
"The decision to use nuclear weapons can only be made if our early warning system not only detects a missile launch but clearly forecasts its flight path and the time when warheads reach the Russian territory," he said. "If someone makes a decision to destroy Russia, then we have a legitimate right to respond."
He concluded ominously: "Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?" Tags War Conflict Politics
Comments Vote up! 66 Vote down! 7
Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:23 PermalinkCry Baby Moe -> Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:26 Permalink
Aim for CA, DC, and NYC, Putin...don't forget Seattley3maxx -> Cry Baby Moe Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:28 Permalink
"Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?"
peace in the world? Happiness for all?BullyBearish -> y3maxx Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:30 Permalink
Absolutely true....Trump is a balanced man compared to the unbalanced Deep State and Congress.skbull44 -> BullyBearish Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:31 Permalink
"...would you want to live in a world without classic coke?"ThanksChump -> skbull44 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:38 Permalink
Making the MIC great again!!
https://olduvai.caLuc X. Ifer -> ThanksChump Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:51 Permalink
Many Americans are angry that Soviet socialists threw their communist comrades out. Putin, a better capitalist than most US presidents in recent decades, hates communists as much as everyone else does.
Go live in Best Korea, Communist scum.silver140 -> Luc X. Ifer Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:36 Permalink
Well. It was obvious for some time that a corrupt gov will lead unfortunately to capitalism going rogue and eating itself up. Don't get me wrong, is not the capitalism failure is the failure of the ones who supposedly had to ensure the existence of a true free but balanced market, and that's the gov, so as in the former Soviet bloc this proves again that too big and powerful gov naturally evolves into an oligarchy which drives the system to self cannibalize.samsara -> skbull44 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:58 Permalink
The US doesn't have a corrupt government, it has corporate fascist rulers who have puppets posing as politicians who pretend to be in a government.scaleindependent -> samsara Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:27 Permalink
Never heard of it. Thanks
Mar 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
March 7, 2018A significant number of Trump's people were electronically monitored by a Democratic administration -- many "by accident." We now know that a significant number of people affiliated with Donald Trump were surveilled during and after the 2016 campaign, some under warrants, some via "inadvertent" or accidental surveillance. That surveillance is now being used against these individuals in perjury cases, particularly to press them to testify against others, and will likely form the basis of Robert Mueller's eventual action against the president himself.
How did the surveillance state become so fully entrenched in the American political process? Better yet, how did we let it happen?
The role pervasive surveillance plays in politics today has been grossly underreported. Set aside what you think about the Trump presidency for a moment and focus instead on the new paradigm for how politics and justice work inside the surveillance state.
" Incidental collection " is the claimed inadvertent or accidental monitoring of Americans' communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Incidental collection exists alongside court-approved warranted surveillance authorized on a specific individual. But for incidental collection, no probable cause is needed, no warrant is needed, and no court or judge is involved. It just gets vacuumed up.
While exactly how many Americans have their communications monitored this way is unknown , we know these Republican Trump supporters and staffers were caught up in surveillance authorized by a Democratic administration (no evidence of incidental surveillance of the Clinton campaign exists). Election-time claims that the Obama administration wasn't " wiretapping " Trump were disingenuous. They in fact gathered an unprecedented level of inside information. How was it used?
Incidental collection nailed Michael Flynn : the NSA was ostensibly not surveilling Flynn, just listening in on the Russian ambassador as the two spoke. The embarrassing intercept formed the basis for Flynn's firing as Trump's national security advisor, his guilty plea for perjury, and very possibly his "game-changing" testimony against others.
Jeff Sessions was similarly incidentally surveilled, as was former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon , whose conversations were picked up as part of a FISA warrant issued against Trump associate Carter Page . Paul Manafort and Richard Gates were also the subjects of FISA-warranted surveillance: they were surveilled in 2014, the case was dropped for lack of evidence, and then they were re-surveilled after they joined the Trump team and became more interesting to the state.
Officials on the National Security Council revealed that Trump himself may also have been swept up in the surveillance of foreign targets. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, claims multiple communications by Trump transition staff were inadvertently picked up. Trump officials were monitored by British GCHQ with the information shared with their NSA partners. Some reports claim that after a criminal warrant was denied to look into whether or not Trump Tower servers were communicating with a Russian bank, a FISA warrant was issued.
How much information the White House may have acquired on Trump's political strategy, as well as the full story of what might have been done with that information, will never be known. We do know that the director of national intelligence Dan Coats saw enough after he took office to specify that the "intelligence community may not engage in political activity, including dissemination of U.S. person identities to the White House, for the purpose of affecting the political process of the United States."
Coats likely had in mind the use of unmasking by the Obama administration. Identities of U.S. persons picked up inadvertently by surveillance are supposed to be masked, hidden from most users of the data. However, a select group of officials, including political appointees in the White House, can unmask and include names if they believe it is important to understanding the intelligence, or to show evidence of a crime.
Former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice told House investigators in at least one instance she unmasked the identities of Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner , and Steve Bannon. Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power , also made a number of unmasking requests in her final year in office.
But no one knows who unmasked Flynn in his conversations with the Russian ambassador. That and the subsequent leaking of what was said were used not only to snare Flynn in a perjury trap, but also to force him out of government. Prior to the leak that took Flynn down, Obama holdover and then-acting attorney general Sally Yates warned Trump that Flynn could be blackmailed by Moscow for lying about his calls. When Trump didn't immediately fire Flynn, the unmasked surveillance was leaked by a "senior government official" (likely Yates ) to the Washington Post . The disclosure pressured the administration to dump Flynn.
Similar leaks were used to try to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, though they only resulted in him recusing himself from the Russiagate investigation. Following James Comey's firing, that recusal ultimately opened the door for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller.
A highly classified leak was used to help marginalize Jared Kushner. The Washington Post , based on leaked intercepts, claimed foreign officials' from four countries spoke of exploiting Kushner's economic vulnerabilities to push him into acting against the United States. If the story is true, the leakers passed on data revealing sources and methods; those foreign officials now know that, however they communicated their thoughts about Kushner, the NSA was listening. Access to that level of information and the power to expose it is not a rank-and-file action. One analyst described the matter as "the Deep State takes out the White House's Dark Clown Prince."
Pervasive surveillance has shown its power perhaps most significantly in creating perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others.
Trump associate George Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about several meetings concerning Clinton's emails. The FBI knew about the meetings, " propelled in part by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British and Dutch." The feds asked him questions solely in the hope that Papadopoulos would commit perjury, even though there was nothing shown to be criminal about the meetings themselves. Now guilty of a crime, the FBI will use the promise of a light punishment to press Papadopoulos into testifying against others.
There is a common thread here of using surveillance to create a process crime out of a non-material lie (the FBI already knew) where no underlying crime of turpitude exists (the meetings were legal). That this is then used to press someone to testify in an investigation that will have a significant political impact seems undemocratic -- yet it appears to be a primary tool Mueller is using.
This is a far cry from a traditional plea deal, giving someone a light sentence for actual crimes so that they will testify against others. Mueller should know. He famously allowed Mafia hitman Sammy the Bull to escape more serious punishment for 19 first-degree murders in return for testimony against John Gotti. No need to manufacture a perjury trap; the pile of bodies that never saw justice did the trick.
Don't be lured into thinking the ends justify the means, that whatever it takes to purge Trump is acceptable. Say what you want about Flynn, Kushner, et al, what matters most is the dark process being used. The arrival of pervasive surveillance as a political weapon is a harbinger that should chill Americans to their cores.
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR
SteveM March 6, 2018 at 10:13 pmAl Boehnlein , says: March 6, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Pervasive surveillance has shown its power perhaps most significantly in creating perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others.
Key advice: Never talk to a cop. Never trust an agent of the Security State. They may still wreck your life, but at least you won't make it easy for them.Are you really arguing that using surveillance on foreign agents and spies to catch and compel traders to testify against each other is bad????? Isn't that the way it is usually done?Joe , says: March 6, 2018 at 11:18 pmThey do have the option of telling the truth.Bruce Heilbrunn , says: March 6, 2018 at 11:31 pmIt is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies. And don't tell me the government has no right to investigate what could be treason by the president and his staff. I know how you love Trump and Russia.Clean Up Crew , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:06 amI voted for Trump but now I'm completely disgusted with his failures and betrayals and won't vote for him again.connecticut farmer , says: March 7, 2018 at 8:13 am
Setting that aside, it's starting to look to me like the Hillary campaign and allies in the Obama federal bureaucracy were spying on the Trump campaign.
They fully expected Hillary to win and therefore to be able to cover up what they were doing.
But then they lost, and now they're ginning up the Russia/national security angle to blow smoke over what's starting to look like the worst campaign skullduggery since Nixon and Watergate.
It needs to be investigated, and if there's any fire there, vigorously prosecuted. I don't give a damn about Trump anymore, but I give a damn about our democracy and system of government, and if it turns out that some government filth was spying on Trump's campaign, I want them arrested, prosecuted, and thrown in the darkest, dirtiest hole in our prison system. We can't have that kind of s***.Reading this raises the following question: At what point does soft-core totalitarianism morph into hard-core totalitarianism?Peter Van Buren , says: March 7, 2018 at 10:40 amIf I see one more variation on "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" in a comment my brain will explode. Anyone who writes that kind of thing ("Well maybe they shouldn't lie") is missing the point: our political process was surveilled and no one can control what happens to information gathered. Even if you think it good to "take down" Trump, the process will exist past him to be aimed at a future candidate you support.SteveJ , says: March 7, 2018 at 10:58 amconnecticut farmer , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:12 am"It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies."
Even if true, do you think it is fair for Flynn to be hit with felony charges for his "less than candid answers" with regard to politically and diplomatically sensitive phone calls to the Russian ambassador after the elections were over?Thaomas , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:36 am"if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"
Sound familiar? The Fifties. When the so-called McCarthyites were peddling this line–to howls of derision from the Left.Republicans created this mess in their desire to make "security" a partisan issue after 9/11. If they now regret it and wish to undo the mess, more power to them!MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:49 amPeter: "If I see one more variation on 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' in a comment my brain will explode."Gerard , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:50 am
The Left used to be vociferously in favor of privacy rights. I took note during the Obama years that it really only mattered for abortion and library books, nothing beyond that.
But a thought experiment: How many progressives, for that matter how many Black and Hispanic Americans would be comfortable with the following government requirements:
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have your name and current address on file at all times.
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a key to your home at all times.
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a tracking device on your car or your person at all times.
If you have nothing to hide, you should have no objections to any of those requirements.
Any takers?[[It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies.]]kimp , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm
Even easier: Be a Democrat, preferably the Party's presidential candidate, and then it doesn't matter whether you tell lies or commit felonies because the corrupt Deep State-lib-Dem-media alliance will hold you safely above the law.Even in the midst of all of this, the ongoing ability to continue to spy on our own citizens was recently voted on and passed overwhelmingly, with large bipartisan support. Save your crocodile tears now.Will Harrington , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:37 pmBruce Heilbrunnmark_be , says: March 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Russia is not an enemy of the United States despite all the hoopla about how eeeevil they are, we are not at war. Treason is not on the table unless you, you know, amend the constitution, or abandon it, or something.@MM: apart from the key to your house (and even that might be questionable if you have certain "smart" appliances), you are describing Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and/or Microsoft. Adding Federal Government to that list isn't as much of a jump as you seem to believe.BobS , says: March 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm"The arrival of pervasive surveillance as a political weapon is a harbinger that should chill Americans to their cores."MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:15 pm
Thankfully J. Edgar Hoover practiced his job with restraint.
That being said, while there is certainly a need for improvement of the FISA program (sadly, the 'principled' Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, Matt Gaetz, et al., missed their opportunity in January when they voted for reauthorization), those individuals caught in the web "by accident" were regularly communicating with targets of legitimately obtained warrants. It was their choice to subsequently lie.
With respect to their "unmasking", it doesn't seem unreasonable that policy makers in the White House should have knowledge of their identity (even in the politicized environment of a presidential campaign), especially when there's the taint of influence of an adversarial government and/or organized crime on a potential POTUS.BobS: "Especially when there's the taint of influence of an adversarial government and/or organized crime on a potential POTUS."MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm
How about an actual POTUS?
Can it be presumed the DOJ and FBI had President Obama under similar surveillance?mark_be: "Adding Federal Government to that list isn't as much of a jump as you seem to believe."Youknowho , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm
No, federal, state, and local *law enforcement*, that's what I put forth
Are you comfortable with that leap, personally? You know, jumping over probable cause and due process?It is amazing how many law and order Conservatives start screaming about abuses of power, and targeting specific people when they are the ones at the receiving end.b. , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm
As a rule, if they did defended the police when the subject was racial profiling, they get to shut up on the subject now.
(Maybe they SHOULD team up with Black Lives Matter..)We have come a long way from the reactionary and authoritarian chants of "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" in the lead-up and then wake of the sarcastically name PATRIOT Act.MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Surveillance and monitoring are, like all other "national securities" spending, primarily profit extraction driven public-private "partnerships", but the major point here always was "if you build it, they will use it".
That, too, is the foundational criticism driving Global Zero and the insistence that Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty be honored by all signatory nuclear powers.
The basic principle of any evolutionary stable open society based on checks and balances is that no self-inflating institutions and power centers are permissible – whether that is inbred, networked multi-generational wealth, incorporated power such as financial institutions, or specific government institutions, such as the military, the "intelligence" agencies etc.
Of course, the whole idea of having secret courts applying secret law in secret decisions without adversary parties, and no mandatory disclosure after the fact, is also fundamentally incompatible with the idea of transparency and accountability, without which free speech and elections are little more than a travelling circus and a vehicle for advertising profit.mark_be: Sorry, I meant to include fingerprints and DNA samples in that list of items for all levels of law enforcement to retain on file on every American.Youknowho , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm
How does that sound to you?@Will Harrington:MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:53 pm
Any government whose interests clash with ours must be considered a potential enemy – not enough to go to war, of course, but to be wary of what steps they may take to protect their interests and thwart ours.
As for Russia, alas, she is known for playing very dirty. Before there was a KGB, there was an Okhrana, among whose achievements was the writing and disemination of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Anyone who thinks that because they are no longer communists they Russians are nice guys lives in a fool's paradiseYKW: "As a rule, if they did defended the police when the subject was racial profiling, they get to shut up on the subject now."
There is no such rule in a free society. People are within their rights to be as hypocritical and inconsistent as they like.
But if there were such a rule, where are the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party? Why aren't they castigating DOJ abuse of power in the previous administration?
Why are neoconservatives and Bush era creeps like Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden darlings of the Left?
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com
Godfree Roberts , • WebsiteMarch 2, 2018 at 9:52 am GMT"Xi Jinping just changed China's constitution to allow him to be dictator for life"?
Come, come, Pat. While American Presidents hire and fire their administrative teams, make war, pardon, imprison or assassinate enemies Chinese leaders, even Mao, are board chairmen only. They can set agenda and direct discussion but, ultimately, must follow to the votes of the seven-man Steering Committee, none of whom they chose or can dismiss–and virtually all Steering Committee decisions are unanimous.
A little background might quieten the heavy breathing. America has term limits for the same reason the Chinese do: both countries' governing elites found that their most capable leaders–Roosevelt and Mao–were sympathetic to ordinary citizens–who returned their affections.
There are no 'term limits' in the CCP. The most-quoted rule of thumb for membership in the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, the top collective leadership group from which General Secretaries are selected, is 'seven up/eight down': cadres up to 67 years can advance to the PSC and become general secretary and must otherwise retire: Deng Xiaoping creatively interpretated this principle of leadership renewal to get rid of his rival/nuisance at the time, 68-year-old Li Ruihuan.
Deng then selected (or pre-positioned) every General Secretary prior to Xi–including Hu Jintao, who became general secretary in 2002, fifteen years after Deng died. But, though he was a close and loyal friend of Xi's father, Deng did not select Xi, who will be 68 on June 15, 2021, a year before his second term ends.
Xi must do a double job. Looking back, he must fulfill the goals Deng set in 1980: complete the Reform and Opening program–a 40-year overhaul of China's economy–by 2020. Looking forward, he must ensure–as Deng did–that he formulates and launches the next 40-year program auspiciously, especially since it will be a return to China's socialist roots.
Xi never needed to 'consolidate power' nor has he needed to add to his Constitutional power since his accession. He was born famous, to one of China's most beloved and admired men, his first job out of college was Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He laid down a stellar, 25-year governance record, has always been famously honest (Lee Kwan Yew called him, "China's Nelson Mandela" and immensely competent.
Xi's doing a stellar job, which make keeping him on a no-brainer: In his first term he raised all wages and pensions by 50%, made corruption unprofitable, made China militarily impregnable and launched the Belt and Road Initiative, among many other accomplishments.
According to a recent World Values Survey, 96% of Chinese expressed confidence in their government (compared to 37% of Americans). Likewise, 83% of Chinese think their country is run for everyone's benefit rather than for a few big interest groups (36% of Americans thought the same). http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSData.jsp?Idioma=I+(http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSData.jsp?Idioma=I)
And according to the Edelman 2016 Report, 80–90% of Chinese trust their government, the highest trust level of any national government. https://www.slideshare.net/EdelmanAPAC/2016-edelman-trust-barometer-china-english?qid=c13f229d-8a8f-4a93-bce8-aeb779e8cc70&v=&b=&from_search=1 .
When people are asked if they agree with the statement "most people can be trusted, "Chinese interpersonal trust is as high as Sweden's. https://ourworldindata.org/trust
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, "Nine in ten Chinese are happy with the direction of their country (87%), feel good about the current state of their economy (91%) and are optimistic about China's economic future (87%)". http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/3/
In 1980 Deng Xiaoping set 2020 as the completion date for his Reform and Opening program–a 40-year overhaul of China's economy.
On June 1, 2021 President Xi will announce that all Deng's goals have been reached and a basic xiaokang society established: no one is poor and everyone receives an education, has paid employment, more than enough food and clothing, access to medical services, old-age support, a home and a comfortable life. (No other country can make this claim).
Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew (who served for 30 years with no term limits!) described the primary responsibility of a government leader to "Paint his vision of the future to his people, translate that vision into policies which he must convince the people are worth supporting and, finally, galvanize them to help him implement them,"
A month after becoming President, in 2012, Xi painted his vision for Two Centennials: to fix inequality ('socialist modernization') by 2012 and to transform China into 'a great modern socialist country, prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful' by 2049.
American Nobelist Robert Fogel says China will definitely be prosperous: its economy will be twice the size of Europe's and America's combined in 2049.
Because he must paint China's new vision, colleagues granted Xi 'core leader' status in 2017 and amended the constitution in 2018 so he and PM can serve another term and make sure the new era gets off to a good start.
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com
WorkingClass , March 1, 20 18 at 3:56 am GMT
CPAC shows the conservative grassroots are with the president and that the Beltway elites are cowed.
I was good with Kucinich and Nader. I'm neither Conservative nor Republican. I voted for McGovern. Yet I am a card carrying deplorable. Bernie is a fraud and Trump is the only real opposition to the entrenched thieves and murderers in Washington. Your Conservative grass roots have a significant cohort of fellow travelers. Trump could not have won the upper midwest without us.
I thought Trump's offer of amnesty in exchange for moving toward a sane immigration policy WAS leadership. It's easier to stop immigration than to reverse it. And he exposed the Democrats. They have lost the dreamers as a political tool.
Where Trump is losing me is with his stupid and dangerous foreign policy. That's where I would like to see some leadership.
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com
renfro , March 2, 2018 at 2:59 am GMTDon't worry about republicans ..democrats are ruining themselves all alone .every time the deplorables see something like this they will double down on anything but a Dem.
Regardless of one's view on blacks or whites this is a major Stupid for a politician.
Chuck Schumer votes against South Carolina federal judge nominee because he's white
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected President Donald Trump's nominee for a long-vacant South Carolina federal judgeship not because of his qualifications but because of his race.
The decision drew the quick ire of South Carolina's two U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, a former federal prosecutor.
Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday he would not support Greenville attorney Marvin Quattlebaum for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court in South Carolina
Voting for Quattlebaum, he said, would result in having a white man replace two African-American nominees from the state put forth by former President Barack Obama.
Schumer said he would not be a part of the Trump administration's pattern of nominating white men.
"The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump's selections for the federal judiciary," Schumer said.
"It's long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents," he continued. "Having a diversity of views and experience on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice."
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, pushed back on Schumer's rationale and urged other Senate Democrats to instead address diversity issues by starting with their offices.
"Perhaps Senate Democrats should be more worried about the lack of diversity on their own staffs than attacking an extremely well-qualified judicial nominee from the great state of South Carolina," Scott tweeted Thursday morning.
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com
jeans2nd , February 25, 2018 at 10:21 pmAnyone up for a story? It is going on bedtime somewhere, so why not?
Full disclosure – have not read all the comments (Incorrigibly Deplorable mind elsewhere).
Shall we check on Lisa Monaco? Chris Farrell says Lisa Monaco was the Trump Administraton's Homeland Security Director in the vid above (2:17).
No. Gen John Kelly was Trump Administration Sec of Homeland Security 20 Jan 2017 to 31 Jul 2017 (Wikipedia). Farrell obviously meant Obama Administration.
Monaco's title was Homeland Security Advisor 8 Mar 2013 – 20 Jan 2017, not Secretary of Homeland Security (Wikipedia).
Lisa Monaco was DOJ NSD AAG before John Carlin took over, 1 Jul 2011 – 8 Mar 2013. Monaco was Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno.
Monaco obviously had DOJ-NSD ties. Monaco's JD is from Univ of Chicago. Where did Obama teach Constitutional Law? Univ of Chicago, iirc. There is much more at Wikipedia.
Working from the PBS youtube uploads of the PBS series "The Putin Files" (25 Oct 2017), as well as Joe Biden at the CFR, the Intel Community's presentation for the Gang of 8 7 Aug 2016 on "Russian hacking" was a Really Big Deal (have listened to hours and hours of these PBS-Putin vids – these people are nutz). The idea was to get the Gang of 8 to sign on to a bi-partisan statement declaring Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC, the DCCC, Podesta, Clinton, etc. The GOPe was reticent, and rightly so. (More on that in a sec.) This was a week before the RNC 2016 Convention.
(a search for these files is easily done, rather than embedding a ton of links – search for "youtube PBS The Putin Files")
Back to our story. Lisa Monaco.
Let us ask Obama Deputy Secretary of State and former Deputy National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken, shall we?
42:58 "And so in August (7 Aug 2016), Brennan, and other leaders in the Intelligence community, as well as our top Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the White House, Lisa Monaco, went to Capitol Hill to talk to the leadership, about what we had learned and what we were seeing."
Lisa Monaco was "our top Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the White House," not Homeland Security, during the 2016 campaign. Our top, mind you.
Jeh Johnson was Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security. Shall we ask Jeh Johnson?
33:00 "There was a session on Capitol Hill, in their SKIF, in their classified briefing room. It was me, Lisa Monaco, and Jim Comey. And, they were all there, the Speaker, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader Reed, the Chair and Ranking of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Intel Committees, and all the Homeland Security Committees, they were all there. And, we briefed them again on what we knew."
Lisa Monaco was in the White House, Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, "our top," even. Lisa Monaco was in on this from the start, before 7 Aug 2016.
The GOPe leaders were reticent to sign on to that bi-partisan agreement, and did not do so until mid-Sept 2016. Why?
The PBS interviewer speaking with Jeh Johnson obviously was a Russian plant.
34:15 "The way the story has been reported is that the Republicans, and McConnell specifically, (garbled, may be the word "eventually") said, I don't see the evidence."
Huh. Imagine that. And there was still was no evidence in the ICA Report. Blast those Deplorables.
Jeh Johnson did not see that, either. The GOPe intentions, and all that.
Apologies. The Incorrigibly Deplorable mind goes to Deplorable places.
Back to our story. Our top whatsit, Lisa Monaco. Unmaskings.
Staying with Jeh Johnson –
39:25 "My preference was that, however we responded, we respond with some things that were cyber-security related, so that part of our steps should be effectively unmasking the bad actors so that they couldn't do it again, outing them, effectively, and that was part of what we did the actions we did, we took within the last month of our Administration "
Unmaskings, huh? Who was doing the unmaskings?
Samantha Power said she was not doing all the bazillon unmaskings that were done in her name.
Oh yes. Anthony Blinken, former Deputy National Security Advisor, was Deputy Secretary of State at that time.
How many unmaskings were done by Lisa Monaco, who worked with Jeh Johnson who wanted to unmask the bad actors?
Lisa Monaco was White House Counterterrorism and Homeland Security. Lisa Monaco was also very experienced in cyber-security (Wikipedia).
The FBI was running a counterintelligence operation. But Lisa Monaco was also Homeland Security Advisor. Lisa Monaco would have every reason to be read into FBI counterintelligence investigations, if one includes the emphasis the Obama White House was presenting at the time, which was cyber-security and Russia's hacking.
Odds are Lisa Monaco was in on the John Brennan-Obama meeting in July 2016, as well as the PDB and all the National Security meetings.
The FBI counterintelligence unit had that FISA Title I thingy going on with DOJ National Security Division. Just like John Brennan had outlined to Obama (PBS vids, detailed in comment couple three days ago). And we know National Security Advisor Susan Rice was unmasking Trump people.
Lisa Monaco did not need to unmask. Others were doing the unmaskings. Laundering unmaskings. Pretty clever, yes?
Go back to the Chris Farrell vid, 02:23 to 03:24 – "She (Lisa Monaco) appears in the notes and calender of Andy McCabe in May of 2016, and if you note back a couple weeks, you remember that there's a text from Page saying that Andy McCabe and Strzok, her friend or boyfriend, that the White House wanted to know everything that they were doing. And so you see that there's contact in May, and then in August you see that the counterintelligence investigation that's opened on the Trump Campaign gets a nickname, they call it Latitude, and it's tied back apparently to Lisa Monaco And who in the White House was managing that? And it appears, it's likely, that it is Lisa Monaco."
Monaco was counterterrorism, not counterintelligence, should one care to get really down in the weeds. Does that matter? Doubtful. The Obama emphasis was originally cyber-security, and Monaco was the Obama cyber-security expert put forward at the time.
Back to our story.
Jake Sullivan was in the Clinton Campaign. What did Jake Sullivan know about FBI investigations? Shall we ask PajamaJake?
47:50 "We heard very late in the day, very late in the process, with just days to go before the election, that there might be some kind of investigation Into the Trump campaign involving the FBI, and we flagged what we were hearing for a variety of reporters who were all told, no that's not true that's not happening. We know now in fact it was true and it was happening, but nobody was able to establish it in the closing days of the campaign."
The Clinton campaign knew about the FBI investigation into the Trump Campaign before the 8 Nov 2016 election. How did Clinton know? McCabe. Wifey. McAuliff.
One last question. Staying with the little weaselly PajamaBoi Jake Sullivan (what a wuss) –
51:57 "The (Trump) White House directed the State Department to essentially draw up a game plan for the lifting of (Russian) sanctions. State Department pushed back hard "
Oh really? Who is leaking from the State Department, one wonders.
Oh yes, Antony Blinken was Deputy Secretary of State. When, exactly, did Anthony Blinken leave the State Department?
Wikipedia says Blinken left the State Department 20 Jan 2017 and was succeeded by John Sullivan. Blinken is now a Global Affairs Analyst for CN&N .
John Sullivan has been working very well with Sec Tillerson by all accounts, and has announced his future retirement.
This Deplorable did not care enough to look up the whereabouts of any of the others. No doubt they are all fomenting our Grande Revolutione somewhere.
Hopefully this is not too convoluted. One's mind has been designated one of the crazies' disaster areas and condemned. There is so much more, but no one would read it anyway.
The Brennan and Podesta stories from those PBS-Putin vids are much too repulsive and frightening for a bedtime story, so we shall save those for summer-round-the-campfire ghost stories.
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com
Pelicansview , February 25, 2018 at 1:24 pmWe all know what happened. We all know what should be done. But, being a consummate skeptic, here's what I think.davidb , February 25, 2018 at 2:18 pm
There is no cavalry coming. I do not think that a DOJ prosecutor working in conjunction with the OIG is suddenly going to appear and hand out indictments at high levels. I do not expect to suddenly awake to find that Sessions has had a grand jury in play all the time. If you think Rosenstein is a white hat, then I have some land west of Miami I'd love to sell you, and you should long ago have been able to gain a measure of Jeff Sessions' spine. These are the ONLY two people who can trigger the necessary DOJ/FBI/State prosecutions.
Mueller is a made-man in DC and no one will touch him right now. He is the only hope of the Democrat Party, the massive lobbyist establishment, and the pay-to-play RINOs they support. He has a mission and is protected by the full force of the swamp.
He is steadily building a conspiracy case against PDJT that will most likely exploit Jared Kushner's ignorant naivety as one element of the fetid deal, along with the losers he has already collected in his slippery net. And while we laugh at the ridiculousness of the 13-Russians he indicted, think of them rather, as an open invitation for Putin to direct a few of them to be patriots and "testify" in the manner he instructs. If you were Putin, wouldn't you?
Conspiracy charges are virtually impossible to defend against. Once Mueller has leveled one against PDJT, there is no window for recovery. It will dominate the news cycle well into the midterms, and cripple any chance of the GOP holding both chambers. We all know what happens after that; auntie Maxine has been screaming it every day.
There is nothing complex about Mueller's strategy. There is certainly plenty of evidence to expose it and disrupt it before it is fully executed. But, barring a complete reversal of Sessions' or Rosenstein's behavior, I am not at present very hopeful.@ Harleyd, Bill, BillR, and Pelicansview. I must fully agree with all your remarks. SD has done a outstanding job of bring forth information that would have never been in print anywhere.
SD can only expose the corruption. It is up to our Justice system to prosecute them. I believe that will never happen. There will be investigations on it for years, until the masses forget, and the next season of "dances with stars" comes on. There are examples of proof in my statements such as the IRS/Lerner felonies, Bengazi, etc.
The AG said he wasn't going to pursue a criminal investigation. Everything will blow over soon as the Repukes have decided (or their masters have) to intensionally loose their majority in CONgress, and elect some more Uniparty, Collins/Juan Mcain, type politicians to undermine Trump.
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com
Harleyd, February 25, 2018 at 1:10 pmAs many hours as I've spent on this site, and as much as I respect SD's intelligence and writing ability, I think we may have all been played.Amos The Prophet , February 25, 2018 at 1:44 pm
As background, politically, I'm slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. And I not only have followed the Treehouse, I've followed several Twitter posters with seemingly "inside" information and insight. We all know who they are.
But I've grown tired of all the "predictions of immediate revelations" that have not come to pass. Daily, breathless, predictions of a big bomb about to drop have strung out into weeks, and now months.
The more us true believers in PDJT are led to believe "TRUTH" and the "RULE OF LAW" are just around the corner, only to be advised of a delay or to have the subject changed, the more we (whether we admit it or not) become discouraged and demoralized. I fear that's part of the plan.
I know. Patience, grasshopper. Well patience was apparently what the Sheriffs in Florida had as they cowered outside the school while kids were blown apart by a known madman with known firearms and a known agenda. Patience, my a$$.
I could list all the "predictions" that have not come true, either here or on key Twitter accounts, but I would just be demoralizing you more.
The one thing that has kept me going, beyond PDJT's constant and inspiring efforts on all our behalfs, is the long promised DOJ IG report. It was originally promised here on Jan. 15 and now, who knows when. It has been repeatedly predicted to be the MOAB we are all waiting for. While it has been delayed several times, I still had hope.
But now, I see this comment from Tex. Rep. Ratcliffe:
"Representative Ratcliffe was on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo where he said IG report is expected to be out in about a month. Ratcliffe expects IG report to reveal significant departures of policy and protocol by FBI and DOJ."
Here we go again. We are being "softened up" for a typical bureaucratic "nothing burger". How many times have we heard: "Mistakes were made but we will do better in the futur e".
I have an admission to make. I personally committed departures from policy and protocol this morning as I didn't fully stop at a stop sign while on my way for newspapers and coffee.
We are talking about sedition, if not treason, here. There is more than enough evidence on the table to start holding these criminals to account. And yet nothing has happened (except Mueller continuing to shred Trump associates). Not one indictment of a significant Swamper, despite 27 leak investigations and who knows what else.
Net, this may well be a clever Swamp strategy. Get Patriots' expectations high, and then dash them. And make a lot of "click bait" money in the process.
I hope to be proven wrong. But until somebody actually indicts a crook, I'm assuming this is all part of the Swamp's plan to skate.
I suspect more than a few of you agree with me. But many may be afraid to admit it to avoid being labelled "concern trolls". How much more delaying are you willing to tolerate. Right into the middle of the mid terms? By then, it's "Game Over" and we're on to Impeachment.
Now or never. Put up or shut up.To coin a phrase, I feel your pain. Now, if only Jeff Sessions were alive, this mess would have been cleaned up ages ago. We'll just have to wait for another "Top Cop" to be appointed or for kindly ole Jeff to be reborn.Oldschool , February 25, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Like Liked by 1 personHarleyed, I agree with most of what you say. Inaction is masquarading as patience and people are dying. I question everything and everyone. I never bought into this IG report to bring down the house. Between Rogers, Sessions, Wray, Flynn, Nunes, grassley, Jordan , Horowitz and POTUS himself, there is enough known to have taken some action on someone for something. With each passing day of "patience", my hope diminshes. I am sure many feel this way and 2018 will show just how many there are. The people will never be motivated to fight if their leaders don't.Brant , February 25, 2018 at 2:28 pmI do indeed hope. As I've noted a few times recently in my probable desperation pleadings, I would hope that enough of the good guys are pushing forward with major stuff if only to save their own skins. Nunes, Jordan, Grassley, etc. They have stuck their necks out so far and esp with Trump winning, if the republicans lose in November, deep state is going to make a very quick, obvious, and publicly terrible example of the few good guys. If dems win in November, fully expect January 2019 to be one of the most scary and dark times this country has ever faced .and it will not let up. I wouldn't be surprised if they go so far as to root out opposition at the state and district level. Deep state is going to make it so bad that no one will ever cross them again for generations .if ever.Craig D , February 25, 2018 at 2:31 pmI agree with Harleyd – With all that is currently known, there should have already been major action by the DOJ. The situation is essentially so bad, that we (The Conservative Tree House) cling to any ray of light (or positive news and debate if Jeff Sessions is good or bad). To anyone looking from the outside, we are pathetic. The OIG report will come out and say misdeeds have occurred and the DOJ will investigate and prosecute if necessary. And, the crooked main stream media will not even mention the report! The UniParty will shortly say that President Trump was an anomaly only to be read in history books.Pelicansview , February 25, 2018 at 2:56 pmI couldn't agree more. Unless Mueller is neutered, the outlook is grim.Leapin , February 25, 2018 at 8:14 pmTrump knows everything that was going on and has leverage on Mueller who is a compromised individual in his own right but also has a history of service to the country. Have faith.Mark McQueen , February 25, 2018 at 3:41 pm
The Demosocialists have already set up Mueller as having infallible integrity so they can't complain (although they will) when Trump is cleared. He will go with clear evidence of collusion against Trump instead of having "Trump's team" drag him thru the mud if he tries to falsely indict Trump. Manafort and Papa were basically Clinton plants. Tony Podesta goes down next.I suppose it depends on your perspective. Bombs HAVE been dropping. This article itself is FULL of bombs. Huge bombs. There are several other new investigations of previous matters pushed aside by Obama's DOJ that currently get little attention. The difference is the leaks have been plugged for the most part. There will be indictments and it will happen before the mid-terms.NC PATRIOT , February 25, 2018 at 4:13 pmWhat was promised on Jan 15 happened ! The IG released thousands of pages to Goodlatte's committee. It was what started the ball rolling with the text massages and and awareness of the deliberate "Insurance policy" concept.
Since then 7-8 high level FBI and DOJ have been moved, resigned and replaced -- and talk of widespread corruption in upper levels of FBI, DOJ became part of the news. Then came the Nunes memo -- and public awareness that -- just maybe -- the President had been set up by political use of the FISA court.
Please don't say nothing is being done. Your lack of strategic patience is underwhelming !
Feb 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Carlson avoids both O'Reilly's hokeyness and Hannity's pro-Trump histrionics, instead drawing on his own strength as rapid-fire commentator and relentless interrogator -- that rare Grand Inquisitor with a boisterous sense of humor. Besides the obvious entertainment value, what's also worth following is how Carlson's own birthright conservatism (he says he has never gone through a "liberal phase") is a work in progress. He's increasingly willing -- sometimes eager -- to challenge positions sacrosanct to the Republican right, especially to neoconservatives. He drives neocons crazy, for example, with his opposition to the overseas militarism they support and with his skepticism about their fixation on the "Russian threat." That he is perfectly willing to irk the orthodox was on display at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference when he dared suggest that the New York Times , while liberal, is also a paper "that actually cares about accuracy." Boos followed, but he remained unfazed, lecturing his audience about how conservatives should care about getting their facts right, too.
He remains well within the ideological tent on many red meat controversies of the day, however, particularly on immigration, which he considers a factor in the troubling condition of many rural communities. It isn't the only factor, certainly, but it particularly animates Carlson these days. When Trump outraged polite society with his crude characterization of Haiti and African countries, Carlson countered that "almost every single person in America" in fact agrees with the president. "An awful lot of immigrants come to this country from other places that aren't very nice," he said. "Those places are dangerous. They're dirty, they're corrupt, and they're poor, and that's the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here, and you would too if you lived there."
As for the idea that "diversity is our strength," Carlson lit into Sen. Lindsey Graham for saying that America is "an idea, not defined by its people." This claim, Carlson said, might surprise the people who already live here, "with their actual families and towns and traditions and history and customs." It might also come as a surprise that "they're irrelevant to the success or failure of what they imagined was their country." If diversity is our strength, it must follow that "the less we have in common somehow the stronger we are. Is that true? We better hope it's true because we're betting everything on it."
In his attitudes toward "diversity," Carlson considers Graham not much different from his Northwest Washington neighbors. "My neighbors," he says, "don't understand why it is not a good idea to keep 'welcoming' untold thousands of low-income, poorly educated immigrants whose wage expectations are lower than those of Americans who are already here and are struggling to keep their jobs." Who is hurt most, he asks, by this competition for jobs? His answer: "Americans who are themselves poorly educated -- especially, I might add, African-Americans." Organized labor, a pillar of the Democratic Party for decades, always seemed to understand this. Bill Clinton -- "the last Democrat to recognize this problem and speak to the middle class" -- also understood it. "So why can't my neighbors?"
Carlson pauses, tosses another piece of Nicorette gum into his mouth, and laughs. It's not a bitter laugh, but one of seeming disbelief. While he can be abrupt and sometimes even brutal with guests on his nightly program, one-on-one he's good humored and ebullient. He's that way, according to those who know him, even during breaks with on-air guests he is about to behead. He is exceedingly pleasant company for a leisurely lunch at swank Bistro Bis near the Fox headquarters, within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol. (The former smoker orders a plate of cheeses, which seem not to interfere with the gum, which he says both "sharpens the intellect and calms you down at the same time. It's great.") His own office, with the kind of framed political memorabilia de rigueur in Washington, looks out on Union Station. His desk is spacious and well-worn; he likes to tell people "it was Millard Fillmore's," which is the kind of joke also de rigueur in Washington.
"I have a good life," he says. The pay is good, and there was a time he could not have afforded a sizeable house in Northwest Washington. After college, for example, he worked on the editorial staff of the now-defunct Policy Review , then owned by the Heritage Foundation. He also paid his dues as a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and, after that, The Weekly Standard . Back then, of course, he could not have afforded the five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath, 7,400-square-foot house he bought last July (purchase price: $3.895 million).
He likes his new neighbors -- and the nearby dog park. "My neighbors are intelligent and thoughtful people," he says, most of whom still have Obama stickers on their Priuses. "They think Trump is awful on immigration, and they don't see how anyone could possibly view the issue any differently. But that's because there is only one way that the issue touches them in their lives, and that is in terms of their household help. They worry about 'Margarita who has been with our family for years and the kids love her and we just want to know that she will be protected.' They aren't cynical. They really care about the legal status of their household help. I get that. They just don't see the issue in any larger social context."
There is some irony here, given Carlson's family background. The son of a former president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, director of Voice of America, and ambassador to the African island republic of the Seychelles, this "primetime populist," as The Atlantic 's McKay Coppins calls him, is clearly a child of privilege. While he no longer sports bow-ties, he looks the part, with that well-scrubbedness we associate with boarding schools. (He went to St. George's in Middletown, Rhode Island.) On his mother's side, he is a descendant of St. George Tucker of Bermuda and Williamsburg, who straddled the 18th and 19th centuries, served as one of the first law professors at the College of William and Mary, and was stepfather of the acerbic Virginia Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke. "They thought of naming me St. George Tucker Carlson," he says. His stepmother is a Swanson frozen-food heiress and niece of Senator J. William Fulbright.
Though Carlson sees the irony, he's untroubled by it. "I grew up in the world I'm describing," he acknowledges. "I grew up in Georgetown. I know the way these people think. Look, there are very few poorly educated Honduran talk show hosts who are out to take my job."
Actually, there aren't a lot of well-educated, native-born Ivy Leaguers who pose much of a threat, either, given his current audience ratings. But Carlson knows from personal experience that the world he inhabits can be fickle. He has bounced around on cable news programs since 2000, when he went to work for CNN. In 2005, the channel cancelled his show, "Crossfire," and he was hired by MSNBC, where he hosted "Tucker," also dropped in 2008. Fox picked him up as a news contributor and eventually hired him as co-host of "Fox & Friends." "Tucker Carlson Tonight" debuted in November 2016. ("Sooner or later," he writes in his breezy 2003 memoir of his cable career, Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites , "just about everyone in television gets canned, usually without warning.")
Kelefa Sanneh writes in The New Yorker that Carlson has been doing cable news "for far too long to be considered a rising star," though he still seems like something of a fresh face. Liberals of course can't stand him -- and aren't likely to notice how his views have been changing. "I'm probably more liberal right now than I've ever been," he says. In prep school and at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, he considered the arrival of The American Spectator and Commentary "thrilling." For years he read those magazines "cover to cover," he says. "They were great, especially the Spectator , which had such spirit and published writers like P.J. O'Rourke and Andrew Ferguson. It's depressing to see how far both those once-great magazines have fallen."
Though Carlson supported the Iraq War when Bush initiated it, he later denounced it as "a total nightmare and a disaster, and I'm ashamed I went against my own instincts in supporting it. I'll never do it again. Never." He has also developed a contempt for much of neocon foreign policy -- and for some of its chief proponents. Back in July, a guest on his show was Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who once suggested that the troubled lands of Islam "cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets."
When Carlson told Boot that it was folly for the United States to have tried to oust Syria's Bashar al-Assad and that neocons (and Democrats) are wildly exaggerating the Russian threat, Boot accused Carlson of being a "cheerleader" for Russia, which Carlson called "grotesque." Boot professed indignation that Carlson was "yukking it up over the fact that Putin is interfering and meddling in our election process," and Carlson called it "odd coming from you, who really has been consistently wrong in the most flagrant and flamboyant way for over a decade."
Boot, who can take care of himself, held his own in the exchange, but some hapless "guests" find themselves in a mismatch. Carlson, who seems only too happy to press his advantage, can come off as a bit of a bully, especially when he bursts into derisive laughter. "To me, it's just cringe-making," Ferguson, now with The Weekly Standard , told The New Yorker . "You get some poor little columnist from the Daily Oregonian who said Trump was Hitler, and you beat the shit out of him for ten minutes."
Maybe so, but as the self-styled "sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink," Carlson deploys his well-honed tools of debate in a cause that many consider valuable, even indispensable -- especially in calling out the agents of foreign policy adventurism. Peter Beinart, late of The New Republic , anticipated something conservatives have yet to address but might need to soon. "In his vicious and ad hominem way," wrote Beinart in The Atlantic , "Carlson is doing something extraordinary: He's challenging the Republican Party's hawkish orthodoxy in ways anti-war progressives have been begging cable hosts to do for years [wading into] a debate between the two strands of thinking that have dominated conservative foreign policy for roughly a century." These two strands, presumably, are the long-dominant hawks and the still outnumbered non-interventionists troubled by the expansion of federal power that goes with those who seem to favor one war after another -- often fought simultaneously all over the globe.
This raises a question: Can you be a conservative if you don't embrace foreign policy interventionism? "Look,'' Carlson says, "if Bill Kristol is a conservative, I am not." Further, he suggests he actually isn't much of a conservative on some economic issues either. "I do not favor cutting tax rates for corporations, and I do not favor invading Iran," he says. Sometimes, he adds, "the hard left is correct. The biggest problem this country faces is income inequality, and neither the liberals nor the conservatives see it. There is a great social volatility that goes with inequality like we have now. Inequality will work under a dictatorship, maybe, but it does not work in a democracy. It is dangerous in a democracy. In a democracy, when there is inequality like this, the people will rise up and punish their elected representatives."
In fact, they did rise up, says Carlson, when they elected Trump in 2016. "There was no mystery to why Trump won. He was the only candidate speaking to the collapsing middle class. Conservatives do not understand the social consequences of economic inequality."
Carlson rarely leaves Democrats out of his sights for long, however. Yes, he will go after neocons, but he still directs plenty of firepower at the opposition party, which has only recently come to fear Russia as our "enemy" and uses this perceived threat to undermine President Trump. "Democrats cannot accept the fact that Trump is the president, so they have to find ways to tell themselves he really didn't win the election," Carlson says. "First, it was James Comey's fault. Now it is the Russians with their 'collusion.' The same crowd that for years made excuses for Stalin, now that the Soviet threat no longer exists, has decided that Russia is our 'great enemy.' The same people who for years were highly distrustful of the FBI and the intelligence agencies now accept on faith whatever comes out of them. It's a good thing Frank Church is no longer alive to see this."
Carlson's skeptical view of U.S. policy in the Middle East can be traced, at least in part, to 2006, which was a strange year in Carlson's life. That fall, he appeared on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and was the first contestant to be eliminated. (Even Jerry Springer did better.) In Carlson's defense, he was also doing his nightly MSNBC show "Tucker" at the time and had to miss his dancing classes because he was on assignment in Israel and Lebanon during the war between Israel and Hezbollah. While there, he also was the host of an MSNBC Special Report called "Mideast Crisis."
It is not clear what he learned on "Dancing with the Stars," but he learned a great deal, he says, in the Middle East. "First, the closer you get to any situation, at least in terms of these wars, the more confusing and complicated things are," he says. "Second, the consequences of your actions are never predictable." The United States toppled the Afghan government in 2001, "and 16 years and $1 trillion later, what do we have to show for it?" American diplomats, he reports, can't even drive the two miles from the airport in Kabul to our embassy because it's unsafe. "They have to take helicopters."
Carlson says that the rise of the brutal Islamists of ISIS was a direct result of the Iraq War, a clear example of the law of unintended consequences. "When you think about it," he says, "we are still suffering from the ill effects of World War I. The Austro-Hungarian archduke is assassinated, and the world is still feeling the effects. There are unforeseen consequences of any of these actions."
This concern about consequences sounds eminently conservative, even if a lot of conservatives don't want to hear it. Like their liberal counterparts, many neoconservatives have fallen under the spell of what Carlson considers the maddening optimism of the American people -- the view that we can take any situation around the world and improve it. "Something else you learn in the Middle East is that there are some really crummy places in the world," Carlson says, adding that Americans viewed Iraq's Saddam Hussein as such an evil leader that, no matter what followed, his overthrow would have to be an improvement. "Well, that is naïve," he says. "Things can always get worse. But Americans don't want to believe that, because we lack imagination and we want to help. And as for toppling dictatorships, we don't seem to realize that there's something worse than a dictatorship -- and that's anarchy. Because with anarchy, there can be a dictator in any neighborhood: anybody with an AK-47."
Is Carlson oblivious to the threats confronting America and its allies? He doesn't think so, even if Boot and other neocons might make that claim. "Am I concerned about North Korea?" he asks. "Am I concerned about Iran? Let's put it this way. I am concerned about North Korea. I am concerned about Iran, but I am also concerned about Pakistan as a nuclear power. I'm concerned about a lot of things." When he hears that Iran is the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world, he asks how many Americans have been killed as a result of Iran-sponsored terrorism. Carlson's answer: "In the neighborhood of none, that's how many."
If Carlson's skepticism about the Iranian threat is still a minority view in Washington, he is used to having unpopular opinions. He seems comfortable taking on the establishment, as he defines it, whether the subject is Iran, Russia, immigration, or trade -- or Trump. When asked what he thinks of Steve Bannon, the president's erstwhile chief strategist who also deals in controversy, Carlson replies, "I don't think Bannon fully understands the ideas he espouses." But he adds: "I will say this for him: He has been brave enough to say that the people in charge in Washington don't know what they are doing, with respect to Iran and a lot else." The people making the decisions these days are the equivalent of day traders, "making it up as they go," Carlson says. "The private equity model is not good for the economy, and it is not good for the government or the American people. It's too shortsighted."
Like millions of other Americans, Carlson worries about the current administration, though not necessarily for the same reasons. "My concern is that Trump is actually weaker than most people realize," he says. "I don't worry about the people who go on TV and say Trump is a 'racist' and a 'fascist' and all that. They have no effect on the administration. The worry for me is the people who want to use Trump as a host to do things they want, like a war with Iran." Many of the people who advocated the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government, which posed the one real counterbalance to Iran, are now calling for American ground troops in the Islamic Republic -- "people like Max Boot, who calls anyone who disagrees with this idea a quisling."
Again the law of unintended consequences comes to mind for Carlson, as does the son he drives down U.S. Route 29 to visit in Charlottesville. "I'm against those people who want a war with Iran. Those are the people who might get my 20-year-old son killed in a war in Iran. Why would I favor that?"
Alan Pell Crawford is the author of How Not to Get Rich: The Financial Misadventures of Mark Twain , among other books.
Cosmin Visan February 26, 2018 at 8:29 pmCarlson has emerged from a small bubble and moved into a slighter bigger bubble. This has an initial invigorating effect; but it only lasts until he bumps against the bigger bubble. This notion that America is a naive optimist looking to fix things but screwing up is very dear to AC conservatives. But it ain't true. Read that famous quote by Smedley Butler and you will have it in a nutshell.Westy , says: February 26, 2018 at 9:33 pmTucker is good at provoking thought. As a (sorta) conservative reexamining (Reaganite) conservatism as it's been known.Leftophobe , says: February 26, 2018 at 9:53 pm
Problem is, he's very short on coherent solutions. The rightist populists generally are. If 'the hard left is right, income inequality is the biggest problem', what is the solution to that other than trust in bigger govt and more collectivism? Protectionism is not going to reverse inequality, the opposite if anything. Nor is immigration restriction likely to, materially. Yes, immigration is a legitimate issue, and no not everyone who wants less is a 'racist'. But the economic as opposed to social impact of immigration is very easy to overstate.
Tucker is ultimately an example of a 'new kind of right' which simply lacks solutions other than those of the left. Why not just embrace the left if it's right about the 'main problem' and you have not other practical solution than those of the left? Maybe a left with less 'elitism' and 'snobbery'? Thought provoking but I'm not sure Tucker is really about anything other than style. It's again a problem of the populist right generally.Tucker is not beholden to anyone. He is a true patriot and has a deep sadness for the loss of accuracy and dignity in American journalism.somewhere east of falls church , says: February 26, 2018 at 2:20 am"Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who once suggested that the troubled lands of Islam "cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.""cka2nd , says: February 26, 2018 at 8:35 am
Boot is such a big, easy target, isn't he? "Jodhpurs and pith helmets" don't you know, preached by a Russian Jew with American citizenship for God's sake
Can't Boot see how pathetic and incongruous this mush sounds coming from a neocon's mouth? Particularly after the serial disasters they engineered in the Mideast? The best of the old Brit colonials (and there weren't that many) weren't just "self-confident", they were shrewd and surpassingly competent. And they didn't let punk client states call the shots. Nonetheless, to the extent that "jodhpurs and pith helmets" were responsible for turning the Middle East and large swathes elsewhere into despoiled ruin, I suppose Boot has got his wish.
How typical of a neocon to mistake attitude for substance and power for "enlightenment", eh?
I guess it's nice to have Boot for Carlson to kick around, and here's hoping Carlson continues to hark to "the People". More "the People" and less Boot would suit me just fine, and I'm one of precious few people who actually own jodhpurs and a pith helmet!
The sooner that the neocons are kicked out of the public square the better." the opposition party, which has only recently come to fear Russia as our 'enemy' 'The same crowd that for years made excuses for Stalin'"Kawi , says: February 26, 2018 at 9:28 am
I'm sorry Mr. Crawford, but which Democrats are you talking about who "only recently came to fear Russia as our 'enemy?'" The Democrats who prosecuted the Korean and Vietnam Wars? JFK, who campaigned on the lie of a "missile gap?" The Democrats who, while Nixon and Ford pursued Détente, organized rallies and sanctions to force the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate? Charlie Wilson and the other enthusiastic Democratic supporters of the mujahideen of Afghanistan? Bill Clinton, who happily pushed for NATO to include former members of the Warsaw Pact and former Soviet republics while supporting the economic rape of Russia and the collapse of not only its living standards but the longevity of its people's lives?
And, I'm sorry, but which liberals does Mr. Carlson think made excuses for Stalin? Hubert Humphrey? Adlai Stevenson? JFK? LBJ? Henry "Scoop" Jackson? Jimmy Carter, the man who gave the go-ahead to foment an Afghan civil war specifically to goad the Soviet Union to intervene?
I know Bernie Sanders isn't officially a Democrat, but he did run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and he called the late Hugo Chavez a "dead Communist dictator," which certainly seemed to fit very nicely into the mainstream of Democratic Party thinking about Stalin, Russia and Communism for the last 70 years.Max Boot held his own against Tucker? Boot was red-faced and sputtering. He had nothing to say, because his worldview is vapid. I rarely watch TV, but somehow I caught that exchange live, and it was deeply gratifying. Making it even better was the knowledge that there would be clips of it stored on youtube and elsewhere.Paulb , says: February 26, 2018 at 10:00 am
This portrait should have mentioned Carlson's essay from the beginning of 2016 asking what conservatives have gotten from the Republican establishment. It was superb.
We need more voices like Carlon's right now. Many more.Another difference: Bernie always uses the phrase "billionaire class" while Tucker uses the more accurate "ruling class." (See the terrific 2-19-18 episode.) But I hope he's careful. Remember what Schumer said a year ago: the intel agencies have "six ways from Sunday of getting back at you." (It would have been nice if one of our crack reporters asked him what he meant by that.)Gray Liddell , says: February 26, 2018 at 5:31 pmTucker is the best. He does his homework and can confront, rhetorically, the diverse group of guests he has on. He does an excellent job of trying to keep the guests on topic. In our age of parrying questions, the Tuck continually zeros in on the salient discrepancies in the discussion. He does not bloviate like O'Reilly did.
Tucker does not toe the party line, he can wonder, out loud why we are fighting these endless wars?
It must take a lot of work to familiarize yourself with all the varying subjects that go in to one night of 'Tucker Carlson'. Lets hope he is on TV for another ten or twenty years.
Tight lines to Tucker.
Feb 26, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
RC, 25 February 2018 at 01:32 PMFollowing Admiral Roger's closing the FSA mega-file to the FBI, it looks as though Christopher Steele's real role was laundering information stateside which had been obtained through continued Inquiries of the NSA mega-file by our Ambassador to the UN. *** Fusion GPS immediately hired FBI manager Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, and Christopher Steele. Bruce Ohr passed his illegally obtained information to Nellie, she to Steele, who then relayed the material back to Fusion / FBI as coming from his "Russian contacts."David Habakkuk -> RC... , 26 February 2018 at 11:28 AM
And here 44 may have made a mistake in authorizing the spread his Daily Briefing to 30+ agencies and individuals -- again as a work-around of the Roger's information ban. This places 44's fingerprints on the work-around.
You may recall the incident of the wrong Michael Cohen traveling to Prague to meet with Russians -- when the future 45's personal lawyer was having a family celebration / baseball game stateside? The error was generated by the NSA mega-file. Steele's "Russian contacts" dutifully corroborated Cohen's visit with them in Prague -- how could they not, since they exist only in Steele's mind. In short, the Steele "Russians contacts" are proved to be fictions and if fictions then there was no Russian collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.
*** Our UN Ambassador claims she was not generating hundreds of NSA Inquiries per week and we can believe her. The NSA Inquiries were coming from the FBI via her State Department "support" in DC.RC,Flavius , 26 February 2018 at 05:32 PM
It really does help if, when you make claims, you link to the source so that others can evaluate them. In the case of the claims you are making, the source is clearly a post two days ago by 'sundance' on the 'Conservative Treehouse' site entitled 'Tying All The Loose Threads Together – DOJ, FBI, DoS, White House: "Operation Latitude" '
(See https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/24/tying-all-the-loose-threads-together-doj-fbi-dos-white-house-operation-latitude/ .)
As it happens, I think the suggestion that Steele's role may have been, in very substantial measure, to give the impression that material from other source was the product of a high-quality 'humint' investigation merits being taken extremely seriously.
However, to repeat claims by 'sundance', while not taking the – rather minimal – amount of trouble required to provide the link which allows others to evaluate them, simply puts people's backs up and makes them less likely to take what you are suggesting seriously.Most unusual, I would say, for an Agent in an upper management position in FBI HQ to open a counter intelligence case and then for all intents and purposes assign it to himself. Cases are normally worked and directly supervised in field offices.
Carter Page during his period of cooperation with the FBI, almost certainly was handled by Agents assigned to a field office. I wonder what they had to say, assuming they even knew, about HQ opening a CI case targeting their former cooperating witness for FISA coverage. It will be very interesting to see who handled Steele. Strzok?
What was the compelling evidence and who furnished it to turn a US Naval Academy graduate, and presumably a Naval Officer with a readily accessible track record in service, into the targeted subject of an espionage investigation. Did he even have any current access to classified information? This is not looking good.
Feb 26, 2018 | original.antiwar.com
Sanders signs on to Russia-gate conspiracy theoryOne by one, the plaster gods fall, cracked and crumbled on the ground: the latest is Bernie Sanders, the Great Pinko Hope of the (very few) remaining Democrats with a modicum of sense who reject the "Russia! Russia! Russia!" paranoia of Rep. Adam Schiff and what I call the party's California Crazies. The official Democratic leadership seems to have no real commitment to anything other than fealty to a few well-known oligarchs, who provide the party with needed cash, a burning hatred of Russia – an issue no ordinary voter outside of the Sunshine State loony bin and Washington, D.C. cares about – and exotic issues of interest only to the upper class virtue-signalers who are now their main constituency (e.g., where will trans people go to the bathroom?). Overlaying this potpourri of nothingness, the glue holding it all together, is pure unadulterated hatred: of President Trump, of Trump voters, of Middle America in general, and, of course, fear and loathing of Russia and all things Russian.
And now the one supposedly bright spot in this pit of abysmal darkness has flickered out, with Bernie Sanders, the Ron Paul of the Reds, jumping on the Russia-did-it bandwagon and cowering in the wake of Robert Mueller's laughable "indictment," in which the special prosecutor avers that $100,000 in Facebook ads were designed to throw the election to Trump – and to help Bernie!
Oh no, says Bernie, from his place of exile in the wilds of Vermont, where the Russians did not take over the electrical grid: It wasn't me!
Instead of standing up to the crazies – by which I mean the Democratic party Establishment – and saying that the whole Russia-phobic campaign is based on nothing but hot air and fantasy, he's kowtowing to the very people who are trying to smear him as a Russian agent. Here he is signing on to the Clintonite canon of faith that poor Hillary " had to run against the Russian government " as well as Trump.
This is laughable: there's no evidence for this other than Mueller's comical "indictment," which shows that something called the "Internet Research Agency," run by an out-of-work chef, spent a grand total of $100,000 – mostly after the election – on Facebook ads that were both anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. Michael Moore attended one "Russian-sponsored" event – a rally of thousands targeting Trump Tower, and, by the way, the only successful "Russian" event (the pro-Trump events were flops).
Not only is Bernie buying into Russia-gate, now that the case for it is collapsing – nearly two years later and there's still no evidence of "collusion" – but he's calling for a full-fledged witch-hunt:
"The key issues now are: 1) How we prevent the unwitting manipulation of our electoral and political system by foreign governments. 2) Exposing who was actively consorting with the Russian government's attack on our democracy."
This is the real goal of anti-Trump groups like the " Alliance for Securing Democracy " and their "Hamilton dashboard," which purports to track "pro-Russian" sentiment online: it's the explicit intention of #TheResistance to censor the media with the cooperation of the tech oligarchs like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It's back to the 1950s, folks, only this time the Thought Police are "liberals," and "socialists" like Bernie and the Bernie Bros.
Sanders' followers have taken up the hate-on-Russia battle cry with alacrity, with material by the fraudulent fanatic Luke Harding all over the web site of the Democratic Socialists of America. And being the left edge of the Democratic party, DSA will be supporting the very Democratic officeholders and officials who are shouting the loudest about Russia.
Coming soon: a congressional "investigation" into "pro-Russian" Americans using the "Hamilton dashboard" and the Southern Poverty Law Center as templates. Remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee? Well, it's coming back. That's always been in the cards, and now those cards are about to be dealt.
I'll tell you one thing: I would have colluded with the Klingon Empire to prevent Hillary and her band of authoritarian statists and warmongering nutcases from taking the White House. If only the Russians had intervened, they'd have been doing this country – and the world – a great service. Alas, there's not one lick of solid evidence – forensic, documentary, witness testimony – that shows this. Which is what the Mueller investigation is all about: the Democrats are claiming there was interference, and Mueller is out to find corroboration. Except it's been over a year and he's come up with nothing.
Oh, he's got money-laundering charges on Paul Manafort and associates, but that has nothing to do with the Trump campaign: it all happened years before Trump ran. He's got Carter Page pleading guilty to lying to the FBI – but it's not clear what this means, exactly, since he's not been charged with a crime after all this time.
The Deep State's bid for power has hit several roadblocks recently, but it could yet succeed. First, Mueller could indict the President for "obstruction of justice" – a charge derived not from any real criminal activity, but from the investigation itself. I think this is the most probable outcome of all this.
Barring that, however, there is one road they could and probably would go down, given the intensity of their hatred for this President and their overweening power lust. Having gone this far in an attempt to overthrow a sitting President, they can't just stop halfway to their goal. They have to go all the way, or else suffer the consequences – public exposure, and possible criminal charges. In short, if they fail to get Trump on some semi-legal basis, I think they'd welcome his assassination.
The Deep State cannot allow the Trump administration to stand for a number of reasons, the chief one being that the coup is already in progress and there's no stopping it now. The President's enemies are legion, they are powerful, and they are abroad as well as here on American shores. They cannot allow his brand of "America First" nationalism to succeed, or seem to succeed: it conflicts too violently with their globalist vision of a borderless America-centric empire ruled by a coalition of oligarchs, technocrats, and Deep State operatives who've been shaping world events from the shadows for generations.
So no matter what you may think of Trump and his policies, the real question is: will the Deep State and their allies in the media succeed in their bid for power? Will they oust a sitting President and institute a new era in our politics, one in which the political class can exercise its veto over the democratic will of the people?
That's the issue at hand and that's why I spend so much time writing about Trump and his enemies' efforts to destroy him. Because if the Deep State succeeds, the America we knew and loved will be no more. Something else will take its place – and believe me, it won't be pretty.
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If we all get together and make that final push we can make our goal. Every donation counts, no matter the amount. This is how we'll finally win the battle for peace: by uniting, despite superficial differences, to support the institutions that are in the front lines of the struggle for a rational foreign policy. And leading the charge is Antiwar.com.
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NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here . But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement , with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey , a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon ( ISI Books , 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here .
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com
chris , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 10:57 pm GMTJake , Next New Comment February 26, 2018 at 12:50 am GMT
So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power.
Your point brought this infamous picture to mind!"what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent."
Feb 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Via Disobedient Media ,
The ongoing litigation of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit and the appeal regarding its dismissal took a stunning turn yesterday. The defendants in the case, including the DNC and former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, filed a response brief that left many observers of the case at a loss for words. The document , provided by the law offices of the Attorneys for the Plaintiffs in the case, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, and appears to argue that if the Democratic Party did cheat Sanders in the 2016 Presidential primary race, then that action was protected under the first amendment. Twitter users were quick to respond to the brief, expressing outrage and disgust at the claims made by representatives of the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The Defense counsel also argued that because of Jared Beck's outspoken twitter posts, the plaintiffs were using the litigation process for political purposes: "For example, Plaintiffs' counsel Jared Beck repeatedly refers to the DNC as "shi*bags" on Twitter and uses other degrading language in reference to Defendants." Fascinatingly, no mention is made regarding the importance of First Amendment at this point in the document.
The defense counsel also took issue with Jared Beck for what they termed as: " Repeatedly promoted patently false and deeply offensive conspiracy theories about the deaths of a former DNC staffer and Plaintiffs' process server in an attempt to bolster attention for this lawsuit."
This author was shocked to find that despite the characterization of the Becks as peddlers of conspiracy theory, the defense counsel failed to mention the motion for protection filed by the Becks earlier in the litigation process. They also failed to note the voice-modulated phone calls received by the law offices of the Becks which contained a caller-ID corresponding to the law offices of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a defendant in the case. In light of this context, the Becks hardly appear to be peddlers of conspiracy theory.
The DNC defense lawyers then argued that: " There is no legitimate basis for this litigation, which is, at its most basic, an improper attempt to forge the federal courts into a political weapon to be used by individuals who are unhappy with how a political party selected its candidate in a presidential campaign ."
The brief continued: " To recognize any of the causes of action that Plaintiffs allege based on their animating theory would run directly contrary to long-standing Supreme Court precedent recognizing the central and critical First Amendment rights enjoyed by political parties, especially when it comes to selecting the party's nominee for public office. "
It appears that the defendants in the DNC Fraud Lawsuit are attempting to argue that cheating a candidate in the primary process is protected under the first amendment.
If all that weren't enough, DNC representatives argued that the Democratic National Committee had no established fiduciary duty "to the Plaintiffs or the classes of donors and registered voters they seek to represent."
It seems here that the DNC is arguing for its right to appoint candidates at its own discretion while simultaneously denying any "fiduciary duty" to represent the voters who donated to the Democratic Party under the belief that the DNC would act impartially towards the candidates involved.
Adding to the latest news regarding the DNC Fraud Lawsuit was the recent finding by the UK Supreme Court, which stated that Wikileaks Cables were admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.
If Wikileaks' publication of DNC emails are found to be similarly admissible in a United States court of law, then the contents of the leaked emails could be used to argue that, contrary to the defendant's latest brief, the DNC did favor the campaign of Hillary Clinton over Senator Sanders and that they acted to sabotage Sanders' campaign.
The outcome of the appeal of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit remains to be seen. Disobedient Media will continue to report on this important story as it unfolds.
css1971 Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:24 Permalinkvulcanraven -> css1971 Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:27 Permalink
Even on a practical level, beyond the "fraud is free speech" argument, they don't seem to have considered that this argument is a lose/lose proposition. Even if they (DNC) win legally, they are going to lose as people turn away from the finger they're giving them.macholatte -> just the tip Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:24 Permalink
In other words, "we can piss in the faces of all you plebes, and you will like it"IntercoursetheEU -> macholatte Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:31 Permalink
Notice this is a civil suit brought by a citizen. The Bern is silent and not suing anybody although he was the target of the scam, or maybe a party to it. The DOJ is silent and not looking to put anybody in jail for what appears to be an obvious violation of criminal law.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
- - Jeff Sessionsputaipan -> IntercoursetheEU Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:43 Permalink
Not so for murder, and rigging the general election. Seth Rich murder and DHS investigation into 2016 election tampering soon to expose this party's contempt for the law, and all other forms of ethical conduct.caconhma -> IntercoursetheEU Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:57 Permalink
don't forget the dead attorney involved in this case (too lazy to google the poor dead guys name)Lemmy Caution -> macholatte Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:41 Permalink
What is the difference? There is no any justice in America. It is all gone.
The US people are polarized and, thanks to Hollywood and mainstream media, with the culture of lawless, violence, and hatred of everybody. America is a very sick country with a fake President and the utterly corrupt US Congress. It will not end good or bloodless.
The US military reliance on super-technology is poorly thought of since these high-tech military systems require very highly-educated and intelligent people to operate these systems while the US educational system being a total failure cannot produce.AtATrESICI -> JRobby Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:53 Permalink
Bernie is more than happy to yammer on about Russian bots swarming Facebook and other social media platforms in some insidious plot to rig the election -- and yet he fails to say a word about the actual attempts to rig the election by the DNA and Hillary. But, hey, if he can shave a few hundred dollars off of my monthly health insurance premiums he can call for a first-strike nuclear attack on Russia!just the tip -> AtATrESICI Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:59 Permalink
Clearly we have laws for little people while the owners do whatever the fuck they want.
... the State Department completed its review and determined that 2,115 of the 30,490 emails contain information that is presently
classified Out of these 2,115 emails, the State Department determined that 2,028 emails contain information classified at the Confidential level; 65 contain information classified at the Secret level; and 22 contain information classified at the Top Secret level....
https://vault.fbi.gov/october-2016-application-affidavit-and-search-warrant-related-to-email-server-investigation/October%202016%20Application%20Affidavit%20and%20Search%20Warrant%20Related%20to%20Email%20Server%20Investigation%20Part%2001%20of%2001/viewJRobby -> just the tip Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:18 Permalink
i may be repeating someones posting of: it's a big club, and you ain't in it.JRobby -> AtATrESICI Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:12 Permalink
Still the best 3:00 summary of all timeHerp and Derp -> AtATrESICI Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:47 Permalink
Let me reiterate (if I may) Do we really need to see anymore pictures of Delusional Slut Horror Show Wasserman-Schultz?
She has a face that can stop timeAl Huxley -> chunga Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:41 Permalink
I think this is the exact reason election boards exists. They should be suing the DNC over this as well, but are full of party officials. If there was any sane form of democracy, the DNC would be bared from campaigning in most states.Quinvarius -> Al Huxley Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:52 Permalink
It's a sewer, the whole fucking system is just a cesspool filled with the most reprehensible, self-serving people in the country outside of Wall Street. But everybody just keeps playing along.nmewn -> WorkingPawn Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:30 Permalink
Sounds like a swamp.nmewn Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:27 Permalink
At the basic level, the DNC conned it's rank & file members with words like "democracy" and "one man, one vote" and "equality".
The DNC is a political party that relied on useful idiots not reading the fine print of it's charter ;-)SDShack -> nmewn Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:39 Permalink
"The DNC defense lawyers then argued that: " There is no legitimate basis for this litigation, which is, at its most basic,...
...an improper attempt to forge the federal courts into a political weapon to be used by individuals who are unhappy...
...with how a political party selected its candidate in a presidential campaign ."
So basically the same reasoning behind the Mueller witch hunt and using the FBI & FISA courts to destroy political opponents then...lol.
Egggcellent ;-)nmewn -> SDShack Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:57 Permalink
Don't forget in their twisted minds that the lies they tell to support their corrupt agenda are "protected free speech". There are no further examples one needs to show that these fuckers are nothing but malignant sociopaths. The death of the Rule of Law is why sociopaths flourish.Pure Evil -> gatorengineer Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:54 Permalink
They don't live in the same reality as us and never have.
They are without shame, without remorse, without ethics or morals, feeling or caring. Yet they still try to defend their indefensible actions where contrition and humbleness would be much better long term..."politically". The rank & file snowflakes would eat up a simple apology because they have been brought up to think thats all it takes to right wrongs.
They are all sociopaths.Hubbs Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:30 Permalink
My take was Bernie was supposed to cat herd the millennials to the Hillary camp but that blew up in their face when the millennials decided to put down their cell phones and proceeded to give Hillary the bird.
Wouldn't doubt a large majority still ended up voting for but they probably won't admit it.SRV Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:41 Permalink
Doesn't this make the whole candidate selection process, and all the rules and regulations governing a party's whole nomination process meaningless? If what DEMS did within their own party to Bernie is moot, then what Trump may have done via his "Russian collusion" is mooted also. Can't have it both ways.
They used the same argument before the appeal... and the corrupt judge agreed with "The Crooks" and closed the case. NOT ONE media outlet covered the fact they actually said in open court that the DNC had no legal obligation to be fair.
But... Russia... Rusia... Russia
Only in America... r.i.p.
Mar 22, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comNew Column:Why Republican Elites are Threatened, by Mark Thoma : ... Donald Trump's tax plan will result in a fall in revenue of 9.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years, yet somehow he will fulfill his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare and balance the budget? When push comes to shove (or worse – this is Trump after all), who do you think he will protect, social insurance programs the working class relies upon for economic security or his own and his party's wealthy interests? Ted Cruz has proposed an 8.6 trillion dollar tax cut. How, exactly, will that be financed without large cuts to social insurance programs or huge increases in the budget deficit?
Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ...
I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart. I am not pleased at all, however, that people are still being led to believe that there are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare. ...
Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 05:24 AM in Economics , Politics , Social Insurance | Permalink Comments (41)New Deal democrat -> pgl...And the next GOP President will immediately give away those hard earned surpluses generated by President Clinton or Sanders to their plutocratic donors - just as W did.Peter K. -> New Deal democrat...
Hence my support for a *countercyclical* Balanced Budget Amendment.My point was that Sanders or Clinton would be getting the surprise surpluses as W. did.sanjait -> Peter K....
My hope is that Clinton would do the right thing, but I wouldn't bet money on it. I could see her do tax cuts for corporations and finance. Summers recently had a piece arguing for tax cuts as incentives for private investment.If we consider that there is probably some pent up business investment demand that could drive above average productivity growth for a few years ... then it plausibly is possible for the country to achieve late 90s style growth.likbez -> Peter K....pgl :
The collapse and subsequent economic rape of the USSR region in 1991-1998 was a huge stimulus for the US economy. Something like 300 millions of new customers overnight for many products and huge expansion of the dollar zone, which partially compensates for the loss of EU to euro.
Even if we count just the cash absorbed by the region, it will be a major economic stimulus. All-it-all it was Bernanke size if we add buying assets for pennies on the dollar.
Actually, Bill Clinton put a solid fundament for subsequent deterioration relations with Russia. His semi-successful attempt to colonize Russia (under Yeltsin Russia was a semi-colony and definitely a vassal state of the USA) backfired.
Now the teeth of dragon planted by Slick Bill (of Kosovo war fame) are visible in full glory. Russian elite no longer trusts the US elite and feels threatened.
Series of female sociopath (or borderline personalities) in the role of Secretaries of State did not help either. The last one, "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary and her protégé Victoria Nuland (which actually was a close associate of Dick Cheney http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2005/11/president_cheney.html ) are actually replay of unforgettable Madeleine Albright with her famous a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."[All well said! The notion that Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump lie a lot is as established as the fact that the earth is not flat.Jerry Brown -> pgl...True that!Paul Mathis :"[T]here are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare."Jerry Brown -> Paul Mathis...
As every legitimate economist knows, stimulus spending to increase the GDP growth rate would raise tax revenues without raising tax rates. This phenomenon is well-known to Keynesians and has been demonstrated many times.
Thanks to the disinformation campaign run by Republicans, however, stimulus spending has been taken off the table of economic choices except in China where minimum GDP growth is 6.5%. China is "killing us" economically because we are stupid.Instead, the Trumps and Cruzes and Ryans believe in giant tax cuts for the very wealthy. This might provide a weak stimulus for the economy, but it is a very poor way to go about it. More likely in my mind is that it would lead to increased pressure to cut government spending on things that actually do help the economy.Paul Mathis -> Jerry Brown...Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase demand. Trickle down is a false economic doctrine that exacerbates inequality and therefore reduces demand. Keynes established this principle decades ago but his wisdom has been ignored.pgl -> Paul Mathis...You'll love this bit of honesty from right wing Joe Scarborough:mulp -> pgl...
But the 1981 tax cuts did increase shopping on Rodeo Drive.Job losses began the month Reagan signed the tax cuts. Job creation began the month Reagan hiked taxes to pay workers to fix the roads and bridges. Reagan and his job killing tax cuts caused the recession, not the Fed and monetary policy. Monetary policy was steady from 1980 to 1983.anne :
Reagan's tax cuts struck fear into would be lenders. How much debt was the government going to need if it intentionally cuts it's incomes? On the other hand, if the government stops spending, that's millions of workers who will be forced to stop spending.
For Nixon, the Fed monetized the smaller deficits from repealling the war tax surcharge that balanced the budget in 1969. Just as the Fed monetized all government debt once FDR and his bankers took over, especially Eccles at the Fed.
But Volcker was not going to monetize the debt caused by Reagan's adoption of intentional deficit spending.
But even Reagan eventually understood what FDR did: gdp growth requires workers getting paid more, and government can take the money from people who have it but won't spend it paying workers, but tax and spend, and create jobs.
If only economists today understood it, and called for tax and spend to create jobs to grow gdp.Really nice essay.Mr. Bill :"Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ..."BobZ :
I think you have identified the potential roots of a movement. The unwrapping and critical analysis of the demagoguery that has defined the lives of the baby boom generation. The quote below from Dan Baum's Harper's article, Legalize It All", seems particularly poignant:
"At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."I'm pretty sure that the Trumpists would be thrilled to raise taxes...on someone else. It's only the elites that are interested in lowering taxes on the rich. Trump's followers don't care.pgl -> BobZ ...
I'm also pretty sure that Trump will turn on the donor class rather than reduce anything for his own base - but I could be wrong.Much Republican elites would love to raise sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any tax that the "little people" pay. This would allow them to cut taxes for rich people even more. This is their game. Take from the poor and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR economics!pgl -> BobZ ...Krugman for almost 12 years ago:JohnH :
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/01/opinion/dooh-nibor-economics.html?_r=0All this liberal hand wringing about Trump's tax plan. Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!! Not a single 'attaboy' from these supposedly liberal economists.pgl -> JohnH...
"With the most progressive tax policy of any candidate, Sanders would dramatically increase taxes for the very wealthy and high-income earners (as well as moderate increases for the middle- and upper-middle classes) in order to pay for key planks of his social agenda including tuition-free public college, a Medicare for All healthcare program, massive infrastructure spending, and paid family leave for all workers."
"Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant increases in federal income, payroll, business, and estate taxes, and new excise taxes on financial transactions and carbon. New revenues would pay for universal health care, education, family leave, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, and more. TPC estimates the tax proposals would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay some additional tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with the very highest income. His proposals would raise taxes on work, saving, and investment, in some cases to rates well beyond recent historical experience in the US."
As I've said many times, most 'liberal' economists simply to not want increased taxes to be put on the table as a viable alternative for funding stimulus. Else, why would they go silent when a major candidate makes such an economically significant proposal? Why is it that they are eager to promote ever more debt but refuse to support more taxes?You are pushing this which is fine. ButJohnH -> pgl...
"Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!"
I noticed this a long time ago. And I applauded Bernie's proposal. I guess I have to resign as a "liberal economist".Now pgl claims to have supported Bernie's tax plan...when all he said did was to acknowledge that I cited a credible source!pgl -> JohnH...
Question is, why are all those 'liberal' economists running from Bernie's progressive tax plan like the plague?I have supported tax increases on the rich many times. Pay attention. Also - read the latest column from Mark Thoma which is what this thread is supposed to be about. I guess Mark must not be a liberal economists either. DUH!Eric377 -> JohnH...Because they can always run back to something like it if a Democrat is elected, but not so if Trump or Cruz are and they have convinced themselves that supporting Sanders is a big risk of getting a Republican. And they are right about that.JohnH -> Eric377...LOL!!! Democrats will NOT endorse support anything like Bernie's tax pan EVER! Just like 'liberal" economists will never endorse it either...in fact, they have every opportunity to endorse it now but refuse to even talk about it, apparently hoping it will just go away.mulp -> JohnH...But the real benefit of high tax rates on people with lots of money is they will work really hard to not pay taxes by investing in new capital assets even if the bean counters think building more assets will only slash returns on capital.pgl :
The result is no increase in tax revenue, but lots of jobs created if the tax dodges are designed to create jobs.
The best example is a carbon tax. The correct carbon tax schedule of increases will raise virtually no tax revenue, but will result in trillions of dollars in labor costs building productive capital, which will ironically make the rich far wealthier.
But if millions of people are employed for a lifetime and the burning of fossil fuels ends, only Bernie will be angry that those responsible end up worth hundreds of billions, or maybe become trillionaires. Their businesses will not be profitable, just like Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX are worth tens of billions but are unprofitable.GOP elite Peter Schiff babbling even worse lies than our excellent host has documented:pgl -> pgl...
http://realcrash2016.com/peter-schiff-social-security-could-implode-in-2016/?code=466832/&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referralSchiff is saying Soc. Sec. will go bankrupt this year. He also predicted hyperinflation and gold at $5000 an ounce:Benedict@Large -> pgl...
http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/02/13/gold-at-5000-and-beyond-peter-schiff-sticks-to-his-call/Every year Schiff predicts a recession. Once every 6-8 years, he's right. Schiff then claims he's predicted every recession for the last three dozen years. Everyone is amazed. "How does he do it?" the crowd gasps.pgl :
Why does anyone even mention Schiff? He's a grifter with an angle to part rich people from their money. Nothing more.From the day job - filed under fun with Microsoft Excel. Math nerds will get this right away. I'm reading a report from some expert witness that claims some loan guarantee is worth only 22 basis points when my client has charged 55 basis points. Think of x = 1.005 and take the natural log. Yes, the right answer is 50 basis points. This clown uses Excel and types in log(x).William -> pgl...
OK - I hate Microsoft Excel as it took me a while. But the log function assumes base 10. The correct syntax is ln(x).
Somehow I think the right wing elite will start doing similar things in their Soc. Sec. analyzes.Somehow, I think the right wing elite don't know the difference between a basis point and a percentage point, let alone between a base 10 or a base e logarithm.pgl -> William...I know Stephen Moore certainly does not know the difference!DrDick :Excellent piece, but I would point out that the GOP would likely sacrifice their own mothers for upper class tax cuts.pgl :Politics down under (New Zealand). The Green Party is campaigning on transfer pricing enforcement in order to make the multinationals pay their fair share of taxes:Fred C. Dobbs :
We need more of this in the US!Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that the GOP *leadership* is vehemently opposed to Trump, because he threatens their authority, but the rank-and-file seem to be pretty happy with him.pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...I was tired and fell asleep by 9PM missing Rachel's show. Thanks for filling me in. She's awesome!Fred C. Dobbs -> pgl...The idea seems to be that Trump, if elected, will obviously 'reconstitute' the GOP, re-making it totally, casting out old people, bringing in New Blood.eudaimonia :
This would be 'yuuugely' more cataclysmic than what happened between Teddy Roosevelt and the anti-progressives of the GOP back in 1912.[I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart.]pgl :
I disagree here. I don't see Trump as exposing the Republican economic agenda to be a fraud. Instead, Trump is exposing that the main driver in conservatism is not policy, but racism.
The Republican base is not "waking up" per say, but Trump rather erased away the policy veneer and has shown the heart of the conservative base.
For decades, the RW economic and social agenda was based off of racism and bigotry - fictional Cadillac mothers, how blacks just vote Democrat since they are lazy, increased voting restrictions for a non-problem, Willie Horton, opposing the CRA in the name of "freedom" and states' rights, etc.
The argument now has simply shifted away from slashing taxes on white rich males since it creates an underclass of dependent minorities, to blaming Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.
If you look at the heart of Trump supporters, they are high school dropouts who have also dropped out of the labor force since they were dependent on the old economy, live in mobile houses and have not moved around much, with a history of voting for segregationists.
As their economy breaks down around them, like it has in various parts of the country, we are seeing the same social ills emerge - suicide, drug use, depression, rise of divorce, etc.
What Trump has shown them is that it is not their fault. It is not the fault of policy. It is not the fault of globalization. It is not the fault of technological change. It is the fault of the Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.
The core of conservatism is still there: racism, and Trump has simply shown this. Conservatism is not about policy, but an emotional reactionary ideology based on fear and ignorance that looks for minorities to be scapegoats.US Supreme Court splits 4-4 in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore:sanjait :
Appeals Court had ruled in favor of the bank so the bank prevails. OK - we know Scalia would have voted in favor of the bank but now the standard is how would have Garland ruled. The Senate needs to act on his nomination.Maybe the simplest way to dissect it is to note that the GOP has been running multiple overlapping cons. They tell the base that tax cuts will improve their lives, and then passes tax cuts that go mostly to the rich.
They tell the base that regulations are killing jobs, and then block or remove any government protection or program that makes the country livable so some industrialist can avoid having to deal with externalities. They tell the base that "those people" are taking their stuff, and then shred the safety net that helps almost everyone except the rich.
What Trump has done is expose how these cons don't really fit together logically, but he hasn't really gone strongly against any of them. He's been on both sides of the first two, and tripled down on the third.
Mar 23, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comPaul Ryan, in a speech on the state of American politics, says :We don't lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold.
Followed by:... in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.
Bruce Bartlett :... I was the staff economist for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) in 1977, and it was my job to draft what came to be the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which Reagan endorsed in 1980 and enacted the following year. ...PAUL MATHIS :
Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent. The average unemployment rate was actually higher under Reagan than it was during the previous eight years: 7.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent. ...Lyin' Ryan
"In 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work."
In 1981 real GDP increased 2.6%, but in 1982 it was NEGATIVE 1.9%.
In 1981 the unemployment rate was 7.6% but by 1982 it was 9.7%.
So the tax cuts reduced growth and increased unemployment. Those are FACTS
PAUL MATHIS -> pgl...The Question Was the Effect of the 1981 Tax Cutspgl -> PAUL MATHIS...
Ryan says they were positive for growth and jobs. They were not based on the ensuing facts.
Obviously many other things were happening but Ryan made a clear statement that was a lie and that needs to be called out.In his first economic text Greg Mankiw (pre Bush Kool Aid) laid this out nicely. Inward shift of the national savings schedule, higher real interest rates, and the crowding-out of investment. Which lowers long-term growth in the standard Solow model. QED!
Responding to the increasingly inane behavior of the two parties, Robert Reich envisions a third party win in 2020: http://robertreich.org/post/141437490885
"Politics abhors a vacuum. In 2019, the People's Party filled it.
Its platform called for getting big money out of politics, ending "crony capitalism," abolishing corporate welfare, stopping the revolving door between government and the private sector, and busting up the big Wall Street banks and corporate monopolies.
The People's Party also pledged to revoke the Trans Pacific Partnership, hike taxes on the rich to pay for a wage subsidy (a vastly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit) for everyone earning below the median, and raise taxes on corporations that outsource jobs abroad or pay their executives more than 100 times the pay of typical Americans.
Americans rallied to the cause. Millions who called themselves conservatives and Tea Partiers joined with millions who called themselves liberals and progressives against a political establishment that had shown itself incapable of hearing what they had been demanding for years."
Will Democrats and Republicans becoming out of touch with voters and illegitimate representatives of the will of the people, it's time to register your disgust--vote third party!
[Not voting only communicates apathy, which is fine with the elites.]
Ben Groves :Boomers were driving up the labor force, driving up unemployment.pgl :
If you want to be clear, this happened to Jimmy Carter in the late 70's when that expansion was peaking.
The bigger the growth rate of total population, the faster GDP must grow.........and vice versa. Why do you think the classical liberals hated Malthus so much?Bruce may be right here but this includes business cycle effects:
"Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent."
Using the typical measure of potential output, we can do this on the terms that supply-siders preach. Long-term growth. This growth was around 3.5% before 1981. It was also 3.5% after 1992. But during the Reagan-Bush41 years, it was only 3%. You see - this tax cut raised real interest rates and crowded out investment.
Paul Ryan wants to pretend he's a smart guy. If he is - then he knows this. Which means he is lying to us.
pgl :Oh goodie! Ted Cruz attacks my mayor!eudaimonia :
Yesterday when Brussels was attacked – my police department went into action to insure my subway rides were safe. My mayor took a subway ride to Times Square which showed courage. So what does the slime ball Cruz do?
'Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz swooped into Manhattan Wednesday and promptly hit Mayor de Blasio below the belt when he said cops who turned their backs on him were speaking for all Americans." When heroes of NYPD stood up and turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio, they spoke not just for the men and women of New York, but for Americans all across this nation," said Cruz at the GOP Party & Women's National Republican Club in Midtown.'
There has been tension as our police have to patrol as we march against how the police that murdered Eric Garner got off from prosecution. And then the horror of two of them murdered in cold blood by some crazed person from Baltimore. A few cops did turn their backs as the mayor honored these two brave cops. Most of the NYPD, however, was appalled at this garbage. Had I known Cruz was coming here to insult my city – I would have been there protesting. But my mayor handled this the right way:
'De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton were two of the most vocal critics, with Bratton saying it was so out of line it showed why he'd never win the White House race. He doesn't know the hell what he is talking about, to be frank with you," Bratton said. "While he's running around here, he probably has some Muslim officers guarding him." Later, during an radio interview, Bratton went after the Texas senator again on the monitoring." He is maligning a whole population group. A religion. That's not the American way," Bratton said on "The John Gambling Show" on AM970. "Mr. Cruz showed his naivete of the police department. I don't recall Mr. Cruz in uniform at any time fighting for his country. This election campaign is painting everyone with the broad brush. We focus on people committing the crime the disorder, not the population."'
Bratton is the best police commissioner in the nation! My only regret is that the NYPD did not arrest Cruz and toss him in jail for a few days.Except the tax cut story does not hold up for a couple of reason.
(i) It implies that high taxation was responsible for the stagnant economy. Therefore, reducing taxes would unleash growth. The early 80's recessions was not caused by high taxation and growth was just as strong before.
(ii) Reagan actually passed a significant tax increase in 1982; TERFA. Some have actually called it the largest peacetime tax increase in history.
(iii) Supply-siders completely ignore interest rates. The federal funds rate fell from 19% in July 1981 to 8.5% in February 1983. That looks like good ol' fashion Keynesianism at work.
It is simply a comfortable story that conservatives tell themselves in order to validate slashing taxes on the rich, cut discretionary non-military spending, and explode military spending and our deficits.
However, like in an echo-chamber for 3-4 decades, they will not come to terms with this.
Feb 22, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
There could only be a very small number of White House figures privy to this precise set of information in mid-1974, and perhaps only one. Woodward's source was Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Still alive in 2018, Kissinger has maintained public silence about his knowledge of Nixon's Vietnam treason for half a century.
It is incomprehensible that neither Woodward nor Bernstein appeared to understand the information they were being told by Kissinger: the allegations against Nixon had swirled ever since he won the Presidency. On January 12, 1969, the Washington Post itself had carried a profile of Nixon's go-between, Anna Chennault, which stated: "She reportedly encouraged Saigon to 'delay' in joining the Paris peace talks in hopes of getting a better deal if the Republicans won the White House." Chennault was reported as making no comment on the allegations, which were entirely accurate.
Woodward and Bernstein had been handed the skeleton key that would have unlocked the entire Watergate affair. The reporters had been told – by no less a figure than Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger – about the real motive behind Nixon's plan to burgle the Brookings Institute. It was to destroy the evidence that Nixon had conspired to prolong a war with an official enemy of the United States in order to win the presidency in 1968; after which he deliberately prolonged – even escalated – the Vietnam War. And – for reasons that might never be known – Woodward and Bernstein stayed silent.
Bob Woodward and Henry Kissinger were contacted for comment on the specific disclosures made in this article. Neither of them replied.
This is an abridgement of an article first published by Lobster Magazine ( www.lobster-magazine.co.uk ). Republished with permission. All rights reserved by the author.
mike k , February 20, 2018 at 5:13 pmAntiwar7 , February 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm
Professional liars at work. Dirty games of the rich and powerful. Can anyone be so naïve as to think these power players care one bit about the rights and safety of ordinary people, even millions who have been murdered by their scheming? This is the truth about your government in action. These people are the enemies of mankind.David Smith , February 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm
Here's the great Robert Parry's take on this subject, back in 2014:
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/05/an-insiders-view-of-nixons-treason/Mike Lamb , February 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm
The United States, through The Constitution, has the strictest definition of treason in the world. That is giving aid(material aid) and comfort(in its 18th century meaning) to a nation at war with the US. How Nixon's alleged action constitutes treason is not made clear by this article.
Setting aside that dubious charge, this author and others supporting this narrative claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion. Certainly, LBJ halted the bombing of N Vietnam as a good faith gesture, and invited the Hanoi regime to peace talks.
However there is no way a treaty could be negotiated in the six months before the Presidential elections. There were numerous issues that were very difficult, and in certain cases impossible to resolve with an agreement by all four parties such as a Ceasefire and agreed lines of control and composition of a Control Commission, future elections in S Vietnam, replacement of critical military equipment to respective parties, the complex particulars of POW exchange, permitted military activities of the US, and perhaps the stickiest, would the NVA agree to leave S Vietnam or would it insist to stay.
This last one was particularly offensive to the Saigon regime. Kissinger could not get the NVA to agree to leave, lied to Saigon about it(Saigon was wise to his lying) and in the end Nixon had to threaten cessation of all aid to get Saigon to sign. The negotiations for the Paris Accords were neccesarily complex and long as the US had to leave Saigon with a structure that gave it a chance for survival. The US violated the Accords by continuing B-52 raids in support of Saigon only halted by Congressional action in August 1973. Nixon was elected in 1968 on the promise to end the war and it is a false charge to accuse him of lying cynically with the intention to prolong the war. His actions in 1969, 1970, and 1971 were an attempt to give Saigon the best position possible. Nixon also had to deal with the rightists in America who would see the Paris Accords as a sellout. Originally, Hanoi proposed signing on October 1972, thinking they were giving Nixon a boost. Nixon however fearing the rightists didn't want the Accords known until after the election so he allowed Saigon to object to several clauses as a delaying tactic. Hanoi then walked out because they thought Nixon was buying time to ram in more materiel. This led to the infamous 1972 Christmas Bombing of Hanoi, to get Hanoi back to the table. In the end it was Saigon that balked, refusing to sign because the Accords left the NVA in the South. Nixon forced their hand by threatening to cease all aid. I have added this final narrative to illustrate the bizarre complexity of the absurd mess, and what mind boggling difficulties Nixon had to face. A simplistic narrative casting Nixon as a traitor and "war prolonger" is not justified by a balanced analysis of the facts.David Smith , February 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm
Back in April 2014 Lyndon Johnson's daughter Lynda Bird Johnson Robb was on the Pure Bull Shit Newshour (they have gone a long way from the days of McNeill Leher) and she brought up the fact that as her father was attempting to bring peace in Vietnam the South Vietnamese government was being told they would get a better deal under President Nixon.
Gwen Ifill, reporter for PBS essentially did her "Star Wars" line of nothing to see here, move on stating: "So much drama involving Vietnam, so much drama involving the Civil Rights Act. Robert Kimball, you were 24 years old " moving away from Lynda Bird Johnson Robb so she had no change to expand on the treason by Nixon supporters.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/civil-rights-act-opened-door-american-dreamLuke , February 21, 2018 at 5:45 pm
1) Accurately define treason. 2) Explain how in the six or seven months between April 1968 and the November election LBJ could have negotiated and signed a peace treaty with North Vietnam.David Smith , February 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm
I'm so sick of these egotists who think that aggressively firing stupid questions at a commenter constitutes a reply or a counter argument.
Explain this, define that This isn't the 12th century anymore Gregory..
If we're harassing people into explaining arbitrary assertions, how about you explain how 'to give aid and comfort to the enemy' is the 'strictest definition of treason in the world'. And make sure you list every known definition in your answer.
In case you are capable of reason, here is a rebuttal to your assertions.
" claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion."
Your logic that a peace treaty is complex and that this complexity is why it was delayed is flawed. You are speaking of practicalities. The article speaks of intent.
"She reportedly encouraged Saigon to 'delay' in joining the Paris peace talks in hopes of getting a better deal if the Republicans won the White house".
Nixon intended to delay peace so he could win election on a platform of calling for peace.
By mine and apparently many others definition, this is treasonous manipulation of the electorate. If it troubles you that this definition doesn't correlate with the definition provided by your precious constitution, go buy a feckin dictionary like everyone elseJoe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:34 pm
Luke, if you want to accuse Nixon of treason, you are stuck with the definition of treason in The United States "precious constitution". Regarding the Paris Accords, practicalities are all that matter, negotiations in the political environment of the Vietnam War would absolutely be long and complex, and the history shows that they were, hence claiming a peace treaty could be signed in the six months before November 1968 is unrealistic, even delusional. In addition to the extreme time constraints, the US was in a poor negotiating position as around July 1968 it was forced to abandon the Khe Son complex, the Khan Duc complex, and many other positions under heavy NVA pressure. These positions near the Laotian border had been key to US plans to interdict NVA reinforcements and return the critical Central Highlands to Saigon control. Certainly not a time for the US to push for a swift settlement. Despite these mind boggling realities, this article claims that peace was lost because the South Vietnam government " delayed" something due to a guy who wasn't President asking Anna Chennault to visit Saigon.Annie , February 20, 2018 at 10:01 pm
Hey mike good of you to point that out, because what Ifill did there was classic redirection of a focal point to another one, which ends up being an omission of where convenient truths get purposely left out. Just thought I'd mention it, because one should really let your comment sink in. JoeLee Campbell , February 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm
Someone explain this to me. "At the height of the Watergate scandal, in summer 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tried to tell the world about Nixon's sabotage of the 1968 Paris peace talks, talks which – had they succeeded – could have spared the nation six more years of futile slaughter." Am I missing something?
What happened to the Kissinger, the war criminal, who worked to prolong the Vietnam war, advocating it should continue for as long as possible?.
What happened to the Kissinger who encouraged Nixon to wire tape and intimidate his political enemies?
What happened to the Kissinger who supported secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos, killing thousands, and eventually leading to a regime in Cambodia that killed millions.
What about the Kissinger who said, "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."Annie , February 21, 2018 at 12:11 am
Kissinger, knowing Nixon is going down, trying to save his own reputation. Birds of a featherJoe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:47 pm
Yes, I agree, but there is something about this article which makes me uncomfortable, and maybe it's because the author does not indicate in any way that Kissinger was protecting his own reputation, or being very self serving. Maybe he was not to believed since his role in that war was notorious, and not the reliable source the author proclaims him to be.Broompilot , February 21, 2018 at 4:21 am
Annie, what happened to a elderly Pablo Picasso who had admitted to a Japanese newspaper how he had been in the arts for only for the money? Well first is this statement true? How does little old me corroborate such news? Was Picasso drunk when he said this? So many questions, but where to find the truth.
I'm not doubting Garrick Alder because he does give adequate references to this Kissinger quote, but Annie haven't you on occasion read something by the legendary elite of our past, and sometimes present where they say the most off the wall things like think Joe Biden telling a West Point Class (I think it was there or Harvard) that our Saudi allies are backing ISIS. What goes on, or gets served, at those gushy luncheons they give speeches at.
I also believe that people like Henry are so encased into their own bubble world, that they get caught off guard with the most simplest of secrets. I once had a list of 7 people who either before they died, or on their death bed, had confessed to their knowing to who killed JFK need I tell you who they all singled out?Fritzi Cohen , February 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm
I seem to recall Kissinger being very complicit in sabotaging the Paris peace talks, maybe even the instigator. But, Hollywood and history is an oxymoron. Hollywood and truth is an oxymoron.Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:27 pm
What about Kissinger and Chile, and the overthrow of Allende. Not to be forgotten. And should we now take Kissinger's word about Dan Ellsberg, somewhat of a narcissist and pervert.geeyp , February 21, 2018 at 4:12 am
I recall Robert Parry speaking to LBJ's envelop marked with a big X, and how it had finally surfaced after being under a mattress, and I'm hard pressed to remember the name of this Johnson Aid who hid it for LBJ there. This envelope was a report on Chennault's goings on at the Paris Peace Talks, and her links to Nixon's campaign. Robert Mueller wasn't old enough to investigate this one.
I always thought of how with LBJ having this peace talk sabotage to hold over Nixon's head that LBJ was using this as insurance to keep Nixon quiet about what he knew of LBJ's secret to hide. This is why nobody in DC is held accountable.
Yes, going back to reveal Nixon's secret regarding Madam Chennault would have been a great starting point for a movie to lead up to not only the Pentagon Papers, but the telling of Watergate as well but then we are talking about our infamous Hollywood, and when did they ever get the story right?Tom W. , February 21, 2018 at 11:25 am
The only item new to me here is Daniel married a millionaires' daughter?Jon Dhoe , February 21, 2018 at 12:43 pm
In a taped call of Nov. 2, 1968, LBJ called Republican Senator E. Dirksen and told him that Nixon was committing treason in regards to the Paris talks. I don't think we've ever seen the underlying intelligence that was the basis of this call.xeno , February 21, 2018 at 12:59 pm
This is not surprising. Woodward is comes from the Navy (Intelligence?). He's not a civilian reporter. And look at his reporting since then. Status quo stuff. The Pentagon Papers were just a distraction?
https://therulingclassobserver.com/2018/02/10/the-great-disparity-and-the-three-primordial-divisions/nonsense factory , February 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm
There's nothing new about this story, and there's nothing particularly condemnatory about Nixon in it.
US President Johnson wanted his VP (Humphrey) to win the 1968 election, which was very close.
Early in 1968, the US/S Viet side had defeated a Communist "go for broke" offensive (Tet) in which the Communists had expected the South Vietnamese populace to rise up and help defeat the US/South Vietnamese military. The populace did not rise up, and the Communist side took some very heavy losses. It was a big set back for them.
Some months later, US President Johnson, at a key time before the Nov. 1968 election, tried to pressure the S Vietnamese President to give some concessions to the N Vietnamese to get peace talks going.
This would not have stopped the fighting, but would have looked good to anti-war US voters, maybe getting Johnson's VP a victory.
Commonly, in most conflicts, when peace talks begin, both sides step-up fighting as each hopes to make gains to improve their negotiating position.
Nixon probably did take measures to thwart Johnson's pressure on the S. Vietnamese president.
In any case, the war would have gone on, just like it did for a long time after peace talks actually did get going.Ullern , February 21, 2018 at 7:17 pm
Hey, no mention of the Shah of Iran and the Nixon Administration? It's the corporate states of America now, it was alway about the money. If you're not tracking the corporate system, you are irrelevant. At least Eisenhower was honest, about US interests in Vietnamese resources, about controlling Indonesian oil. . . People care about money. Not ideology. But that's more complex, isn't it?Arby , February 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm
Robert Parry found out and wrote about this treason by Nixon, of course. Except (?) that W&B's source was the wily Kissinger. Kissinger, 94, could still be tried for not disclosing the treason-crime by candidate Nixon.
Somebody should go for it, before Kissinger dies. Then at least the facts of the matter will be on public record.peggy , February 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm
Gosh, If we can't nail Kissinger on openly calling for Genocide in Cambodia, then I don't think anything else will work. I'd love to see him official dishonored before he dies (completely), mind you.exiled off mainstreet , February 22, 2018 at 2:11 am
LBJ calling Dirksen and telling him Nixon was committing treason is rich considering the treason LBJ committed with the Tonkin incident to say nothing of the USS Liberty cover up.The US has been corrupt since Woodrow Wilson.The CIA controls the country since the Kennedy coup.
So they still are cashing in for getting the smaller story while failing to get the treason story that set up the creation of a dangerous world imperium and was a key step in the brushing aside of the rule of law and constitutional rule in the US
Mar 4, 2017 | www.youtube.com
He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.John, 10 months agoNancy M, 10 months ago
It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.
The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue
Feb 22, 2018 | www.antiwar.com
Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.
Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq , on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.
This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here's how Day One looks so far:
Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the "handpicked" CIA analysts who, with other "handpicked" analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."
When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on "Russian hacking" and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.
The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks."
Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion.
Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA.
Again, Binney says that the main conclusions he and his VIPs colleagues reached are based largely on principles of physics – simple ones like fluid dynamics. I want to hear what that's all about, how that applies to the "Russian hack," and hear what my own CIA analysts have to say about that.
I will have Binney's clearances updated to remove any unnecessary barriers to a no-holds-barred discussion at a highly classified level. After which I shall have a transcript prepared, sanitized to protect sources and methods, and promptly released to the media.
Like Sisyphus Up the Media Mountain
At that point things are bound to get very interesting. Far too few people realize that they get a very warped view on such issues from the New York Times . And, no doubt, it would take some time, for the Times and other outlets to get used to some candor from the CIA, instead of the far more common tendentious leaks. In any event, we will try to speak truth to the media – as well as to power.
I happen to share the view of the handful of my predecessor directors who believed we have an important secondary obligation to do what we possibly can to inform/educate the public as well as the rest of the government – especially on such volatile and contentious issues like "Russian hacking."
What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ.
The Paper of (Dubious) Record
I recall the banner headline spanning the top of the entire front page of the NYT on Jan. 7, 2017: "Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says;" and the electronic version headed "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." I said to myself sarcastically, "Well there you go! That's exactly what Mrs. Clinton – not to mention the NY Times, the Washington Post and The Establishment – have been saying for many months."
Buried in that same edition of the Times was a short paragraph by Scott Shane: "What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission."
Omission? No hard evidence? No problem. The publication of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment got the ball rolling. And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes.
Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times .
Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent.
Those whose memories go back more than 15 years may recall his promoting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as flat fact. In a July 29, 2002 article co-written with Them Shanker, for example, Iraq's (nonexistent) "weapons of mass destruction" appear no fewer than seven times as flat fact.
More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made."
Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds."
Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians.
I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply.
End of Day One
In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment.
I may decide to seek some independent, disinterested technical input, as well. But it should not take me very long to figure out which of the two interpretations of alleged "Russian hacking" is more straight-up fact-based and unbiased. That done, in the following days I shall brief both the Chair, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Chair and ranking member of its counterpart in the Senate. I will then personally brief the NYT's David Sanger and follow closely what he and his masters decide to do with the facts I present.
On the chance that the Times and other media might decide to play it straight, and that the "straight" diverges from the prevailing, Clapperesque narrative of Russian perfidy, the various mainstream outlets will face a formidable problem of their own making. Mark Twain put it this way: "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled."
And that will probably be enough for Day One.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack"
by Tyler Durden Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:51 3.4K SHARES
Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
In response, Dotcom tweeted " Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds! " alluding of course to Trump's "400 pound genius" comment.
Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator , who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.
The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC "hack" was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.
John Podesta's email was allegely successfully "hacked" (he fell victim to a phishing scam ) in March 2016, while the DNC reported suspicious activity (the suspected Seth Rich file transfer) in late April, 2016 according to the Washington Post.
On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks' source.
On May 19 2017 Dotcom tweeted "I knew Seth Rich. I was involved"
Three days later, Dotcom again released a guarded statement saying "I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK," adding:
"I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.
If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment."
While one could simply write off Dotcom's claims as an attention seeking stunt, he made several comments and a series of tweets hinting at the upcoming email releases prior to both the WikiLeaks dumps as well as the publication of the hacked DNC emails to a website known as "DCLeaks."
In a May 14, 2015 Bloomberg article entitled "Kim Dotcom: Julian Assange Will Be Hillary Clinton's Worst Nightmare In 2016 ": "I have to say it's probably more Julian," who threatens Hillary, Dotcom said. " But I'm aware of some of the things that are going to be roadblocks for her ."
Two days later, Dotcom tweeted this:
Around two months later, Kim asks a provocative question
Two weeks after that, Dotcom then tweeted "Mishandling classified info is a crime. When Hillary's emails eventually pop up on the internet who's going to jail?"
It should thus be fairly obvious to anyone that Dotcom was somehow involved, and therefore any evidence he claims to have, should be taken seriously as part of Mueller's investigation. Instead, as Dotcom tweeted, "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. "
chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 21:59 PermalinkSethPoor -> chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00 Permalink
Pffft...this guy sounds like the reds with their "blockbuster" memo. Honest Hill'rey is laughing!Bes -> J S Bach Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17 Permalink
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8VaMbPjUUbigkahuna -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:58 Permalink
All fucking Kabuki. All of it.
The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative.
Meanwhile they keep enacting the most Pro Deep State/MIC/Police State/Zionist/Wall Street agenda possible. And they call it #winning
pathetic.StarGate -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:23 Permalink
"Had to be a Russian mole with a computer stick. MSM, DNC and Muller say so."
They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration.
This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice.KuriousKat -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:26 Permalink
Don't forget the "hack" analysis of Russian owned "Crowdstrike" since the FBI did and continues to, refuse to analyze the DNC computers.wildbad -> IntercoursetheEU Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:05 Permalink
Isn't Alperovitch the Only Russian in there?.. When you rule out the impossible...whatever remains probable.. probably is..NumberNone -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:04 Permalink
Kim is great, Assange is great. Kim is playing a double game. He wants immunity from the US GUmmint overreach that destroyed his company and made him a prisoner in NZ.
Good on ya Kim.
His name was Seth Rich...and he will reach out from the grave and bury Killary who murdered him.Socratic Dog -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:09 Permalink
There are so many nuances to this and all are getting mentioned but the one that also stands out is that in an age of demands for gun control by the Dems, Seth Rich is never, ever mentioned. He should be the poster child for gun control. Young man, draped in a American flag, helping democracy, gunned down...it writes itself.
They either are afraid of the possible racial issues should it turn out to be a black man killing a white man (but why should that matter in a gun control debate?) or they just don't want people looking at this case. I go for #2.verumcuibono -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:26 Permalink
Funny that George Webb can figure it out, but Trump, Leader of the Free World, is sitting there with his dick in his hand waiting for someone to save him.
Whatever he might turn out to be, this much is clear: Trump is a spineless weakling. He might be able to fuck starlets, but he hasn't got the balls to defend either himself or the Republic.verumcuibono -> NumberNone Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:41 Permalink
Webb's research is also...managed. But a lot of it was/is really good (don't follow it anymore) and I agree re: SR piece of it.
I think SR is such an interesting case. It's not really an anomaly because SO many Bush-CFR-related hits end the same way and his had typical signatures. But his also squeels of a job done w/out much prior planning because I think SR surprised everyone. If, in fact, that was when he was killed. Everything regarding the family's demeanor suggests no.KJWqonfo7 -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:15 Permalink
MANY patterns in shootings: failure in law enforcement/intelligence who were notified of problem individuals ahead of time, ARs, mental health and SSRIs, and ongoing resistance to gun control in DC ----these are NOT coincidences. Nor are distractions in MSM's version of events w/ controlled propaganda.
Children will stop being killed when America wakes the fuck up and starts asking the right questions, making the right demands. It's time.verumcuibono -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:28 Permalink
Kim is awesome to watch, I remember his old website of pics of him on yachts with hot girls and racing the Gumball Rally.StarGate -> Billy the Poet Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:48 Permalink
I don't think you know how these hackers have nearly ALL been intercepted by CIA--for decades now. DS has had backdoor access to just about all of them. I agree that Kim is great, brilliant and was sabotaged but he's also cooperating. Otherwise he'd be dead.
Bes is either "disinfo plant" or energy draining pessimist. Result is the same - to deflate your power to create a new future.
Trump saw the goal of the Fed Reserve banksters decades ago and spoke often about it. Like Prez Kennedy he wants to return USA economy to silver or gold backed dollar then transition to new system away from the Black Magic fed reserve/ tax natl debt machine.
The Globalist Cabal has been working to destroy the US economy ever since they income tax April 15th Lincoln at the Ford theater. 125 years. But Bes claims because Trump cannot reverse 125 years of history in one year that it is kabuki.
Pessimism is its own reward.
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. This Real News Network interview with professor emeritus John Weeks discussed how economic ideology has weakened or eliminated public accountability of institutions like the Fed and promote neo[neo]liberal policies that undermine democracy.
SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The concept of the [neo]liberal democracy is generally based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law. The rise of financial capital and its efforts to deregulate financial markets, however, raises the question whether [neo]liberal democracy is a sustainable form of government. Sooner or later, democratic institutions make way for the interests of large capital to supersede.
Political economist John Weeks recently gave this year's David Gordon Memorial Lecture at the meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia where he addressed these issues with a talk titled, Free Markets and the Decline of Democracy. Joining us now is John Weeks. He joins us from London to discuss the issues raised in his lecture. You can find a link to this lecture just below the player, and John is, as you know, Professor Emeritus of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. John, good to have you back on The Real News.
JOHN WEEKS: Thank you very much for having me.
SHARMINI PERIES: John, let me start with your talk. Your talk describes a struggle between efforts to create a democratic control over the economy and the interest of capital, which seeks to subjugate government to the interest, its own interest. In your assessment, it looks like this is a losing battle for democracy. Explain this further.
JOHN WEEKS: Yeah, so I think that Marx in Capital, in the first volume of Capital, refers to a concept called bourgeois right, by which he meant that, you said it in the introduction, that in a capitalist society there is a form of equality that mimics the relationship of exchange. Every commodity looks equal in exchange and there is a system of ownership that you might say is the shadow of that. I think more important, in the early stages of development of capitalism, of development of factories, that those institutions or those factories prompted the growth of trade unions and workers' struggles in general. Those workers' struggles were key to the development, or further development of democracy, freedom of speech, a whole range of rights, the right to vote.
However, with the development of finance capital, you've got quite a different dynamic within the capitalist system. Let me say, I don't want to romanticize the early period of capitalism, but you did have struggles, mass struggles for rights. Finance capital produces nothing productive, it doesn't do anything productive. So, what finance capital does basically is it redistributes the income, the wealth, the, what Marx would call the surplus value, from other sectors of society to itself. And it employs relatively few people, so that dynamic of the capital, industrial capital, generating its antithesis So, that a labor movement doesn't occur under financial capital.
In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force.
SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Before we get further into the relationship between neo[neo]liberalism and democracy, give us a brief summary of what you mean by neo[neo]liberalism. You say that it's not really about deregulation, as most people usually conceive of it. If that's not what it's about, what is it, then?
JOHN WEEKS: I think that if you think about the movements in the United States, and as much as I can, I will take examples from the United States because most of your listeners will be familiar with those, beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, in the United States you have reform movements, the breaking up of the large monopolies, tobacco monopoly, a whole range of Standard Oil, all of that. And then of course under Roosevelt you began to get the regulation of capital in the interests of the majority, much of that driven by Roosevelt's trade union support. So, that was moving from a system where capital was relatively unregulated to where it was being regulated in the interests of the vast majority. I also would say, though, I won't go into detail, to a certain extent it was regulated in the interest of capital itself to moderate competition and therefore, I'd say, ensure a relatively tranquil market environment.
Neo[neo]liberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital. These regulations, to get specific about them, restrictions on trade unions, as you, on Real News, a number of people have talked about this. The United States now have many restrictions on the organizing of trade unions which were not present 50 or 60 years ago, making it harder to have a mass movement of labor against capital, restrictions on the right to demonstrate, a whole range of things. Then within capital itself, the regulations on the movement of capital that facilitate speculation in international markets. We have a capitalism in which the form of regulation is shifted from the regulation of capital in the interest of labor to regulation of capital in the interest of capital.
SHARMINI PERIES: John, give us a brief summary of the ways in which neo[neo]liberalism undermines democracy.
JOHN WEEKS: Well, I think that there are many examples, but I'm going to focus on economic policy. For an obvious case is the role of the Central Bank, in the case of the United States' Federal Reserve System, in which reducing its accountability to the public, one way you can do that is by assigning goals to it, such as fighting inflation, which then override other goals. Originally, the Federal Reserve System, its charter, or I'll say its terms of reference, if you want me to use that phrase, included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation. Control of inflation basically means maintaining an economy at a relatively high level of unemployment or part-time employment, or flexible employment, where people have relatively few rights at work. And that the Central Bank becomes a vehicle for enforcing a neo[neo]liberal economic policy.
Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.
In summary, one way that the democracy has been undermined is to take away economic policy from the public realm and move it to the realm of experts. So, we have certain allegedly expert guidelines that we have to follow. Inflation should be low. We should not run deficits. The national debt should be small. These are things that are just made up ideologically. There is no technical basis to them. And so, in doing that, you might say, the term I like to use is, you decommission the democratic process and economic policy.
SHARMINI PERIES: John, speaking of ideology, in your talk you refer to the challenge that fascism posed or poses to neo[neo]liberal democracies. Now, it is interesting when you take Europe into consideration and National Socialist in Germany, for example, appeal mostly to the working class, as does contemporary far-right leaders in Poland and Hungary, that they support more explicit neo[neo]liberal agendas. Why would people support a neo[neo]liberal agenda that exasperate inequalities and harm public services that they depend on, including jobs?
JOHN WEEKS: I think that to a great extent it is country-specific, but I can make generalizations. First of all, I'm talking about Europe, because you raised a case in some European countries, and then I'll make some comments about the United States and Trump, if you want me to. I think in Europe, a combination of three things resulted in the rise of fascism and authoritarian movements which are verging on fascism. One is that the European integration project, which let me say that I have supported, and I would still prefer Britain not to leave the European Union, but nevertheless, the European Union integration project has been a project run by elites.
It has not been a bottom-up process. It has been a process very much run by elite politicians, in which they get together in closed door, and they make policies which they subsequently announce, and many of the decisions they come to being extremely, the meaning of them being extremely opaque. So, therefore, you have the development in Europe of the European Union which, not from the bottom up, but very much from the top down. You might suggest from the top, but I'm not sure how much goes down. That's one.
The second key factor, I would say, for about 20 years in European integration, it was relatively benign elitism because it was social democratic, it had the support of the working class, or the trade unions, at any rate. Then, increasingly, it began to become neo[neo]liberal. So, you have an elite project which was turning into a neo[neo]liberal project. Specifically, what I mean by neo[neo]liberal is where they're generating flexibility rules for the labor market, austerity policies, bank, balanced budgets, low inflation, the things I was talking about before.
Then the third element, toxic, the most toxic of them, but the other, they're volatile, is the legacy of fascism in Europe. Every European country, with the exception of Britain, had a substantial fascist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. I can go into why Britain didn't sometime. It had to do with the particular class struggle of the, I mean, class structure of Britain. Poland, ironically enough, though, is one of them. It was overrun by the Nazis, and occupied, and incorporated into the German Reich. Ironically, it had a very right-wing government with a lot of sympathies towards fascism when it was invaded in the late summer of 1939.
France had a strong fascist movement. Of course, Italy had a fascist government, and Hungary, where now you have a right-wing government, a very strong fascist movement. The incorporation of these countries into the Soviet sphere of influence, or the empire, as it were, did not destroy that fascism. It certainly suppressed it, but it didn't destroy it. So, as soon as the European project began to transform into a neo[neo]liberal project, and that gathered strength in the early 1990s, I mean, the neo[neo]liberal aspect of the European Union gathered strength in the early 1990s, exactly when you were getting the "liberation" of many countries from Soviet rule. And so, when you put those together, it led to, It was a rise of fascism waiting to happen and now it is happening.
SHARMINI PERIES: John, earlier, you said you'll factor in Trump. How does Trump fit into this phenomena?
JOHN WEEKS: I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. Now, though I wouldn't go too deeply into that, I think that that is the most serious offenses by Obama that have been carried on by Trump have to do with the use of drones and the military. But at any rate, but there's a big difference from Trump. For the most part, the previous Republican presidents, and Democratic presidents, accepted the framework of, the formal framework of [neo]liberal democracy in the United States. That is, formally accepted the constraints imposed by the Constitution.
Now, of course, they probably didn't do it out of the goodness of their heart. They did it because they saw that the things that they wanted to achieve, the neo[neo]liberal goals that they wanted to achieve were perfectly consistent with the Constitution's framework and guarantees of rights and so on, that most of those rights are guaranteed in a way that's so weak that you didn't have to repeal the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution in order to have repressive policies.
The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. What you have in Trump, I think, is a sea change. You have a, we've had right-wing presidents before, certainly. What the difference with Trump is, he is a right-wing president that sees no reason to respect the institutions of democratic government, or even, you might say, the institution of representative government. I won't even use a term as strong as "democratic." That lays the basis for an explicitly authoritarian United States, and I'd say that we're beginning to see the vehicle by which this will occur, the restriction on voting rights. Of course, that was going on before Trump, it does in a more aggressive way. I think the, soon, we will have a Supreme Court that will be quite lenient with his tendency towards authoritarian rule.
SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Let's end this segment with what can be done. I mean, what must be done to prevent neo[neo]liberal interests from undermining democracy? And who do you believe is leading the struggle for democracy now, and what is the right strategy that people should be fighting for?
JOHN WEEKS: Well, one thing, I think, where I'd begin is that I think progressives, as The Real News represents, and Bernie Sanders, and all the people that support him, and Jeremy Corbyn over here, I'll come back to talk about a bit about Jeremy. We must be explicit that we view democracy, by which we mean the participation of people at the grassroots, their participation in the government, we view that as a goal. It's not merely a technique, or a tool which, what was it that Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future.
I'm quite fortunate in that I live in perhaps the only large country in the world where there's imminent possibility of a progressive, left-wing, anti-authoritarian government. I think that is the monumental importance of Jeremy Corbyn and his second-in-command, John McDonnell, and others like Emily Thornberry, who is the Foreign Secretary. These people are committed to democracy. In the United States, Bernie Sanders is committed to a democracy, and a lot of other people are too, Elizabeth Warren. So, I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future.
... ... ...
JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 9:35 amWobblyTelomeres , February 17, 2018 at 10:44 am
"Informed speculation" with lots of footnotes and offshoots in this Reddit skein: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1llyf7/about_how_much_in_todays_money_was_30_pieces_of/
"A lot of money" in those days- Some say JI "bought land" with the shekels. An early form of asset swap? A precursor to current financialist activities?James T. Cricket , February 18, 2018 at 3:46 am
Good article. If it were any bleaker, I'd suspect Chris Hedges having a hand in writing it.
The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.
There it is, the Gorgon Thiel, surrounded by terror and rout.David , February 17, 2018 at 7:56 am
I suppose you've read this.
Here's a quote:
"Altman felt that OpenAI's mission was to babysit its wunderkind until it was ready to be adopted by the world. He'd been reading James Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention for guidance in managing the transition. 'We're planning a way to allow wide swaths of the world to elect representatives to a new governance board,' he said."
I was having trouble choosing which of the passages in this article to provide a mad quote from. Some other choices were
Altman's going to work with the Department of Defense, then help defend the world from them.
OpenAI's going to take over from humans, but don't worry because they're going to make it (somehow) so OpenAI can only terminate bad people. Before releasing it to the world.
Altman says 'add a 0 to whatever you're doing but never more than that.'
But if this sort of wisdom (somehow) doesn't work out well for everybody and the world collapses, he's flying with Peter Thiel in the private jet to the New Zealand's south island to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse on a converted sheep farm. (Before returning to the Valley work with more startups?)
These are your new leaders, peopleJTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 8:45 am
I think it's revealing that the only type of democracy discussed, in spite of the title, is "[neo]liberal democracy", which the host describes as "based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law."
I've always argued that [neo]liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms, and you can see why from that quotation. [neo]liberalism (leaving aside special uses of the term in the US) is about individuals exercising their personal economic freedom and personal autonomy as much as they can, with as little control by government as possible.
But given massive imbalances in economic power, the influence of media-backed single issue campaigns and the growth of professional political parties, policy is decided by the interventions of powerful and well-organised groups, without ordinary people being consulted. At the end, Weeks does start to talk of grassroots participation, but seems to have no more in mind than a campaign to get people to vote for Sanders in 2020, which hardly addresses the problem. The answer, if there is one, is a system of direct democracy, involving referendums and popular assemblies chosen at random.
This has been much talked about, but since you would have the entire political class against you, it's not going to happen. In the meantime, we are stuck with [neo]liberal democracy, whose contradictions, I'm afraid are becoming ever more obvious.Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 17, 2018 at 9:33 am
"Contradictions?" One question for me at least would be whether the features and motions of the current regime are best characterized as "contradictions." If so, to what? And implicit in the use of the word is some kind of resolution, via actual class conflict or something, leading to "better" or at least "different." All I see from my front porch is more of the same, and worse. "The Matrix" in that myth gave some comforting illusions to the mopery. I think the political economy/collapsed planet portrayed in "Soylent Green" is a lot closer to the likely endpoints.
At least in the movie fable, the C-Suite-er of the Soylent Corp. as the lede in the film, was sickened of what he was helping to maintain, and bethought himself to blow his tiny little personal whistle that nobody would really hear, and got axed for his disloyalty to the ruling collective. I doubt the ranks of corporatists of MonsantoDuPont and LockheedMartin and the rest include any significant numbers of folks sickened by "the contradictions" that get them their perks and bennies and power (as long as they color inside the lines.)Michael C , February 17, 2018 at 8:46 am
I hope I am way off the mark, but within that genre & in terms of where we could be heading, the film " Snowpiercer " sums it up best for me- a dystopian world society illustrated through the passengers on one long train.torff , February 17, 2018 at 10:02 am
Thanks for the Real News Network for covering issues that never see the light of day on the corporate media and never mentioned by the Rachel Maddow's of the "news" shows.Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm
Can we please put a moratorium on the term "free market"? It's a nonsense term.Katz , February 18, 2018 at 11:09 am
Yes, I wrote about that at length in ECONNED. I kept the RNN headline, which used it, but should have put "free market" in quotes.Jim Haygood , February 17, 2018 at 10:59 am
I actually like the term and find it useful, insofar as it describes an ideology -- as oposed a real political-economic arrangement. The presence of "free markets" may not be a characteristic of the neo[neo]liberal phase, but the belief in them sure is.
(Which is not to say there aren't people who don't believe in free markets but do invoke them rhetorically for other ends. That's a feature of many if not most successful ideologies.)RBHoughton , February 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm
' Originally, the Federal Reserve charter included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation.
Eh, this is fractured history. The Fed was set up in 1913 as a lender of last resort -- a discounter of government and private bills.
In late 1978 Jimmy Carter signed the Humphrey Hawkins Act instructing the Fed to pursue three goals: stable prices, maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates, though the latter is rarely mentioned now and the Fed is widely viewed as having a dual mandate.
The Fed's two percent inflation target it simply adopted at its own initiative -- it's not enshrined in no Perpetual Inflation Act.
' We had a world of fixed exchange rates which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool. '
LOL! This is totally inverted and flat wrong. The Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system prevented radical monetary experiments such as QE which would have broken the peg. Nixon unilaterally suspended fixed exchange rates in 1971 because he was unwilling to take the political hit of formally devaluing the dollar (or even more unlikely, sweating out Vietnam War inflation with falling prices to maintain the peg).
Floating rates are a new and potentially lethal monetary tool which have produced a number of sad examples of "governments gone wild" with radical monetary experiments and currency swings. Bad boys Japan & Switzerland come readily to mind.
To render history accurately requires getting hands dirty with dusty old books. Icky, I know. :-(Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Yes but globalisation meant that all central banks and finance ministers had to act concertedly as in G-20 and similar meetings. While we may talk of floating exchange rates, each country fixes its interest rate to maintain parity with the others. Isn't that so?The Rev Kev , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm
Ahem, you skip over that the full employment goal was added to the Fed mandate in 1946, long before the inflation goal was added.Steven Greenberg , February 17, 2018 at 11:26 am
I think that the key piece of info is that the Federal Reserve was created on December 23rd, 1913. That sounds like that it was slipped in the legislative back door when everybody was going away for the Christmas holidays.Lee Robertson , February 17, 2018 at 11:42 am
===== quote =====
Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.
===== /quote =====
This makes absolutely no sense and seems to have the case exactly backward. Our federal government has no rule that the budget must be balanced. Fixed exchange rates were not a tool that could be used to affect trade and domestic policy in a good way.Susan the other , February 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm
Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us.ebbflows , February 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm
I enjoyed John Weeks' point of view. He's the first person I've read who refers to the usefulness of a fixed exchange rate. Useful for a sovereign government with a social spending agenda. We have always been a sovereign government with a military agenda which is at odds with a social agenda.
Guns and butter are a dangerous combination if you are dedicated to at least maintaining the illusion of a "strong dollar." That's basically what Nixon finessed. John Conally told him not to worry, we could go off the gold standard and it wasn't our problem since we were the reserve currency – it was everybody else's problem and we promptly exported our inflation all around the world. And now it has come home to roost because it was fudging and it couldn't last forever.
Much better to concede to some fix for the currency and maintain the sovereign power to devalue the dollar as necessary to maintain proper social spending. I don't understand why sovereign governments cannot see that a deficit is just the mirror image of a healthy social economy (Stephanie Kelton).
And to that end "fix" an exchange rate that maintains a reasonable purchasing power of the currency by pegging it to the long term health of the economy. What we do now is peg the dollar to a "basket of goods and services"- Ben Bernanke. That "basket" is effectively "the market" and has very little to do with good social policy.
There's no reason we can't dispense with the market and simply fiat the value of our currency based on the social return estimated for our social investments. Etc. Keeping the dollar stubbornly strong is just tyranny favoring those few who benefit from extreme inequality.albert , February 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Bancor. Then some got delusions of grandeur.Paul Cardan , February 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm
" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as unconstrained financial greed overrides public accountability ."
I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies. Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or 'corporatocracy'.
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.Tomonthebeach , February 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm
What is this democracy of which you speak?Synoia , February 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm
I had not given much thought to "Fascist" until the term was challenged as a synonym for "bully." So, I started reading Wikipedia's take on Fascismo. What I discovered was the foremost, my USA education did not teach jack s -- about Fascism – and I went to elite high school in libr'l Chicago.
Is Fascism right or left? Does it matter? What goes around comes around.
What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps.
Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-)c_heale , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm
Left and right are more line circle that a line.
I view the extreme left and extreme right, meeting somewhere, hidden, at the back of a circle.flora , February 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm
I always believed this too!
Neoliberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital.
Prominent politicians in the US and UK have spent their entire political careers representing neoliberalism's agenda at the expense of representing the voters' issues. The voters are tired of the conservative and [neo]liberal political establishments' focus on neoliberal policy. This is also true in Germany as well France and Italy. The West's current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course." Voters are saying "change course." See:
'German Politics Enters an Era of Instability' – Der Speigel
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.
"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."
It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.
... ... ...
A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.
Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.
That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship
... ... ...
"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."
The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.
Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.Advertisement Continue reading the main story
In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.
This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.
"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."
The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.
Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Lee Anderson , February 17, 2018 at 4:32 pmJoe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Your link to the Giraldi piece is appreciated, however, Giraldi starts off on a false premise: He claims that people generally liked and trusted the FBI and CIA up until or shortly after 9/11. Not so! Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.
The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe.
The political parties are theatre designed to fool the people into believing we are living in some sort of legitimate, representative system, when it's the same old plutocracy that manages to get elected because they've long figured out the art of polarizing people and capitalising on tribal alignments.
We should eliminate all government for a time so that people can begin to see that corporations really do and most always have run the country.
It's preposterous to think the stupid public is actually discussing saddling ourselves and future generations with gargantuan debt through a system designed and run by banksters!
it should be self evident a sovereign nation should maintain and forever hold the rights to develop a monetary/financial system that serves the needs of the people, not be indentured servants in a financial system that serves the insatiable greed of a handful of parasitic banksters and corporate tycoons!Annie , February 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm
You are so right, in fact Robert Parry made quite a journalistic career out of exposing the CIA for such things as drug running. I gave up on that agency a longtime ago, after JFK was murdered, and I was only 13 then. Yeah maybe Phil discounts the time while he worked for the CIA, but the CIA has many, many rooms in which plots are hatched, so the valiant truth teller Giraldi maybe excused this one time for his lack of memory .I guess, right?
Good comment Lee. JoeGregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm
Yes, but he's referring to the public's opinion of these agencies, and if they didn't continue to retain, even after 9/11, a significant popularity in the public's mind how would we have so many American's buying into Russia-gate? In my perception of things they only lost some ground after 9/11, but Americans notoriously have a short memory span.Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm
And films that are supposed to help Americans feel good about the aims and efficacy of the agencies like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are in the popular imagination.
The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book.
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Congressmen Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff, Senator Bernie Sanders , popular commentators Preet Bharara and Joe Walsh have all joined in the pile-on .
It pains me to once again be confronted with the fact that Sanders is a neocon hack.
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
HopeLB , February 16, 2018 at 8:43 amColonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 9:04 am
All of the warnings, predictions, knowledge, tech advances and humor of sci-fi, real science, history, and literature alike has boiled down to this? This low quality "news" that reports on the latest predictable, preventable outrage/injustice when it not intentionally turning up the hysteria/fear tuner? It's like living in a simulation of a society ruled by the insane and hearing about its unwinding day after day.
This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world."
Yeat's captures the inexorable feel of our times perfectly;
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?camelotkidd , February 16, 2018 at 8:42 am
This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded".
This makes me wonder whether the US will exist in its current form. Is it desirable? Genuine questions from someone who visits annually, including "fly over", and enjoys doing so. I don't see the UK existing as currently constituted much beyond the next decade.Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am
Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine?
Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings.Eureka Springs , February 16, 2018 at 10:32 am
I'm starting to think that what we are experiencing is the realization that we've spent way too much time expecting that explaining our selves, our diverse grievances, and our political insights would naturally result in growing an irresistible movement that would wash over, and cleanse our politics of the filth that is the status quo.
It is sobering to realize that it took almost four decades for the original Progressive Era organizers to bring about even the possibility of change.
I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935.
Government by the people, and for the people has been drowned in the bath-tub, and the murderers have not only taken the reigns of power, but have convinced half the population that their murderous act represents a political correction that will return America to greatness.
It remains to be seen whether we will find it in our hearts to embrace both the hard, and un-glamorous work of relieving the pain inflicted by the regime that has engulfed us, and the necessity of embracing as brothers and sisters those who haven't yet realized that it is the rich and powerful who are the problem, and not all the other poor and oppressed.
The difficulty of affecting political change might be explained the way Black-Smiths describe their problem;
Life so short the craft so long to learn.
Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead.
"that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
A nice excerpt from the non-binding Gettysburg address. Too bad he was referring to a system of governance which never existed.
In a conversation with several friends yesterday.. all of us found among our greatest despairs the behavior of our long time friends who are Democrats. Much more pig-headed and determined to stay that way than Republicans ever were during the Bush Jr. years. Pretending we live in some sort of system (much less a party) which could or would possibly represent. Seemingly incapable of listening, blinded by delusion and propaganda demanding anyone in their presence double down on what's failed so many of us for far longer than we have lived.
All of us men in our fifties. Hard working. None of us had kids of our own, but several are in relationships with women who did. None of us have anything close to high living standards. Barely getting by now with great uncertainty ahead. Hell, we all own our homes outright, drive ten to twenty year old cars, buy most clothes second hand, grow much of our own food, cut our own firewood, several live off the grid entirely. Only one has access to health care and that's because he's on disability due to spinal injury on the job and an inherited heart condition. He's also the only one who might be able to get by in 'retirement' years on what he will receive. Every one of the rest of us realized if we lose our current jobs we would be hard pressed to replace them at half the income we have now.
I went to orientation for jury duty this week. Out of a hundred and fifty people I was the only man wearing a button down shirt and a sport coat. The only man who removed his hat in the courtroom. And I felt like a freak. It was all I could do to not ask the judge about jury nullification. The only reason I held back is because I knew every citizen in the joint just wanted out of there.
I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.
Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 11:20 amjuliania , February 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm
Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.
So there is our hope. Personally, I suspect that Trump's working-class supporters will join us sooner than the deluded, diehard Clintonista faction of the democratic base. And let's hope the false battles don't turn into real battles. It's obvious there are some who would love to have us throwing rocks at each other, or worse.Petter , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am
Yes, indeed, you have it. Delegitimization is the appropriate word. My thought on seeing the headline that 17 died in the Florida school shooting was how many months to go before the school year ends. I won't read anything about the shooter, or the deaths, or the bravery and self sacrifice. There have been too many; there will be far too many more.
It is an end-of-Vietnam moment. It is a moment for poems such as the above mentioned, and for me T.S.Eliot's 'Four Quartets'.suffer , February 16, 2018 at 8:46 am
Book: The Administration of Fear – Paul Virilio. From the back cover: We are facing the emergence of a real, collective madness reinforced by the synchronization of emotions: the sudden globalization of affects in real time that hits all of humanity at the same time, and in the name of Progress. Emergency exit: we have entered a time of general panic.
-- --Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 8:51 am
what is your suffering of choice?
http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerzQuentin , February 16, 2018 at 11:43 am
Thank you to Yves and the NC community.
Perhaps because I live in the UK, I echo particularly what Clive, Windsock and Plutonium Kun say.
Having spent much of the winter in Belgium, Mauritius, Spain and France, so none Anglo-Saxon, it was a relief to get away from the UK in the same way as JLS felt. Although these countries have their issues, I did notice their MSM appear not as venal as the UK and US MSM and seem more focused on local bread and butter. Brexit and Trump were mentioned very briefly, the latter nothing as hysterical and diversionary as in the UK and US. There were little identity politics on parade. Locals don't seem as worn out, in all respects, as one observes in Blighty.
With regard to PK's reference about Pearl Harbour, I know some well informed remainers who want a hard Brexit just for the relief that it will bring. Others, not necessarily remainers, have no idea what's going on and think Trump is a bigger threat. I must confess to, often, sharing what the former think, if only to bring the neo-liberal house down once and for all.
All this makes me think whether anglo-saxon countries are in a class of their own and how, after Brexit, the EU27 will evolve, shorn of the UK. This is not to say that the UK (the neo-liberal bit) is the only rotten apple in the EU.
If it was not for this site and community, I know of no other place where I would get a better source of news, insight and sanity. I know a dozen journalists, mainly in London, well and echo what Norello said.LizinOregon , February 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm
The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous.
Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. What was this school shooting? The 13th or something since the beginning of the year. War. Nuclear war. A fear of war is the undertone which has been droning (!) on long before Donald Trump took power. Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great.Jane , February 16, 2018 at 9:30 am
Is pretending all is well a rational defense against the overwhelming feeling that there is nothing an individual can do to deflect the trajectory we are on? And the emotional energy it takes to keep up that pretense is exhausting.Yves Smith Post author , February 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm
I understand she's eager to leave but where to?! Isnt everywhere infected with this angst?Steve , February 16, 2018 at 9:37 am
She spends a lot of time in Asia .DJG , February 16, 2018 at 9:52 am
I think for myself and others that the complete hopelessness of our situation is starting to take more of a toll. The amount of personal and social capital used to finally get some sanity back in government after Bush and the disastrous wasted opportunity of Obama that led to Trump is overwhelming. The complete loss of fairness is everywhere and my pet one this week is how Experian after losing over 200 million personal financial records is now advertising during the Olympics as the personal security service experts instead of being prosecuted out of business.Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 11:52 am
Yesterday was peculiar, Yves Smith. You should have sent me an e-mail! My colleagues were having meltdowns (overtired, I think). My computers were glitchy. The WWW seemed to switch on and off all day long. I am of a mind that it has to due with the false spring: We had a thaw in Chicago.
Like Lambert, and I won't speak for Lambert, who can speak for himself, I am guardedly optimistic: I have attended Our Revolution meetings here in Chicago as well as community meetings. There are many hardworking and savvy people out there. Yet I also believe that we are seeing the collapse of the old order without knowing what will arise anew. And as always, I am not one who believes that we should advocate more suffering so that people "learn their lesson." There is already too much suffering in the world–witness the endless U.S. sponsored wars in the Middle East. (The great un-covered story of our time: The horrors of the U.S.-Israeli-Saudi sponsored massacres from Algeria to Pakistan.)
I tend to think that the Anglo-American world is having a well-deserved nervous breakdown.
I note on my FB page that a "regular Democrat" is calling for war by invoking Orwell. When someone has reached that point of rottenness, not even knowing that Orwell was almost by nature anti-war, the rot can only continue its collapse.
So I offer Antonio Gramsci, who in spite of everything, used to write witty letters from prison. >>
My state of mind brings together these two sentiments and surpasses them: I am pessimistic because of intelligence, but a willed optimist. I think, in every circumstance, of the worst scenario so I can marshal all of my reserves of will and be ready to overcome the obstacle. I never allow myself illusions, and I have never had disappointments. I am always specially armed with endless patience, not passive or inert, but patience animated by perseverance.
–Antonio Gramsci, letter to his brother Gennaro, December 1929. Translation DJG.
Every collapse brings intellectual and moral disorder in its wake. So we must foster people who are sober, have patience, who do not despair when faced with the worst horrors yet who do not become elated over every stupid misstep. Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.
–Antonio Gramsci, first Prison Notebook, 1929-1930. Translation DJG.
So: Commenting groundlings and comrades, we must be alert, somewhat severe in our judgments of people and of the news, and yet open to a revolution that includes bread and roses.Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm
Nice find, DJG: "Our intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists."
Too big for a bumper sticker . but good for a bedside table or the bathroom mirror. To remind us that, for the realists, being optimistic takes an effort of will, a determined reach every single morning to find just one small thing that will keep us going for that day and give us hope for the future. It could be a rosy sunrise, or the imminent arrival of a grandchild, or a packet of seeds ready to be sown. Or meeting a good friend for coffee, or mastering a new dance step or a difficult passage on the fiddle.
Not denial of the world's shameful faults and of our increasingly precarious position within it, but a refusal to allow them to grind us down completely.Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm
Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.
My favorite quote. What else is there?
And if you want to know who the enemy is, it is all those whose cure for what ails us is either "Just going on living your life (i.e. shopping)" or "just vote". I view the current period of disquiet and all of us wondering what we can and should do, and who will be alongside us, or opposed to us, when we do.Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm
> Pessimism of the the intellect, optimism of the will
I think -- call me Pollyanna if you wish -- that optimism of the intellect is warranted as well. My only concern is that collapse will come (or be induced) when "the good guys,"* let us say, are still to weak to take advantage of the moment. That's why I keep saying that gridlock is our friend.
* Who in the nature of the case have been unaccustomed to wielding real power.The Rev Kev , February 16, 2018 at 9:57 am
I have been fortunate, in the past decade, to have 'hung out' with lots of 20-somethings (and a few older beings) who have been passionately optimistic about what they can accomplish against the forces of darkness. From the environmentalists who are fighting the corporations who would build pipelines and LNG terminals to activists building tiny houses for the homeless and working with the city to find land to place them on, and those who happily get arrested for sleeping under a blanket, in protest against 'urban camping' bans, to a woman who for the last five years has served Friday night meals for all, on sidewalks in front of businesses supporting the urban camping ban.
And, I have been constantly in awe of those who, in the face of centuries of being relocated, dispossessed, despised and massacred, will not give up on protecting their lands and their way of life. These Lakota and Kiowa and Dineh people are truly optimistic that they will prevail. Or, perhaps fatalistic is a better description; hey know they may die trying.R , February 16, 2018 at 10:19 am
Looks like this article has a lot of legs on it but will wait to read more commentator's thoughts and ideas before doing so myself. Too much to take in. In the meantime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WatQeG5fMUtegnost , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am
As a New Zealander living in the USA for around 7 years now (but routinely spending Christmas months back in NZ, and often multi month stints remote working in Europe) the 'tension' just living in the USA – NYC / LA is through the roof.
I can remember being in Vienna some time after trump won, a few days shy of returning to the US and wondering what the hell I was thinking – and that's related to people / media's reaction to trump just as much as trump being in charge.
It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is – partly just the 'big metropolis' thing.. but there's also something else nasty in the air.
Similar (but amplified) feeling at work last week at the office as one quarter of the company were sacked on a days notice – a downsizing at a start up that supposedly has 'great culture'.
It's that nasty squeeze of fast capitalism I believe that has a grip on everyone's psyche – elevated fear levels, etc.
Re-read Ames' 'going postal' a few weeks back, which covers brilliantly the vicious cultural turn under Reagan.
Ps – Naked Capitalism has become my 'News refuge' having dropped off social media entirely, and wanting to avoid the general insanity of the news cycle but not disengage, thank you!tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm
It's not so much the presence of angst that I see, among my working brethren we're pretty numb to the current hopeless future and tend to focus instead on the present for efficiencies sake, for if one thinks too much about the hopeless future it's hard to get up and get going on fighting back the tide and muddling through the hopeless present that will be more hopeless if you don't do anything. (as an aside my opinion is that this psychology has much to do with the current homeless crisis it takes confidence to try and those who can delude themselves into doing so seem to be a little better off) But now the angst is in the the 10%er's in my acquaintance, who claim to be really worried about nuclear war. Not surprisingly they're mostly informed by npr, which as far as I can see makes people really stupid. The trump as crazy fascist narrative has them in it's clutches so much so that his weekend I had to give the "don't be too pessimistic b/c if the world doesn't end you will be unprepared for it, and if it ends who cares?" speech normally reserved for youngsters who see no point in trying due to end of the world thinking (as anecdote since when I was in college in the early '80's I was pretty certain there would be a nuclear war and made different choices than the best ones,, anyone remember the star wars missile defense system?). That said I think the "we're all gonna die" theme is just more bs sour grapes and more proof that the residence of hopelessness is actually the democrat partisans who refuse to live in the present, so denial is where they are at. But isn't that the thing about angst, it doesn't have to be real to effect one's life negatively, and I'm hearing it from people who I think should know better, but I read nc daily and live out in the woods (highly recommended, almost as good as being in another country as the rural areas of the US are actually another country) and npr was so unhinged this weekend that I felt that even the reporters were having a hard time mustering the outrage. As Hope said commenting on the uber series
"What a pleasure it is to read a genuine (and all too rare) piece of financial analysis."
I couldn't agree more, and I might send it on to a 10%er, but they seem kind of fragile lately and I don't know if they could handle "uber is a failing enterprise", they might not get out of bedTravis Bickle , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am
oops sorry that was hana not hopeLeft in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:37 pm
Don't know if I'm any more sensitive than you guys, and I'm certainly not that good at articulating what's going in with something this subtle.
I will say that when the dogs stop barking its time to start getting REALLY worried. What we may now be hearing, or not hearing, may be a sign of fatigue, but more depressingly, impending resignation. EVERY day for the past year there's been yet another affront, and the opposition has been ineffective in any meaningful sense. Trump has apparently learned that the way to parry any thrust is to counter with something even more outrageous, literally in a matter of minutes. The initiative he is thus able to maintain is scary, and something I see no way to surmount.
But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further.
Hence, having the means, though by no means being rich, I began my move off-shore over ten years ago. I now have 3 passports and permanent residency on as many continents. What Jerri-Lynn senses is very, very real, as I learned in the US over Xmas past in a series of vignettes I'll spare anyone reading this. I was sharing my experiences there to a local student recently (here in South America) who had once lived in the US and who continues to be enamored of the now frayed, and largely repudiated, American Dream. As I explained to him, it's not a pretty picture, and hardly one to succumb to.
My sense is that the media has succeeded in instilling into the North American zeitgeist a sense of the US being At War against the rest of the world, not unlike that of the mentality of Israel, which has a far more real situation to contend with. The tragedy, in the case of the US, is that it really, really does not have to be like this. This is a hole we have begun digging ourselves into only recently, as opposed to Israel, which at this point can hardly see the light of day.
At some point this mentality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and while the US could easily turn itself around, the momentum is strong and decidedly in the other direction. The vision of the fascists and the imperatives of the media pretty much guarantee the US, and by extension the world, is on a collision course with negative time and space.Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Everything holds until it doesn't.Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 10:33 am
Herbert Stein disagrees with Godot's Vladimir: ""If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm
I'm probably the last person able to comment on this topic having spent the last three months ignoring the news and not even reading Naked Capitalism daily. I was never bothered by the big stories like the drama over North Korea which I thought of as nothing more than a psy-op incidentally aimed at the American populace. Nor did I find Liberal Hezbollah (The Resistance) or #Metoo to be anything more than a joke. I kinda suspected that American culture would be plagued by another round of hysterical superstition driven by Calvinist social-jihadism.
If there seems to be a lack of consequential events it's because history doesn't move as swiftly as we might want. It doesn't mean that we aren't moving towards more worldview shattering events which will challenge the ability of our body politic to react to them. The United States continues to collapse driven by external and internal factors. The lack of clarity and unity of action will eventually usher in the end of the empire aboard. The inability of our ruling class to respond to Trump's election in such a manner which would constructively restore faith in our institutions will only accelerate the process at home. There isn't a lack of stories which serve as a useful guide through history. The story about American troops being ambushed and dying in Niger was significant.
A few years before the Islamic State steamrolled through Iraq and Syria it was mostly unnoticed that the French were contending with rebels marauding through their African protection racket in Mali and the Central African Republic. The fact that the US is having to prop up the French and that the chaos has been migrating southward is significant especially given the economic factors at stake. Another story I found interesting was a recent DW article about the woeful state of readiness of the German military given it is assuming leadership of a prominent position in NATO. It notably reveals that in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis and euro crisis the Germans, but probably the European countries as a whole, have been strip-mining their military budgets which is something that America did during the Great Depression. I'm sure there is even more stories out there that are little pieces of a much larger puzzle but to be honest I've mostly spent my downtime playing video games.
Don't judge me.kareninca , February 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm
True enough. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Obama was calling for NATO nations to increase their military spending 'til they reach 2% of their GDP. The Germans wouldn't theoretically have any trouble meeting under normal circumstances. It's also a far cry from what Germany spent on the eve of both World Wars.CalypsoFacto , February 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm
"Basically everything and anything anti-Republican & anti-Trump that gets published on Facebook gets re-posted on our church Facebook page."
Hmmm. Are you losing parishioners as a result? Or gaining them? It doesn't seem to me like what people would be looking for in a faith community – an overload of politics – but what do I know.
Oh, I see that you've already sort of answered that question.freedeomny , February 16, 2018 at 11:36 am
the tendency to excessive rage when identity is questioned is a feature of narcissism. excessive, misplaced, out of proportion rage (at being denied what was expected, at being wrong, at being seen as incompetent, whatever conflicts with the rager's identity) is what this sounds like to me. which is I guess another form of not thinking enough, unfortunately narcissism isn't curable.
in fact so much of this thread makes me feel like we're all suffering a bit as grey rocks in a narcissistic abuse scenario. the narcissism is at the individual level and at the societal level; we're all just trying to keep our heads down and avoid the maelstrom, which keeps increasing in intensity to get our attention back.windsock , February 16, 2018 at 11:37 am
What I have noticed is: a sense of powerlessness and not being able to control basic aspects of your life .that at any moment things could spiral widely out of control; people have become more enraged, meaner and feel they don't even have to be polite anymore (my friends and I have noticed this even with drivers); people who normally would be considered comfortable are feeling more and more financially insecure. Almost everyone I know feels this tension and is trying to figure out what they need to do to survive – I know several who are exploring becoming expats. I think we are rapidly moving towards a breaking point .PKMKII , February 16, 2018 at 11:58 am
https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/cheer-up-the-apocalypse-isn-t-coming-and-life-s-getting-better-a3768606.htmlpolecat , February 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm
The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do.
The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building. Same for the security agencies, whose invasive practices feel less like a preparation for a 1984-style security state, and more a cover for their own incompetence and inability to do proper legwork, as these mass shootings seem to inevitably come with the revelation about how authorities were alerted prior to the fact of the shooter's warning signs and did no follow up. Meanwhile, standards of living decline for the vast majority of Americans, the sense of national unity is eroding as regional and rural/urban identities are superseding that of country. Not to mention the slow simmer that is global warming and climate change.
So yeah, nothing that translates to a flashy headline or all-at-once collapse, but definitely an angst of a slow slide down, with too much resistance to the change needed to reverse it.Wyoming , February 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm
My feeling is that the U$A, along with various sovereign entities around much the planet will, within a decade or so, cease to exist in their current form. When people coalesce and societies reform, is when one gets/is forced .. to choose their 'new' afilliation(s) !
It will be facinating to behold, if one is alive to partake in it ! As for positive, or negative outcomes who knows ?Oregoncharles , February 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm
I believe that what is happening is that slowly but surely the numbers of people who are subconsciously reacting to the ongoing collapse of civilization are growing. They are uneasy, anxious, deflated, waiting for Godot, in depression and so on.
Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. Numbness to new is bad news. Or what used to be bad news has to be Trumped by exceedingly bad news before folks can rise to deal with them, but for a shorter time than they had the ability they used to. As the number of people grows who have reached their capacity to tolerate the stress we will find more and more of them just shut down as their subconscious tells them there is no point in caring anymore as things are just going to get worse.
We all see things getting worse.
So we have little collapses on a regular basis which hardly ruffle anyone's feathers anymore. The moderate catastrophic disasters like Trumps election cause much bigger disruptions to the civilizational equilibrium, but only for a time. We all know deep inside that what comes next in Brexit or say Trumps removal will actually be worse than what we have now. And we know that such will be the trend for the duration. Each time we seem to overcome a disaster we will be presented with another building disaster. A worse one. As we continue to stair step down the long slope that our civilization climbed during the renaissance and the enlightenment. Trump and Brexit are medium steps down.
The Black Swan is out there somewhere watching us. The big step down. We can feel it coming and we cannot stop it. We know that what seems bad now is going to be a lot worse in the future. We know this and it makes us helpless.
Skip above has the word on this.
"The centre does not hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".
"The Second Coming," 1919: