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[Jun 03, 2020] Rule of law in Murrika is kaput

Highly recommended!
Jun 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

freedommusic , 23 minutes ago link

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Agent Smith, you testified that the Russians hacked the DNC computers, is that correct?

FBI AGENT JOHN SMITH: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Upon what information did you base your testimony?

AGENT: Information found in reports analyzing the breach of the computers.

DEF ATT: So, the FBI prepared these reports?

AGENT: (cough) . (shift in seat) No, a cyber security contractor with the FBI.

DEF ATT: Pardon me, why would a contractor be preparing these reports? Do these contractors run the FBI laboratories where the server was examined?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: No? No what? These contractors don't run the FBI Laboratories?

AGENT: No. The laboratories are staffed by FBI personnel.

DEF ATT: Well I don't understand. Why would contractors be writing reports about computers that are forensically examined in FBI laboratories?

AGENT: Well, the servers were not examined in the FBI laboratory.

(silence)

DEF ATT: Oh, so the FBI examined the servers on site to determine who had hacked them and what was taken?

AGENT: Uh .. no.

DEF ATT: They didn't examine them on site?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Well, where did they examine them?

AGENT: Well, uh .. the FBI did not examine them.

DEF ATT: What?

AGENT: The FBI did not directly examine the servers.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, the FBI has presented to the Grand Jury and to this court and SWORN AS FACT that the Russians hacked the DNC computers. You are basing your SWORN testimony on a report given to you by a contractor, while the FBI has NEVER actually examined the computer hardware?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, who prepared the analysis reports that the FBI relied on to give this sworn testimony?

AGENT: Crowdstrike, Inc.

DEF ATT: So, which Crowdstrike employee gave you the report?

AGENT: We didn't receive the report directly from Crowdstrike.

DEF ATT: What?

AGENT: We did not receive the report directly from Crowdstrike.

DEF ATT: Well, where did you find this report?

AGENT: It was given to us by the people who hired Crowdstrike to examine and secure their computer network and hardware.

DEF ATT: Oh, so the report was given to you by the technical employees for the company that hired Crowdstrike to examine their servers?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Well, who gave you the report?

AGENT: Legal counsel for the company that hired Crowdstrike.

DEF ATT: Why would legal counsel be the ones giving you the report?

AGENT: I don't know.

DEF ATT: Well, what company hired Crowdstrike?

AGENT: The Democratic National Committee.

DEF ATT: Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You are giving SWORN testimony to this court that Russia hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee. And you are basing that testimony on a report given to you by the LAWYERS for the Democratic National Committee. And you, the FBI, never actually saw or examined the computer servers?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Well, can you provide a copy of the technical report produced by Crowdstrike for the Democratic National Committee?

AGENT: No, I cannot.

DEF ATT: Well, can you go back to your office and get a copy of the report?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Why? Are you locked out of your office?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: I don't understand. Why can you not provide a copy of this report?

AGENT: Because I do not have a copy of the report.

DEF ATT: Did you lose it?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Why do you not have a copy of the report?

AGENT: Because we were never given a final copy of the report.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, if you didn't get a copy of the report, upon what information are you basing your testimony?

AGENT: On a draft copy of the report.

DEF ATT: A draft copy?

AGENT: Yes.

DEF ATT: Was a final report ever delivered to the FBI?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, did you get to read the entire report?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Why not?

AGENT: Because large portions were redacted.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, let me get this straight. The FBI is claiming that the Russians hacked the DNC servers. But the FBI never actually saw the computer hardware, nor examined it? Is that correct?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: And the FBI never actually examined the log files or computer email or any aspect of the data from the servers? Is that correct?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: And you are basing your testimony on the word of Counsel for the Democratic National Committee, the people who provided you with a REDACTED copy of a DRAFT report, not on the actual technical personnel who supposedly examined the servers?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Your honor, I have a few motions I would like to make at this time.

PRESIDING JUDGE: I'm sure you do, Counselor. (as he turns toward the prosecutors) And I feel like I am in a mood to grant them.

( source )

hooligan2009 , 14 minutes ago link

Brilliant! that sums it up nicely. of course, if the servers were not hacked and were instead "thumbnailed" that leads to a whole pile of other questions (including asking wiileaks for their source and about the murder of seth rich).

[Jun 03, 2020] Rule of law in Murrika is kaput

Highly recommended!
Jun 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

freedommusic , 23 minutes ago link

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Agent Smith, you testified that the Russians hacked the DNC computers, is that correct?

FBI AGENT JOHN SMITH: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Upon what information did you base your testimony?

AGENT: Information found in reports analyzing the breach of the computers.

DEF ATT: So, the FBI prepared these reports?

AGENT: (cough) . (shift in seat) No, a cyber security contractor with the FBI.

DEF ATT: Pardon me, why would a contractor be preparing these reports? Do these contractors run the FBI laboratories where the server was examined?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: No? No what? These contractors don't run the FBI Laboratories?

AGENT: No. The laboratories are staffed by FBI personnel.

DEF ATT: Well I don't understand. Why would contractors be writing reports about computers that are forensically examined in FBI laboratories?

AGENT: Well, the servers were not examined in the FBI laboratory.

(silence)

DEF ATT: Oh, so the FBI examined the servers on site to determine who had hacked them and what was taken?

AGENT: Uh .. no.

DEF ATT: They didn't examine them on site?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Well, where did they examine them?

AGENT: Well, uh .. the FBI did not examine them.

DEF ATT: What?

AGENT: The FBI did not directly examine the servers.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, the FBI has presented to the Grand Jury and to this court and SWORN AS FACT that the Russians hacked the DNC computers. You are basing your SWORN testimony on a report given to you by a contractor, while the FBI has NEVER actually examined the computer hardware?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, who prepared the analysis reports that the FBI relied on to give this sworn testimony?

AGENT: Crowdstrike, Inc.

DEF ATT: So, which Crowdstrike employee gave you the report?

AGENT: We didn't receive the report directly from Crowdstrike.

DEF ATT: What?

AGENT: We did not receive the report directly from Crowdstrike.

DEF ATT: Well, where did you find this report?

AGENT: It was given to us by the people who hired Crowdstrike to examine and secure their computer network and hardware.

DEF ATT: Oh, so the report was given to you by the technical employees for the company that hired Crowdstrike to examine their servers?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Well, who gave you the report?

AGENT: Legal counsel for the company that hired Crowdstrike.

DEF ATT: Why would legal counsel be the ones giving you the report?

AGENT: I don't know.

DEF ATT: Well, what company hired Crowdstrike?

AGENT: The Democratic National Committee.

DEF ATT: Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You are giving SWORN testimony to this court that Russia hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee. And you are basing that testimony on a report given to you by the LAWYERS for the Democratic National Committee. And you, the FBI, never actually saw or examined the computer servers?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Well, can you provide a copy of the technical report produced by Crowdstrike for the Democratic National Committee?

AGENT: No, I cannot.

DEF ATT: Well, can you go back to your office and get a copy of the report?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Why? Are you locked out of your office?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: I don't understand. Why can you not provide a copy of this report?

AGENT: Because I do not have a copy of the report.

DEF ATT: Did you lose it?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Why do you not have a copy of the report?

AGENT: Because we were never given a final copy of the report.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, if you didn't get a copy of the report, upon what information are you basing your testimony?

AGENT: On a draft copy of the report.

DEF ATT: A draft copy?

AGENT: Yes.

DEF ATT: Was a final report ever delivered to the FBI?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, did you get to read the entire report?

AGENT: No.

DEF ATT: Why not?

AGENT: Because large portions were redacted.

DEF ATT: Agent Smith, let me get this straight. The FBI is claiming that the Russians hacked the DNC servers. But the FBI never actually saw the computer hardware, nor examined it? Is that correct?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: And the FBI never actually examined the log files or computer email or any aspect of the data from the servers? Is that correct?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: And you are basing your testimony on the word of Counsel for the Democratic National Committee, the people who provided you with a REDACTED copy of a DRAFT report, not on the actual technical personnel who supposedly examined the servers?

AGENT: That is correct.

DEF ATT: Your honor, I have a few motions I would like to make at this time.

PRESIDING JUDGE: I'm sure you do, Counselor. (as he turns toward the prosecutors) And I feel like I am in a mood to grant them.

( source )

hooligan2009 , 14 minutes ago link

Brilliant! that sums it up nicely. of course, if the servers were not hacked and were instead "thumbnailed" that leads to a whole pile of other questions (including asking wiileaks for their source and about the murder of seth rich).

[Feb 07, 2020] How They Sold the Iraq War by Jeffrey St. Clair

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon. ..."
"... This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception." ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted. ..."
"... When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. ..."
"... Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war." ..."
"... The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. ..."
"... Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The war on Iraq won't be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "rogue state" were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don't need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair's plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student's website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister's bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair's speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don't explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.

The Bush claque of neocon hawks viewed the Iraq war as a product and, just like a new pair of Nikes, it required a roll-out campaign to soften up the consumers. The same techniques (and often the same PR gurus) that have been used to hawk cigarettes, SUVs and nuclear waste dumps were deployed to retail the Iraq war. To peddle the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and company recruited public relations gurus into top-level jobs at the Pentagon and the State Department. These spinmeisters soon had more say over how the rationale for war on Iraq should be presented than intelligence agencies and career diplomats. If the intelligence didn't fit the script, it was shaded, retooled or junked.

Take Charlotte Beers whom Powell picked as undersecretary of state in the post-9/11 world. Beers wasn't a diplomat. She wasn't even a politician. She was a grand diva of spin, known on the business and gossip pages as "the queen of Madison Avenue." On the strength of two advertising campaigns, one for Uncle Ben's Rice and another for Head and Shoulder's dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the PR world, heading two giant PR houses: Ogilvy and Mathers as well as J. Walter Thompson.

At the State Department Beers, who had met Powell in 1995 when they both served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked at, in Powell's words, "the branding of U.S. foreign policy." She extracted more than $500 million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, which largely focused on beaming U.S. propaganda into the Muslim world, much of it directed at teens.

"Public diplomacy is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time," said Beers. "All of a sudden we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves, but for the outside world." Note the rapt attention Beers pays to the manipulation of perception, as opposed, say, to alterations of U.S. policy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give and take, often fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange nonetheless. Public diplomacy, as defined by Beers, is something else entirely. It's a one-way street, a unilateral broadcast of American propaganda directly to the public, domestic and international, a kind of informational carpet-bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were as simplistic and flimsy as a Bush press conference. The American incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were all about bringing the balm of "freedom" to oppressed peoples. Hence, the title of the U.S. war: Operation Iraqi Freedom, where cruise missiles were depicted as instruments of liberation. Bush himself distilled the Beers equation to its bizarre essence: "This war is about peace."

Beers quietly resigned her post a few weeks before the first volley of tomahawk missiles battered Baghdad. From her point of view, the war itself was already won, the fireworks of shock and awe were all after play.

Over at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld drafted Victoria "Torie" Clarke as his director of public affairs. Clarke knew the ropes inside the Beltway. Before becoming Rumsfeld's mouthpiece, she had commanded one of the world's great parlors for powerbrokers: Hill and Knowlton's D.C. office.

Almost immediately upon taking up her new gig, Clarke convened regular meetings with a select group of Washington's top private PR specialists and lobbyists to develop a marketing plan for the Pentagon's forthcoming terror wars. The group was filled with heavy-hitters and was strikingly bipartisan in composition. She called it the Rumsfeld Group and it included PR executive Sheila Tate, columnist Rich Lowry, and Republican political consultant Rich Galen.

The brain trust also boasted top Democratic fixer Tommy Boggs, brother of NPR's Cokie Roberts and son of the late Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana. At the very time Boggs was conferring with top Pentagon brass on how to frame the war on terror, he was also working feverishly for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In 2002 alone, the Saudis paid his Qorvis PR firm $20.2 million to protect its interests in Washington. In the wake of hostile press coverage following the exposure of Saudi links to the 9/11 hijackers, the royal family needed all the well-placed help it could buy. They seem to have gotten their money's worth. Boggs' felicitous influence-peddling may help to explain why the references to Saudi funding of al-Qaeda were dropped from the recent congressional report on the investigation into intelligence failures and 9/11.

According to the trade publication PR Week, the Rumsfeld Group sent "messaging advice" to the Pentagon. The group told Clarke and Rumsfeld that in order to get the American public to buy into the war on terrorism, they needed to suggest a link to nation states, not just nebulous groups such as al-Qaeda. In other words, there needed to be a fixed target for the military campaigns, some distant place to drop cruise missiles and cluster bombs. They suggested the notion (already embedded in Rumsfeld's mind) of playing up the notion of so-called rogue states as the real masters of terrorism. Thus was born the Axis of Evil, which, of course, wasn't an "axis" at all, since two of the states, Iran and Iraq, hated each other, and neither had anything at all to do with the third, North Korea.

Tens of millions in federal money were poured into private public relations and media firms working to craft and broadcast the Bush dictat that Saddam had to be taken out before the Iraqi dictator blew up the world by dropping chemical and nuclear bombs from long-range drones. Many of these PR executives and image consultants were old friends of the high priests in the Bush inner sanctum. Indeed, they were veterans, like Cheney and Powell, of the previous war against Iraq, another engagement that was more spin than combat .

At the top of the list was John Rendon, head of the D.C. firm, the Rendon Group. Rendon is one of Washington's heaviest hitters, a Beltway fixer who never let political affiliation stand in the way of an assignment. Rendon served as a media consultant for Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, as well as Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Whenever the Pentagon wanted to go to war, he offered his services at a price. During Desert Storm, Rendon pulled in $100,000 a month from the Kuwaiti royal family. He followed this up with a $23 million contract from the CIA to produce anti-Saddam propaganda in the region.

As part of this CIA project, Rendon created and named the Iraqi National Congress and tapped his friend Ahmed Chalabi, the shady financier, to head the organization.

Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon handed the Rendon Group another big assignment: public relations for the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Rendon was also deeply involved in the planning and public relations for the pre-emptive war on Iraq, though both Rendon and the Pentagon refuse to disclose the details of the group's work there.

But it's not hard to detect the manipulative hand of Rendon behind many of the Iraq war's signature events, including the toppling of the Saddam statue (by U.S. troops and Chalabi associates) and videotape of jubilant Iraqis waving American flags as the Third Infantry rolled by them. Rendon had pulled off the same stunt in the first Gulf War, handing out American flags to Kuwaitis and herding the media to the orchestrated demonstration. "Where do you think they got those American flags?" clucked Rendon in 1991. "That was my assignment."

The Rendon Group may also have had played a role in pushing the phony intelligence that has now come back to haunt the Bush administration. In December of 2002, Robert Dreyfuss reported that the inner circle of the Bush White House preferred the intelligence coming from Chalabi and his associates to that being proffered by analysts at the CIA.

So Rendon and his circle represented a new kind of off-the-shelf PSYOPs , the privatization of official propaganda. "I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician," said Rendon. "I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager."

What exactly, is perception management? The Pentagon defines it this way: "actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning." In other words, lying about the intentions of the U.S. government. In a rare display of public frankness, the Pentagon actually let slip its plan (developed by Rendon) to establish a high-level den inside the Department Defense for perception management. They called it the Office of Strategic Influence and among its many missions was to plant false stories in the press.

Nothing stirs the corporate media into outbursts of pious outrage like an official government memo bragging about how the media are manipulated for political objectives. So the New York Times and Washington Post threw indignant fits about the Office of Strategic Influence; the Pentagon shut down the operation, and the press gloated with satisfaction on its victory. Yet, Rumsfeld told the Pentagon press corps that while he was killing the office, the same devious work would continue. "You can have the corpse," said Rumsfeld. "You can have the name. But I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done. And I have."

At a diplomatic level, despite the hired guns and the planted stories, this image war was lost. It failed to convince even America's most fervent allies and dependent client states that Iraq posed much of a threat. It failed to win the blessing of the U.N. and even NATO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington. At the end of the day, the vaunted coalition of the willing consisted of Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, and a cohort of former Soviet bloc nations. Even so, the citizens of the nations that cast their lot with the U.S.A. overwhelmingly opposed the war.

Domestically, it was a different story. A population traumatized by terror threats and shattered economy became easy prey for the saturation bombing of the Bush message that Iraq was a terrorist state linked to al-Qaeda that was only minutes away from launching attacks on America with weapons of mass destruction.

Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon.

Of course, the closest Saddam came to possessing a nuke was a rusting gas centrifuge buried for 13 years in the garden of Mahdi Obeidi, a retired Iraqi scientist. Iraq didn't have any functional chemical or biological weapons. In fact, it didn't even possess any SCUD missiles, despite erroneous reports fed by Pentagon PR flacks alleging that it had fired SCUDs into Kuwait.

This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception."

During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted.

What the Pentagon sought was a new kind of living room war, where instead of photos of mangled soldiers and dead Iraqi kids, they could control the images Americans viewed and to a large extent the content of the stories. By embedding reporters inside selected divisions, Clarke believed the Pentagon could count on the reporters to build relationships with the troops and to feel dependent on them for their own safety. It worked, naturally. One reporter for a national network trembled on camera that the U.S. Army functioned as "our protectors." The late David Bloom of NBC confessed on the air that he was willing to do "anything and everything they can ask of us."

When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. Of course, nearly every detail of her heroic adventure proved to be as fictive and maudlin as any made-for-TV-movie. But the ordeal of Private Lynch, which dominated the news for more than a week, served its purpose: to distract attention from a stalled campaign that was beginning to look at lot riskier than the American public had been hoodwinked into believing.

The Lynch story was fed to the eager press by a Pentagon operation called Combat Camera, the Army network of photographers, videographers and editors that sends 800 photos and 25 video clips a day to the media. The editors at Combat Camera carefully culled the footage to present the Pentagon's montage of the war, eliding such unsettling images as collateral damage, cluster bombs, dead children and U.S. soldiers, napalm strikes and disgruntled troops.

"A lot of our imagery will have a big impact on world opinion," predicted Lt. Jane Larogue, director of Combat Camera in Iraq. She was right. But as the hot war turned into an even hotter occupation, the Pentagon, despite airy rhetoric from occupation supremo Paul Bremer about installing democratic institutions such as a free press, moved to tighten its monopoly on the flow images out of Iraq. First, it tried to shut down Al Jazeera, the Arab news channel. Then the Pentagon intimated that it would like to see all foreign TV news crews banished from Baghdad.

Few newspapers fanned the hysteria about the threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction as sedulously as did the Washington Post. In the months leading up to the war, the Post's pro-war op-eds outnumbered the anti-war columns by a 3-to-1 margin.

Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war."

The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. Anything to punish Iran was the message coming from the White House. Donald Rumsfeld himself was sent as President Ronald Reagan's personal envoy to Baghdad. Rumsfeld conveyed the bold message than an Iraq defeat would be viewed as a "strategic setback for the United States." This sleazy alliance was sealed with a handshake caught on videotape. When CNN reporter Jamie McIntyre replayed the footage for Rumsfeld in the spring of 2003, the secretary of defense snapped, "Where'd you get that? Iraqi television?"

The current crop of Iraq hawks also saw Saddam much differently then. Take the writer Laura Mylroie, sometime colleague of the New York Times' Judy Miller, who persists in peddling the ludicrous conspiracy that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

How times have changed! In 1987, Mylroie felt downright cuddly toward Saddam. She wrote an article for the New Republic titled "Back Iraq: Time for a U.S. Tilt in the Mideast," arguing that the U.S. should publicly embrace Saddam's secular regime as a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The co-author of this mesmerizing weave of wonkery was none other than Daniel Pipes, perhaps the nation's most bellicose Islamophobe. "The American weapons that Iraq could make good use of include remotely scatterable and anti-personnel mines and counterartillery radar," wrote Mylroie and Pipes. "The United States might also consider upgrading intelligence it is supplying Baghdad."

In the rollout for the war, Mylroie seemed to be everywhere hawking the invasion of Iraq. She would often appear on two or three different networks in the same day. How did the reporter manage this feat? She had help in the form of Eleana Benador, the media placement guru who runs Benador Associates. Born in Peru, Benador parlayed her skills as a linguist into a lucrative career as media relations whiz for the Washington foreign policy elite. She also oversees the Middle East Forum, a fanatically pro-Zionist white paper mill. Her clients include some of the nation's most fervid hawks, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, Al Haig, Max Boot, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, and Judy Miller. During the Iraq war, Benador's assignment was to embed this squadron of pro-war zealots into the national media, on talk shows, and op-ed pages.

Benador not only got them the gigs, she also crafted the theme and made sure they all stayed on message. "There are some things, you just have to state them in a different way, in a slightly different way," said Benador. "If not, people get scared." Scared of intentions of their own government.

It could have been different. All of the holes in the Bush administration's gossamer case for war were right there for the mainstream press to expose. Instead, the U.S. press, just like the oil companies, sought to commercialize the Iraq war and profit from the invasions. They didn't want to deal with uncomfortable facts or present voices of dissent.

Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. The network's executives blamed the cancellation on sagging ratings. In fact, during its run Donahue's show attracted more viewers than any other program on the network. The real reason for the pre-emptive strike on Donahue was spelled out in an internal memo from anxious executives at NBC. Donahue, the memo said, offered "a difficult face for NBC in a time of war. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."

The memo warned that Donahue's show risked tarring MSNBC as an unpatriotic network, "a home for liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." So, with scarcely a second thought, the honchos at MSNBC gave Donahue the boot and hoisted the battle flag.

It's war that sells.

There's a helluva caveat, of course. Once you buy it, the merchants of war accept no returns.

This essay is adapted from Grand Theft Pentagon.

[Dec 31, 2019] Skripals false flag and Russiagate are birds of the feather

Notable quotes:
"... If the CIA/MI6/FBI did attempt to create a sting it need not be as dramatic as the Skripal fakery. What would you dream up if you were tasked by the CIA to propose something? KISS. ..."
Dec 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Dec 29 2019 22:21 utc | 28

@Posted by: sleepy | Dec 29 2019 17:38 utc | 8

Thanks sleeply,

But underlying your comment is an assumption of *logic* in this world. If it ever existed it certainly does not apply any longer. Look how much mileage the MSM and the anti-Democracy Party got out of the nothingburger Russiagate.

The MSM doesn't even need to smell real blood, they will run with anything to continue the coup.

Anything negative that involves Edward Gallagher between now and election day could be magnified 1 million-fold and
repeated 1000 million times by the MSM and dropped in Trump's lap.

If the CIA/MI6/FBI did attempt to create a sting it need not be as dramatic as the Skripal fakery. What would you dream up if you were tasked by the CIA to propose something? KISS.

[Dec 31, 2019] Turkey's Gunboat Gambit In The Mediterranean by Burak Bekdil

Dec 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Burak Bekdil via The Gatestone Institute,

Turkey, since 2011, has been waging a pro-Sunni proxy war in Syria, in the hope of one day establishing in Damascus a pro-Turkey, Islamist regime. This ambition has failed, costing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey violent political turmoil on both sides of Turkey's 911-km border with Syria and billions of dollars spent on more than 4 million Syrian refugees scattered across the Turkish soil.

In Egypt, in 2011-2012, Erdoğan aggressively supported the failed Muslim Brotherhood government and deeply antagonized the incumbent -- then-general but now president -- Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Since Erdoğan's efforts in Syria and Egypt failed, his Sunni Islamist ambitions have found a new proxy-war theater: Libya.

On December 10, Erdoğan said he could deploy troops in Libya if the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli (which Turkey supports) requested it. Erdoğan's talks with GNA's head, Fayez al-Sarraj, who is fighting a war against the Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar, produced two ostensibly strategic agreements: a memorandum of understanding on providing the GNA with arms, military training and personnel; and a maritime agreement delineating exclusive economic zones in the Mediterranean waters.

Greece and Egypt protested immediately while the European Council unequivocally condemned the controversial accords. Meanwhile, the deals apparently escalated a proxy competition between Turkey's old (Greece) and new (Egypt and the United Arab Emirates) rivals.

With the al-Sarraj handshake, Erdoğan is apparently aiming to:

All that ambition requires military hardware as well as diplomatic software. Since 2011, a year after the Mavi Marmara incident ruptured relations with Israel, Turkey has been investing billions of dollars in naval technologies, in an apparent effort to build up the hardware it would one day require.

In the eight years since then, Turkey has built four Ada-class corvettes; two Landing Ship Tank (LST) vessels; eight fast Landing Craft Tank (LCT) vessels; 16 military patrol ships; two deep-sea rescue ships; one submarine rescue ship; and four assault boats.

The jewel in the naval treasury box is a $1 billion Landing Platform Dock (LPD), now being built under license from Spain's Navantia shipyards, to be operational in 2021. The TCG Anadolu , Turkey's first amphibious assault ship, will carry a battalion-sized unit of 1,200 troops and personnel, eight utility helicopters and three unmanned aerial vehicles; it also will transport 150 vehicles, including battle tanks. It also may be able to deploy short takeoff and vertical landing STOVL F-35 fighter jets. Turkey will be the third operator in the world of this ship type, after Spain and Australia.

Erdoğan's naval ambitions, however, are not limited just to an emerging fleet of conventional vessels. In 2016, he said that the LPD program would hopefully be the first step toward producing a "most elite" aircraft carrier. He also said he "sees it as a major deficiency that we still do not have a nuclear vessel."

On December 22, Turkey's first Type 214 class submarine, the TCG Piri Reis , hit the seas with a ceremony attended by Erdoğan. "Today," he said , "we gathered here for the docking of Piri Reis . As of 2020, a submarine will go into service each year. By 2027, all six of our submarines will be at our seas for service."

Unsurprisingly the docking ceremony reminded Erdoğan of his Libyan gambit: "We will evaluate every opportunity in land, sea and air. If needed, we will increase military support in Libya."

Erdoğan seems to think that his best defense in the Mediterranean power game is an offense. On December 15, Turkish Naval Forces intercepted an Israeli research ship, the Bat Galim , in Cypriot waters and escorted it away, as tension over natural resource exploration continued to rise in the region.

On December 16, Turkey dispatched a surveillance and reconnaissance drone to the Turkish-controlled north of the divided island of Cyprus. A week before the drone deployment, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Ankara could use its military forces to halt gas drilling in waters off Cyprus that it claims as its own.

Libya is another risky proxy war theater for Turkey. Its deals with the al-Sarraj government over troop deployment and maritime borders will become null and void if the Libyan civil war, begun in 2014, ends with Gen. Haftar's victory. The chief of staff of the LNA, Farag Al-Mahdawi, announced that his forces would sink any Turkish ship approaching the Libyan coast. "I have an order; as soon as the Turkish research vessels arrive, I will have a solution. I will sink them myself," Al-Mahdawi warned, noting that the order was coming from Haftar. On December 21, Haftar's forces seized a Grenada-flagged ship with Turkish crew aboard, on the suspicion that it was carrying arms. The ship was later released.

The European Union is another factor why Erdoğan, once again, is probably betting on the wrong horse. Technically speaking, Turkey is a candidate for full EU membership, but it is an open secret that accession talks have not moved an inch during the past several years, and with no prospects of progress in sight. Making membership prospects even gloomier, EU foreign ministers in November agreed on economic sanctions for Ankara for violating Cyprus' maritime economic zone by drilling off the island.

The Mediterranean chess game leaves Turkey in alliance with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot statelet and one of the warring factions in Libya, versus a strategic grouping of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt (and the UAE), Israel, and the other warring Libyan group.

One emerging power in Libya, however, is not a Western state actor. After controlling Syria in favor of President Bashar al-Assad and establishing permanent military bases inside and off the coast of the country, Russia has the potential to step into the Libyan theater with a bigger proxy and direct force, to establish its second permanent Mediterranean military presence. As in Syria, where divergent interests did not stop Turkey from becoming a remote-controlled Russian player, Moscow can once again make use of the Turkish card to undermine Western interests in Libya.

Also as in Syria, Turkey's Islamist agenda will probably fail in Libya, but by the time Erdoğan understands that, it might be too late to get out of Moscow's orbit.

[Dec 31, 2019] Iraq attack as another example how spineless Trump is about trying to assert his will over that of the neocon bureaucracies, civilian and military

Dec 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russ , Dec 30 2019 8:34 utc | 1

Instead of finding the real culprits - ISIS remnants, disgruntled locals, Kurds who want to regain control over Kirkuk - the U.S. decided that Kata'ib Hizbullah was the group guilty of the attack....

Yesterday's attacks guarantee that all U.S. troops will have to leave Iraq and will thereby also lose their supply lines to Syria.

One wonders if that was the real intend of those strikes.

Just like with 9/11 and Iraq where the US government immediately pushed its pre-existing agenda, so the US doesn't care who really launches attacks on US and US-client positions in Iraq and Syria but automatically assigns them to Hezbollah and thus to Iran, in accord with the pre-existing neocon wet dream of provoking a full-scale war with Iran.

If that's the US intent, to escalate against Iran, and if conversely the Iraq government is serious about kicking out the US military, we'll have the confrontation discussed in the open thread.

As for the idea that Trump was briar-patching here, wanting a good legalistic pretext to withdraw troops from Iraq (which would then trigger the practical supply-based pretext to withdraw them from Syria and not "take the oil" after all), well even if he had such confused thoughts, we've already seen how spineless he is about trying to assert his will over that of the neocon bureaucracies, civilian and military. Do we really expect them to agree to vacate Iraq merely because the legally constituted supposedly sovereign government told them to? It seems more likely they'll tell the government they're not going anywhere and demand that the government help them suppress non-governmental resistance to their ongoing presence, or else. (I don't know if there's yet been a formal order to leave from the Iraqi government, or just rhetoric in an attempt to save face.)

[Dec 31, 2019] Skripals false flag and Russiagate are birds of the feather

Dec 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Dec 29 2019 22:21 utc | 28

@Posted by: sleepy | Dec 29 2019 17:38 utc | 8

Thanks sleeply,
But underlying your comment is an assumption of *logic* in this world. If it ever existed it certainly does not
apply any longer. Look how much mileage the MSM and the anti-Democracy Party got out of the nothingburger Russiagate.
The MSM doesn't even need to smell real blood, they will run with anything to continue the coup.

Anything negative that involves Edward Gallagher between now and election day could be magnified 1 million-fold and
repeated 1000 million times by the MSM and dropped in Trump's lap.

If the CIA/MI6/FBI did attempt to create a sting it need not be as dramatic as the Skripal fakery. What would you dream up if you were tasked by the CIA to propose something? KISS.

[Dec 30, 2019] Because You d Be In Jail! - The Real Reason Democrats Are Pushing Trump Impeachment by Robert Bridge

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In the time-honored tradition of Machiavellian statecraft, all of the charges being leveled against Donald Trump to remove him from office – namely, 'abuse of power' and 'obstruction of congress' –are essentially the same things the Democratic Party has been guilty of for nearly half a decade : abusing their powers in a non-stop attack on the executive branch. Is the reason because they desperately need a 'get out of jail free' card?

Due to the non-stop action in Washington of late, few believe that the present state of affairs between the Democrats and Donald Trump are exclusively due to a telephone call between the US leader and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That is only scratching the surface of a story that is practically boundless.

Back in April 2016, before Trump had become the Republican presidential nominee, talk of impeachment was already in the air.

"Donald Trump isn't even the Republican nominee yet," wrote Darren Samuelsohn in Politico.

Yet impeachment, he noted, is "already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress."

The timing of Samuelsohn's article is not a little astonishing given what the Department of Justice (DOJ) had discovered just one month earlier.

In March 2016, the DOJ found that "the FBI had been employing outside contractors who had access to raw Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data, and retained that access after their work for the FBI was completed," as Jeff Carlson reported in The Epoch Times.

That sort of foreign access to sensitive data is highly improper and was the result of "deliberate decision-making," according to the findings of an April 2017 FISA court ruling ( footnote 69 ).

On April 18, 2016, then-National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Mike Rogers directed the NSA's Office of Compliance to terminate all FBI outside-contractor access. Later, on Oct. 21, 2016, the FBI and the DOJ's National Security Division (NSD), and despite they were aware of Rogers's actions, moved ahead anyways with a request for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The request was approved by the FISA court, which, apparently, was still in the dark about the violations.

On Oct. 26, following approval of the warrant against Page, Rogers went to the FISA court to inform them of the FBI's non-compliance with the rules. Was it just a coincidence that at exactly this time, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter were suddenly calling for Roger's removal? The request was eventually rejected. The next month, in mid-November 2016 Rogers, without first notifying his superiors, flew to New York where he had a private meeting with Trump at Trump Towers.

According to the New York Times, the meeting – the details of which were never publicly divulged, but may be guessed at – "caused consternation at senior levels of the administration."

Democratic obstruction of justice?

Then CIA Director John Brennan, dismayed about a few meetings Trump officials had with the Russians, helped to kick-start the FBI investigation over 'Russian collusion.' Notably, these Trump-Russia meetings occurred in December 2016, as the incoming administration was in the difficult transition period to enter the White House. The Democrats made sure they made that transition as ugly as possible.

Although it is perfectly normal for an incoming government to meet with foreign heads of state at this critical juncture, a meeting at Trump Tower between Michael Flynn, Trump's incoming national security adviser and former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, was portrayed as some kind of cloak and dagger scene borrowed from a John le Carré thriller.

Brennan questioning the motives behind high-level meetings between the Trump team and some Russians is strange given that the lame duck Obama administration was in the process of redialing US-Russia relations back to the Cold War days, all based on the debunked claim that Moscow handed Trump the White House on a silver platter.

In late December 2016, after Trump had already won the election, Obama slapped Russia with punitive sanctions, expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed down two Russian facilities. Since part of Trump's campaign platform was to mend relations with Moscow, would it not seem logical that the incoming administration would be in damage-control, doing whatever necessary to prevent relations between the world's premier nuclear powers from degrading even more?

So if it wasn't 'Russian collusion' that motivated the Democrats into action, what was it?

From Benghazi to Seth Rich

Here we must pause and remind ourselves about the unenviable situation regarding Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, who was being grilled daily over her use of a private computer to communicate sensitive documents via email. In all likelihood, the incident would have dropped from the radar had it not been for the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks on a US compound.

In the course of a House Select Committee investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attacks, which resulted in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US personnel, Clinton handed over some 30,000 emails, while reportedly deleting 32,000 deemed to be of a "personal nature". Those emails remain unaccounted for to this day.

I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.

-- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 5, 2015

By March 2015, even the traditionally tepid media was baring its baby fangs, relentlessly pursuing Clinton over the email question. Since Clinton never made a secret of her presidential ambitions, even political allies were piling on. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), for example, said it's time for Clinton "to step up" and explain herself, adding that "silence is going to hurt her."

On July 24, 2015, The New York Times published a front-page story with the headline "Criminal Inquiry Sought in Clinton's Use of Email." Later, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post candidly summed up Clinton's rapidly deteriorating status with elections fast approaching: "Democrats still show no sign they are willing to abandon Clinton. Instead, they seem to be heading into the 2016 election with a deeply flawed candidate schlepping around plenty of baggage -- the details of which are not yet known."

Moving into 2016, things began to look increasingly complicated for the Democratic front-runner. On March 16, 2016, WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive for over 30 thousand emails and attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton's private email server while she was Secretary of State. The 50,547-page treasure trove spans the dates from June 30, 2010 to August 12, 2014.

In May, about one month after Clinton had officially announced her candidacy for the US presidency, the State Department's inspector general released an 83-page report that was highly critical of Clinton's email practices, concluding that Clinton failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private server.

"At a minimum," the report determined, "Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act."

The following month brought more bad news for Clinton and her presidential hopes after it was reported that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had a 30-minute tęte-ŕ-tęte with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, whose department was leading the Clinton investigations, on the tarmac at Phoenix International Airport. Lynch said Clinton decided to pay her an impromptu visit where the two discussed "his grandchildren and his travels and things like that." Republicans, however, certainly weren't buying the story as the encounter came as the FBI was preparing to file its recommendation to the Justice Department.

The summer of 2016, however, was just heating up.

I take @LorettaLynch & @billclinton at their word that their convo in Phoenix didn't touch on probe. But foolish to create such optics.

-- David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) June 30, 2016
Hack versus Leak?

On the early morning of July 10, Seth Rich, the director of voter expansion for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was gunned down on the street in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC. Rich's murder, said to be the result of a botched robbery, bucked the homicide trend in the area for that particular period; murders rates for the first six months of 2016 were down about 50 percent from the same period in the previous year.

In any case, the story gets much stranger. Just five days earlier, on July 5th, the computers at the DNC were compromised, purportedly by an online persona with the moniker "Guccifer 2.0" at the behest of Russian intelligence. This is where the story of "Russian hacking" first gained popularity. Not everyone, however, was buying the explanation.

In July 2017, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, who call themselves Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent a memo to President Trump that challenged a January intelligence assessment that expressed "high confidence" that the Russians had organized an "influence campaign" to harm Hillary Clinton's "electability," as if she wasn't capable of that without Kremlin support.

"Forensic studies of 'Russian hacking' into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer," the memo states (The memo's conclusions were based on analyses of metadata provided by the online persona Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for the alleged hack). "Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack."

In other words, according to VIPS, the compromise of the DNC computers was the result of an internal leak, not an external hack.

At this point, however, it needs mentioned that the VIPS memo has sparked dissenting views among its members. Several analysts within the group have spoken out against its findings, and that internal debate can be read here . Thus, it would seem there is no 'smoking gun,' as of yet, to prove that the DNC was not hacked by an external entity. At the same time, the murder of Seth Rich continues to remain an unsolved "botched robbery," according to investigators. Meanwhile, the one person who may hold the key to the mystery, Julian Assange, is said to be withering away Belmarsh Prison, a high-security London jail, where he is awaiting a February court hearing that will decide whether he will be extradited to the United States where he 18 charges.

Here is a question to ponder: If you were Julian Assange, and you knew you were going to be extradited to the United States, who would you rather be the sitting president in charge of your fate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Think twice before answering.

"Because you'd be in jail"

On October 9, 2016, in the second televised presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump accused his Democratic opponent of deleting 33,000 emails, while adding that he would get a "special prosecutor and we're going to look into it " To this, Clinton said "it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country," to which Trump deadpanned, without missing a beat, "because you'd be in jail."

Now if that remark didn't get the attention of high-ranking Democratic officials, perhaps Trump's comments at a Virginia rally days later, when he promised to "drain the swamp," made folks sit up and take notice.

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

At this point the leaks, hacks and everything in between were already coming fast and furious. On October 7, John Podesta, Clinton's presidential campaign manager, had his personal Gmail account hacked, thereby releasing a torrent of inside secrets, including how Donna Brazile, then a CNN commentator, had fed Clinton debate questions. But of course the crimes did not matter to the mendacious media, only the identity of the alleged messenger, which of course was 'Russia.'

By now, the only thing more incredible than the dirt being produced on Clinton was the fact that she was still in the presidential race, and even slated to win by a wide margin. But perhaps her biggest setback came when authorities, investigating Anthony Weiner's abused laptop into illicit text messages he sent to a 15-year-old girl, stumbled upon thousands of email messages from Hillary Clinton.

BREAKING NEWS: @jasoninthehouse : @HillaryClinton email - "Case reopened." pic.twitter.com/feVlU2aNP9

-- Fox News (@FoxNews) October 28, 2016

Now Comey had to backpedal on his conclusion in July that although Clinton was "extremely careless" in her use of her electronic devices, no criminal charges would be forthcoming. He announced an 11th hour investigation, just days before the election. Although Clinton was also cleared in this case, observers never forgave Comey for his actions, arguing they cost Clinton the White House.

Now James Comey is back in the spotlight as one of the main characters in the Barr-Durham investigation, which is examining largely out of the spotlight the origins of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory that dogged the White House for four long years.

In early December, Justice Department's independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, released the 400-page IG report that revealed a long list of omissions, mistakes and inconsistencies in the FBI's applications for FISA warrants to conduct surveillance on Carter Page. Although the report was damning, both Barr and Durham noted it did not go far enough because Horowitz did not have the access that Durham has to intelligence agency sources, as well as overseas contacts that Barr provided to him.

With AG report due for release in early spring, needless to say some Democrats are very nervous as to its finding. So nervous, in fact, that they might just be willing to go to the extreme of removing a sitting president to avoid its conclusions.

Whatever the verdict, 2020 promises to be one very interesting year.

[Dec 30, 2019] Twitter Scrubs Viral Trump Retweet Of Alleged Hoaxblower s Name

Notable quotes:
"... Twitter blamed a computer glitch after President Trump's retweet of a post containing the name alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella mysteriously disappeared from his timeline. After 'fixing' the issue and restoring the retweet, the user was simply banned from the platform so that nobody could see the tweet, which quickly went viral. ..."
Dec 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Twitter blamed a computer glitch after President Trump's retweet of a post containing the name alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella mysteriously disappeared from his timeline. After 'fixing' the issue and restoring the retweet, the user was simply banned from the platform so that nobody could see the tweet, which quickly went viral.

" Rep. Ratliffe suggested Monday that the "whistleblower" Eric Ciaramella committed perjury by making false statements in his written forms filed with the ICIG and that Adam Schiff is hiding evidence of Ciaramella's crimes to protect him from criminal investigations," read the tweet made by by now-banned @surfermom77, which describes herself as living in California and a "100% Trump supporter."

Ciaramella has been outed in several outlets as the 'anonymous' CIA official whose whistleblower complaint over a July 25 phone call between Trump and with his Ukrainian counterpart is at the heart of Congressional impeachment proceedings.

Trump retweeted the post around midnight Friday. By Saturday morning, it was no longer visible in his Twitter feed.

When contacted by The Guardian 's Lois Beckett for explanation, Twitter blamed an "outage with one of our systems."

Some people reported earlier today that someone had deleted the alleged-whistleblower's name-retweet from Trump's timeline. Others of us still see *that tweet* on Trump's timeline. When asked for clarification, Twitter said this: https://t.co/Rftkg3nbus https://t.co/XREAvvxjhf

-- Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) December 29, 2019

By Sunday morning, the tweet had been restored to Trump's timeline - however hours later the user, @Surfermom77, was banned from the platform .

Running cover for Twitter is the Washington Post , which claims " The account shows some indications of automation , including an unusually high amount of activity and profile pictures featuring stock images from the internet."

Surfermom77 has displayed some hallmarks of a Twitter bot, an automated account. A recent profile picture on the account, for instance, is a stock photo of a woman in business attire that is available for use online.

Surfermom77 has also tweeted far more than typical users, more than 170,000 times since the account was activated in 2013. Surfermom77 has posted, on average, 72 tweets a day, according to Nir Hauser, chief technology officer at VineSight, a technology firm that tracks online misinformation. - WaPo

Meanwhile, Trump retweeted another Ciaramella reference on Thursday, after the @TrumpWarRoom responded to whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid's tweet calling for the resignation of Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) from the Senate Whistleblower Caucus after she made "hostile" comments - after she tweeted in November that "Vindictive Vindman is the "whistleblower's" handler (a reference to impeachment witness Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.

It's pretty simple. The CIA "whistleblower" is not a real whistleblower! https://t.co/z6bjGaFCSH pic.twitter.com/RHhkY1BGei

-- FOLLOW Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) December 26, 2019

As the Washington Times notes, "This week, it was revealed that conservative organization Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request in November for the communications of Ciaramella, a 33-year-old CIA analyst who is alleged to be the whistleblower."

"The watchdog group requested conversations between Ciaramella and special counsel Robert Mueller, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and former FBI attorney Lisa Page."

[Dec 29, 2019] Note on Washington's bizarre priorities by James Antle

Notable quotes:
"... ...Michael Tracey offered this apt summary of Washington's bizarre priorities: "This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is [a] huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in U.S. history is a forgettable non-issue." ..."
Dec 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

...Michael Tracey offered this apt summary of Washington's bizarre priorities: "This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is [a] huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in U.S. history is a forgettable non-issue."

[Dec 29, 2019] A Hawkish Impeachment by James Antle

Notable quotes:
"... Despite fond youthful memories of Bill Clinton/Kenneth Starr/Monica Lewinsky jokes on late-night television, my interest in the current impeachment saga can pretty much be summed up as follows: "Get back to me when they launch an impeachment inquiry over Yemen ." Watching the House vote along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump while barely stifling a yawn over the Afghanistan Papers does little to alter my skepticism about this constitutional crisis built for cable news. ..."
"... Progressive commentator Michael Tracey offered this apt summary of Washington's bizarre priorities: "This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is [a] huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in U.S. history is a forgettable non-issue." ..."
Dec 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Despite fond youthful memories of Bill Clinton/Kenneth Starr/Monica Lewinsky jokes on late-night television, my interest in the current impeachment saga can pretty much be summed up as follows: "Get back to me when they launch an impeachment inquiry over Yemen ." Watching the House vote along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump while barely stifling a yawn over the Afghanistan Papers does little to alter my skepticism about this constitutional crisis built for cable news.

Progressive commentator Michael Tracey offered this apt summary of Washington's bizarre priorities: "This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is [a] huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in U.S. history is a forgettable non-issue."

Nobody will be impeached for lying about Afghanistan. There will be no intelligence community whistleblower setting in motion an impeachment inquiry over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In fact, the same Nancy Pelosi who ultimately caved to the Resistance shut down antiwar Democrats who wanted such hearings into George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. But here John Bolton, an advocate of preventive presidential war during this very administration, may finally get his wish of being greeted as a liberator .

Even as Representative Adam Schiff led the drive to impeach Trump, the California Democrat voted for a defense bill that lavishes the executive branch with money without restraining presidential war powers. But this seeming inconsistency is practically the point -- the entire impeachment inquiry was wrapped in hawkish assumptions and rhetoric as liberal Democrats unthinkingly stumbled into a Cold War 2.0 mindset that few of them this side of Hillary Clinton would have willingly embraced absent frequently overhyped Trump-Russia headlines dating back to the 2016 campaign.

No, Trump isn't Jesus Christ being handed over by Pontius Pilate. His phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn't " perfect " and neither side of this partisan morality tale has exactly covered itself in glory. Rudy Giuliani's escapades seem particularly likely to end badly. One need not even necessarily defend Trump's conduct to oppose an impeachment inquiry largely predicated on threat inflation. Arm Ukraine, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan testified, so they can "fight the Russians there and we don't have to fight them here." She could have been starring in a Democratic reboot of Red Dawn decades after the Soviet Union disintegrated.

There's no question Trump to some extent dangled a White House visit and congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine before Kyiv in pursuit of the talking point that Joe Biden was under investigation. The only matters in dispute are how determined the effort was, whether Trump's motives were at least partially publicly spirited, the degree of the Bidens' shadiness, and why the aid was ultimately disbursed (Byron York makes the case that it wasn't necessarily because of the whistleblower).

House Democrats began with a presumption of corrupt intent on all counts and a definition of foreign election interference elastic enough to include Trump utterances about WikiLeaks and Hillary's deleted emails but not Ukraine's (smaller, less systematic and arguably less effective than Russia's) 2016 influence campaign . And while not all investigations are created equal -- if Hunter Biden's business dealings are to be probed, it should not be as a favor to any president -- the impeachment inquiry itself is an investigation of a political rival, who was also investigated during his previous campaign .

If shortcuts were taken in the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, the origins of Trump-Ukraine resemble a template for undermining any seriously antiwar or civil libertarian president. Trump is not that president himself, of course -- his acquiescence to the Beltway blob on lethal military aid is precisely what increased his leverage over Ukraine -- but some plausible and even the occasional Republican could be. Trump's mild rhetorical dissents on foreign policy are clearly a factor in why he has reason to be suspicious of his own subordinates (it's also why it is disingenuous to suggest that replacing Trump with Mike Pence is no different than replacing Bill Clinton with ideologically identical Al Gore or that people who have worked for Bush, Cheney or John McCain would have no reason to oppose Trump).

Many Democrats sincerely believed they were impeaching Trump for the least of his crimes, like Al Capone and tax evasion, and that Robert Mueller let him escape last time. They are also making a case against Trump's ability to separate personal and national interests in a way that speaks to his fitness for the office, with Ukraine merely being their specific example. But in doing so, they are also ratifying a bipartisan foreign policy consensus that has failed the American people, and that's bigger than any one president.

W. James Antle III is the editor of The American Conservative.

[Dec 29, 2019] "THE HAMMER" CIA Contractor-Turned Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery Makes Damming Confession On How Obama Ruthlessly Spied Trump A Zillion Times

Dec 29, 2019 | conservativesdaily.com

"THE HAMMER" CIA Contractor-Turned Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery Makes Damming Confession On How Obama Ruthlessly Spied Trump A Zillion Times

By CD's Team December 26, 2019

President Obama's Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper and his Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John Brennan oversaw a secret supercomputer system known as "THE HAMMER," according to former NSA/CIA contractor-turned whistleblower Dennis Montgomery.

Clapper and Brennan were using the supercomputer system to conduct illegal and unconstitutional government data harvesting and wiretapping. THE HAMMER was installed on federal property in Fort Washington, Maryland at a complex which some speculate is a secret CIA and NSA operation operating at a US Naval facility.

President Trump's allegation that the Obama Administration was wiretapping him is not only supported by Montgomery's whistleblower revelations about Brennan's and Clapper's computer system THE HAMMER, but also by statements made this week by William Binney, a former NSA Technical Director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, by former CIA and State Department official Larry Johnson, and by Montgomery's attorney Larry Klayman.

Computer expert Dennis Montgomery developed software programs that could breach secure computer systems and collect massive amounts of data.

That system, THE HAMMER, according to the audio tapes, accessed the phone calls, emails and bank accounts of millions of ordinary Americans.

The tapes also reveal that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court (FISA), Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, 156 other judges, members of Congress, and Donald J. Trump were targeted by the HAMMER.

One of the audio tapes made public by Federal Judge G. Murray Snow revealed that Brennan and Clapper particularly targeted and wiretapped Donald Trump a " zillion times."

Must read: Ben carson breaks silence on impeachment,drop nuke on immature democrats

Montgomery also contends that the government can plant files such as child *********** or state secrets on a target's computer, setting up the owner of that device for blackmail or framed prosecution.

Former CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson Alleged In 2013 She Was Under Electronic Surveillance For At Least Two Years And That Three Classified Documents Were Planted On Her "Compromised" Computer.

The audio tapes were released by Federal Judge G. Murray Snow in Maricopa County, Arizona in the Justice Department's civil contempt case against Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio.

Attorney Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, represented Montgomery before federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Klayman, who characterizes his client Montgomery as a "whistleblower," told Fox News that Montgomery "turned over 600 million plus pages of information to the FBI." Judge Lamberth was formerly the presiding judge over the FISA court.

After Montgomery produced his documentation, the FBI gave him two immunity agreements: one in the area of "production" and the other regarding "testimony."

The FBI then took possession of Montgomery's documentation.

Attorney Klayman asserts that this information precipitated James Clapper's resignation.

Clapper had gone before Congress to testify under oath that the NSA, and other intelligence agencies including the CIA," were not collecting massive amounts of telephonic and Internet metadata on hundreds of millions of innocent American citizens" according to Klayman.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations proved otherwise.

Hot now: Nancy Pelosi loses out, Republican controlled senate going ahead to acquit Trump without Article of impeachment

Clapper was subsequently found to be untruthful and resigned on November 17, 2016, effective January 20, 2017, the day Donald Trump was sworn in.

Clapper has not been prosecuted for perjury and we wonder why. 7 minutes ago Thanks Q! I bring up Montgomery all of the time here. The Eff Bee Eye and Dee oh Jay have all of the documents and are sitting on them. This is how the IC controls everything in the Swamp.

[Dec 29, 2019] BOMBSHELL CIA Whistleblower Leaked Proof Trump Under Systematic Illegal Surveillance Over Two Years Ago FBI Sat On It Zer

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

BOMBSHELL: CIA Whistleblower Leaked Proof Trump Under "Systematic Illegal" Surveillance Over Two Years Ago: FBI Sat On It by ZeroPointNow Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:37 0 SHARES

The same day House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes gave a press conference disclosing that President Trump had been under " incidental surveillance ," Attorney and FreedomWatch Chairman, Larry Klayman, sent a letter to the House Committee on Intelligence imploring them to pursue the claims and evidence presented under oath at a Washington DC FBI Field Office by his client - CIA / NSA Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery - who Klayman claims "holds the keys to disproving the false claims... ...that there is no evidence that the president and his men were wiretapped"

When Montgomery attempted to deliver this information through the appropriate channels two years ago , the former CIA and NSA contractor wasn't given the time of day:

[W]hen Montgomery came forward as a whistleblower to congressional intelligence committees and various other congressmen and senators, including Senator Charles Grassley , Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who, like Comey, once had a reputation for integrity, he was "blown off;" no one wanted to even hear what he had to say.

As a result, Montgomery went to attorney and FreedomWatch founder Larry Klayman - who then approached the FBI:

Under grants of immunity, which I obtained through Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis, Montgomery produced the hard drives and later was interviewed under oath in a secure room at the FBI Field Office in the District of Columbia . There he laid out how persons like then-businessman Donald Trump were illegally spied upon by Clapper, Brennan, and the spy agencies of the Obama administration.

Montgomery left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of information , much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional intelligence committees, to expose that the spy agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump , and even yours truly. Working side by side with Obama's former Director of National Intelligence (DIA), James Clapper, and Obama's former Director of the CIA, John Brennan, Montgomery witnessed "up close and personal" this "Orwellian Big Brother" intrusion on privacy , likely for potential coercion, blackmail or other nefarious purposes.

He even claimed that these spy agencies had manipulated voting in Florida during the 2008 presidential election , which illegal tampering resulted in helping Obama to win the White House.

Given the fact that the FBI had Montgomery's testimony and evidence for over two years, Klayman traveled to Washington DC last Thursday to meet with Committee Chairman Devin Nunes in the hopes that he would ask FBI Director Comey why the FBI hadn't pursued Montgomery's evidence. When Klayman arrived to speak with Nunes, he was "blown off" and instead shared his information with committee attorney Allen R. Souza - who Klayman requested in turn brief Nunes on the situation.

During my meeting with House Intelligence Committee counsel Allen R. Sousa I politely warned him that if Chairman Nunes, who himself had that same day undercut President Trump by also claiming that there is no evidence of surveillance by the Obama administration, I would go public with what would appear to be the House Intelligence Committee's complicity in keeping the truth from the American people and allowing the FBI to continue its apparent cover-up of the Montgomery "investigation."

And, that is where it stands today. The big question: will House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes do his job and hold FBI Director Comey's feet to the fire about the Montgomery investigation?

Klayman has detailed all of this in a NewsMax article , followed up with an official letter to Chairman Nunes today, requesting that he question Comey on Montgomery's evidence. Perhaps this explains Nunes' impromptu press conference today admitting that Trump's team was under " Incidental Surveillance " before making his way to the White House to discuss with the President.

So - we know that evidence exists from a CIA / NSA contractor turned whistleblower, detailing a massive spy operation on 156 judges, the Supreme Court, and high profile Americans including Donald Trump. See the letter below:

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes1/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/NnKogSytSC

-- ZeroPointNow(@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes2/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/6Ls9a9kXAQ

-- ZeroPointNow(@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes3/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/90KUdW9eH1

-- ZeroPointNow(@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes 4/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/l29p9JzBsU

-- ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

[Dec 29, 2019] Interview with Lisa Page. TRANSCRIPT 12-17-19, The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC

Looks like Page was Strzok handler within FBI and was intimately involved in suppressing Hillary email investigation. clinton email investigation has signed of CIA pressure on FBI -- that;s why DNS servers were not investigated by FBI directly -- most probably there was nothing to investigate as malware was implanted by CrowdStrike which also create fake Gussifer 2.0 personality.
She was probably No.3 person in both email investigation and Russiagate -- "eyes and earths" of McCabe like she admitted herself.
Looks also that she has a central position in unleashing Russiagate witch hunt and in scapegoating General Flynn. Whether she deliberately changed documents or not to implicate him is sill not completely clear.
Interview crates a picture of her as a dangerous ruthless operative. More so then Strzok deposition. The fact that counter intelligence can be used for the purposes of political witch hunt is deeply disturbing. Of course, MadCow did not ask this female James Bond why they did not brief Trump campaign. And the fact that they did not brief Trump campaign suggest that they all were crooks.
Notable quotes:
"... She had significant roles in the Boston marathon case and in the Edward Snowden case ..."
"... So, I was special counsel to the deputy director. He, of course, runs the FBI. He`s like the COO. And so, with respect to both the Clinton investigation but also the other responsibilities of running the bureau, I tried to serve as his sort of good counsel, his eyes and ears. ..."
"... I was definitely part of the group of people who Director Comey was consulting in terms of what to do, and ultimately, I largely supported his decision. ..."
"... The two investigations couldn`t be less similar. In the Clinton investigation, you`re talking about historical events three years prior, her use of a private e-mail server that was public investigation everybody knew about. With respect to the Russia investigation, we`re talking about trying to investigate what an incredibly hostile foreign government may be doing to interfere in our election. We didn`t know what the answer was, and it would have been deeply prejudicial and incredibly unfair to candidate Trump for us to have said anything before we knew what had had happened. ..."
"... MADDOW: What about the text messages that – in which you and Strzok were talking about, your sort of fear that Trump would be elected and he said, no, we won`t let it happen? ..."
"... PAGE: I mean, by we, he`s talking about the collective we, like-minded, thoughtful, sensible people who were not going to vote this person into office. You know, obviously in retrospect, do I wish he hadn`t sent it? Yes. It`s been mutilated to death and it`s been used to bludgeon an institution I love. And it`s meant that I disappointed countless people. ..."
"... And in terms of the litigation of this issue, the question about whether or not this, as the president and his supporters claimed, reflected some inherent political bias by you and Mr. Strzok and that you had key roles to play in these investigations and therefore the investigations are biased. ..."
Dec 29, 2019 | www.msnbc.com

One person on that list was Peter Strzok who I`m told not long ago was the top counterintelligence agent at the FBI. Peter Strzok had a sterling career at the FBI, including key roles in breaking up high profile Russianintelligence operations inside the United States. He was the leadcounterintelligence agent in the FBI, and he worked on the 2016 Russiainvestigation.

He was fired in 2018 over text messages he had sent which reflected his personal political views about President Trump, critical of PresidentTrump, and frankly critical of other people in politics, too. Now, the president hounds him by name as the FBI`s sick loser, Peter

Strzok, leader of the rigged witch hunt. Investigating this president, specifically investigating the central question of his campaign`s potential involvement with the Russian interference in our 2016 election to try to get him into the White House – I mean, that national security imperative described in passionate terms today in federal court by the judge who was overseeing more of the criminal trials that have derived from that investigation than any other. The people who have actually done that work,the people how have actually talked about it or supported it or criticized it, but actually done the work, they`ve all been lined up at the proverbial firing line by this president, as he and his supporters, both in Congress and in the conservative media, have just tried to pick them up off, destroy them one by one, ending their careers one after the other, deriding them, attacking them.

But the president has reserved particularly and particularly sustained ire for one former FBI lawyer named Lisa Page. Lisa Page had been a federal prosecutor. She`d worked in the criminal division and in the national security division at the justice department. She worked at the FBI. She had significant roles in the Boston marathon case and in the Edward Snowden case . Early in 2016, Lisa Page was working a special counsel to Deputy FBI

Director Andrew McCabe. She worked on the Clinton e-mail investigation. That same year, later in 2016, she would also play a smaller role in the Russia investigation. And when that became the Mueller investigation, she briefly worked on that team as well.

... ... ...

She said, quote: The sum total of findings by I.G. Horowitz that my personal opinions had any bearing on the course of either the Clinton or Russia investigations, zero and zero. And then she concludes, cool, cool. Lisa Page is now suing the FBI and the Justice Department for what she calls a breach of privacy with them distributing her personal text messages to reporters in the middle of an open investigation. She`s also suing them for the suffering that has followed.

... ... ...

MADDOW: First, I want to talk to you about a million different things, butlet me just ask you if I got anything wrong in terms of sketching what Iunderstand is the broad outlines of your career there?

PAGE: No, not particularly. I wasn`t – I wouldn`t want to take credit for Boston or Snowden. I – it`s really how I met Andy McCabe through the Boston bombing and then through the work post-Snowden and assisting the White House in the post-intelligence reforms. But I can`t say that I played an investigative role in any one of those.

MADDOW: So you were involved in the response in those instances (ph) –

PAGE: Exactly right.

... ... ...

PAGE: You know, it`s kind of like all good news stories. It`s part good hard work and part serendipity. Post-Snowden, there were so many reforms coming out of the Obama White House that I became the point person for that effort for the FBI. Andy at the time was head of the national security program, so anything that the White House would be proposing would be different in term of the authorities and how we conducted our business would have affected his work. And so, we started working very closely together. He found me trustworthy and reliable and hopefully smart, and so he asked me to join his staff.

MADDOW: By 2016, by the early months of 2016 in that role in the FBI, you found yourself working on the Clinton e-mail investigation. Can you talk us through what your role was on that and what that work is like?

PAGER: Sure. So, I was special counsel to the deputy director. He, of course, runs the FBI. He`s like the COO. And so, with respect to both the Clinton investigation but also the other responsibilities of running the bureau, I tried to serve as his sort of good counsel, his eyes and ears. So I tried to keep both a macro view of all the various things that were happening at the FBI, but also keep my earto the ground with respect to various investigative steps and what wascoming next.

MADDOW: One of the things that you described in the interview you did this month with "The Daily Beast" was that you were aware in the context of that investigation that everything everybody did that had anything to do with that investigation was going to be very closely scrutinized and was going to be something that was going to be obviously inherently controversial. When it came to the decision to make public disclosures about the status of that investigation, Director Comey criticizing Secretary Clinton even as he was announcing there weren`t going to be prosecutions, did you have any role in that or did you have strong feelings about that at the time?

PAGE: I did. I did. I was definitely part of the group of people who Director Comey was consulting in terms of what to do, and ultimately, I largely supported his decision. This was not a typical investigation. This was not an investigation where the subject was secret and nobody knew this investigation was underway. Everyone knew that she was under investigation. Candidate Trump was ceaselessly, you know, asking to lock her up at his rallies. So, the notion we would say nothing with respect to choosing not to charge her, even though every person on the team uniformly agreed that there was no prosecutable case, that was true at the Justice Department, that was true at the FBI. So, we all agreed that we needed to say something. There may have been varying differences into how much, and how much detail to get into, but there wasn`t largely disagreement with respect to whether to say something at all.

MADDOW: And you ultimately ended up working on the Russia investigation deeper into 2016. Obviously, you were one of the people who was involved in the Justice Department and the FBI in such a way that you knew a lot about both of those cases.

Did you and the other people involved in those two cases struggle at all with this discontinuity that the Clinton investigation, for the reasons that you just described, was very public and various steps of that investigation were disclosed to the public, had a huge political impact, whereas there was a live, very provocative, very disturbing investigation into President Trump and his campaign as well and that was kept from the public? Did you struggle with that discontinuity or the fact that therewasn`t a parallel there?

PAGE: Not at all. Not at all. The two investigations couldn`t be less similar. In the Clinton investigation, you`re talking about historical events three years prior, her use of a private e-mail server that was public investigation everybody knew about. With respect to the Russia investigation, we`re talking about trying to investigate what an incredibly hostile foreign government may be doing to interfere in our election. We didn`t know what the answer was, and it would have been deeply prejudicial and incredibly unfair to candidate Trump for us to have said anything before we knew what had had happened.

MADDOW: In terms of the way this played out ultimately, you become a poster child, along with several of your colleagues, for these claims from the president, and now increasingly from the current attorney general that the Trump-Russia investigation was cooked up on the basis of false allegations or even some conspiracy specifically to hurt his chances of getting elected. Now, of course, the problem there is no one in the country knew about that investigation before people had the chance to vote on him. And I just – I mean, as an observer, I find that flabbergasting. How does that strike you and how does that comport with your understanding of that process given what you just described?

PAGE: There is no one on this set of facts who has any experience in counterintelligence who would not have made the exact same decision. This is a question about whether Russia is working with a United States person to interfere in our election. We were obligated to figure out whether that was true or not, and to figure out who might be in a position to provide that assistance.

MADDOW: In terms of the critique that I just implicitly made that if there had been some sort of conspiracy against candidate Trump, that could have just easily been leaked to the public so people would know about that when they went to the polls, is that a fair critique?

PAGE: It is a fair critique, but we were extraordinarily careful not to do anything that would allow this information to get out before we knew what we had.

... ...

MADDOW: In terms of the text messages and allegations that have been made against you, you`ve sort of explained yourself in putting those text messages in greater context in terms of what they meant and the way they were used against you. Can you explain to us tonight what was meant by, for example, the insurance policy text message? So, this is you and Peter Strzok texting about theprospect that President Trump is going to be elected, the unlikely process.

PAGE: Right. I mean, it`s an analogy. First of all, it`s not my text, so I`m sort of interpreting what I believed he meant back three years ago. But we`re using an analogy. We`re talking about whether or not we should take certain investigative steps or not based on the likelihood that he`sgoing to be president or not, right?

You have to keep in mind, if President Trump doesn`t become president, the national security risks if there is somebody in his campaign associated with Russia plummets. You`re not so worried about what Russia`s doing vis-a-vis a member of his campaign if he`s not president because you`re not going to have access to classified information, you`re not going to have access to sources and methods in our national security apparatus.

So, the insurance policy was an analogy. It`s like an insurance policy when you`re 40. You don`t expect to die when you`re 40, yet you still have an insurance policy.

MADDOW: So don`t just hope that he`s not going be elected and therefore not press forward with the investigation hoping, but rather press forward with the investigation just in case he does get in there.

PAGE: Exactly.

MADDOW: What about the text messages that – in which you and Strzok were talking about, your sort of fear that Trump would be elected and he said, no, we won`t let it happen?

PAGE: I mean, by we, he`s talking about the collective we, like-minded, thoughtful, sensible people who were not going to vote this person into office. You know, obviously in retrospect, do I wish he hadn`t sent it? Yes. It`s been mutilated to death and it`s been used to bludgeon an institution I love. And it`s meant that I disappointed countless people. But this is – this is a snapshot in time carrying on a conversation that had happened earlier in the day that reflected a broad sense of he`s notgoing to be president. We, the democratic people of this country, are notgoing to let it happen.

MADDOW: And in terms of the litigation of this issue, the question about whether or not this, as the president and his supporters claimed, reflected some inherent political bias by you and Mr. Strzok and that you had key roles to play in these investigations and therefore the investigations are biased. I mean, the inspector general has looked at that, been critical of these expressions of strong political views, but also said that there was no indication that political bias affected any decisions in either these investigations, full stop.

You responded to that on Twitter by saying: cool, cool. Like basically good to know but it won`t make a difference?

PAGE: It won`t make a difference and it`s two years too late, right? It`s been three straight years of investigation by the inspector general. Dozens of lawyers and investigators poring over every investigative step that I took, every text and every email, and I realized what I`ve known from the beginning which is that my personal views had no impact on the course of either investigation. But to my "cool, cool" point, two days later, you see Lindsey Graham in the Senate spend 40 minutes reading text messages again. These are three years old. They`re – they`ve been described as immaterial ultimately by the inspector general and yet we`re still talking about them.

... ... ...

[Dec 29, 2019] I can think of a couple of reasons for Erdogan's Libyan adventure. First, he'd rather have those battle tested jihadis in Libya than on his border or in his country.

Dec 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Lyttennburgh , 28 December 2019 at 04:10 PM

Re: Idlibian "moderate rebels"

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EMynmroXUAYTexQ.jpg
^Judking by the patches, we have a "jihadi bingo" man here!

Off-topic

TTG, any comments about Erdogan's apparent desire to channel part of *his* Idlibian murtads-sahavats to Lybia in support of *his* clients?

The Twisted Genius -> Lyttennburgh... , 28 December 2019 at 07:59 PM
Lyttennburgh, I can think of a couple of reasons for Erdogan's Libyan adventure. First, he'd rather have those battle tested jihadis in Libya than on his border or in his country. Second, he may have his eyes on Mediterranean oil. Lastly, he may see a friendly Libyan government as an ally or province of his Ottoman Empire dream. No matter what the reason, he's setting himself up for another confrontation with Russia.

[Dec 29, 2019] Russian Adventurism in Libya by Stephen Lendman

Dec 29, 2019 | stephenlendman.org

Russian Adventurism in Libya?

by Stephen Lendman ( stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman )

Combating the scourge of US-supported terrorists in Syria at the behest of its government aside, Russia's involvement elsewhere is diplomatic, including in Libya.

Obama regime-led aggression in 2011 transformed Africa's most developed nation into a charnel house, a dystopian failed state, endless war raging with no resolution in prospect.

Wherever wars rage, chances are US dirty hands are involved, clearly the case in multiple countries, including Libya.

Russia is not involved in the country militarily. Claims otherwise are fabricated. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov strongly denied them, saying:

"I categorically refute speculations of this kind. We are acting in the interest of the Libyan settlement," adding:

"We are supporting the existing effort, including through the United Nations. We maintain a dialogue with those who somehow influence the situation."

"We do not think that there is any grounds for such statements, such fiction, but this is not the first time that US media spread different speculations, wicked rumors, falsehoods targeting us."

"We have already gotten used to this, and we take it in stride. However, I have to acknowledge that recurrent hoaxes of this kind exercise a negative influence on the sentiment of the US domestic public, and the general atmosphere in the United States."

"Unfortunately it does not promote normalization of our ties, although we strive for it."

A November NYT propaganda piece falsely accused Russia of involvement militarily in Libya -- instead of focusing on how the Obama regime raped and destroyed the country.

Trump hardliners support warlord Khalifa Haftar, a longtime CIA asset, a former US resident, commander of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) -- waging war on the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Since US-led aggression toppled Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 and sodomized him to death, the US continued to wage secret drone war on the country, conducting hundreds of strikes, continuing since Trump took office.

The Times falsely claimed "Russian mercenaries (and) snipers" are involved in Libya -- no evidence cited proving what's not so, adding:

Hundreds of "Russian fighters (are) part of a broad campaign by the Kremlin to reassert its influence across the Middle East and Africa (sic)."

"It has introduced advanced Sukhoi jets, coordinated missile strikes, and precision-guided artillery, as well as the snipers -- the same playbook that made Moscow a kingmaker in the Syrian civil war (sic)."

There's nothing remotely "civil" about US aggression in Syria. No evidence suggests Russia is involved militarily in Libya with heavy or other weapons.

The Kremlin didn't intervene in the country on behalf of anyone. Its involvement is diplomatic to try resolving the mess US aggression created -- what the Times and other establishment media cheerled.

Days earlier, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed false claims about Kremlin involvement in Libya militarily, saying:

Moscow officials maintain diplomatic contact "with all current Libyan political forces," adding:

Congressional hardliners drafted the so-called Libya Stabilization Act -- imposing sanctions on Russia for its "imaginary military presence in" the country.

The measure falsely accuses Moscow of "military intervention," blaming what doesn't exist on destabilizing the country, ignoring how US-led NATO smashed Libya, massacring countless thousands, displacing many more, destroying their livelihoods and well-being

"I wonder how US lawmakers describe the illegal US armed forces presence in Syria or the reckless actions of the (Obama regime) in Libya to their voters," Zakharova stressed.

The Times propaganda piece barely acknowledged Trump regime support for Haftar, mentioning it buried well into its article, ignoring its April 2019 piece, headlined:

"Trump Endorses an Aspiring Libyan Strongman, Reversing Policy" -- supporting Haftar.

Endless wars and chaos serve US imperial interests. Peace and stability defeat its aims.

Trump regime hardliners and the Times are likely concerned that Russian diplomatic involvement in Libya might resolve endless war.

Even at peace, it could take a generation to undo the wreckage US-led aggression caused.

For survivors with lost loved ones, there's no way to undo their loss.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at [email protected] .

[Dec 29, 2019] Note on Washington's bizarre priorities by James Antle

Notable quotes:
"... ...Michael Tracey offered this apt summary of Washington's bizarre priorities: "This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is [a] huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in U.S. history is a forgettable non-issue." ..."
Dec 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

...Michael Tracey offered this apt summary of Washington's bizarre priorities: "This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is [a] huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in U.S. history is a forgettable non-issue."

[Dec 29, 2019] Lyle J. Goldstein The War in Ukraine Must End

Dec 29, 2019 | scotthorton.org

by Scott | Dec 27, 2019 | Interviews Lyle J. Goldstein talks about the need for Russia and Ukraine to get along better, and in general for Europe to handle more of its military and foreign affairs without the involvement of the U.S. Much has been made in certain American circles of supposed Russian aggression in Crimea and Syria, two major pillars of the narrative that Russia is a dangerous enemy that must be met with strength. But these claims present a very slanted narrative, and are mostly used by those who want to keep the U.S. military involved in policing the entire world.

Discussed on the show:

Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. He is the author of Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry . Follow his work at The National Interest .

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; Washinton Babylon ; Liberty Under Attack Publications ; Listen and Think Audio ; TheBumperSticker.com ; and LibertyStickers.com .

Donate to the show through Patreon , PayPal , or Bitcoin: 1Ct2FmcGrAGX56RnDtN9HncYghXfvF2GAh.

[Dec 29, 2019] Note on Ukrainian tribalism and Mechanisms of Russophobia in Ukraine

Dec 29, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

That makes default identity politics a "double or nothing" bet. If it's political successful, it's dragged further and further towards entrenched minority rule by members of the dominant racial or religous group, and typically towards some form of personal dictatorship. If it's unsuccessful, the divisions it creates risks a reversal of the previous order. Instead of being accepted as one element of a diverse community, the formerly dominant group becomes the object of hostility and derision. The signs of that are certainly evident, particularly in relation to the culture wars around religion.

Alex SL 12.27.19 at 10:32 am

I am not really sure where a formerly dominant group has ever become the object of hostility and derision, except maybe when colonial powers were expulsed? It seems the formerly dominant religions and the "real XYZians" are still treated with instinctive deference everywhere, even in societies that are now officially secular or multi-cultural, and regardless of how terrible their dominance was before it was broken.

Michael 12.27.19 at 3:45 pm (no link)

It's been pointed out more than once (e.g., Wendy Brown https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691136219/regulating-aversion ; Beth Povinelli https://www.dukeupress.edu/the-cunning-of-recognition ; etc.) that the expectation of deference is built into the very idea of acceptance. Whoever is doing the accepting is in effect granting a sort of favor; they are positioned as having the privilege to dispense acceptance. In this way, acceptance and domination are internally linked.

... Domination ends when no group feels entitled to grant acceptance to others.

Ray Vinmad 12.27.19 at 4:01 pm ( 9 )
...It is true that there is now orientation away from tolerance because tolerance depends on dominance.

Another way to look at this is that the more heated battles in identity politics (broadly defined) are occurring now because the dominant group is having difficulty with the shift from noblesse oblige 'granting' of equality to others to the insistence by these others on complete and total equality.

To oversimplify, when people in whatever oppressed identity group come to ask themselves 'why can't I be on a completely equal footing with those who do well/benefit from, etc. the current system?' they tend to lose patience with noblesse oblige, and are unwilling to behave with deference. Deference might seem too much like internalizing one's inferiority or the rightness of someone else's dominance.. This means that the groups are more likely to demand things from others rather than wait to receive them.

These things are necessary for full social equality but there will be a lot of hostility among some within dominant groups, and you're now seeing people commit to whatever version of social hierarchy they think works best for them. They ignore or are blind to whatever versions they'd be screwed by. They tend to make common cause on the naturalness of that social hierarchy, and the importance of social hierarchy generally.

This is one reason why affinities between oppressed identity groups aren't merely strategic. Having recognized the legitimacy of this type of demand for full equality for themselves, people with certain identities are probably more likely to recognize it for others. Certain subcultures within oppressed group develop a set of standard moral responses–and these types of demands for full equality for others will seem par for the course. They'll commit themselves to meeting them even for groups whose political interests aren't clearly aligned with their own. Often though, the political interests are broadly aligned but this process does create moral affinities, and general commitments to egalitarianism that the far right ridicules but which follow logically from a broad commitment for social equality.

Even so, there are fights among groups struggling for different types of social equality. Sometimes they are actually in one another's way or are viewed as competition for resources. Sometimes the concern seems more symbolic and maybe motivated by worries that there isn't enough equality to go around.

The interesting consequence is maybe the only power some people making claims for equality have is the power of moral suasion. They are depending on the broader acceptance of social equality, and the logical extension to themselves. So naturally a backlash tries to undermine their moral standing.

Peter Dorman 12.27.19 at 6:57 pm (no link)
The dynamic JQ describes does occur often, but it is not the whole story. I think two distinctions can help in separating where it works from where it doesn't.

The first is between symbolic and concrete relative positioning. JQ is describing a realm in which hierarchies are matters of symbolic exchange: do I relate to you as my inferior, equal or superior? A lot of social interaction is like this. But there are also concrete hierarchies in which people exercise power over others or gain relative advantage irrespective of how their actions are displayed symbolically. In its pure form, for instance, institutional racism is a hierarchy that is not visible at the individual level but shows up through the structural dynamics of the institutions people are embedded in. I think of the interaction between racial segregation in housing, unequal access to credit and the financing of public schools through local property taxes as an example of this. No single individual has to be racist in outlook or intent for the system as a whole to reproduce generation after generation of extreme injustice.

The second is between zero-sum and positive-sum redistributions. Some inequalities are largely zero-sum, in the sense that the benefits to those on the top are due to the deprivations of those on the bottom. An example is the gender division of labor in housework, where more chores for you means more freedom from them for me and vice versa. The Marxist view of profit works that way too (but not necessarily other views). And then there are inequalities in which the benefits of the better off group don't depend on the deprivation of others, such as the risk of being arbitrarily abused or killed by the police. I'm white and less likely to experience this abuse than someone who isn't, but ending this abuse for them doesn't put me at any greater risk.

I think identity politics has been excessively divisive (more precise: has engendered surplus divisiveness) because of the blurring of these two distinctions. Contests over symbolic status, as JQ points out, have an inherent zero sum aspect, especially as we move to the meta level of who should have the right to award respect in the first place. To some extent, these contests are an unavoidable part of social change, and we just have to roll with them. Unfortunately though, symbolic disputes have tended to crowd out concrete ones, where it is often possible to find (ahem) Pareto improvements.

Meanwhile, there is very little awareness of the difference between zero and positive sum situations, as shown by the tendency to call all relative advantages "privilege". A privilege is an unjust, unearned benefit, typically based on the exclusion of others. (Membership has its privileges because nonmembers don't get them.) Private equity billionaires who profit from exorbitant surprise medical bills that bankrupt ordinary people drip with privilege. But heterosexual couples who benefit from marriage laws did not gain at the expense of non-hetero couples that were excluded, and changing the laws to benefit the latter does not harm the former (except perhaps in the world of symbolic hierarchies).

We are awash in sloppy thinking about difference and hierarchy. (There's a lot more than what I've brought up here.) Why we're in this mess is an interesting question.

MisterMr 12.27.19 at 7:12 pm ( 12 )
I'm not sure that identity politics works this way.
This is the way identity politics would work if it was really a sort of philosophical argument about the merits of this or that identity.
But what I see is more a sort of tribalism, where for example here in Italy many conservative parties (especially the Lega) are big on how Italy is a Christian (catholic) country and Muslim immigrants are going to destroy our culture, but then when the Pope says we should welcome immigrants they say he should mind his own business, that is not what you would expect from a firebrand catholic.
SamChevre 12.28.19 at 1:20 am ( 25 )
the idea of tolerance implies the existence of a dominant group that does the tolerating

I'm not certain this is true; the history of religious tolerance seems to feature many cases where no group was a majority, and "we'll argue but not fight, and the government won't take sides" was designed to be the best available system when everyone was a minority. I'd say a very key feature of US politics since the 1960's is that the elite have been increasingly unwilling to tolerate, or provide equal protection of the law to, those who disagree with them–so principles like "free speech doesn't include malicious falsehoods" or "the government doesn't take sides between conceptions of the good" only last until they would protect a previously-normative group that the elite has turned on.

I also think you are missing a key point in the discussion of deference: a normative identity creates both a Schelling point and some incentive to assimilate, and so builds its own majority; think of "white" identity in the US.

Chetan Murthy 12.28.19 at 3:01 am ( 33 )
likbez @ 19:

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity.

You quote from this guy, and others have written the same thing (e.g. Mark [spit] Lilla). Their argument, simply put, is that "identity politics" is a fracturing of society into smaller groups who don't/won't unite.

Peter T 12.28.19 at 5:50 am ( 38 )
Having/continually constructing/renewing identities is an inescapable part of being human. The issue is: what is to constitute the most salient identity? What bundle of markers are to make up being "American" or "British" or "European"? These things are always contested, but the pace of change is usually slow. We live in a time when the question is unusually prominent, so more heavily contested. If, as Chetan says, lots of groups just want to be "American", then by that want they change "American-ness". If they can't agree on some new definition, then the US fractures.

[Dec 29, 2019] CNN (Shockingly) Calls Out Chuck Schumer Over 1999 Impeachment Hypocrisy Zero Hedge

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

CNN blasted Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Friday over contradictory stances regarding the role of Senators during an impeachment.

In a recent floor speech , Schumer blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for describing himself as "not an impartial juror" when it comes to Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.

"Let the American people hear it loud and clear, the Republican leader said, proudly, 'I'm not an impartial juror. I'm not impartial about this at all.' That is an astonishing admission of partisanship," said Schumer.

Yet, as CNN 's Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck note, Schumer said during Bill Clinton's 1998 - 1999 impeachment saga that the Senate was "not like a jury box," and that senators, who are not impartial, had previously formed their opinions heading into the trial .

Schumer had attacked his Senate opponent Al D'Mato for not taking a position on impeachment during their 1998 debate. D'Mato said he would not take a position until "the proof is presented" at the Senate trial – calling it "inappropriate." https://t.co/nPMyvjZE6V pic.twitter.com/tYAc6hkwzd

-- andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) December 27, 2019

In fact, as "KFile" notes, Schumer was elected to the Senate in 1998 on the promise that a vote for him would be a vote not to impeach Clinton .

We have a new story looking at past Chuck Schumer's comments on impeachment. Including repeatedly arguing the Senate was not a jury in 1999 and him campaigning that he would not support impeachment or convicting Clinton in 1998. https://t.co/nPMyvjZE6V https://t.co/LPr1BlfD4O pic.twitter.com/87q7hxKLks

-- andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) December 27, 2019

Speaking on CNN's "Larry King Live" in January 1999, Schumer said the trial in the Senate was not like a jury box.

" We have a pre-opinion ," Schumer said, citing himself and two newly-elected Republican senators who had voted on impeachment in 1998 as members of the House of Representatives who said they would vote in the Senate. " This is not a criminal trial, but this is something that the Founding Fathers decided to put in a body that was susceptible to the whims of politics ."

" So therefore, anybody taking an oath tomorrow can have a pre-opinion; it's not a jury box ," King asked Schumer.

"Many do," Schumer responded. "And then they change. In fact, it's also not like a jury box in the sense that people will call us and lobby us. You don't have jurors called and lobbied and things like that. I mean, it's quite different than a jury. And we're also the judge."

A day later, the Republican National Committee attacked Schumer in a press release for previous comments in the House saying there was no basis for impeachment. - CNN

Then-RNC chairman Jim Nicholson said of Schumer "No self-respecting jury would allow somebody who's already formed an opinion on the guilt or innocence of the accused," adding "but Chuck Schumer has loudly proclaimed that he's pre-judged the case. He's already announced that he's decided the President shouldn't be impeached , much less removed from office."

Schumer responded days later, telling NBC 's "Meet the Press": "The Founding Fathers -- whose wisdom just knocks my socks off every day, it really does -- set this process up to be in the Senate, not at the Supreme Court, not in some judicial body ."

"Every day, for instance, hundreds of people call us up and lobby us on one side and the other. You can't do that with a juror," he added. "The standard is different. It's supposed to be a little bit judicial and a little bit legislative-political. That's how it's been.

Meanwhile, Schumer said in a 1998 Op-Ed that he would be voting to acquit Clinton , and that he'd made up his mind that September.

"My decision will not come as a surprise," Schumer wrote . "I will be voting to acquit the president on both counts. I had to make my decision in September as a member of the Judiciary Committee in the House, and while I was in the middle of the campaign."

Responding to CNN 's recent report (yet failing to explain the 'impartial juror' hypocrisy), Schumer's office said that his statements came after the conclusion of the Starr investigation, "which included testimony from key witnesses including President Clinton, had concluded and been made public for months and as Sen. Schumer was in the anomalous position of having already voted on impeachment in both the House Judiciary Committee and on the House floor."

"As is reflected in these quotes, Schumer believed then and still believes now that all of the facts must be allowed to come out and then a decision can be made -- in stark contrast to the Republicans today in both the House and Senate who have worked to prevent all the facts and evidence from coming out." 43 minutes ago (Edited) CNN is a CIA / Ziocon loudspeaker. I think they are furiously backpedaling and trying to undo the Anti-Trump necromancy of the past few years. Why? because they realize that Orange Donald is really Zion Don, and that MAGA is being served up as a watery bone broth, meanwhile MIGA is prime rib and is being served up on a daily basis from the White House.

[Dec 28, 2019] Foreign Fighter 'Rat Line' In Reverse Turkey Sends Syrian 'Rebels' To Libya

So Turkey goes against Uncle Sam and Egypt. Interesting...
Notable quotes:
"... Erdogan's eyes set on defeating Benghazi-based General Khalifa Haftar, it appears this arms and jihadist rat line has conveniently been reversed . ..."
"... In a deepening proxy war, Turkey aims to send its Navy to protect Tripoli, while its troops train and coordinate forces of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, according to a senior Turkish official. Turkey recently signed a critical maritime deal with oil-rich Libya that serves energy interests of both countries and aims to salvage billions of dollars of business contracts thrown into limbo by the conflict . ..."
"... Remember when the CIA thought it was a good idea to train and fund jihadists in Syria to topple Assad? ..."
"... The conflict in Syria has become a rallying point for jihadists from around the world. More than 20,000 foreign fighters are fighting or have fought in Syria, and most are part of jihadist groups, including Jubhat al Nusra (JAN) and Islamic State (IS). North Africa has provided a large portion of these foreign fighters, from countries as diverse as Morocco and Libya. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Bloomberg has confirmed on Friday the prior rumors that Turkey will be sending mercenaries to Libya -- where it is propping up the UN-backed government in Tripoli (the GNA) -- are true. "Turkey is preparing to deploy troops and naval forces to support the internationally-recognized Libyan government, joining a planned push by Ankara-backed Syrian rebels to defeat strongman Khalifa Haftar," reports Bloomberg .

Though Ankara has yet to confirm or deny the new reports, Erdogan's Turkey has for years overseen a Libya-to-Turkey-to-Syria arms "rat line" which saw both heavy weaponry and jihadists fighters transported for the purpose of toppling Assad. But now with Erdogan's eyes set on defeating Benghazi-based General Khalifa Haftar, it appears this arms and jihadist rat line has conveniently been reversed .

Jihadists of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, via DPA/PA Images.

This also as President Erdogan in a speech on Thursday presented plans to send Turkish national troops bolster Tripoli as well .

Possibly thousands from among the so-called Turkish Free Syrian Army (formerly the FSA), with most of its fighters currently attacking Syrian Kurds in the ongoing 'Operation Peace Spring', will now be sent into Libya.

There are reports suggesting Turkey is ready to pay $2,000 a month for each Syrian 'rebel' willing to go to Libya .

TFSA source told me Turkey will be offering fighters from all TFSA factions $2,000/month to go to Libya.

-- Lindsey Snell (@LindseySnell) December 24, 2019

And akin to the current proxy war which has seen both the US, Kurds, and Sunni Islamists backed by Turkey wrangle over Syria's oil rich eastern region, Libya is heating up to be the latest 'oil and gas prize' -- but with immensely more at stake. As Bloomberg notes:

In a deepening proxy war, Turkey aims to send its Navy to protect Tripoli, while its troops train and coordinate forces of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, according to a senior Turkish official. Turkey recently signed a critical maritime deal with oil-rich Libya that serves energy interests of both countries and aims to salvage billions of dollars of business contracts thrown into limbo by the conflict .

As we predicted earlier , Libya and the southern Mediterranean is on its way to becoming the next big Middle East conflict of 2020 , also with Egypt and even Russia warning of further involvement to block Turkey's increasing role on the ground.

And as the mainstream media finally stops ignoring the looming catastrophe for north Africa and the region (still in denial as to the fruits of US-NATO "liberated" Libya after Gaddafi was overthrown and killed), it must be remembered that in another ironic plot twist, the CIA trained the very FSA 'rebel' fighters now on their way to Libya .

Gee who would have ever predicted? It's the foreign fighter 'rat line' in reverse.

Remember when the CIA thought it was a good idea to train and fund jihadists in Syria to topple Assad? Via a 2015 military study :

The conflict in Syria has become a rallying point for jihadists from around the world. More than 20,000 foreign fighters are fighting or have fought in Syria, and most are part of jihadist groups, including Jubhat al Nusra (JAN) and Islamic State (IS). North Africa has provided a large portion of these foreign fighters, from countries as diverse as Morocco and Libya. Who are these North African fighters, and why are they going to Syria? What do they hope to accomplish there, and do they want to return to their home countries?

Considering the tens of thousands of foreign fighters which poured into Syria starting in 2011 and 2012 in the first place, many of them from Libya, perhaps many are now simply headed "home" -- ready to further the proxy war chaos at Erdogan's bidding.


teolawki , 6 hours ago link

Turkey has no business being part of NATO. None. Expel the wannabe caliphate now!

Whopper Goldberg , 6 hours ago link

NATO should be disbanned its a terrrorist organisation led by the USSA.

Protect racket scam just like the Mafia

ddiduck , 5 hours ago link

NATO IS NOTHING more than an extension of George Soros' arm as it is also an extension of the Rothschild arm! Most should have gleaned this by now, particularly recognizing the radical Wahhabism that was included in this band of merry global thugs (Saudi Arabia) to do the bidding of the globalist satanic cabal. Kind of sad hearing this kind of neive responses from the gallery...sorry Mr. teolawki but you missed the forest for the trees.

teolawki , 5 hours ago link

What is naive is not understanding that Turkey is the current NATO nations gateway for all manner of illicit and illegitimat activity to foment and perpetuate the forever wars in the ME. This has been going on since well before Benghazi and has only gotten worse under Erdogan.

If you have a way to snap your fingers and solve every problem simultaneously, then please do so. Otherwise it must be undertaken one step at a time. Closing that Turkish gateway permanently is an excellent start.

[Dec 28, 2019] An American Oligarch's Dirty Tale Of Corruption by William Engdahl

Notable quotes:
"... Splitting Naftogaz into separate companies could allow Soros to take control of one of the new branches and essentially privatize its profits. He already suggested that he indirectly brought in US consulting company, McKinsey, to advise Naftogaz on the privatization " big bang ." ..."
"... The totality of what is revealed in the three hacked documents show that Soros is effectively the puppet-master pulling most of the strings in Kiev. Soros Foundation's Ukraine branch, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has been involved in Ukraine since 1989. His IRF doled out more than $100 million to Ukrainian NGOs two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, creating the preconditions for Ukraine's independence from Russia in 1991. Soros also admitted to financing the 2013-2014 Maidan Square protests that brought the current government into power. ..."
"... Soros' foundations were also deeply involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought the corrupt but pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into power with his American wife who had been in the US State Department ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Engdahl via LewRockwell.com,

Rarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good.

The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime .

They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers.

What the three hacked documents reveal is a degree of behind-the-scene manipulation of the most minute details of the Kiev regime by the New York billionaire.

In the longest memo, dated March 15, 2015 and marked "Confidential" Soros outlines a detailed map of actions for the Ukraine regime. Titled, "A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine," the memo from Soros calls for steps to "restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement." To do the restoring, Soros blithely notes that "General Wesley Clark, Polish General Skrzypczak and a few specialists under the auspices of the Atlantic Council [emphasis added -- f.w.e.] will advise President Poroshenko how to restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement ."

Soros also calls for supplying lethal arms to Ukraine and secretly training Ukrainian army personnel in Romania to avoid direct NATO presence in Ukraine . The Atlantic Council is a leading Washington pro-NATO think tank .

Notably, Wesley Clark is also a business associate of Soros in BNK Petroleum which does business in Poland.

Clark, some might recall, was the mentally-unstable NATO General in charge of the 1999 bombing of Serbia who ordered NATO soldiers to fire on Russian soldiers guarding the Pristina International Airport. The Russians were there as a part of an agreed joint NATO–Russia peacekeeping operation supposed to police Kosovo. The British Commander, General Mike Jackson refused Clark, retorting, "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you ." Now Clark apparently decided to come out of retirement for the chance to go at Russia directly.

Naked asset grab

In his March 2015 memo Soros further writes that Ukrainian President Poroshenko's "first priority must be to regain control of financial markets," which he assures Poroshenko that Soros would be ready to assist in: "I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement."

He also calls on the EU to give Ukraine an annual aid sum of €11 billion via a special EU borrowing facility. Soros proposes in effect using the EU's "AAA" top credit rating to provide a risk insurance for investment into Ukraine.

Whose risk would the EU insure?

Soros details, "I am prepared to invest up to €1 billion in Ukrainian businesses. This is likely to attract the interest of the investment community. As stated above, Ukraine must become an attractive investment destination."

Not to leave any doubt, Soros continues, "The investments will be for-profit but I will pledge to contribute the profits to my foundations. This should allay suspicions that I am advocating policies in search of personal gain. "

For anyone familiar with the history of the Soros Open Society Foundations in Eastern Europe and around the world since the late 1980's, will know that his supposedly philanthropic "democracy-building" projects in Poland, Russia, or Ukraine in the 1990's allowed Soros the businessman to literally plunder the former communist countries using Harvard University's "shock therapy" messiah, and Soros associate, Jeffrey Sachs, to convince the post-Soviet governments to privatize and open to a "free market" at once, rather than gradually.

The example of Soros in Liberia is instructive for understanding the seemingly seamless interplay between Soros the shrewd businessman and Soros the philanthropist. In West Africa George Soros backed a former Open Society employee of his, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, giving her international publicity and through his influence, even arranging a Nobel Peace Prize for her in 2011, insuring her election as president. Before her presidency she had been well-indoctrinated into the Western free market game, studying economics at Harvard and working for the US-controlled World Bank in Washington and the Rockefeller Citibank in Nairobi. Before becoming Liberia's President, she worked for Soros directly as chair of his Open Society Initiative for West Africa ( OSIWA ).

Once in office, President Sirleaf opened the doors for Soros to take over major Liberian gold and base metals assets along with his partner, Nathaniel Rothschild. One of her first acts as President was to also invite the Pentagon's new Africa Command, AFRICOM, into Liberia whose purpose as a Liberian investigation revealed, was to "protect George Soros and Rothschild mining operations in West Africa rather than champion stability and human rights ."

Naftogaz the target

The Soros memo makes clear he has his eyes on the Ukrainian state gas and energy monopoly, Naftogaz. He writes, "The centerpiece of economic reforms will be the reorganization of Naftogaz and the introduction of market pricing for all forms of energy, replacing hidden subsidies "

In an earlier letter Soros wrote in December 2014 to both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Soros openly called for his Shock Therapy:

"I want to appeal to you to unite behind the reformers in your government and give your wholehearted support to a radical, 'big bang' type of approach. That is to say, administrative controls would be removed and the economy would move to market prices rapidly rather than gradually Naftogaz needs to be reorganized with a big bang replacing the hidden subsidies "

Splitting Naftogaz into separate companies could allow Soros to take control of one of the new branches and essentially privatize its profits. He already suggested that he indirectly brought in US consulting company, McKinsey, to advise Naftogaz on the privatization " big bang ."

The Puppet-Master?

The totality of what is revealed in the three hacked documents show that Soros is effectively the puppet-master pulling most of the strings in Kiev. Soros Foundation's Ukraine branch, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has been involved in Ukraine since 1989. His IRF doled out more than $100 million to Ukrainian NGOs two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, creating the preconditions for Ukraine's independence from Russia in 1991. Soros also admitted to financing the 2013-2014 Maidan Square protests that brought the current government into power.

Soros' foundations were also deeply involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought the corrupt but pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into power with his American wife who had been in the US State Department . In 2004 just weeks after Soros' International Renaissance Foundation had succeeded in getting Viktor Yushchenko as President of Ukraine, Michael McFaul wrote an OpEd for the Washington Post. McFaul, a specialist in organizing color revolutions, who later became US Ambassador to Russia, revealed:

Did Americans meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine? Yes. The American agents of influence would prefer different language to describe their activities -- democratic assistance, democracy promotion, civil society support, etc. -- but their work, however labeled, seeks to influence political change in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy and a few other foundations sponsored certain U.S. organizations, including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center, the Eurasia Foundation, Internews and several others to provide small grants and technical assistance to Ukrainian civil society. The European Union, individual European countries and the Soros-funded International Renaissance Foundation did the same .

Soros shapes 'New Ukraine'

Today the CyberBerkut hacked papers show that Soros' IRF money is behind creation of a National Reform Council, a body organized by presidential decree from Poroshenko which allows the Ukrainian president to push bills through Ukraine's legislature. Soros writes,

"The framework for bringing the various branches of government together has also emerged. The National Reform Council (NRC) brings together the presidential administration, the cabinet of ministers, the Rada and its committees and civil society. The International Renaissance Foundation which is the Ukrainian branch of the Soros Foundations was the sole financial supporter of the NRC until now "

Soros' NRC in effect is the vehicle to allow the President to override parliamentary debate to push through "reforms," with the declared first priority being privatization of Naftogaz and raising gas prices drastically to Ukrainian industry and households, something the bankrupt country can hardly afford .

In his letter to Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, Soros hints that he played a key role in selection of three key non-Ukrainian ministers -- Natalia Jaresko, an American ex- State Department official as Finance Minister; Aivras Abromavicius of Lithuania as Economics Minister, and a health minister from Georgia. Soros in his December 2014 letter, referring to his proposal for a "big bank" privatization of Naftogaz and price rise, states,

"You are fortunate to have appointed three 'new Ukrainian' ministers and several natives (sic) who are committed to this approach ."

Elsewhere Soros speaks about de facto creating the impression within the EU that the current government of Yatsenyuk is finally cleaning out the notorious corruption that has dominated every Kiev regime since 1991. Creating that temporary reform illusion, he remarks, will convince the EU to cough up the €11 billion annual investment insurance fund. His March 2015 paper says that, "It is essential for the government to produce a visible demonstration (sic) during the next three months in order to change the widely prevailing image of Ukraine as an utterly corrupt country." That he states will open the EU to make the €11 billion insurance guarantee investment fund .

While saying that it is important to show Ukraine as a country that is not corrupt, Soros reveals he has little concern when transparency and proper procedures block his agenda. Talking about his proposals to reform Ukraine's constitution to enable privatizations and other Soros-friendly moves, he complains,

"The process has been slowed down by the insistence of the newly elected Rada on proper procedures and total transparency ."

Soros suggests that he intends to create this "visible demonstration" through his initiatives, such as using the Soros-funded National Reform Council, a body organized by presidential decree which allows the Ukrainian president to push bills through Ukraine's legislature.

George Soros is also using his new European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank to lobby his Ukraine strategy, with his council members such as Alexander Graf Lambsdorff or Joschka Fischer or Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, not to mention former ECB head, Jean-Claude Trichet no doubt laying a subtle role.

George Soros, now 84, was born in Hungary as a Jew, George Sorosz. Soros once boasted in a TV interview that he posed during the war as a gentile with forged papers, assisting the Horthy government to seize property of other Hungarian Jews who were being shipped to the Nazi death camps. Soros told the TV moderator, "There was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets–that if I weren't there–of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would."

This is the same morality apparently behind Soros' activities in Ukraine today. It seems again to matter not to him that the Ukrainian government he helped bring to power in February 2014 US coup d'etat is riddled with explicit anti-semites and self-proclaimed neo-Nazis from the Svoboda Party and Pravy Sektor. George Soros is clearly a devotee of "public-private-partnership." Only here the public gets fleeced to enrich private investors like Mr. Soros and friends. Cynically, Soros signs his Ukraine strategy memo, "George Soros–A self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine, March 12, 2015."


youshallnotkill , 1 minute ago link

Funny how the Soros Open Society Foundations is still operational while the Trump Foundation was closed by court order because it among other things stole from veterans, and Trump was fined $2M for his foundation's maleficence.

Kendle C , 1 hour ago link

I believe the author is wrong about his original name. Wasn't it Gyorgi Schwarz?

Lore , 1 hour ago link

This is amazing -- should be the feature article for the coming week.

Just when you think things couldn't get more corrupt, something like this surfaces, and we're shown new depths of evil.

This guy Soros seems like the devil incarnate.

SummerSausage , 1 hour ago link

And now we learn that our own State Department was filling Soros coffers with our taxpayer money to use against us and destroy our republic.

Whenever Democrats scream about cuts in foreign aid, know that they are squealing because their "cut" of the laundered funds is in jeopardy and they have to answer to Soros for the rest.

Lord Raglan , 3 hours ago link

He's contributed a lot of money to the Dem Party to be so insulated from not only prosecution but from criticism. If and when he gets criticized in a publication or article, he screams "Anti-Semitism!" He's become good at making everything a win-win for himself. Preaches socialism out of one side of his mouth to "virtue signal" to the world and then loots the objects thereof out of the other side of his mouth for the benefit of his alleged foundations. Why we can't prosecute him for interfering in our elections with his stolen money is something hard to understand.

CatInTheHat , 5 hours ago link

Ukraine is *** infested. I would like to know Soros ties to Igor Kolomoisky.

"Once in office, President Sirleaf opened the doors for Soros to take over major Liberian gold and base metals assets along with his partner, Nathaniel Rothschild. One of her first acts as President was to also invite the Pentagon's new Africa Command, AFRICOM, into Liberia whose purpose as a Liberian investigation revealed, was to "protect George Soros and Rothschild mining operations in West Africa rather than champion stability and human rights ."

Wherever there are wealthy *** Zionist fascist oligarch sociopaths there is trouble...

Both parties support this ****.

[Dec 28, 2019] In many cases of ethnic/cultural nationalism this looks more like a competition for resources with the smoke screen of noble intentions/human rights/past oppression/ humiliations/etc

Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.28.19 at 9:17 am

Peter T 12.28.19 at 5:50 am @38

I'm finding it hard to think of examples where the formerly norm-giving group becomes derided or humiliated.

You can probably try to look at the situation in (now independent) republics of the former USSR. Simplifying previously oppressed group, given a lucky chance, most often strive for dominance and oppression of other groups including and especially former dominant group. This is an eternal damnation of ethno/cultural nationalism.

And not only it (look at Mutual Help and The State in Shantytowns.) In them ethnic comminutes often own protection markets, offer services that hire people and replace the state, pay off gang leaders. they also provide some community support for particular ethnic group, enforce the rules of trade within themselves, etc. In GB the abuse of children by ethnic gangs was sickening ( https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/sep/30/abuse-children-asian-communities )

In many cases of ethnic/cultural nationalism this looks more like a competition for resources with the smoke screen of noble intentions/human rights/past oppression/ humiliations/etc

Or you can look at the language policy in the USA and the actual situation in some areas/institutions of Florida and California and how English speakers feel in those areas/institutions. Or in some areas of Quebec in Canada.

That actually suggests another meaning of famous Randolph Bourne quote " War is the health of the state " (said in the midst of the First World War.) It bring the unity unachievable in peace time or by any other methods, albeit temporarily (from Ch 14. Howard Zinn book A People's History of the United States ):

the governments flourished, patriotism bloomed, class struggle was stilled, and young men died in frightful numbers on the battlefields-often for a hundred yards of land, a line of trenches.

In the United States, not yet in the war, there was worry about the health of the state. Socialism was growing. The IWW seemed to be everywhere. Class conflict was intense. In the summer of 1916, during a Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco, a bomb exploded, killing nine people; two local radicals, Tom Mooney and Warren Billings, were arrested and would spend twenty years in prison. Shortly after that Senator James Wadsworth of New York suggested compulsory military training for all males to avert the danger that "these people of ours shall be divided into classes." Rather: "We must let our young men know that they owe some responsibility to this country."

The supreme fulfillment of that responsibility was taking place in Europe. Ten million were to die on the battlefield; 20 million were to die of hunger and disease related to the war. And no one since that day has been able to show that the war brought any gain for humanity that would be worth one human life. The rhetoric of the socialists, that it was an "imperialist war," now seems moderate and hardly arguable. The advanced capitalist countries of Europe were fighting over boundaries, colonies, spheres of influence; they were competing for Alsace-Lorraine, the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East.

Neo-McCarthyism now serves a somewhat similar purpose in the USA. Among other thing (like absolving Hillary from her fiasco to "deux ex machine" trick instead of real reason -- the crisis and rejection of neoliberalism by the sizable strata of the USA population) it is an attempt to unify the nation after 2016.

[Dec 25, 2019] Trump Impeachment as Dems dirty election campaign move

Trump can be impeached as a war criminal just for his false flag Douma attack (along with members of his administration). But Neoliberal Dems and frst of all Pelosi are war criminals too, with Pelosi aiding and abetting war criminal Bush.
So this is a variation of the theme of Lavrentiy Beria most famous quote: "Show me a man and I will find you a crime"
I think tose neolib Dems who supported impeachment disqualified themselves from the running. That includes Warren, who proved to be a very weak, easily swayed politician. It is quote probably that they increased (may be considerably) chances of Trump reelection, but pushing independents who were ready to abandon him, back into Trump camp. Now Trump is able to present himself as a victim of neoliberal Dems/neocons witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... Faithless Execution ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | www.nationalreview.com

The only real check left is impeachment. It is rarely invoked and (until very recently) has atrophied as a credible threat. But that doesn't make it any less indispensable.

The problem was exacerbated by the Clinton impeachment fiasco, which history has proved foolhardy. (I supported it at the time, but I was a government lawyer then, not a public commentator.) Republicans were sufficiently spooked by the experience that they seemed to regard impeachment as obsolete. Faithless Execution countered that this was the wrong lesson to take from the affair. Clinton's impeachment was a mistake because (a) his conduct, though disgraceful and indicative of unfitness, did not implicate the core responsibilities of the presidency; and more significantly, (b) the public, though appalled by the behavior, strongly opposed Clinton's removal. The right lesson was that impeachment must be reserved for grave misconduct that involves the president's essential Article II duties; and that because impeachment is so deeply divisive, it should never be launched in the absence of a public consensus that transcends partisan lines.

This is why, unlike many opponents of President Trump's impeachment, I have never questioned the legitimacy of the Democratic-controlled House's investigations of misconduct allegations against the president. I believe the House must act as a body (investigations should not be partisan attacks under the guise of House inquiries), and it must respect the lawful and essential privileges of the executive branch; but within those parameters, Congress has the authority and responsibility to expose executive misconduct.

Moreover, while egregious misconduct will usually be easy to spot and grasp, that will not always be the case. When members of Congress claim to see it, they should have a fair opportunity to expose and explain it. To my mind, President Obama was the kind of chief executive that the Framers feared, but this was not obvious because he was not committing felonies. Instead, he was consciously undermining our constitutional order. He usurped the right to dictate law rather than execute it. His extravagant theory of executive discretion to "waive" the enforcement of laws he opposed flouted his basic constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. He and his underlings willfully and serially deceived Congress and the public on such major matters as Obamacare and the Benghazi massacre. They misled Congress on, and obstructed its investigation of, the outrageous Fast and Furious "gun-walking" operation, in connection with which a border patrol agent was murdered. With his Iran deal, the president flouted the Constitution's treaty process and colluded with a hostile foreign power to withhold information from Congress, in an arrangement that empowered (and paid cash ransom to) the world's leading sponsor of anti-American terrorism.

My critics fairly noted that I opposed Obama politically, and therefore contended that I was masquerading as a constitutional objection what was really a series of policy disputes. I don't think that is right, though, for two reasons.

First, my impeachment argument was not that Obama was pursuing policies I deeply opposed. I was very clear that elections have consequences, and the president had every right to press his agenda. My objection was that he was imposing his agenda lawlessly, breaking the limitations within which the Framers cabined executive power, precisely to prevent presidents from becoming tyrants. If allowed to stand, Obama precedents would permanently alter our governing framework. Impeachment is there to protect our governing framework.

Second, I argued that, my objections notwithstanding, Obama should not be impeached in the absence of a public consensus for his removal. Yes, Republicans should try to build that case, try to edify the public about why the president's actions threatened the Constitution and its separation of powers. But they should not seek to file articles of impeachment simply because they could -- i.e., because control of the House theoretically gave them the numbers to do it. The House is not obliged to file impeachment articles just because there may be impeachable conduct. Because impeachment is so divisive, the Framers feared that it could be triggered on partisan rather than serious grounds. The two-thirds supermajority requirement for Senate conviction guards against that: The House should not impeach unless there is a reasonable possibility that the Senate would remove -- which, in Obama's case, there was not.

I also tried to focus on incentives. If impeachment were a credible threat, and Congress began investigating and publicly exposing abuses, a sensible president would desist in the misconduct, making it unnecessary to proceed with impeachment. On the other hand, a failed impeachment effort would likely embolden a rogue president to continue abusing power. If your real concern is executive lawlessness, then impeaching heedlessly and against public opinion would be counterproductive.

I've taken the same tack with President Trump.

The objections to Trump are very different from those to Obama. He is breaking not laws but norms of presidential behavior and decorum. For the most part, I object to this. There are lots of things about our government that need disruption, but even disruptive presidents should be mindful that they hold the office of Washington and Lincoln and aspire to their dignity, even if their greatness is out of reach.

That said, impeachment is about serious abuse of the presidency's core powers, not behavior that is intemperate or gauche. Critics must be mindful that the People, not the pundits, are sovereign, and they elected Donald Trump well aware of his flaws. That he turns out to be as president exactly what he appeared to be as a candidate is not a rationale for impeaching him.

The president's misconduct on Ukraine is small potatoes. Democrats were right to expose it, and we would be dealing with a more serious situation if the defense aid appropriated by Congress had actually been denied, rather than inconsequentially delayed. If Democrats had wanted to make a point about discouraging foreign interference in American politics (notwithstanding their long record of encouraging it), that would have been fine. They could have called for the president's censure, which would have put Republicans on the defensive. Ukraine could have been incorporated as part of their 2020 campaign that Trump should be defeated, despite a surging economy and relative peace.

Conducting an impeachment inquiry is one thing, but for the House to take the drastic step of impeaching the president is abusive on this record. Yes, it was foolish of Trump to mention the Bidens to President Zelensky and to seek Ukraine's help in investigating the Bidens. There may well be corruption worth probing, but the president ought to leave that to researchers in his campaign. If there is something that a government should be looking into, leave that to the Justice Department, which can (and routinely does) seek foreign assistance when necessary. The president, however, should have stayed out of it. Still, it is absurd to posit, as Democrats do, that, by not staying out of it, the president threatened election integrity and U.S. national security. Such outlandish arguments may make Ukraine more of a black eye for Democrats than for the president.

But whoever ultimately bears the brunt of the impeachment push, I have to ask myself a hard question: Is this the world I was asking for when I wrote a book contending that, for our system to work as designed, impeachment has to be a credible threat? I don't think so . . . but I do worry about it.

Back to the Clinton impeachment. I tried to make the point that that impeachment effort -- against public opinion, and based on misconduct that, while dreadful, was not central to the presidency -- has contributed significantly to the poisonous politics we have today. Democrats have been looking for payback ever since, and now they have it -- in a way that is very likely to make impeachment more routine in the future.

I don't see how our constitutional system can work without a viable impeachment remedy. But I may have been wrong to believe that we could be trusted to invoke the remedy responsibly. I used to poke fun at pols who would rather hide under their desks than utter the dreaded I-word. Turns out they knew something I didn't.

[Dec 25, 2019] Trump understands perfectly well that impeachment the Neoliberal Dems dirty election strategy trick and he fights back

This dirty trick worked for Pelosi in 2018 with Mueller, now she is hoping to unseat Trump in 2020 using similar strategy
Dec 25, 2019 | twitter.com

Donald J. Trump ‏ 7:12 PM - 25 Dec 2019

...& overwhelming," but this Scam Impeachment was neither. Also, very unfair with no Due Process, proper representation, or witnesses. Now Pelosi is demanding everything the Republicans weren't allowed to have in the House. Dems want to run majority Republican Senate. Hypocrites!

Donald J. Trump ‏ 7:12 PM - 25 Dec 2019

Why should Crazy Nancy Pelosi, just because she has a slight majority in the House, be allowed to Impeach the President of the United States? Got ZERO Republican votes, there was no crime, the call with Ukraine was perfect, with "no pressure." She said it must be "bipartisan...

Trish Regan ‏ Dec 23

The # Dems ' war on democracy ratcheting up as they refuse to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a proper trial. GOP Congressman @ RepMarkGreen says ' # NancyPelosi is a tyrannical person OUT OF CONTROL!' # TrishRegan

[Dec 25, 2019] Escobar You Say You Want A (Russian) Revolution by Pepe Escobar

Dec 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Pepe Escobar via ConsortiumNews.com,

O nce in a blue moon an indispensable book comes out making a clear case for sanity in what is now a post-MAD world. That's the responsibility carried by " The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs ," by Andrei Martyanov (Clarity Press), arguably the most important book of 2019.

Martyanov is the total package -- and he comes with extra special attributes as a top-flight Russian military analyst, born in Baku in those Back in the U.S.S.R. days, living and working in the U.S., and writing and blogging in English.

Right from the start, Martyanov wastes no time destroying not only Fukuyama's and Huntington's ravings but especially Graham Allison's childish and meaningless Thucydides Trap argument -- as if the power equation between the U.S. and China in the 21stcentury could be easily interpreted in parallel to Athens and Sparta slouching towards the Peloponnesian War over 2,400 years ago. What next? Xi Jinping as the new Genghis Khan?

(By the way, the best current essay on Thucydides is in Italian, by Luciano Canfora (" Tucidide: La Menzogna, La Colpa, L'Esilio" ). No Trap. Martyanov visibly relishes defining the Trap as a "figment of the imagination" of people who "have a very vague understanding of real warfare in the 21st century." No wonder Xi explicitly said the Trap does not exist.)

Martyanov had already detailed in his splendid, previous book, "Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning," how "American lack of historic experience with continental warfare" ended up "planting the seeds of the ultimate destruction of the American military mythology of the 20thand 21stcenturies which is foundational to the American decline, due to hubris and detachment of reality." Throughout the book, he unceasingly provides solid evidence about the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a possible, future war against real armies (not the Taliban or Saddam Hussein's), air forces, air defenses and naval power.

Do the Math

One of the key takeaways is the failure of U.S. mathematical models: and readers of the book do need to digest quite a few mathematical equations. The key point is that this failure led the U.S. "on a continuous downward spiral of diminishing military capabilities against the nation [Russia] she thought she defeated in the Cold War."

In the U.S., Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) was introduced by the late Andrew Marshall, a.k.a. Yoda, the former head of Net Assessment at the Pentagon and the de facto inventor of the "pivot to Asia" concept. Yet Martyanov tells us that RMA actually started as MTR (Military-Technological Revolution), introduced by Soviet military theoreticians back in the 1970s.

One of the staples of RMA concerns nations capable of producing land-attack cruise missiles, a.k.a. TLAMs. As it stands, only the U.S., Russia, China and France can do it. And there are only two global systems providing satellite guidance to cruise missiles: the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS. Neither China's BeiDou nor the European Galileo qualify – yet – as global GPS systems.

Then there's Net-Centric Warfare (NCW). The term itself was coined by the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski in 1998 in an article he co-wrote with John Garstka's titled, "Network-Centric Warfare – Its Origin and Future."

Deploying his mathematical equations, Martyanov soon tells us that "the era of subsonic anti-shipping missiles is over." NATO, that brain-dead organism (copyright Emmanuel Macron) now has to face the supersonic Russian P-800 Onyx and the Kalibr-class M54 in a "highly hostile Electronic Warfare environment." Every developed modern military today applies Net-Centric Warfare (NCW), developed by the Pentagon in the 1990s.

Rendering of a future combat systems network. (soldiersmediacenter/Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Martyanov mentions in his new book something that I learned on my visit to Donbass in March 2015: how NCW principles, "based on Russia's C4ISR capabilities made available by the Russian military to numerically inferior armed forces of the Donbass Republics (LDNR), were used to devastating effect both at the battles of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo, when attacking the cumbersome Soviet-era Ukrainian Armed Forces military."

No Escape From the Kinzhal

Martyanov provides ample information on Russia's latest missile – the hypersonic Mach-10 aero-ballistic Kinzhal, recently tested in the Arctic.

Crucially, as he explains, "no existing anti-missile defense in the U.S. Navy is capable of shooting [it] down even in the case of the detection of this missile." Kinzhal has a range of 2,000 km, which leaves its carriers, MiG-31K and TU-22M3M, "invulnerable to the only defense a U.S. Carrier Battle Group, a main pillar of U.S. naval power, can mount – carrier fighter aircraft." These fighters simply don't have the range.

The Kinzhal was one of the weapons announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin's game-changing March 1, 2018 speech at the Federal Assembly. That's the day, Martyanov stresses, when the real RMA arrived, and "changed completely the face of peer-peer warfare, competition and global power balance dramatically."

Top Pentagon officials such as General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have admitted on the record there are "no existing countermeasures" against, for instance, the hypersonic, Mach 27 glide vehicle Avangard (which renders anti-ballistic missile systems useless), telling the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee the only way out would be "a nuclear deterrent." There are also no existing counter-measures against anti-shipping missiles such as the Zircon and Kinzhal.

Any military analyst knows very well how the Kinzhal destroyed a land target the size of a Toyota Corolla in Syria after being launched 1,000 km away in adverse weather conditions. The corollary is the stuff of NATO nightmares: NATO's command and control installations in Europe are de facto indefensible.

Martyanov gets straight to the point: "The introduction of hypersonic weapons surely pours some serious cold water on the American obsession with securing the North American continent from retaliatory strikes."

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal; 2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade. (Kremilin via Wikimedia Commons)

Martyanov is thus unforgiving on U.S. policymakers who "lack the necessary tool-kit for grasping the unfolding geostrategic reality in which the real revolution in military affairs had dramatically downgraded the always inflated American military capabilities and continues to redefine U.S. geopolitical status away from its self-declared hegemony."

And it gets worse: "Such weapons ensure a guaranteed retaliation [Martyanov's italics] on the U.S. proper." Even the existing Russian nuclear deterrents – and to a lesser degree Chinese, as paraded recently -- "are capable of overcoming the existing U.S. anti-ballistic systems and destroying the United States," no matter what crude propaganda the Pentagon is peddling.

In February 2019, Moscow announced the completion of tests of a nuclear-powered engine for the Petrel cruise missile. This is a subsonic cruise missile with nuclear propulsion that can remain in air for quite a long time, covering intercontinental distances, and able to attack from the most unexpected directions. Martyanov mischievously characterizes the Petrel as "a vengeance weapon in case some among American decision-makers who may help precipitate a new world war might try to hide from the effects of what they have unleashed in the relative safety of the Southern Hemisphere."

Hybrid War Gone Berserk

A section of the book expands on China's military progress, and the fruits of the Russia-China strategic partnership, such as Beijing buying $3 billion-worth of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missiles -- "ideally suited to deal with the exact type of strike assets the United States would use in case of a conventional conflict with China."

Beijing parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic, October 2019. (YouTube screenshot)

Because of the timing, the analysis does not even take into consideration the arsenal presented in early October at the Beijing parade celebrating the 70thanniversary of the People's Republic.

That includes, among other things, the "carrier-killer" DF-21D, designed to hit warships at sea at a range of up to 1,500 km; the intermediate range "Guam Killer" DF-26; the DF-17 hypersonic missile; and the long-range submarine-launched and ship-launched YJ-18A anti-ship cruise missiles. Not to mention the DF-41 ICBM – the backbone of China's nuclear deterrent, capable of reaching the U.S. mainland carrying multiple warheads.

Martyanov could not escape addressing the RAND Corporation, whose reason to exist is to relentlessly push for more money for the Pentagon – blaming Russia for "hybrid war" (an American invention) even as it moans about the U.S.'s incapacity of defeating Russia in each and every war game. RAND's war games pitting the U.S. and allies against Russia and China invariably ended in a "catastrophe" for the "finest fighting force in the world."

Martyanov also addresses the S-500s, capable of reaching AWACS planes and possibly even capable of intercepting hypersonic non-ballistic targets. The S-500 and its latest middle-range state of the art air-defense system S-350 Vityaz will be operational in 2020.

His key takeway: "There is no parity between Russia and the United States in such fields as air-defense, hypersonic weapons and, in general, missile development, to name just a few fields – the United States lags behind in these fields, not just in years but in generations [italics mine]."

All across the Global South, scores of nations are very much aware that the U.S. economic "order" – rather disorder – is on the brink of collapse. In contrast, a cooperative, connected, rule-based, foreign relations between sovereign nations model is being advanced in Eurasia – symbolized by the merging of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the NDB (the BRICS bank).

The key guarantors of the new model are Russia and China. And Beijing and Moscow harbor no illusion whatsoever about the toxic dynamics in Washington. My recent conversations with top analysts in Kazakhstan last month and in Moscow last week once again stressed the futility of negotiating with people described – with overlapping shades of sarcasm – as exceptionalist fanatics. Russia, China and many corners of Eurasia have figured out there are no possible, meaningful deals with a nation bent on breaking every deal.

Indispensable? No: Vulnerable

Martyanov cannot but evoke Putin's speech to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, after the unilateral Washington abandonment of the INF treaty, clearing the way for U.S. deployment of intermediate and close range missiles stationed in Europe and pointed at Russia:

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy those types of weapons against those regions from where we will face a direct threat, but also against those regions hosting the centers where decisions are taken on using those missile systems threatening us."

Translation: American Invulnerability is over – for good.

In the short term, things can always get worse. At his traditional, year-end presser in Moscow, lasting almost four and a half hours, Putin stated that Russia is more than ready to "simply renew the existing New START agreement", which is bound to expire in early 2021: "They [the U.S.] can send us the agreement tomorrow, or we can sign and send it to Washington." And yet, "so far our proposals have been left unanswered. If the New START ceases to exist, nothing in the world will hold back an arms race. I believe this is bad."

"Bad" is quite the euphemism. Martyanov prefers to stress how "most of the American elites, at least for now, still reside in a state of Orwellian cognitive dissonance" even as the real RMA "blew the myth of American conventional invincibility out of the water."

Martyanov is one of the very few analysts – always from different parts of Eurasia -- who have warned about the danger of the U.S. "accidentally stumbling" into a war against Russia, China, or both which is impossible to be won conventionally, "let alone through the nightmare of a global nuclear catastrophe."

Is that enough to instill at least a modicum of sense into those who lord over that massive cash cow, the industrial-military-security complex? Don't count on it.

* * *

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times . His latest book is " 2030 ." Follow him on Facebook .

[Dec 25, 2019] A new incarnation of the fundamental question "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" Democrats Debate Whether Trump Has Been Impeached

This is like the debate about the fundamental question "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"
Notable quotes:
"... has President Trump been impeached, or did the House vote merely represent an authorization or intention to impeach -- which becomes an actual impeachment only when the articles are transmitted? ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Alan Dershowitz via The Gatestone Institute,

Speaker Pelosi's unconstitutional decision to delay transmission of the articles of impeachment to the Senate in order to gain partisan advantage raises the following question: has President Trump been impeached, or did the House vote merely represent an authorization or intention to impeach -- which becomes an actual impeachment only when the articles are transmitted? This highly technical constitutional issue is being debated by two of my former Harvard Law School colleagues -- Professors Laurence Tribe and Noah Feldman -- both liberal Democrats who support President Trump's impeachment.

Tribe believes that Trump has been impeached and that it would be perfectly proper to leave it at that : by declining to transmit the articles of impeachment, the Democrats get a win-win. President Trump remains impeached but he gets no opportunity to be tried and acquitted by the Senate. This cynical, partisan ploy is acceptable to Tribe because it brings about the partisan result he prefers: Trump bears forever the stigma of impeachment without having the opportunity to challenge that stigma by a Senate acquittal. Under the Tribe scenario, the House Democrats get to "obstruct" the Senate and "abuse" their power (to borrow terms from the articles of impeachment).

Feldman disagrees with Tribe, arguing -- quite correctly -- that impeachment and a removal trial go together. If a president is impeached, he must be tried. Impeachment, in his view, is not merely a vote; it is the first step in a constitutionally mandated two-step process. He goes so far as to say that if the articles of impeachment are not forwarded to the Senate for trial, there has been no valid impeachment.

[Dec 25, 2019] Professor Stephen Cohen on impeachment

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star December 24, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Cohen on impeachment

https://www.youtube.com/embed/pQK7M7_GMDc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Dec 24, 2019] Only Tulsi had the sense to see impeachment for what it is, a farce that only helps Trump

Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ggm , December 24, 2019 at 2:06 am

[Dec 24, 2019] The Lies That Are Used for Denying the Legitimacy of Crimea's Breakaway by Eric Zuesse

Dec 23, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Crimea's breakaway from Ukraine and rejoining Russia is treated in the US-and-allied world as being justification for the explosive re-emergence in 2014 of America's Cold War NATO alliance as being a restored war against Russia; and, so, whether or not that 'justification' is truthful is the paramount geopolitical issue in our era; and it will therefore be discussed and (via the links here) documented in this article.

Though international law is generally an unenforced mess that is interpretable far more by partisanship than by any clearly applicable principles, the US Government does quite blatantly violate it on a routine basis, by means of coups and invasions against countries that never invaded nor threatened to invade the US; but, if anything at all is clear in international law, it is that Crimea's breaking away from Ukraine and rejoining Russia in 2014 was entirely legitimate, as will be documented here, by exposing the lies that are adduced on the US side, in order to allege that it's not legitimate.

First, however, will be a bit of essential historical background, which is commonly ignored in arguments by the pro-US-regime liars on this matter: From 1783 to 1954, Crimea was part of Russia. Crimea was arbitrarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 by the dictator of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khruschev, who was a Ukrainian and didn't consult the residents of Crimea about this handover of them to Ukraine. Crimeans were so opposed to being ruled from the foreign-language-speaking and largely pro-Nazi (and anti-Semitic and anti-Russian) Ukrainians to their north, so that as soon as the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the only way that Crimeans would tolerate any continuation of their formal association with Ukraine was by being declared Ukraine's "autonomous republic" (the only one) in Ukraine.

This situation of partial Crimean independence continued until Ukraine was conquered (via coup) by the US regime, in order to be handed over first to the European Union, and then, after the EU would accept Ukraine, to NATO, which military alliance with the US was extremely unpopular in Ukraine until the American conquest and the immediately subsequent takeover of Ukraine by pro-US oligarchs, who were eager to buy more privatized and formerly Soviet state-owned properties, in basically insider deals with the now US-controlled Ukrainian Government.

Those oligarchs' 'news'-media successfully propagandized most Ukrainians to switch from being anti-NATO to pro-NATO. However, right at the time of the coup, Crimeans demonstrated in Kiev against the CIA-organized Maidan demostrations, and on the day of the coup, February 20th, those Crimeans in Kiev were forced by the US-supported nazis to flee there, but the eight buses carrrying them were blocked en-route, and an unknown number of the fleeing Crimeans were killed . Many of the surviving ones were permanently injured .

Crimeans were terrified and some of them wrote to friends in the West regarding the terror and their fears . All of this information is ignored by the proponents of the illegality of Crimea's separation from Ukraine, because, clearly, the basic human rights of Crimeans were then under very palpable and severe threat by the US-imposed forces; and, so, any 'legal' argument for forcing Crimeans to remain Ukrainians was and is fake. But, still, legal arguments for forcing Crimeans to be Ukrainians again are presented; and, so, here is a quick intoroduction to those frauds.

The least politicized of the pro-Western (i.e., pro-US-regime) articles regarding the relevant international laws on this topic concern the cases of Kurdistan and Catalonia, because in the US-and-allied international dictatorship (that is, the countries that are ruled by billionares who are allied with US billionaires), no unanimity exists regarding those two breakaway-movements (Kurds and Catalonians); so, the legal principles aren't such a threat to the US-and-allied lies about Russia. Here are highlights from this article, and I boldface what I consider key statements there:

--

https://www.asil.org/insights/volume/22/issue/1/self-determination-and-secession-under-international-law-cases-kurdistan

"Self-Determination and Secession Under International Law: The Cases of Kurdistan and Catalonia"

ASIL [American Society of International Law] Insights , v. 22, issue 1

Milena Sterio, 5 January 2018

The theory of self-determination, as justifying the secession of a people from its existing mother state as a matter of last resort only, in situations where the people is oppressed or where the mother state's government does not legitimately represent the people's interests, has remained constant throughout the 20th century development of international law. Two United Nations' declarations, in addition to the United Nations Charter itself, have addressed the issue of self-determination.

Both declarations envisioned self-determination leading to secession as a matter of last resort only within the decolonization paradigm: here, both conditions for a right to self-determination were met insofar as colonized peoples were oppressed and their colonial governments did not adequately represent their interests. Both declarations also confirmed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity of existing states, [8] and thus embraced the idea that self-determination could lead to the territorial disruption of existing states only in extreme instances of oppression or colonization .

Peoples who are oppressed or colonized , however, have the right to external self-determination, which they may exercise through secession from their mother state.[9] This view of self-determination was confirmed in 1998, in the Canadian Supreme Court opinion regarding the proposed secession of Quebec from Canada, where the Court held that all peoples are entitled to various modes of internal self-determination, but that only some peoples, such as those subjected to conquest, colonization, and perhaps oppression, may acquire the right to external self-determination through remedial secession.[10] Today, it may be concluded that international law bestows on all peoples the right to self-determination, but that the right to external self-determination, exercised through remedial secession, only applies in extreme circumstances, to colonized and severely persecuted peoples.

While international law embraces the principle of self-determination, it does not contain a right of secession.[11] It may be argued that international law merely tolerates secession in instances of external self-determination, where a people is colonized or oppressed (like in the case of Kosovo). In addition, secession is prohibited under international law if the secessionist entity is attempting to separate by violating another fundamental norm of international law, such as the prohibition on the use of force (like in the case of Northern Cyprus).[12] In other instances of attempted secession, where the relevant people is not oppressed, as in Quebec or Scotland, international law is neutral on secession -- it does not support a right to secession nor does it prohibit secession. Instead, the secessionist dispute is left to the realm of domestic law and to political negotiations between the mother state and the secessionist entity.[13]

--

Following are two influential articles reaffirming the US regime's view, that the breakaway was and is illegitimate. In the first , the lie is simply presumed true that the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, during 20-26 February 2014, was a domestic democratic revolution, instead of a foreign-imposed coup. In the second , international law, as was just summarized above here, is simply ignored.

--

#1:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40802-015-0043-9

Netherlands International Law Review
December 2015, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 329–363| Cite as
"Crimea's Separation from Ukraine: An Analysis of the Right to Self-Determination and (Remedial) Secession in International Law"

Simone F. van den Driest [whose 404-page 2013 Ph.D dissertation, at Netherlands' Tilburg University, was "Remedial Secession" ], First Online: 30 November 2015

16k Downloads

Abstract

This article considers the (il)legality of Crimea's unilateral secession from Ukraine from the perspective of public international law. It examines whether the right to self-determination or an alleged right to (remedial) secession could serve as a legal basis for the separation of the Crimean Peninsula, as the Crimean authorities and the Russian Federation seem to have argued. The article explains that beyond the context of decolonization, the right to self-determination does not encompass a general right to unilateral secession and demonstrates that contemporary international law does not acknowledge a right to remedial secession. With respect to the case of Crimea, it argues that even when assuming that such a right does exist, the threshold in this regard is not met. In the absence of a legal entitlement, the article subsequently turns to the question whether Crimea's unilateral secession was prohibited under international law. It contends that while the principle of territorial integrity discourages unilateral secession, it does not actually prohibit it. Nonetheless, there are situations in which an attempt at unilateral secession is considered to be illegal in view of the circumstances. It is argued that it is precisely this exception that is relevant in the case of Crimea.

[Text now:] The Russian Federation (implicitly) relied on the doctrine of remedial secession, which is seen to encompass a right to unilateral secession in case of serious injustices suffered by a people. [which were unquestionably present] President Putin advanced remedial arguments in his speech of 18 March, contending that
those who opposed the coup were immediately threatened with repression. Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea. In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives [ ]. [N]aturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress .7
To the same effect, the Russian Federation claimed in the Security Council that there had been 'threats of violence by ultranationalists against the security, lives and legitimate interests of Russians and all Russian-speaking peoples' in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and that 'the issue is one of defending our citizens and compatriots, as well as the most import[ant] human right -- the right to life'.8

The accuracy of these views presented, however, is highly questionable under contemporary international law [and all the rest of the article discusses none of the allegations that Putin asserted there , but only internnational law. Not even once in this article is anything like the word "coup" used in relation to the overthrow of Yanukovych -- the overthrow that had sparked Crimeans to demand restoration to Russia. Instead the article simply assumes that there was no coup whatsoever: "The Ukrainian Revolution of 2014, which was initiated by the Euromaidan movement in the capital of Kiev, had significant effects in Crimea." That's all. However, that statement was false: It was no "revolution," and it clearly was a coup . Furthermore: even if it had been a "revolution," it was not "initiated by the Euromaidan movement in the capital of Kiev -- it was initiated by the Barack Obama Administration in the summer of 2011, and started to be implemented inside the US Embassy in Kiev on 1 March 2013 . The Euromaidan movement started on 21 November 2013 . So, this author is merely assuming that "the Euromaidan movement" wasn't part of a coup-operation by the US regime.]

CONCLUSION

All in all, it should be concluded that the arguments involving an alleged right to self-determination and (remedial) secession as advanced by the Crimean and Russian authorities in attempting to justify the events on the Crimean Peninsula cannot be upheld. On the contrary: Crimea's unilateral secession from Ukraine clearly was illegal under international law.

#2:

https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/lasr/14/1/article-p11.xml

"The Annexation of Crimea and Attempts to Justify It in the Context of International Law"

Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review , 2015-2016, v. 14 [published by General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania]

Erika Leonaitė & Dainius Žalimas, both of Vilnius University

it is essential to point out that a coup d'etat and the issues of constitutionality in general are matters of national rather than international law. In terms of international law, importance falls not on the constitutionality of the government, but on its effectiveness, i.e. its capability to efficiently control the territory of the state and to ensure compliance with international commitments. [In other words: any national government that can suppress and crush a secession movement is adhering to international law, according to these writers.] Even where the government is unable to carry out effective control (in political science, the concept of a "failed state" is used to refer to these cases), relations with such a state must be continued based on the principles of sovereign equality, the prohibition of the use of force [the writers mean "use of force" by any foreign govertnment, not "use of force" by the given nation's government in order to suppress and crush any secession movement], respect for territorial integrity, and other fundamental international legal principles; other states are not released from the obligations with respect to this state [in other words: foreign nations must never side with nor support a secession movement within a country. Blatantly false allegations like that are publishable by General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania.]

--

US President Barack Obama restored in full the Cold War that his predecessor George Herbert Walker Bush had only secretly extended into the future on the American side covertly on 24 February 1990 , and he did this in two main steps. In 2012, he pushed and signed into law the Magnitsky Act which was based on the fraud by Bill Browder, who functioned in coordination with George Soros, another billionaire who leads in ingtensifying America's war against Russia . Then, in June 2011 at the latest, he started the planning for the February 2014 Ukrainian coup .

Furthermore: Part of Obama's plan for taking Ukraine was his plan to grab Russia's main navy base, which is in Crimea, and to transform it into another NATO navy base -- against Russia :

In June 2013 (well before the 'democratic revolution' in Ukraine started), NAVFAC, the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, published on its website, a "Project Description" for "Renovation of School#5, Sevastopol, Ukraine," under the euphemistic title "EUCOM Humanitarian Assistance Program" . EUCOM is the US European Command -- it is purely military, not "humanitarian," at all. The 124-page request for proposals (RFP) showed extensive photos of the existing school, and also of the toilets, floor-boards, and other US-made products, that the US regime was requiring to be used in the renovation (by some American corporation, yet to be determined) of that then-Ukrainian school in Crimea, which at that time was a Ukrainian Government property, not at all American-owned or operated. So: why were US taxpayers supposed to fund this 'humanitarian' operation, by the U.S. military? Eric Zuesse December 23, 2019 | History The Lies That Are Used for Denying the Legitimacy of Crimea's Breakaway Crimea's breakaway from Ukraine and rejoining Russia is treated in the US-and-allied world as being justification for the explosive re-emergence in 2014 of America's Cold War NATO alliance as being a restored war against Russia; and, so, whether or not that 'justification' is truthful is the paramount geopolitical issue in our era; and it will therefore be discussed and (via the links here) documented in this article.

Though international law is generally an unenforced mess that is interpretable far more by partisanship than by any clearly applicable principles, the US Government does quite blatantly violate it on a routine basis, by means of coups and invasions against countries that never invaded nor threatened to invade the US; but, if anything at all is clear in international law, it is that Crimea's breaking away from Ukraine and rejoining Russia in 2014 was entirely legitimate, as will be documented here, by exposing the lies that are adduced on the US side, in order to allege that it's not legitimate.

First, however, will be a bit of essential historical background, which is commonly ignored in arguments by the pro-US-regime liars on this matter: From 1783 to 1954, Crimea was part of Russia. Crimea was arbitrarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 by the dictator of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khruschev, who was a Ukrainian and didn't consult the residents of Crimea about this handover of them to Ukraine. Crimeans were so opposed to being ruled from the foreign-language-speaking and largely pro-Nazi (and anti-Semitic and anti-Russian) Ukrainians to their north, so that as soon as the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the only way that Crimeans would tolerate any continuation of their formal association with Ukraine was by being declared Ukraine's "autonomous republic" (the only one) in Ukraine. This situation of partial Crimean independence continued until Ukraine was conquered (via coup) by the US regime, in order to be handed over first to the European Union, and then, after the EU would accept Ukraine, to NATO, which military alliance with the US was extremely unpopular in Ukraine until the American conquest and the immediately subsequent takeover of Ukraine by pro-US oligarchs, who were eager to buy more privatized and formerly Soviet state-owned properties, in basically insider deals with the now US-controlled Ukrainian Government. Those oligarchs' 'news'-media successfully propagandized most Ukrainians to switch from being anti-NATO to pro-NATO. However, right at the time of the coup, Crimeans demonstrated in Kiev against the CIA-organized Maidan demostrations, and on the day of the coup, February 20th, those Crimeans in Kiev were forced by the US-supported nazis to flee there, but the eight buses carrrying them were blocked en-route, and an unknown number of the fleeing Crimeans were killed . Many of the surviving ones were permanently injured . Crimeans were terrified and some of them wrote to friends in the West regarding the terror and their fears . All of this information is ignored by the proponents of the illegality of Crimea's separation from Ukraine, because, clearly, the basic human rights of Crimeans were then under very palpable and severe threat by the US-imposed forces; and, so, any 'legal' argument for forcing Crimeans to remain Ukrainians was and is fake. But, still, legal arguments for forcing Crimeans to be Ukrainians again are presented; and, so, here is a quick intoroduction to those frauds.

The least politicized of the pro-Western (i.e., pro-US-regime) articles regarding the relevant international laws on this topic concern the cases of Kurdistan and Catalonia, because in the US-and-allied international dictatorship (that is, the countries that are ruled by billionares who are allied with US billionaires), no unanimity exists regarding those two breakaway-movements (Kurds and Catalonians); so, the legal principles aren't such a threat to the US-and-allied lies about Russia. Here are highlights from this article, and I boldface what I consider key statements there:

--

https://www.asil.org/insights/volume/22/issue/1/self-determination-and-secession-under-international-law-cases-kurdistan

"Self-Determination and Secession Under International Law: The Cases of Kurdistan and Catalonia"

ASIL [American Society of International Law] Insights , v. 22, issue 1

Milena Sterio, 5 January 2018

The theory of self-determination, as justifying the secession of a people from its existing mother state as a matter of last resort only, in situations where the people is oppressed or where the mother state's government does not legitimately represent the people's interests, has remained constant throughout the 20th century development of international law. Two United Nations' declarations, in addition to the United Nations Charter itself, have addressed the issue of self-determination.

Both declarations envisioned self-determination leading to secession as a matter of last resort only within the decolonization paradigm: here, both conditions for a right to self-determination were met insofar as colonized peoples were oppressed and their colonial governments did not adequately represent their interests. Both declarations also confirmed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity of existing states, [8] and thus embraced the idea that self-determination could lead to the territorial disruption of existing states only in extreme instances of oppression or colonization .

Peoples who are oppressed or colonized , however, have the right to external self-determination, which they may exercise through secession from their mother state.[9] This view of self-determination was confirmed in 1998, in the Canadian Supreme Court opinion regarding the proposed secession of Quebec from Canada, where the Court held that all peoples are entitled to various modes of internal self-determination, but that only some peoples, such as those subjected to conquest, colonization, and perhaps oppression, may acquire the right to external self-determination through remedial secession.[10] Today, it may be concluded that international law bestows on all peoples the right to self-determination, but that the right to external self-determination, exercised through remedial secession, only applies in extreme circumstances, to colonized and severely persecuted peoples.

While international law embraces the principle of self-determination, it does not contain a right of secession.[11] It may be argued that international law merely tolerates secession in instances of external self-determination, where a people is colonized or oppressed (like in the case of Kosovo). In addition, secession is prohibited under international law if the secessionist entity is attempting to separate by violating another fundamental norm of international law, such as the prohibition on the use of force (like in the case of Northern Cyprus).[12] In other instances of attempted secession, where the relevant people is not oppressed, as in Quebec or Scotland, international law is neutral on secession -- it does not support a right to secession nor does it prohibit secession. Instead, the secessionist dispute is left to the realm of domestic law and to political negotiations between the mother state and the secessionist entity.[13]

--

Following are two influential articles reaffirming the US regime's view, that the breakaway was and is illegitimate. In the first , the lie is simply presumed true that the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, during 20-26 February 2014, was a domestic democratic revolution, instead of a foreign-imposed coup. In the second , international law, as was just summarized above here, is simply ignored.

--

#1:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40802-015-0043-9

Netherlands International Law Review
December 2015, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 329–363| Cite as
"Crimea's Separation from Ukraine: An Analysis of the Right to Self-Determination and (Remedial) Secession in International Law"

Simone F. van den Driest [whose 404-page 2013 Ph.D dissertation, at Netherlands' Tilburg University, was "Remedial Secession" ], First Online: 30 November 2015

16k Downloads

Abstract

This article considers the (il)legality of Crimea's unilateral secession from Ukraine from the perspective of public international law. It examines whether the right to self-determination or an alleged right to (remedial) secession could serve as a legal basis for the separation of the Crimean Peninsula, as the Crimean authorities and the Russian Federation seem to have argued. The article explains that beyond the context of decolonization, the right to self-determination does not encompass a general right to unilateral secession and demonstrates that contemporary international law does not acknowledge a right to remedial secession. With respect to the case of Crimea, it argues that even when assuming that such a right does exist, the threshold in this regard is not met. In the absence of a legal entitlement, the article subsequently turns to the question whether Crimea's unilateral secession was prohibited under international law. It contends that while the principle of territorial integrity discourages unilateral secession, it does not actually prohibit it. Nonetheless, there are situations in which an attempt at unilateral secession is considered to be illegal in view of the circumstances. It is argued that it is precisely this exception that is relevant in the case of Crimea.

[Text now:] The Russian Federation (implicitly) relied on the doctrine of remedial secession, which is seen to encompass a right to unilateral secession in case of serious injustices suffered by a people. [which were unquestionably present] President Putin advanced remedial arguments in his speech of 18 March, contending that
those who opposed the coup were immediately threatened with repression. Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea. In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives [ ]. [N]aturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress .7
To the same effect, the Russian Federation claimed in the Security Council that there had been 'threats of violence by ultranationalists against the security, lives and legitimate interests of Russians and all Russian-speaking peoples' in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and that 'the issue is one of defending our citizens and compatriots, as well as the most import[ant] human right -- the right to life'.8

The accuracy of these views presented, however, is highly questionable under contemporary international law [and all the rest of the article discusses none of the allegations that Putin asserted there , but only internnational law. Not even once in this article is anything like the word "coup" used in relation to the overthrow of Yanukovych -- the overthrow that had sparked Crimeans to demand restoration to Russia. Instead the article simply assumes that there was no coup whatsoever: "The Ukrainian Revolution of 2014, which was initiated by the Euromaidan movement in the capital of Kiev, had significant effects in Crimea." That's all. However, that statement was false: It was no "revolution," and it clearly was a coup . Furthermore: even if it had been a "revolution," it was not "initiated by the Euromaidan movement in the capital of Kiev -- it was initiated by the Barack Obama Administration in the summer of 2011, and started to be implemented inside the US Embassy in Kiev on 1 March 2013 . The Euromaidan movement started on 21 November 2013 . So, this author is merely assuming that "the Euromaidan movement" wasn't part of a coup-operation by the US regime.]

CONCLUSION

All in all, it should be concluded that the arguments involving an alleged right to self-determination and (remedial) secession as advanced by the Crimean and Russian authorities in attempting to justify the events on the Crimean Peninsula cannot be upheld. On the contrary: Crimea's unilateral secession from Ukraine clearly was illegal under international law.

#2:

https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/lasr/14/1/article-p11.xml

"The Annexation of Crimea and Attempts to Justify It in the Context of International Law"

Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review , 2015-2016, v. 14 [published by General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania]

Erika Leonaitė & Dainius Žalimas, both of Vilnius University

it is essential to point out that a coup d'etat and the issues of constitutionality in general are matters of national rather than international law. In terms of international law, importance falls not on the constitutionality of the government, but on its effectiveness, i.e. its capability to efficiently control the territory of the state and to ensure compliance with international commitments. [In other words: any national government that can suppress and crush a secession movement is adhering to international law, according to these writers.] Even where the government is unable to carry out effective control (in political science, the concept of a "failed state" is used to refer to these cases), relations with such a state must be continued based on the principles of sovereign equality, the prohibition of the use of force [the writers mean "use of force" by any foreign govertnment, not "use of force" by the given nation's government in order to suppress and crush any secession movement], respect for territorial integrity, and other fundamental international legal principles; other states are not released from the obligations with respect to this state [in other words: foreign nations must never side with nor support a secession movement within a country. Blatantly false allegations like that are publishable by General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania.]

--

US President Barack Obama restored in full the Cold War that his predecessor George Herbert Walker Bush had only secretly extended into the future on the American side covertly on 24 February 1990 , and he did this in two main steps. In 2012, he pushed and signed into law the Magnitsky Act which was based on the fraud by Bill Browder, who functioned in coordination with George Soros, another billionaire who leads in ingtensifying America's war against Russia . Then, in June 2011 at the latest, he started the planning for the February 2014 Ukrainian coup .

Furthermore: Part of Obama's plan for taking Ukraine was his plan to grab Russia's main navy base, which is in Crimea, and to transform it into another NATO navy base -- against Russia :

In June 2013 (well before the 'democratic revolution' in Ukraine started), NAVFAC, the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, published on its website, a "Project Description" for "Renovation of School#5, Sevastopol, Ukraine," under the euphemistic title "EUCOM Humanitarian Assistance Program" . EUCOM is the US European Command -- it is purely military, not "humanitarian," at all. The 124-page request for proposals (RFP) showed extensive photos of the existing school, and also of the toilets, floor-boards, and other US-made products, that the US regime was requiring to be used in the renovation (by some American corporation, yet to be determined) of that then-Ukrainian school in Crimea, which at that time was a Ukrainian Government property, not at all American-owned or operated. So: why were US taxpayers supposed to fund this 'humanitarian' operation, by the U.S. military?

© 2010 - 2019 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org . The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Crimea's breakaway from Ukraine and rejoining Russia is treated in the US-and-allied world as being justification for the explosive re-emergence in 2014 of America's Cold War NATO alliance as being a restored war against Russia; and, so, whether or not that 'justification' is truthful is the paramount geopolitical issue in our era; and it will therefore be discussed and (via the links here) documented in this article.

Though international law is generally an unenforced mess that is interpretable far more by partisanship than by any clearly applicable principles, the US Government does quite blatantly violate it on a routine basis, by means of coups and invasions against countries that never invaded nor threatened to invade the US; but, if anything at all is clear in international law, it is that Crimea's breaking away from Ukraine and rejoining Russia in 2014 was entirely legitimate, as will be documented here, by exposing the lies that are adduced on the US side, in order to allege that it's not legitimate.

First, however, will be a bit of essential historical background, which is commonly ignored in arguments by the pro-US-regime liars on this matter: From 1783 to 1954, Crimea was part of Russia. Crimea was arbitrarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 by the dictator of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khruschev, who was a Ukrainian and didn't consult the residents of Crimea about this handover of them to Ukraine. Crimeans were so opposed to being ruled from the foreign-language-speaking and largely pro-Nazi (and anti-Semitic and anti-Russian) Ukrainians to their north, so that as soon as the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the only way that Crimeans would tolerate any continuation of their formal association with Ukraine was by being declared Ukraine's "autonomous republic" (the only one) in Ukraine. This situation of partial Crimean independence continued until Ukraine was conquered (via coup) by the US regime, in order to be handed over first to the European Union, and then, after the EU would accept Ukraine, to NATO, which military alliance with the US was extremely unpopular in Ukraine until the American conquest and the immediately subsequent takeover of Ukraine by pro-US oligarchs, who were eager to buy more privatized and formerly Soviet state-owned properties, in basically insider deals with the now US-controlled Ukrainian Government. Those oligarchs' 'news'-media successfully propagandized most Ukrainians to switch from being anti-NATO to pro-NATO. However, right at the time of the coup, Crimeans demonstrated in Kiev against the CIA-organized Maidan demostrations, and on the day of the coup, February 20th, those Crimeans in Kiev were forced by the US-supported nazis to flee there, but the eight buses carrrying them were blocked en-route, and an unknown number of the fleeing Crimeans were killed . Many of the surviving ones were permanently injured . Crimeans were terrified and some of them wrote to friends in the West regarding the terror and their fears . All of this information is ignored by the proponents of the illegality of Crimea's separation from Ukraine, because, clearly, the basic human rights of Crimeans were then under very palpable and severe threat by the US-imposed forces; and, so, any 'legal' argument for forcing Crimeans to remain Ukrainians was and is fake. But, still, legal arguments for forcing Crimeans to be Ukrainians again are presented; and, so, here is a quick intoroduction to those frauds.

The least politicized of the pro-Western (i.e., pro-US-regime) articles regarding the relevant international laws on this topic concern the cases of Kurdistan and Catalonia, because in the US-and-allied international dictatorship (that is, the countries that are ruled by billionares who are allied with US billionaires), no unanimity exists regarding those two breakaway-movements (Kurds and Catalonians); so, the legal principles aren't such a threat to the US-and-allied lies about Russia. Here are highlights from this article, and I boldface what I consider key statements there:

--

https://www.asil.org/insights/volume/22/issue/1/self-determination-and-secession-under-international-law-cases-kurdistan

"Self-Determination and Secession Under International Law: The Cases of Kurdistan and Catalonia"

ASIL [American Society of International Law] Insights , v. 22, issue 1

Milena Sterio, 5 January 2018

The theory of self-determination, as justifying the secession of a people from its existing mother state as a matter of last resort only, in situations where the people is oppressed or where the mother state's government does not legitimately represent the people's interests, has remained constant throughout the 20th century development of international law. Two United Nations' declarations, in addition to the United Nations Charter itself, have addressed the issue of self-determination.

Both declarations envisioned self-determination leading to secession as a matter of last resort only within the decolonization paradigm: here, both conditions for a right to self-determination were met insofar as colonized peoples were oppressed and their colonial governments did not adequately represent their interests. Both declarations also confirmed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity of existing states, [8] and thus embraced the idea that self-determination could lead to the territorial disruption of existing states only in extreme instances of oppression or colonization .

Peoples who are oppressed or colonized , however, have the right to external self-determination, which they may exercise through secession from their mother state.[9] This view of self-determination was confirmed in 1998, in the Canadian Supreme Court opinion regarding the proposed secession of Quebec from Canada, where the Court held that all peoples are entitled to various modes of internal self-determination, but that only some peoples, such as those subjected to conquest, colonization, and perhaps oppression, may acquire the right to external self-determination through remedial secession.[10] Today, it may be concluded that international law bestows on all peoples the right to self-determination, but that the right to external self-determination, exercised through remedial secession, only applies in extreme circumstances, to colonized and severely persecuted peoples.

While international law embraces the principle of self-determination, it does not contain a right of secession.[11] It may be argued that international law merely tolerates secession in instances of external self-determination, where a people is colonized or oppressed (like in the case of Kosovo). In addition, secession is prohibited under international law if the secessionist entity is attempting to separate by violating another fundamental norm of international law, such as the prohibition on the use of force (like in the case of Northern Cyprus).[12] In other instances of attempted secession, where the relevant people is not oppressed, as in Quebec or Scotland, international law is neutral on secession -- it does not support a right to secession nor does it prohibit secession. Instead, the secessionist dispute is left to the realm of domestic law and to political negotiations between the mother state and the secessionist entity.[13]

--

Following are two influential articles reaffirming the US regime's view, that the breakaway was and is illegitimate. In the first , the lie is simply presumed true that the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, during 20-26 February 2014, was a domestic democratic revolution, instead of a foreign-imposed coup. In the second , international law, as was just summarized above here, is simply ignored.

--

#1:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40802-015-0043-9

Netherlands International Law Review
December 2015, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 329–363| Cite as
"Crimea's Separation from Ukraine: An Analysis of the Right to Self-Determination and (Remedial) Secession in International Law"

Simone F. van den Driest [whose 404-page 2013 Ph.D dissertation, at Netherlands' Tilburg University, was "Remedial Secession" ], First Online: 30 November 2015

16k Downloads

Abstract

This article considers the (il)legality of Crimea's unilateral secession from Ukraine from the perspective of public international law. It examines whether the right to self-determination or an alleged right to (remedial) secession could serve as a legal basis for the separation of the Crimean Peninsula, as the Crimean authorities and the Russian Federation seem to have argued. The article explains that beyond the context of decolonization, the right to self-determination does not encompass a general right to unilateral secession and demonstrates that contemporary international law does not acknowledge a right to remedial secession. With respect to the case of Crimea, it argues that even when assuming that such a right does exist, the threshold in this regard is not met. In the absence of a legal entitlement, the article subsequently turns to the question whether Crimea's unilateral secession was prohibited under international law. It contends that while the principle of territorial integrity discourages unilateral secession, it does not actually prohibit it. Nonetheless, there are situations in which an attempt at unilateral secession is considered to be illegal in view of the circumstances. It is argued that it is precisely this exception that is relevant in the case of Crimea.

[Text now:] The Russian Federation (implicitly) relied on the doctrine of remedial secession, which is seen to encompass a right to unilateral secession in case of serious injustices suffered by a people. [which were unquestionably present] President Putin advanced remedial arguments in his speech of 18 March, contending that
those who opposed the coup were immediately threatened with repression. Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea. In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives [ ]. [N]aturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress .7
To the same effect, the Russian Federation claimed in the Security Council that there had been 'threats of violence by ultranationalists against the security, lives and legitimate interests of Russians and all Russian-speaking peoples' in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and that 'the issue is one of defending our citizens and compatriots, as well as the most import[ant] human right -- the right to life'.8

The accuracy of these views presented, however, is highly questionable under contemporary international law [and all the rest of the article discusses none of the allegations that Putin asserted there , but only internnational law. Not even once in this article is anything like the word "coup" used in relation to the overthrow of Yanukovych -- the overthrow that had sparked Crimeans to demand restoration to Russia. Instead the article simply assumes that there was no coup whatsoever: "The Ukrainian Revolution of 2014, which was initiated by the Euromaidan movement in the capital of Kiev, had significant effects in Crimea." That's all. However, that statement was false: It was no "revolution," and it clearly was a coup . Furthermore: even if it had been a "revolution," it was not "initiated by the Euromaidan movement in the capital of Kiev -- it was initiated by the Barack Obama Administration in the summer of 2011, and started to be implemented inside the US Embassy in Kiev on 1 March 2013 . The Euromaidan movement started on 21 November 2013 . So, this author is merely assuming that "the Euromaidan movement" wasn't part of a coup-operation by the US regime.]

CONCLUSION

All in all, it should be concluded that the arguments involving an alleged right to self-determination and (remedial) secession as advanced by the Crimean and Russian authorities in attempting to justify the events on the Crimean Peninsula cannot be upheld. On the contrary: Crimea's unilateral secession from Ukraine clearly was illegal under international law.

#2:

https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/lasr/14/1/article-p11.xml

"The Annexation of Crimea and Attempts to Justify It in the Context of International Law"

Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review , 2015-2016, v. 14 [published by General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania]

Erika Leonaitė & Dainius Žalimas, both of Vilnius University

it is essential to point out that a coup d'etat and the issues of constitutionality in general are matters of national rather than international law. In terms of international law, importance falls not on the constitutionality of the government, but on its effectiveness, i.e. its capability to efficiently control the territory of the state and to ensure compliance with international commitments. [In other words: any national government that can suppress and crush a secession movement is adhering to international law, according to these writers.] Even where the government is unable to carry out effective control (in political science, the concept of a "failed state" is used to refer to these cases), relations with such a state must be continued based on the principles of sovereign equality, the prohibition of the use of force [the writers mean "use of force" by any foreign govertnment, not "use of force" by the given nation's government in order to suppress and crush any secession movement], respect for territorial integrity, and other fundamental international legal principles; other states are not released from the obligations with respect to this state [in other words: foreign nations must never side with nor support a secession movement within a country. Blatantly false allegations like that are publishable by General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania.]

--

US President Barack Obama restored in full the Cold War that his predecessor George Herbert Walker Bush had only secretly extended into the future on the American side covertly on 24 February 1990 , and he did this in two main steps. In 2012, he pushed and signed into law the Magnitsky Act which was based on the fraud by Bill Browder, who functioned in coordination with George Soros, another billionaire who leads in ingtensifying America's war against Russia . Then, in June 2011 at the latest, he started the planning for the February 2014 Ukrainian coup .

Furthermore: Part of Obama's plan for taking Ukraine was his plan to grab Russia's main navy base, which is in Crimea, and to transform it into another NATO navy base -- against Russia :

In June 2013 (well before the 'democratic revolution' in Ukraine started), NAVFAC, the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, published on its website, a "Project Description" for "Renovation of School#5, Sevastopol, Ukraine," under the euphemistic title "EUCOM Humanitarian Assistance Program" . EUCOM is the US European Command -- it is purely military, not "humanitarian," at all. The 124-page request for proposals (RFP) showed extensive photos of the existing school, and also of the toilets, floor-boards, and other US-made products, that the US regime was requiring to be used in the renovation (by some American corporation, yet to be determined) of that then-Ukrainian school in Crimea, which at that time was a Ukrainian Government property, not at all American-owned or operated. So: why were US taxpayers supposed to fund this 'humanitarian' operation, by the U.S. military? The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: Coup Crimea International Law Russia Ukraine United States Print this article See also September 17, 2019 Crimea and Kashmir Viewed Through a Western Prism of Hypocrisy June 27, 2017 Crimea, Afghanistan and Libya June 3, 2018 How and Why the US Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine March 19, 2019 US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea November 18, 2018 UN Vote on Crimea: Some Thoughts on the Issue December 11, 2019 The 1508 League of Cambrai and BRICS Today: How Not to Repeat History December 10, 2019 Why the Results of the Normandy Four Summit Were Predetermined Almost November 27, 2019 Ukraine, Trump, Biden -- The Real Story Behind 'Ukrainegate' November 11, 2019 Federations No Longer a Fad December 23, 2019 US Making Outer Space the Next Battle Zone – Karl Grossman December 22, 2019 The Fake Impeachment: Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory December 22, 2019 One and a Half Cheers for Tulsi Gabbard December 21, 2019 We Live in Hysteric Times: What Trump's Impeachment Really Means December 21, 2019 Capra's Battle With the Deep State and Hollywood's Role in the Cold War Era December 18, 2019 Hidden Evidence Regarding Ukrainegate December 16, 2019 The Post-War 'Consensus' is Over – 'Either We Reinvent Bretton Woods, or It Risks Losing Relevance' December 15, 2019 Fires Rage in Canada as Professor Attacks the Myth of Holodomor December 15, 2019 Ukraine Peace Hostage to Washington's Russophobia December 13, 2019 Sore Sports: Russia Barred From Olympics for Thwarting Washington's Geopolitical Game Plan? December 10, 2019 Trade and Peaceful Cooperation Will Beat the Warmongers December 4, 2019 Bolivia's Lithium Is Fair Game in a World Ruled by Spheres of Influence December 1, 2019 Why a Second American Revolution Is Necessary for the Entire World November 30, 2019 Will the ICC Prosecute Perpetrators of the 'War on Terror'? November 28, 2019 Bolivian Coup and Indian Wars on Thanksgiving November 15, 2019 Bolivia: More Lessons From a Noble Experiment Gone Awry Also by this author Eric Zuesse American writer and investigative historian Hidden Evidence Regarding Ukrainegate Why America's Founders Would Be Waging War Against Today's America Why a Second American Revolution Is Necessary for the Entire World Ukraine, Trump, Biden -- The Real Story Behind 'Ukrainegate' Americans Usually Support Ethnic Cleansing When Their Government Does Sign up for the Strategic Culture Foundation Newsletter Subscribe See also September 17, 2019 Crimea and Kashmir Viewed Through a Western Prism of Hypocrisy June 27, 2017 Crimea, Afghanistan and Libya June 3, 2018 How and Why the US Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine March 19, 2019 US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea November 18, 2018 UN Vote on Crimea: Some Thoughts on the Issue December 11, 2019 The 1508 League of Cambrai and BRICS Today: How Not to Repeat History December 10, 2019 Why the Results of the Normandy Four Summit Were Predetermined Almost November 27, 2019 Ukraine, Trump, Biden -- The Real Story Behind 'Ukrainegate' November 11, 2019 Federations No Longer a Fad December 23, 2019 US Making Outer Space the Next Battle Zone – Karl Grossman December 22, 2019 The Fake Impeachment: Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory December 22, 2019 One and a Half Cheers for Tulsi Gabbard December 21, 2019 We Live in Hysteric Times: What Trump's Impeachment Really Means December 21, 2019 Capra's Battle With the Deep State and Hollywood's Role in the Cold War Era December 18, 2019 Hidden Evidence Regarding Ukrainegate December 16, 2019 The Post-War 'Consensus' is Over – 'Either We Reinvent Bretton Woods, or It Risks Losing Relevance' December 15, 2019 Fires Rage in Canada as Professor Attacks the Myth of Holodomor December 15, 2019 Ukraine Peace Hostage to Washington's Russophobia December 13, 2019 Sore Sports: Russia Barred From Olympics for Thwarting Washington's Geopolitical Game Plan? December 10, 2019 Trade and Peaceful Cooperation Will Beat the Warmongers December 4, 2019 Bolivia's Lithium Is Fair Game in a World Ruled by Spheres of Influence December 1, 2019 Why a Second American Revolution Is Necessary for the Entire World November 30, 2019 Will the ICC Prosecute Perpetrators of the 'War on Terror'? November 28, 2019 Bolivian Coup and Indian Wars on Thanksgiving November 15, 2019 Bolivia: More Lessons From a Noble Experiment Gone Awry The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: Coup Crimea International Law Russia Ukraine United States Print this article Sign up for the Strategic Culture Foundation Newsletter Subscribe


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[Dec 24, 2019] The Fake Impeachment Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory by Joaquin Flores

It would be impossible for Trump to re-energize his base in any other way. Pelosi acts as covert agent for Trump re-election? Peloci calculation that she can repar "Mueller effect" of 2018 with this impeachment proved to be gross miscalculation.
Warren who stupidly and enthusiastically jumped into this bandwagon will be hurt. She is such a weak politician that now it looks like she does not belong to the club. Still in comparison with Trump she might well be an improvement as she has Trump-like economic program, which Trump betrayed and neutered. And her foreign policy can't be worse then Trump foreign policy. It is just impossible.
I am convinced that the Dems are not actually interested or focused on defeating Trump, or they would adopt an effective strategy. The question I keep wrestling with is, what is the point to the strategy that is so ineffective?
Notable quotes:
"... The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi's own admission , is evident in Trump's being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he'll be exonerated. But even if it doesn't go to the Senate, what we're left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump. ..."
"... fake impeachment procedure ..."
"... For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be 'they deserve whatever they believe'. ..."
"... little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will 'send the impeachment to the Senate' as soon as she 'has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment', except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to 'We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.". ..."
"... "We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes president. ..."
"... He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins." ..."
"... We'll say we impeached him, because we did, and we'll say he was impeached. We'll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
And so it came to pass, that in the deep state's frenzy of electoral desperation, the 'impeachment' card was played. The hammer has fallen. Nearly the entirety of the legacy media news cycle has been dedicated to the details, and not really pertinent details, but the sorts of details which presume the validity of the charges against Trump in the first place. Yes, they all beg the question. What's forgotten here is that the use of this process along clearly partisan lines, and more – towards clearly partisan aims – is a very serious symptom of the larger undoing of any semblance of stability in the US government.

The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi's own admission , is evident in Trump's being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he'll be exonerated. But even if it doesn't go to the Senate, what we're left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump.

Only in a country that produces so much fake news at the official level, could there be a fake impeachment procedure made purely for media consumption, with no real or tangible possible victory in sight.

For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment.

Don't forget, this impeachment is fake

Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be 'they deserve whatever they believe'. And her aim appears to be the one who makes them believe things so that they deserve what she gives them. For little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will 'send the impeachment to the Senate' as soon as she 'has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment', except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to 'We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.".

In both cases, reality is turned on its head – for rather we will know how the Senate intends to conduct its procedure as soon as it has the details, which substantively includes the impeachment documents themselves, in front of them, and likewise, legislators ought to know what's in a major piece of legislation before they vote either way on it. Pelosi's assault on reason, however, isn't without an ever growing tide of resentment from within the progressive base of the party itself.

We have quickly entered into a new era which increasingly resembles the broken political processes which have struck many a country, but none in living memory a country like the US. Now elected officials push judges to prosecute their political opponents, constitutional crises are manufactured to pursue personal or political vendettas, death threats and rumors of coups coming from media and celebrities being fed talking points by big and important players from powerful institutions.

This 'impeachment' show really takes the cake, does it not? We will recall shortly after Trump was elected, narrator for hire Morgan Freeman made a shocking public service announcement. It was for all intents and purposes, a PSA notifying the public that a military coup to remove Trump would be legitimate and in order. Speaking about this PSA, and recounting what was said, would in any event read as an exaggeration, or some allegorical paraphrasing made to prove a point. Jogging our memories then, Freeman spoke to tens of millions of viewers on television and YouTube saying :

"We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes president.

He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins."

This really set the tone for the coming years, which have culminated in this manufactured 'impeachment' crisis, really befitting a banana republic.

It would be the height of dishonesty to approach this abuse of the impeachment procedure as if until this moment, the US's own political culture and processes were in good shape. Now isn't the time for the laundry list of eroded constitutional provisions, which go in a thousand and one unique directions. The US political system is surely broken, but as is the case with such large institutions several hundreds of years old, its meltdown appears to happen in slow motion to us mere mortals. And so what we are seeing today is the next phase of this break-down, and really ought to be understood as monumental in this sense. Once again revealed is the poor judgment of the Democratic Party and their agents, tools, warlords, and strategists, the same gang who sunk Hillary Clinton's campaign on the rocks of hubris.

Nancy Pelosi also has poor judgment, and these short-sighted and self-interested moves on her part stand a strong chance of backfiring. Her role in this charade is duly noted. This isn't said because of any disagreement over her aims, but rather that in purely objective terms it just so happens that her aims and her actions are out of synch – that is unless she wants to see Trump re-elected. Her aims are her aims, our intention is to connect these to their probable results, without moral judgments.

The real problem for the Democrats, the DNC, and any hopes for the White House in 2020, is that this all has the odor of a massive backfire, and something that Trump has been counting on happening. When one's opponent knows what is probable, and when they have a track record for preparing very well for such, it is only a question of what Trump's strategy is and how this falls into it, not whether there is one.

Imagine being a fly on the wall of the meeting with Pelosi where it was decided to go forward with impeachment in the House of Representatives, despite not having either sufficient traction in the Senate or any way to control the process that the Senate uses.

It probably went like this: ' We'll say we impeached him, because we did, and we'll say he was impeached. We'll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. '

Informed citizens are aware that whatever their views towards Trump, nothing he has done reaches beyond the established precedent set by past presidents. Confused citizens on the other hand, are believing the manufactured talking points thrown their way, and the idea that a US president loosely reference a quid pro quo in trying to sort a corruption scandal in dealings with the president of a foreign country, is some crazy, new, never-before-done and highly-illegal thing. It is none of those things though.

Unfortunately, not needless to say, the entirety of the direct, physical evidence against Trump solely consists of the now infamous transcript of the phone call which he had with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The rest is hearsay, a conspiracy narrative, and entirely circumstantial. As this author has noted in numerous pieces, Biden's entire candidacy rests precisely upon his need to be a candidate so that any normal investigation into the wrongdoings of himself or his son in Ukraine, suddenly become the targeted persecution of a political opponent of Trump.

Other than this, it is evident that Biden stands little chance – the same polling institutions which give him a double-digit lead were those which foretold a Clinton electoral victory. Neither their methods nor those paying and publishing them, have substantively changed. Biden's candidacy, like the impeachment, is essentially fake. The real contenders for the party's base are Sanders and Gabbard.

The Democratic Party Activist Base Despises Pelosi as much as Clinton

The Democratic Party has two bases, one controlled by the DNC and the Clintons, and one which consists of its energized rank-and-file activists who are clearer in their populism, anti-establishment and ant-corporate agenda. Candidates like Gabbard and Sanders are closest to them politically, though far from perfect fits. Their renegade status is confirmed by the difficulties they have with visibility – they are the new silent majority of the party. The DNC base, on the other hand, relies on Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and the likes for their default talking points, where they have free and pervasive access to legacy media. In the context of increased censorship online, this is not insignificant.

Among the important reasons this 'impeachment' strategy will lose is that it will not energize the second and larger base. Even though this more progressive and populist base is also more motivated, they have faced – as has the so-called alt-light – an extraordinarily high degree of censorship on social media. Despite all the censorship, the Democrats' silent majority are rather well-informed people, highly motivated, and tend to be vocal in their communities and places of work. Their ideas move organically and virally among the populace.

This silent majority has a very good memory, and they know very well who Nancy Pelosi is, and who she isn't.

The silent majority remembers that after years of the public backlash against Bush's war crimes, crimes against humanity, destruction of remaining civil liberties with the Patriot Act, torture, warrantless search – and the list goes on and on – Democrats managed to retake the lower house in 2006. If there was a legitimate reason for an impeachment, it would have been championed by Pelosi against Bush for going to war using false, falsified, manufactured evidence about WMD in Iraq. At the time, Pelosi squashed the hopes of her own electorate, reasoning that such moves would be divisive, that they would distract from the Democrats' momentum to take the White House in '08, that Bush had recently (?) won his last election, and so on. Of course these were real crimes, and the reasons not to prosecute may have as much to do with Pelosi's own role in the war industry. Pelosi couldn't really push against Bush over torture, etc. because she had been on an elite congressional committee – the House Intelligence Committee – during the Bush years in office which starting in 2003 was dedicated to making sure that torture could and would become normalized and entirely legal.

It seems Pelosi can't even go anywhere with this impeachment on Trump today, and therefore doesn't even really plan to submit it to the Senate for the next stage . The political stunt was pulled, a fireworks show consisting of one lonely rocket that sort of fizzled off out of sight.

Trump emerges unscathed, and more to the point, we are closer to the election and his base is even more energized. Pelosi spent the better part of three years inoculating the public against any significance being attached to any impeachment procedure. Pelosi cried wolf so many times, and Trump has made good on the opportunities handed to him to get his talking points in order and to condition his base to receive and process the scandals in such and such way. This wouldn't have been possible without Pelosi's help. Thanks in part to Pelosi and the DNC, Trump appears primed for re-election.

Trump energizes his base, and the DNC suppresses and disappoints theirs. That's where the election will be won or lost.

[Dec 24, 2019] Trumpian Rhetoric The Case of His Letter to Pelosi (and Foreshadowing 2020)

Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

This may be a good time to pull on my yellow waters, and take a look at Trump's letter to Pelosi, since his letter is simultaneously a parting shot as the House votes impeachement, and -- assuming impeachment doesn't die in the House -- the opening gun not only for his trial in the Senate but for election 2020. Here is the letter ; if you have time, it's worth reading it to form your own opinions.

One tip to make reading Trump more tolerable is to hear him as a borscht belt comedian like Rodney Dangerfield or Henny Youngman. Clifford A. Rieders , who grew up with enduring memories of the borscht belt, commented in 2016:

The humorists spanned the spectrum from Yiddish-speaking Brooklynites to Midwestern Protestants. Each comedian had a shtick. What exactly is a shtick? A "shtick" was an approach, an act, a way of relating to people that could be funny, serious, entertaining or crass, but always memorable in some way. Donald Trump is surging in the polls because he has a shtick. He is very much like a borscht belt entertainer, memorable because of how he speaks and the way he presents himself, rather than his content. The experts will have to parse the substance of Trump's message, if any, but his entertainment value should not be underestimated. He is making people sit up and take notice, whether he is hated, loved, or whether he just makes people shrug their shoulders and giggle.

... ... ...

Even more amazingly, the Times leaves this passage, which occurs immediately before the passage they corrected, uncorrected:

Before the Impeachment Hoax, it was the Russian Witch Hunt. Against all evidence, and regardless of the truth, you and your deputies claimed that my campaign colluded with the Russians -- a grave, malicious, and slanderous lie, a falsehood like no other.

One must assume that the Times does not correct what it believes to be true. Therefore, RussiaGate -- which the Times assiduously propagated, to its great profit -- is "a grave, malicious, and slanderous lie"? Alrighty then.

Similarly:

What the Times is looking at is a blueprint for Trump's case to the voters in 2020. And yet the Times can find only two corrections to make? If I were a liberal Democrat, I would be very, very worried about 2020.

I'm not going to make an armchair diagnosis of Trump's mental state, or shoot fish in a barrel with factchecking. Rather, I'm going to look at Trump's letter through the lens of his schtick , or, using the seventy five-cent word, his rhetoric. (I will be the first to say that Trump is not a superb technician; for an analysis of an orator who is, see NC here on Julia Gillard .) First, I will show that Trump's letter falls naturally into two parts: His defense against the indictment, and his 2020 case against the fitness of Democrats to govern). Given that the text has such a structure, it's simply not tenable to call it an " unhinged rant ," which disposes of the first mainstream response. Nor it is especially useful to fact-check it, especially when the facts are so disputed[1], which disposes of the second. Unfortunately, I cannot annotate the entire six-page letter, but I will comment on the rhetoric used in each part. Now let's look at the two parts.

Here is the division point between the two parts. Using direct address (" inter se pugnantia "), Trump writes:

There is nothing I would rather do than stop referring to your party as the Do-Nothing Democrats. Unfortunately, I don't know that you will ever give me a chance to do so.

There are two reasons this paragraph marks a division. First, it's the first and only joke ( irony ). Second, it's the first use of one of Trump's favorite figures: paralipsis , here saying something while pretending that one does not wish to say it ("unfortunately," my sweet Aunt Fanny).

So, let us turn to the first part, Trump's defense. After some hyperbole about the Constitution , Trump addresses each claim in the House indictment in turn. On (1) "Abuse of Power," Trump responds that (A) "I had a totally innocent conversation with the President of Ukraine," (B) "You are turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into an impeachable offense", (C) "you are trying to impeach me by falsely accusing me of doing what Joe Biden has admitted he actually did," and (D) "President Zelensky has repeatedly declared that I did nothing wrong." On (2), "Obstruction of Congress," Trump responds, (A) "if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power," (B) "you have spent three straight years attempting to overturn the will of the American people and nullify their votes," (C) "Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day", and (D) "You and your party are desperate to distract," followed by the accomplishedments listed in the second Times "correction" above." I've lettered and numbered the responses because the structure is perfectly clear to those who are willing to look for it. (There is a minor Twitter controversy over whether Trump wrote the letter himself, but I would say he, like any President, has people for that. I think that Trump, for whatever reason, had a lot more input into part two, for reasons I will show.)

A second feature of the first part is that it's virtually devoid of rhetorical devices: Tricolon and anaphora are the only ones used frequently ("[1] no crimes, [2] no misdemeanors, and [3] no offenses"; "[1] you are violating your oaths of office, [2] you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and [3] you are declaring open war on American Democracy"; "[1]misquoted, [2]mischaracterized, and [3]fraudulently misrepresented").

Now let's turn to the second part. Unlike the first part, it can't be represented with an outline structure. Indeed, it might be considered to be grist for Trump's improvisations and A/B testing on the trail. From my post describing Trump's visit to Bangor :

I want to focus on how [Trump] made [his] points: He didn't just emit them in bulleted-list form. Rather, he treated them as waypoints. He'd state the point, clearly and loudly, and then begin to move away from it in ever-widening circles, riffing jazzily on anecdotes, making jokes, introducing other talking points ("We're gonna build the wall"), introducing additional anecdotes, until finally popping the topical stack and circling back to the next waypoint, which he would then state, clearly and loudly; rinse, repeat. The political class considers or at least claims Trump's speeches are random and disorganized, but they aren't; any speech and debate person who's done improvisation knows what's going on.

You can just see Trump cutting up bits of part two, revising some, discarding others, re-arranging them, and so on.

The primary rhetorical device in the second part is tu quoque , colloquially "The pot calling the kettle black." Here it is combined with anaphora (and a dash of tricolon and alliteration ):

You are the ones interfering in America's elections. You are the ones subverting America's Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish [1] p ersonal, [2] p olitical, and [3]p p artisan gain.

And here Trump combines tu quoque with straight up [A] ad hominem plus [B] mesarchia , [C] tricolon, [D] hyperbole , and [E] ad populum . (I have to change the notating system for this one because the devices are so numerous and interlocked.)

Perhaps most insulting of all is [A]your false display of solemnity. You apparently have so little respect for the American People that you expect them to believe that [B] you are approaching this impeachment [C]somberly, reservedly, and reluctantly. [D]No intelligent person believes what you are saying. Since the moment I won the election, the Democrat Party has been possessed by Impeachment Fever. There is no reticence. This is not a somber affair. [B] You are making a mockery of impeachment and you are scarcely concealing [C]your hatred of me, of the Republican Party, and tens of millions of patriotic Americans. [E]The voters are wise, and they are seeing straight through this [C]empty, hollow, and dangerous game you are playing.

Now, tu quoque is indeed a logical fallacy with respect to claims . But is it a fallacy with respect to the right to govern, which is one way for Trump to structure the 2020 campaign?[1]

...A rhetorical analysis of Trump's letter shows that he will be a formidable opponent in 2020, and that he's crazy like a fox. Trump has form. His schtick has worked, and may well work again.


richard , December 23, 2019 at 6:49 pm

It will come as a great shock to the dem establishment, a shock i tell you, that the reporting they ignored coming from aaron mate and the other tinny (to their ears) voices to their left was the
revealed truth
and could be wielded like a mighty club against them by trump
only not in the people's interest, because of course not, he's a republican
but anyway, who could have known? /s

dcblogger , December 23, 2019 at 7:02 pm

as to Trump's charge of Do Nothing Democrats, the Democratic House has passed an entire agenda of good things that the Senate has not acted upon. Also, is there ANY evidence to suggest that African American unemployment is at an all time low? A favorite Trump technique is to issue an obviously false statement as if it were true.

KLG , December 23, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Uh huh.

As Sundance said to Butch, repeatedly: "You just keep thinkin' Butch. That's what you're good at."

marym , December 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm

Overall rate, and rates by ethnicity have been declining since 2011, so record or near record lows are recorded during the Trump years. YMMV as to how much Trump economic policies have contributed to and/or not impeded the trend.

Chart for 2003-2019:
https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/unemployment-rate-was-3-point-6-percent-in-october-2019.htm

dcblogger , December 23, 2019 at 9:03 pm

thanks

dcrane , December 23, 2019 at 9:11 pm

They have passed a few interesting bills. But how much time have they spent talking about those bills, and other issues on which they want to move ahead for the people? Compared to the media time sucked up by TrumpRussia, Impeachment, and the rest of the sh*tshow. I don't watch any TV news, but to judge from headlines and other coverage I'll guess very little.

Fred , December 23, 2019 at 7:05 pm

What a great idea for a fake video. Rodney Dangerfield doing Trump.

Synoia , December 23, 2019 at 8:33 pm

Better to have Homer Simpson's father do Trump.

martell , December 23, 2019 at 8:45 pm

Thanks for the analysis. I'm not sure that the bit about the false display of solemnity is an ad hominem. It seems to me that it would count as a fallacy if he were arguing that the case against him is flawed for the reason that those making that case are bad people (people who feign solemnity). But that's not how I read it.

I read it as an attempt to work up anger against his accusers. At one point in the Rhetoric, Aristotle claims that people become angry with someone when they think they have been slighted by that person. One way of slighting people is to take them for fools. This is an insult. If Trump were right and Democrats really were feigning solemnity while gleefully engaged in a narrowly self-interested effort to overturn an election, then Democrats would be taking voters for fools. Many voters would find this insulting. Also, Aristotle thought that angry people are moved to take revenge. This amounts to a desire to bring the insulting party low. Bringing low, in this case, would surely involve voting against Democrats, punishing them by keeping them out or throwing them out of high office.

I suppose, then, that this particular passage looks to me like good rhetoric as opposed to fallacious argument. Or at least partly good. He seems to know what he's doing where pathos is concerned.

TroyIA , December 23, 2019 at 9:01 pm

Lambert describes President Trump's style as schtick but another way is to consider it as a wrestling character named "President Trump." Remember President Trump was involved with the WWE and had the owners wife Linda McMahon in his cabinet and she is now running a pro-Trump super PAC.

Having grown up watching professional wrestling President Trump's campaign rallies are exactly like a wrestling show. He is playing a character and has to be quick thinking and able to ad-lib to manipulate the crowd's emotions. The crowd also has to become part of the show as well and overreact to signal to the performer (in this case who happens to be the President) they are engaged with the show. The baby face (Trump) is cheered loudly and the heels (Democrats/media) are booed in an exaggerated manner.

This character development and ad-libbing/a b testing is then always in use when dealing with the media and when tweeting. Since the President is a caricature his followers aren't bothered by his incorrect statements and when the Democrats/media point out his mis-statements it doesn't register because everyone knows wrestling is fake.

A rhetorical analysis of Trump's letter shows that he will be a formidable opponent in 2020, and that he's crazy like a fox.

Make America Great Again. Trump trademarked that saying 1 week after the 2012 election. He isn't crazy he's sly like a fox.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-patent-maga-2012/

chuck roast , December 23, 2019 at 9:30 pm

I've been around for a while and my attitude is that all of these "prexies", with the exception maybe of Ike, have been lying sacks of shit. Now while they all facilitated mass thievery by their friends and associates (as the mob would say), they could have at least had the good form to be funny. But no! They were all so earnest and sanctimonious. Kind of like my parish priest handing out the wafers.
I probably spent way too many hours warming various bar-stools next to a variety of knuckleheads, so I'm going to give Trump his due, OK? The guy has given me more chuckles, laughs, guffaws and all around hilarity than six decades worth of well dressed socio-paths. And as a bonus, a big bonus, he has greatly discomforted all of the smartest grifters in the room. Whenever I see the guy, Im in the Catskills.

Pym of Nantucket , December 23, 2019 at 9:31 pm

I am convinced that the Dems are not actually interested or focused on defeating Trump, or they would adopt an effective strategy. The question I keep wrestling with is, what is the point to the strategy that is so ineffective?

They are perhaps infiltrated by malicious actors, or positioning for something bigger? The clarity of the critique mentioned above by Aaron Mate to me isn't mysterious or difficult to find.

How about this:they are preparing for election 2024? I'm not joking.

David in Santa Cruz , December 23, 2019 at 10:41 pm

Rodney Dangerfield? Don Rickles? Our political culture has truly been debased by popular culture into a stand-up competition. Trump's base knows that he's channeling New Wave/Punk comedians Sam Kinison and Bobcat Goldthwait.

Whose schtick eventually erased Kinison and the Bobcat's out-of-control nihilism from the popular culture? The laid-back Jerry Seinfeld as written by Larry David -- yet another reason to support Bernie Sanders over the other wooden Dem contenders. Did you see the "debate" on SNL last weekend? Get them on a stage together and Bernie's schtick will slay Trump's

[Dec 23, 2019] Making the World Less Safe

Notable quotes:
"... Currently the United States is assisting Ukraine against Russia by providing some non-lethal military equipment as well as limited training for Kiev's army. It has balked at getting more involved in the conflict, rightly so. ..."
"... The Ukrainians were not buying any of that. Their point of view is that Russia is seeking to revive the Soviet Union and will inevitably turn on the Baltic States and Poland, so it is necessary to stop evil dictator Vladimir Putin now. They inevitably produced the Hitler analogy, citing the example of 1938 and Munich as well as the subsequent partition of Poland in 1939 to make their case. When I asked what the United States would gain by intervening they responded that in return for military assistance, Washington will have a good and democratic friend in Ukraine which will serve as a bulwark against further Russian expansion. ..."
"... But Obama chose to stay home as punishment for Putin, which I think was a bad choice suggesting that he is being strongly influenced by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the other neocons who seem to have retained considerable power in his administration. ..."
"... Obama told a crowd gathered outside the Nike footwear company in Oregon that the deal is necessary because "if we don't write the rules, China will " ..."
"... Obama takes as a given that he will be able to "write the rules." This is American hubris writ large and I am certain that many who are thereby designated to follow Washington's lead are as offended by it as I am. Bad move Barack. ..."
"... Asharq al-Awsat ..."
May 21, 2015 | The Unz Review
Currently the United States is assisting Ukraine against Russia by providing some non-lethal military equipment as well as limited training for Kiev's army. It has balked at getting more involved in the conflict, rightly so. With that in mind, I had a meeting with a delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians and government officials a couple of weeks ago. I tried to explain to them why many Americans are wary of helping them by providing lethal, potentially game changing military assistance in what Kiev sees as a struggle to regain control of Crimea and other parts of their country from militias that are clearly linked to Moscow. I argued that while Washington should be sympathetic to Ukraine's aspirations it has no actual horse in the race, that the imperative for bilateral relations with Russia, which is the only nation on earth that can attack and destroy the United States, is that they be stable and that all channels for communication remain open.

I also observed that the negative perception of Washington-driven democracy promotion around the world has been in part shaped by the actual record on interventions since 2001, which has not been positive. Each exercise of the military option has wound up creating new problems, like the mistaken policies in Libya, Iraq and Syria, all of which have produced instability and a surge in terrorism. I noted that the U.S. does not need to bring about a new Cold War by trying to impose democratic norms in Eastern Europe but should instead be doing all in its power to encourage a reasonable rapprochement between Moscow and Kiev. Providing weapons or other military support to Ukraine would only cause the situation to escalate, leading to a new war by proxies in Eastern Europe that could rapidly spread to other regions.

The Ukrainians were not buying any of that. Their point of view is that Russia is seeking to revive the Soviet Union and will inevitably turn on the Baltic States and Poland, so it is necessary to stop evil dictator Vladimir Putin now. They inevitably produced the Hitler analogy, citing the example of 1938 and Munich as well as the subsequent partition of Poland in 1939 to make their case. When I asked what the United States would gain by intervening they responded that in return for military assistance, Washington will have a good and democratic friend in Ukraine which will serve as a bulwark against further Russian expansion.

I explained that Russia does not have the economic or military resources to dominate Eastern Europe and its ambitions appear to be limited to establishing a sphere of influence that includes "protection" for some adjacent areas that are traditionally Russian and inhabited by ethnic Russians. Crimea is, unfortunately, one such region that was actually directly governed by Moscow between 1783 and 1954 and it is also militarily vitally important to Moscow as it is the home of the Black Sea Fleet. I did not point that out to excuse Russian behavior but only to suggest that Moscow does have an argument to make, particularly as the United States has been meddling in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine where it has "invested" $5 billion, since the Clinton Administration.

I argued that if resurgent Russian nationalism actually endangered the United States there would be a case to be made for constricting Moscow by creating an alliance of neighbors that would be able to help contain any expansion, but even the hawks in the U.S. Congress are neither prepared nor able to demonstrate a genuine threat. Fear of the expansionistic Soviet Union after 1945 was indeed the original motivation for creating NATO. But the reality is that Russia is only dangerous if the U.S. succeeds in backing it into a corner where it will begin to consider the kind of disruption that was the norm during the Cold War or even some kind of nuclear response or demonstration. If one is focused on U.S. interests globally Russia has actually been a responsible player, helping in the Middle East and also against international terrorism.

So there was little to agree on apart from the fact that the Ukrainians have a right to have a government they choose for themselves and also to defend themselves. And we Americans have in the Ukrainians yet another potential client state that wants our help. In return we would have yet another dependency whose concerns have to be regarded when formulating our foreign policy. One can sympathize with the plight of the Ukrainians but it is not up to Washington to fix the world or to go around promoting democracy as a potential solution to pervasive regional political instability.

Obviously a discussion based on what are essentially conflicting interests will ultimately go nowhere and so it did in this case, but it did raise the issue of why Washington's relationship with Moscow is so troubled, particularly as it need not be so. Regarding Ukraine and associated issues, Washington's approach has been stick-and-carrot with the emphasis on the stick through the imposition of painful sanctions and meaningless though demeaning travel bans. I would think that reversing that formulation to emphasize rewards would actually work better as today's Russia is actually a relatively new nation in terms of its institutions and suffers from insecurity about its place in the world and the respect that it believes it is entitled to receive.

Russia recently celebrated the 70 th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe. The celebration was boycotted by the United States and by many Western European nations in protest over Russian interference in Ukraine. I don't know to what extent Obama has any knowledge of recent history, but the Russians were the ones who were most instrumental in the defeat of Nazi Germany, losing 27 million citizens in the process. It would have been respectful for President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry to travel to Moscow for the commemoration and it would likely have produced a positive result both for Ukraine and also to mitigate the concern that a new Cold War might be developing. But Obama chose to stay home as punishment for Putin, which I think was a bad choice suggesting that he is being strongly influenced by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the other neocons who seem to have retained considerable power in his administration.

And I also would note a couple of other bad choices made during the past several weeks. The Trans-Pacific multilateral trade agreement that is currently working its way through Congress and is being aggressively promoted by the White House might be great for business though it may or may not be good for the American worker, which, based on previous agreements, is a reasonable concern. But what really disturbs me is the Obama explanation of why the pact is important. Obama told a crowd gathered outside the Nike footwear company in Oregon that the deal is necessary because "if we don't write the rules, China will "

Fear of the Yellow Peril might indeed be legitimate but it would be difficult to make the case that an internally troubled China is seeking to dominate the Pacific. If it attempts to do so, it would face strong resistance from the Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and Koreans among others. But what is bothersome to me and probably also to many in the Asian audience is that Obama takes as a given that he will be able to "write the rules." This is American hubris writ large and I am certain that many who are thereby designated to follow Washington's lead are as offended by it as I am. Bad move Barack.

And finally there is Iran as an alleged state sponsor of terrorism. President Obama claims that he is working hard to achieve a peaceful settlement of the alleged threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. But if that is so why does he throw obstacles irrelevant to an agreement out to make the Iranian government more uncomfortable and therefore unwilling or unable to compromise? In an interview with Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat Obama called Tehran a terrorism supporter, stating that "it [Iran] props up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen so countries in the region are rights to be deeply concerned " I understand that the interview was designed to reassure America's friends in the Gulf that the United States shares their concerns and will continue to support them but the timing would appear to be particularly unfortunate.

The handling of Russia, China and Iran all exemplify the essential dysfunction in American foreign policy. The United States should have a mutually respectful relationship with Russia, ought to accept that China is an adversary but not necessarily an enemy unless we make it so and it should also finally realize that an agreement with Iran is within its grasp as long as Washington does not overreach. It is not clear that any of that is well understood and one has to wonder precisely what kind of advice Obama is receiving when fails to understand the importance of Russia, insists on "writing the rules" for Asia, and persists in throwing around the terrorist label. If the past fifteen years have taught us anything it is that the "Washington as the international arbiter model" is not working. Obama should wake up to that reality before Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush arrives on the scene to make everything worse.

Tom Welsh, May 19, 2015 at 7:02 am GMT • 100 Words

All of this misses the point, IMHO. There is really no need to explain that Russia has no plans to conquer Europe, China has no plans to take over the Pacific, etc. Anyone with a little historical knowledge and some common sense can see that plainly. What is happening is that the USA has overweening aspirations to control (and then suck dry) the entire world – and Europe, Russia and China are next on its hit list.

So it naturally accuses those nations of aspiring to what it plans to do. Standard operating procedure.

The Priss Factor, May 19, 2015 at 7:19 am GMT • 100 Words

"The Ukrainians were not buying any of that. Their point of view is that Russia is seeking to revive the Soviet Union and will inevitably turn on the Baltic States and Poland, so it is necessary to stop evil dictator Vladimir Putin now."

I can understand Ukrainian animus against Russia due to history and ethnic tensions.

But that is ridiculous. They can't possibly believe it. I think they're repeating Neocon talking points to persuade American that the fate of the world is at stake.
It's really just a local affair.

And Crimea would still belong to Ukraine if the crazies in Ukraine hadn't conspired with Neocons like Nuland to subvert and overthrow the regime.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable by Daniel R. DePetris

Notable quotes:
"... Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable?

Even after the release of the Afghanistan Papers, our elites are still determined to escape without blame. CERNOBBIO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Chairman of the KKR Global Institute David Howell Petraeus attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Almost two weeks after the Washington Post 's Craig Whitlock published his six-part series on the trials, tribulations, and blunders of Washington's 19-year-long social science experiment in Afghanistan, those involved in the war effort are desperately pointing fingers as to who is to blame. An alternative narrative has emerged among this crop of elite policymakers, military officers, and advisers that while American policy in Afghanistan has been horrible, the people responsible for it really did believe it would all work out in the end. Call it the "we were stupid" defense.

There were no lies or myths propagated by senior U.S. officials, we are told, just honest assessments that later proved to be wrong. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has advised U.S. commanders on Afghanistan war policy, wrote that "no, there has not been a campaign of disinformation, intentional or subliminal." Former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who led CENTCOM during part of the war effort, called the Post 's reporting "not really news" and was mystified that the unpublished interviews from the U.S. special inspector general were generating such shock. Others have faulted the Post for publishing the material to begin with, claiming that public disclosure would scare future witnesses from cooperating and threaten other fact-finding inquiries (the fact that the newspaper was legally permitted to publish the transcripts after winning a court case against the government is apparently irrelevant in the minds of those making this argument).

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

All of these claims and counter-claims should be seen for what they truly are: the flailings of a policymaking class so arrogant and unaccountable that it can't see straight. That they're blaming the outrage engendered by the Afghanistan Papers on anything other than themselves is Exhibit A that our narcissistic policy elite is cocooned in their own reality.

Analysts have been pouring over the Afghanistan interview transcripts for over a week in order to determine how the war went wrong. Some of the main lessons learned have long been evident. The decision to impose a top-down democratic political order on a country that operated on a system of patronage and tribal systems from the bottom-up was bound to be problematic. Throwing tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction assistance into a nation that had no experience managing that kind of money -- or spending it properly -- helped fuel the very nationwide corruption Washington would come to regret. Paying off warlords to fight the Taliban and keep order while pressuring those very same warlords into following the rules was contradictory. The mistakes go on and on and on: as Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said, "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

One of the most salient findings about this ghastly two-decade-long misadventure surfaced after the Afghanistan Papers were released: the commentariat will stop at nothing to absolve themselves of the slightest responsibility for the disaster they supported. The outright refusal of the pundit class to own up to its errors is as disturbing as it is infuriating. And even when they do acknowledge that errors were committed, they tend to minimize their own role in those mistakes, explaining them away as unfortunate consequences of fixed withdrawal deadlines, inter-agency tussling, Afghanistan's poor foundational state, or the inability of the Afghans to capitalize on the opportunities Washington provided them. Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal.

It's always somebody else's fault.

Whether out of arrogance, ego, or fear of not being taken seriously in Washington's foreign policy discussions, the architects of the war refuse to admit even the most obvious mistakes. Instead they duck and weave like a quarterback escaping a full-on defensive rush, attempting yet again to fool the American public.

But the public has nothing to apologize for. It is those who are making excuses who have exercised disastrous judgment on Afghanistan. And they owe the country an apology.

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to The American Conservative.

[Dec 23, 2019] Love but not from the first sight

Dec 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

onwisconsinbadger , 35 minutes ago link

In May 2016, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, famously proclaimed that, "If we [Republicans] nominate Trump, we will get destroyed and we will deserve it." Since then, Graham has become one of President Donald Trump's staunchest defenders, making Graham the target of critics who paint him as a hypocrite for repeatedly contradicting his previously expressed stances.

In 2015, for example, Graham called Donald Trump a "race-baiting xenophobic bigot," but by 2018 he was claiming that he had "never heard [Trump] make a single racist statement." And in 1999, during impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton (a Democrat), Graham asserted that an impeachable offense "doesn't even have to be a crime," but then in 2019 Graham challenged those calling for the impeachment of Trump to "show me something that is a crime"

[Dec 23, 2019] Kabuki theate drama continues: The Senate will decide how we dispose of this sham created by the house by the house ," Graham tweeted, referring to the impasse created by Pelosi - who is refusing to transmit two articles of impeachment against President Trump until the Senate agrees to her terms.

Dec 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

If this continues into 2020, the Senate needs to strike back, standing up for our rights and ending this debacle.

-- Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 23, 2019

President Trump also had words for Pelosi on Monday after the Speaker called for "fairness" in a Senate trial.

"Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so," Trump tweeted, adding "She lost Congress once, she will do it again!"

Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so. She lost Congress once, she will do it again!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2019

Pelosi says she will only transmit the impeachment articles to the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announces the process they will use for Trump's trial.

[Dec 23, 2019] McConnell Pelosi will cave on her impeachment demands - WND

Dec 23, 2019 | www.wnd.com

The U.S. Senate trial for the Democratic Party's impeachment of President Donald Trump is in limbo.

It's because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pressing the Senate to comply with her demands, has withheld the articles voted on by House Democrats.

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Some scholars, including a witness for the Democrats, believe the unprecedented move is unconstitutional.

After all, that Constitution states: "The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present."

TRENDING: Biden confirms he'll sacrifice thousands of blue-collar jobs for greener economy if needed

The Founders inserted no clause giving the House speaker authority to make such demands.

It's why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes Pelosi eventually will give up her power play.

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Fox News reported McConnell believes Pelosi "seems to think she can dictate the rules of a Senate impeachment trial."

McConnell, a Republican senator from Kentucky, said on "Fox & Friends," "She apparently believes she can tell us how to run the trial."

But that is "absurd," he said, saying she'll back down "sooner or later."

"We can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers over, so everybody enjoy the holidays," McConnell said.

The Fox report explained Pelosi was trying "to pressure the Senate to agree to certain terms for a trial."

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"She indicated the House would eventually send the articles over to the upper chamber but insisted it is up to the Senate to determine how the process develops going forward," the report said.

She doubled down on Monday, Fox News reported.

"The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct," Pelosi said. "President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?"

Pelosi was referring to the contempt of Congress article of impeachment. The White House argues it has the right to dispute any subpoenas for witnesses or documents and that such disputes should be resolved in court.

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McConnell has argued for following the precedent of the Clinton impeachment.

"You listen to the opening arguments, you have a written question period, and at that point, in the Clinton trial, we had a decision about which witnesses to call and, as you can imagine, that was a pretty partisan exercise, but we didn't let the partisan part of it keep us from getting started so all I'm doing is saying what was good for President Clinton is good for President Trump," McConnell said.

President Trump has been mocking Pelosi's delay in presenting the articles of impeachment to the Senate. He said the Senate can invalidate the articles if they're not delivered by a certain date.

The president said on Twitter: "Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up! The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!"

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McConnell previously dismissed claims by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has been lobbying for impeachment for months, that the senators overseeing the trial should be "impartial."

"Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial? Do you think Elizabeth Warren is impartial? Bernie Sanders is impartial?" McConnell said.

"So let's quit the charade. This is a political exercise. All I'm asking of Schumer is that we treat Trump the same way we treated Clinton."

Schumer, contradicting himself, has claimed he could be an impartial juror in the Senate even though he's already claimed Trump is guilty.

[Dec 23, 2019] Two gangs are not that different: Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Department of Justice and a constitutional scholar, has identified 12 impeachable offenses committed by Donald Trump. But, as he notes, many of these constitutional violations are not unique to the Trump administration. They have been normalized by Democratic and Republican administrations

Dec 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Dec 22 2019 4:41 utc | 40

Article from Chris Hedges on https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-end-of-the-rule-of-law/;

An excerpt;


"Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Department of Justice and a constitutional scholar, has identified 12 impeachable offenses committed by Donald Trump. But, as he notes, many of these constitutional violations are not unique to the Trump administration. They have been normalized by Democratic and Republican administrations."


ben , Dec 22 2019 4:44 utc | 41

Bio on Bruce Fein;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Fein

uncle tungsten , Dec 22 2019 6:14 utc | 46
Impeachment blues: Can you believe the empire cant even manage a decent impeachment. There is a broad debate going on in the crazed land of U$A and it turns on this contradiction .

THIS empire is a lethal threat to our planet and they cock up all they touch. Can you believe they held an impeachment hearing in the House of Representatives and didn't have the accused present? They relied on a whistleblower that was prohibited to attend because he may be revealed yet everyone knew Ciaramella was the leaker (whistleblower) relying on hearsay evidence. There are no rules of natural justice in the U$A empire. Mendacity uber alles.

[Dec 23, 2019] Durham Is Scrutinizing Ex-C.I.A. Director's Role in Russian Interference Findings - The New York Times

Please note that NYT was a part of coupe d'état against Trump...
Will Brannan and Comey be arrested for stage coup d'état ?
Dec 23, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

John H. Durham, the United States attorney leading the investigation, has requested Mr. Brennan's emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry. He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.'s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.

... ... ...

Mr. Durham is also examining whether Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress , about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia's interference, the people said.

... ... ..

"The president bore the burden of probably one of the greatest conspiracy theories -- baseless conspiracy theories -- in American political history," Mr. Barr told Fox News. He has long expressed skepticism that the F.B.I. had enough information to begin its inquiry in 2016, publicly criticizing an inspector general report released last week that affirmed that the bureau did.

Mr. Barr has long been interested in the conclusion about Mr. Putin ordering intervention on Mr. Trump's behalf, perhaps the intelligence report's most explosive assertion. The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. reported high confidence in the conclusion, while the N.S.A., which conducts electronic surveillance, had a moderate degree of confidence.

... ... ...

Critics of the intelligence assessment, like Representative Chris Stewart, Republican of Utah, said the C.I.A.'s sourcing failed to justify the high level of confidence about Moscow's intervention on behalf of Mr. Trump.

"I don't agree with the conclusion, particularly that it's such a high level of confidence," Mr. Stewart said, citing raw intelligence that he said he reviewed.

"I just think there should've been allowances made for some of the ambiguity in that and especially for those who didn't also share in the conclusion that it was a high degree of confidence," he added.

Mr. Durham's investigators also want to know more about the discussions that prompted intelligence community leaders to include Mr. Steele's allegations in the appendix of their assessment.

Mr. Brennan has repeatedly said, including in his 2017 congressional testimony, that the C.I.A. did not rely on the dossier when it helped develop the assessment, and the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has also testified before lawmakers that the same was true for the intelligence agencies more broadly. But Mr. Trump's allies have long asked pointed questions about the dossier, including how it was used in the intelligence agency's assessment.

Some C.I.A. analysts and officials insisted that the dossier be left out of the assessment, while some F.B.I. leaders wanted to include it and bristled at its relegation to the appendix. Their disagreements were captured in the highly anticipated report released last week by Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, examining aspects of the F.B.I.'s Russia investigation.

Mr. Steele's information "was a topic of significant discussion within the F.B.I. and with the other agencies participating in drafting" the declassified intelligence assessment about Russia interference, Mr. Horowitz wrote. The F.B.I. shared Mr. Steele's information with the team of officials from multiple agencies drafting the assessment.

Mr. Comey also briefed Mr. Brennan and other top Obama administration intelligence officials including the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, and Mr. Clapper about the bureau's efforts to assess the information in the dossier, Mr. Comey told the inspector general. He said that analysts had found it to be "credible on its face."

... ... ...

Andrew G. McCabe, then the deputy director of the F.B.I., pushed back, according to the inspector general report, accusing the intelligence chiefs of trying to minimize Mr. Steele's information.

Ultimately the two sides compromised by placing Mr. Steele's material in the appendix. After BuzzFeed News published the dossier in January 2017, days after the intelligence assessment about Russia's election sabotage was released, Mr. Comey complained to Mr. Clapper about his decision to publicly state that the intelligence community "has not made any judgment" about the document's reliability.

Mr. Comey said that the F.B.I. had concluded that Mr. Steele was reliable, according to the inspector general report. Mr. Clapper ignored Mr. Comey, the report said.

[Dec 23, 2019] Bannon Trump Impeachment Will Be Trial Of The Century

Notable quotes:
"... Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon pulled no punches in an interview with Fox Business Network's Trish Regan saying that the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will be the "trial of the century." ..."
"... Bannon said Republicans ought to "turn the tables" on Democrats and demand a full trial that will force it to go into the Democratic presidential primary. ..."
"... "I think you ought to demand a full trial, where to get witnesses -- and, hey, if it takes too long, it's the Democrats to force this constitutional crisis over the Christmas holidays. If this trial goes on for a month or two into the Democratic primary, that's a tough break for them. They're the ones that forced this. One of the reasons they forced it is their field is so weak going in there. Nobody cares. Like I said, witness protection program. Nobody cares about their debate. They're the ones that force this. " ..."
"... "... this is the managed decline of the United States. This is about the Washington consensus. The Washington Post published the Afghanistan papers last week. Two trillion dollars. 2,400 dead. Tens of thousands wounded. What's that? That's the inter-agency consensus in 18 years that betrayed our country. That's what betrayed our countries. With Brennan, that's what betrayed our country, not Donald Trump. Donald Trump has stood up. The reasons people cheer for him, it's their sons and daughters that have died in Afghanistan. It's their lives, their kids' lives being thrown away, and their tax dollars. " ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Having blasted the liberal elites earlier in the week for "not giving a f**k" about the average joe in America:

"Look, this is what drives me nuts about the left. All immigration is to flood the zone with cheap labour, and the reason is because the elites don't give a fuck about African Americans and the Hispanic working class . They don't care about the white working class either. You're just a commodity" .

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon pulled no punches in an interview with Fox Business Network's Trish Regan saying that the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will be the "trial of the century."

" I think this trial is going to be the trial of the century, a nd the mainstream media is going to be all over it," Bannon said.

"That's why I think it's so important not just for his legacy, but for his presidency and his second term. He's got to engage in this. He's got to take them on. He's got to have the whistleblower; we have to have the Bidens in front of the nation and the world. They're going to have to stand and deliver under oath. And we're going to get to the bottom of this . And I think that's going to lead to an exoneration, not just an acquittal, but an exoneration of President Trump."

Bannon said Republicans ought to "turn the tables" on Democrats and demand a full trial that will force it to go into the Democratic presidential primary.

"I think you ought to demand a full trial, where to get witnesses -- and, hey, if it takes too long, it's the Democrats to force this constitutional crisis over the Christmas holidays. If this trial goes on for a month or two into the Democratic primary, that's a tough break for them. They're the ones that forced this. One of the reasons they forced it is their field is so weak going in there. Nobody cares. Like I said, witness protection program. Nobody cares about their debate. They're the ones that force this. "

Bannon went on to reiterate his belief that Hillary Clinton will "inevitably" be the Democratic Presidential nominee... but will lose... again:

" Hillary Clinton comes in at the moment that she feels that she can step in to save the Democratic Party and try to convince people that a rematch with President Trump is the best way that they have to try to defeat President Trump," Bannon said.

"They won't beat him. Right now, there's nobody, including Hillary Clinton out there, that can beat Donald Trump. But they're going to get desperate here because look at tonight. Nobody cares about this debate, this debate's in Los Angeles."

Finally, the former strategist raged against "the Washington Consensus":

"... this is the managed decline of the United States. This is about the Washington consensus. The Washington Post published the Afghanistan papers last week. Two trillion dollars. 2,400 dead. Tens of thousands wounded. What's that? That's the inter-agency consensus in 18 years that betrayed our country. That's what betrayed our countries. With Brennan, that's what betrayed our country, not Donald Trump. Donald Trump has stood up. The reasons people cheer for him, it's their sons and daughters that have died in Afghanistan. It's their lives, their kids' lives being thrown away, and their tax dollars. "

And that, Bannon exclaimed, is why we need a trial in the Senate to expose the swamp.

"And they understand that Donald Trump is fighting that. That's why we need a trial, a real trial and Senate with witnesses. So, before the world, Donald Trump could get his day in court. "

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WLCaPOea-fE

Full Transcript:

Trish Regan: I do believe the president heard that she wants to run again from this show, from none other than Mr. Stephen Bannon here on set with me, who talked about Hillary Clinton getting back in potentially again. And also, you called Bloomberg as well. So, Bloomberg's in, is Hillary going to join?

Steve Bannon: I think it's inevitable. They had a poll out today that showed Biden at like 28, Bernie 21, Elizabeth Warren in the high teens. It looks like something that's going to get to a -- particularly with Super Tuesday, when Biden drops the nuclear weapon of his money on these in these big states. It's going to lead to a brokered convention. Hillary Clinton, I think, is going to come in when it's evident that none of the radical left of the Democratic Party can beat the President Trump --

[cross talk]

Steve Bannon: -- A brokered convention. I think Hillary Clinton comes in at the moment that she feels that she can step in to save the Democratic Party and try to convince people that a rematch with President Trump is the best way that they have to try to defeat President Trump. They won't beat him. Right now, there's nobody, including Hillary Clinton out there, that can beat Donald Trump. But they're going to get desperate here because look at tonight. Nobody cares about this debate, this debate's in Los Angeles.

Trish Regan : They should be watching you.

Steve Bannon: Well, I'm talking about on MSNBC and CNN and their networks. They're not they're not running around saying, this thing is great. They understand these people, not just are boring, it's not just about their star quality, it's what they're talking about is so off the mainstream, it's not connecting with people. And they're going to start getting desperate. Remember, their number one thing is that Donald Trump is an existential threat to the Democratic Party, to the established order and to the mainstream media, and they will do anything to take him down and destroy him. In particular, you saw last night what he's talking about to the people; hey, they're trying to come after you, they're trying to come after me to get to you. We are in this together. And he saw people respond to that. That response of that audience last night for two hours, that stood out for hours in, what, 15- or 17-degree cold is quite remarkable.

Trish Regan: What I find remarkable and, you know, we can say this is a couple Irishmen -- or Irishman and an Irishwoman. You think about traditional Democrats, right? And I think about my family and how my dad's family was, historically, big Irish Catholic family and you were a Democrat like you're Catholic. Like, it was part of your religion, right? And, you know, my -- and if you were lucky enough, you got a job in the union. And so, there was a feeling that you always voted blue, and that has changed.

Steve Bannon: Last night you saw that. He's connected with working class -- listen to this. It's the reason he won Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa. States they never thought we'd win again. And altogether because he went and he got, you know, Democrats, blue collar Democrats to vote for it and they believe in it. And they're seeing -- here's the thing they're seeing, the manifestation of his actions are making their lives better. You know, the Zogby poll today said that 53 percent of Democrats think that their party is spending too much time on impeachment instead of getting things done legislatively. It is so --

Trish Regan: And they got that right. And it's not just, you know, we talk about Irish Americans. I mean, I look at the African American population right now and you look at some of the poll numbers there. And he's doing extremely well in a way that you wouldn't really think he would with that particular population, given the media.

Steve Bannon: Well that's what the immigration policy -- remember everything was to make sure that wasn't more labor pressure on African Americans and Hispanics. That's why you seen the approval rate -- I think it's 34 percent of African Americans approve now by Pew, and 36 percent of Hispanics. Because you're seeing wages starting to rise. People -- unemployment's at historic lows, wages starting to rise. That's why I think it's so important, since they've smeared him in this process. He didn't get to call any witnesses in this trial. And I think this trial will be -- it's going to be the trial of the century, and the mainstream media is going to be all over it. That's why I think it's so important not just for his legacy, but for his presidency and his second term. He's got to engage in this. He's got to take them on. He's got to have the whistleblower; we have to have the Bidens in front of the nation and the world. They're going to have to stand and deliver under oath. And we're going to get to the bottom of this. And I think that's going to lead to an exoneration, not just an acquittal, but an exoneration of President Trump.

Trish Regan: The trial of the century. Wow. You know, a lot of people are worried, well, you get John Bolton. What is he going to do? What is John Bolton going to say? And what is this one going to say? What is that one going to say? What do you say to those concerns?

Steve Bannon: The president -- the call was perfect. He looked at everything that led up to it. This is why the American people heard him. And you just saw the bureaucrats that were in it that were testified. This is because that is the managed decline of the United States. This is about the Washington consensus. The Washington Post published the Afghanistan papers last week. Two trillion dollars. 2,400 dead. Tens of thousands wounded. What's that? That's the inter-agency consensus in 18 years that betrayed our country. That's what betrayed our countries. With Brennan, that's what betrayed our country, not Donald Trump. Donald Trump has stood up. The reasons people cheer for him, it's their sons and daughters that have died in Afghanistan. It's their lives, their kids' lives being thrown away, and their tax dollars. And they understand that Donald Trump is fighting that. That's why we need a trial, a real trial and Senate with witnesses. So, before the world, Donald Trump could get his day in court.

Trish Regan: And you call them all. Disruption, right? It is the decade of disruption, and you're one of the main disruptors there, according to The Wall Street Journal. In fact, one of the most powerful people here in Washington, the power players. Can we see that? So, you're in some pretty significant company, there Mr. Bannon.

Steve Bannon: Well, I got the disrupt look on President Trump. As President Trump says, I'm his top student and that's where the top student got for being the top student. I got my slot.

Trish Regan: Well, listen, we appreciate you being here tonight for that.

Steve Bannon: Thank you for having me, Trish.

Trish Regan: Very interesting insight, as always, Steve Bannon. I do want to point out to everyone they can listen to you every day. You can tune into a syndicated radio show and podcast on iTunes, War Room: Impeachment. Well, that's aptly named. It airs seven days a week. Forgive me, I was thinking weekdays. Seven days a week, you're on the case.

Steve Bannon: Got to do it. Thank you so much for having me.


Obi-jonKenobi , 2 hours ago link

Speaking of Steve Bannon, here's what he had to say about Trump and conspiracy theories he (Bannon) cooked up to distract the rubes and yahoos. From a review of Michael Wolff's book, Siege: Trump Under Fire:

" . . . Wolff’s guide, the major-domo of Trump’s 2016 campaign who became a White House adviser until he wasn’t, enjoys tweaking his former boss. Bannon volunteers that he helped concoct the story that the Mueller investigation was the demon spawn of the “deep state”, and says there was never much substance to it.

As Wolff tells it, “among the nimblest conspiracy provocateurs of the Trump age, Bannon spelled out the … narrative in powerful detail”. But then Bannon’s voice pierces his own self-generated din: “You do realize … that none of this is true.” Allow that one to sink in.

Wolff also has Bannon calling the Trump Organization a criminal enterprise and predicting its downfall : “This is where it isn’t a witch-hunt – even for the hardcore, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy … Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.” Allow that to sink in, too.

Expect Bannon to be quoted by Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the eventual Democratic candidate. Also look for the Democratic National Committee to send chocolates to Bannon, once head of Breitbart and a partner in Cambridge Analytica, next Easter."

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/02/siege-review-michael-wolff-trump-fire-and-fury

Md4 , 2 hours ago link

Prog left power and ideology are what it’s all about:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/22/study-immigration-redistribute-26-congressional-seats-blue-states-2020-election/

And this is a primary use of that power when they get it:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/22/red-state-democrat-governors-approve-more-refugees-states/

Do we now see why removing them from all political power is existentially critical?

Idleproc , 3 hours ago link

Bannon is trying to save the now compromised and degenerated system throughout the West by reversing the trend line, the social basis for determining a self-reform is there but the opposing forces are those that manage real power.

[Dec 22, 2019] So US intelligence tipped off the DNC that their emails were about to be leaked to Wikileaks. That's when the stratagem of attributing the impending Wikileaks release to a Russian hack was born -- distracting from the incriminating content of the emails, while vilifying the Deep State's favorite enemies, Assange and Russia, all in one neat scam

Highly recommended!
Looks like Brennan ears are all over this false flag operation...
Dec 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Mark McCarty , 21 December 2019 at 02:34 PM

Here's a key point - on June 12, Assange announces that Wikileaks will soon be releasing info pertinent to Hillary. HE DOES NOT SAY THAT HE WILL BE RELEASING DNC EMAILS.

And yet, on June 14, Crowdstrike reports a Russian hack of the DNC servers - and a day later, Guccifer 2.0 emerges and proclaims himself to be the hacker, takes credit for the upcoming Wikileaks DNC releases, publishes the Trump oppo research which Crowdstrike claimed he had taken, and intentionally adds "Russian footprints" to his metadata.

So how did Crowdstrike and G2.0 know that DNC EMAILS would be released?

Because, as Larry postulates, the US intelligence community had intercepted communications between Seth Rich and Wikileaks in which Seth had offered the DNC emails (consistent with the report of Sy Hersh's source within the FBI).

So US intelligence tipped off the DNC that their emails were about to be leaked to Wikileaks.

That's when the stratagem of attributing the impending Wikileaks release to a Russian hack was born - distracting from the incriminating content of the emails, while vilifying the Deep State's favorite enemies, Assange and Russia, all in one neat scam.

[Dec 22, 2019] Ukraine games and the Democrats. There is much in this article I have not heard before. Many very specific and therefore potentially testable allegations.

Dec 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Dave , Dec 21 2019 23:43 utc | 28

Re: Ukraine games and the Democrats. There is much in this article I have not heard before. Many very specific and therefore potentially testable allegations.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/plundering-ukraine-corrupt-american-democrats

[Dec 22, 2019] Key House Dem Raskin urges Pelosi to stand her ground against a 'farce' Senate trial by Michael Isikoff

Isikoff is a part of conspiracy to depose Trump. and it shows.
OK. Let's assume that will drag the trial all the January. Then what ?
If we believe polls it is amazing how brainwashed US public is: to assume that marionette government has any say in what to do is the upper level of naivety: " Removing Trump from office (a step beyond impeachment) had the support of just under half (49 percent) of registered voters in the Yahoo News/YouGov poll . On the factual basis for the two articles of impeachment, 53 percent of registered voters said Trump abused his power in demanding help from Ukraine; only 40 percent said he did not. Fifty-one percent said the president obstructed Congress; again, only 40 percent said he did not."
Notable quotes:
"... Michael Isikoff was involved with Clinton and the Russian Dossier. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | news.yahoo.com

A House Democrat who played a key role in the impeachment of President Trump says the House should not "roll over" and quickly present the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial that would amount to a "farce."

"We're not going to participate in a process that makes a mockery out of the Constitution," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who presented the panel's case for impeachment to the House Rules Committee. Raskin has been widely mentioned as a candidate to be one of the House managers to prosecute the case in an impeachment trial in the Senate. "We are not gonna roll over and say, yeah, you can give us some drive-through justice with one afternoon where everything is dealt with on a motion to dismiss and no evidence is heard.

"My position is that, so long as they do not make the most minimal provisions for a fair trial, then we should not participate in a farce."

Although Raskin emphasized he was speaking for himself, his comments on the Yahoo News "Skullduggery" podcast illustrate the competing pressures House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under from her own caucus in the aftermath of the historic vote to impeach the president, which was supported by virtually all House Democrats -- and not a single Republican. Public opinion among registered voters shows a narrow (50-45) plurality favoring impeachment , according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.

After the passage of the two articles of impeachment on Wednesday evening -- one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress -- Pelosi has held off presenting them to the Senate, citing doubts that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will permit a "fair" trial. McConnell has said he will coordinate his efforts with the White House and has made up his mind not to vote for conviction. Removal of the president requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which Republicans control by a 53-47 margin.

Democrats led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are seeking testimony from key witnesses with firsthand knowledge of Trump's efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president to conduct investigations that could help him politically. Former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney are among those he has said he would like to call.

Pelosi's move -- as the House adjourned for a two-week holiday break on Thursday -- has created a new layer of uncertainty over when, or even if, the Senate will actually try the president. Republicans have already jumped over Pelosi's tactics, accusing her of political gamesmanship that undermines the solemnity with which Democrats presented the case against the president.

But Raskin, one of the House's more progressive members, says it is McConnell's own comments -- vowing to work with White House lawyers to ensure the acquittal of the president -- that have made a mockery of impeachment.

"To say that you're not going to look at the evidence or the facts would get you disqualified from every jury pool in the United States of America," Raskin said. "If you were in a voir dire and the judge said to you, 'Will you pay attention to the facts? Will you pay attention to the evidence? Will you pay attention to the law?' and you say, 'No. I've already made up my mind,' you would be dismissed immediately."

Bolton, Mulvaney and Pompeo were blocked from appearing before the House during its impeachment hearings by a White House claim that any conversations they had with the president were shielded by executive privilege. Trump's defenders say the House could have tried to compel their testimony by subpoena. But the certainty that White House lawyers would have fought those subpoenas all the way up to the Supreme Court would have put off action until well into next year, Raskin said.

"It just takes a very long time."

Raskin acknowledged that impeachment by its nature is both a judicial and political process -- and that Pelosi's maneuvering is intended at least in part to put public heat on McConnell to accede to the demand for witnesses.

"We want the country to put serious pressure on the Senate to conduct the trial with seriousness," Raskin said. "And the polls show, for example, on the question of witnesses, that even though I think only 51 percent or 52 percent of the people are declaring themselves right now in favor of impeachment and removal, like 70 percent of the people are saying, 'Yes, the president should make all witnesses available.'"

Removing Trump from office (a step beyond impeachment) had the support of just under half (49 percent) of registered voters in the Yahoo News/YouGov poll . On the factual basis for the two articles of impeachment, 53 percent of registered voters said Trump abused his power in demanding help from Ukraine; only 40 percent said he did not. Fifty-one percent said the president obstructed Congress; again, only 40 percent said he did not.

How effective Pelosi's strategy will be is far from clear. While President Trump is seeking a quick Senate trial in January so he can proclaim vindication as he runs for reelection, McConnell has suggested he is happy to forget the whole thing. "Do you think this is leverage, to not send us something we'd rather not do?" he said to reporters this week. And with those words, noted New York Times reporter Carl Hulse, the Senate majority leader " cracked a broad smile outside the Senate chamber in a departure from his usual dour expression."

yesterday

Michael Isikoff was involved with Clinton and the Russian Dossier. ThisSkullduggeryGroup is another TokyoRoseYellowJournalistic attempt at presenting propagandist commentaries as news articles.

Isekoff has replaced Marrissa Mayer at Yawho News that's all.

There are many fake posters on the message boards. They are not really fellow U.S.Citizens and can easily be recognized by their one line insults that have nothing to do with debate and only to do with creating a hostile environment between so called liberals and so called conservatives who I prefer to call U.S.Citizens. Our differences are not that far apart but there are Globalist, Anarchist, and other forces in this country and outside of this country that would love to see our country collapse and that we also discard our Constitution and our freedoms protected under that document.

Cass Sunstein

ObolaCzar proposed government 'infiltrate' social network sitesCassSunstein wants agents to 'undermine' talk in chat rooms, message boards.

Published: 01/12/2012 at 10:56 PM

Just prior to his appointment as President Obama's so-called regulatory czar,CassSunstein wrote a lengthy academic paper suggesting the government should "infiltrate" social network websites, chat rooms and message boards.Such "cognitive infiltration,"Sunstein argued, should be used to enforce a U.S. government ban on "conspiracy theorizing."

Major Obama donor and former Google executive Marissa Mayer will take the helm at Yahoo! as the company's new CEO Tuesday In May, Neilsen listed theYahooABC NewsNetwork as the leading news site on the Web in the U.S., makingMayer the head of the largest news site on the Web.

She is also a major donor to both PresidentBarackObama and the DemocraticParty.According to the Center for ResponsivePolitics; in April 2011Mayer donated two separate amounts of $2,500 dollars to Obama, and one large sum of $30,800 to the Democratic National committee.

Data from political data firm Aristotle, as reported by the HuffingtonPost, reveals that, in the second quarter of 2011,Mayer also contributed $35,800 to Obama Victory Fund 2012.

Asked whether Mayer's political leanings would not affect the editorial direction ofYahoo!, Yahoo nor Mayer returned The DC's request for comment by the time of publication. [Full Disclosure:TheDCandYahoo! have an editorial partnership.]

[Dec 22, 2019] Autopsy of the Minsk agreements

Notable quotes:
"... Are the security forces loyal to him to the extent that he could realistically counted on them to carry out a crackdown on the "Nazis"? ..."
"... I am sympathetic to a lot of what Putin has felt it necessary to do, but I must say, I don't buy the incessant use of the term "Ukronazi." Sounds propagandistic. ..."
"... What about the Ukrainian people? A large majority of them voted for some sort of reconciliation with the separatists and Russia. They did so twice: once for Zelenskii, and once again for his party. Does that count for nothing? ..."
"... I think the plan is to wait until Russia collapses from Western sanctions, and then invade Crimea and Donbass. They didn't give up on the territory by any means, which is why I don't think that any ceasefire in Donbass will hold. It is going to remain a slow-burning conflict, the regime will continue to complain about "Russian invasion" and international investors will continue to avoid the Ukraine. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

The recent Paris summit and the few days following the summit have brought a lot of clarity about the future of the Minsk Agreements. Short version: Kiev has officially rejected them (by rejecting both the sequence of steps and several crucial steps). For those interested, let's look a little further.

First, what just happened

First, here are the key excerpts from the Paris Conference and from statements made by "Ze" and his superior, Arsen Avakov right after their return to Kiev:

Paris Conference statement: source

The Minsk agreements (Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Minsk Package of Measures of 12 February 2015) continue to be the basis of the work of the Normandy format whose member states are committed to their full implementation ( ) The sides express interest in agreeing within the Normandy format (N4) and the Trilateral Contact Group on all the legal aspects of the Special Order of Local Self-Government – special status – of Certain Areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions – as outlined in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements from 2015 – in order to ensure its functioning on a permanent basis .They consider it necessary to incorporate the "Steinmeier formula" into the Ukrainian legislation, in accordance with the version agreed upon within the N4 and the Trilateral Contact Group.

President 'Ze' statement on Ukrainian TV: (unofficial, in-house, translation) source

" The most difficult question is the question of the transfer of the border control to Ukraine. It's very funny, because its our border and the transfer of the control to us. But, it's a weak sport, the Achilles' heel of the Minsk Agreement." "It's what was signed by us, unfortunately. We can discuss this for a very long time. Possibly, the conditions were as such." "But we signed that we will get the control over our border only after the elections on the temporarily occupied territories." "We dedicated a very long time to this question, we discussed it in details, we have a very different positions with the president of Russia ." "But this is the Minsk position, we have to understand this. I only like one thing, that we started talking about this. We agreed that we will continue talking about this in details and with the different variations during our next meeting." "This is also a victory, because we will have a meeting in four months."

Q. What do you think, is it possible to change the Minsk Agreement? source

" This will be very difficult to do, but we have to do it. We have to change it . First, we have to understand that it's been over four years since the Minsk Agreement was signed. Everything changes in our life. We have to understand that it wasn't my team that signed the Minsk Agreement, but we as a power have to fulfill the conditions that our power at the time agreed back then. But? I am sure that some things we will be able to change. We will be changing them." "Because the transfer of the Ukraine's border after our control only after the elections, – it's not our position. I said about this don't know how many times, but this is the final decision ."

Arsen Avakov's statement on Ukrainian TV: (unofficial, in-house, translation):

" The philosophy of the border control the part of the border that we don't have control over is 408 kilometers. It's not that easy to take it over, to equip it, even to get there across the enemy territories. It's a procedure. As a compromise, we offered the following scheme: we will start taking the border under our control stating with the New Year, little by little, reducing the length of the border that is not controlled by us, and a day before the local election we will close the border, we will close this bottleneck. And this way will get the control over the border. Why isn't this a good compromise? Considering, that at the same time according to the Steinmeier Formula, they have to disarm all the illegal armed formations of this pseudo-state DNR. This is how we see the compromise."

In other words, both the official President and real President of the Ukraine agree: the Ukraine will not implement the Minsk Agreements as written, made law by the UNSC and clarified by the so-called Steinmeier Formula.

Ukrainian propagandists on Russian TV (yes, Urkonazi and hardline nationalist propagandists do get air time on Russian TV on a daily basis – for an explanation why, see here and here ) went into damage control mode and explained it all away by saying " these are only words, what matters is what Zelenskii signed in Paris ". They are wrong. First of all, statements made in their official capacity by the President or the Minister of Internal Affairs do represent OFFICIAL policy statements. Second, this explanation completely overlooks the reason why Ze and Avakov said these things. That reason is very simple: Ze caved in to the Urkonazis, completely. He now uses EXACTLY the same rhetoric as Poroshenko did, in spite of the fact that the only reason he was elected is that he presented himself as the ultimate anti-Poroshenko. Now all we see is Poroshenko 2.0.

So in the behind-the-scenes (but very real) struggle between the Zionist camp (Kolomoiskii and Zelenskii) and the Urkonazi camp (Avakov and Poroshenko), the latter have successfully taken control of the former and now the chances for saving a unitary Ukraine are down to, maybe not quite zero, but to something like 0.0000001% (I leave that one under the heading "never say never" and because I have been wrong in the past).

So what happens next?

That is the interesting question. In theory, the Normandy Four will meet again in 4 months. But that assumes that some progress was made. Well, it is possible that in a few sections of the line of contact there will be an OSCE supervised withdrawal of forces. But, let's be honest here, the people have seen many, many such promised withdrawals, and they all turned out to be fake. Either the Ukronazis return to the neutral zone (claiming huge victories over the (sic) "Russian armed force"), or they resume bombing civilians, or they never even bother to change position. Any withdrawal is a good thing if it can save a single life! But no amount of withdrawals will settle anything in this conflict.

Second, there are A LOT of Ukrainian politicians who now say that the citizens of the LDNR have to "return" to Russia if they don't like the Urkonazi coup or its ideology. They either don't realize, or don't care, that there are very few Russian volunteers in Novorussia and that the vast majority of the men and women who compose the LDNR forces are locals. These locals, by the way, get the Ukie message loud and clear: you better get away while you can, because when we show up you will all be prosecuted for terrorism and aiding terrorists, that is ALSO something the Urkonazis like to repeat day after day. By the way, while in Banderastan all Russian TV channels are censored, and while they also try to censor the Russian language Internet, in Novorussia all the Ukrainian (and Russian) TV stations are freely available. So as soon as some Nazi freak comes out and says something crazy like "we will create filtration camps" (aka concentration camps) this news is instantly repeated all over Novorussia, which only strengthens the resolve of the people of the LDNR to fight to their death rather than accept a Nazi occupation..

I said it many times, Zelenskii's ONLY chance was to crackdown on the Nazis as soon as he was elected. He either did not have the courage to do so, or his U.S. bosses told him to leave them unmolested. Whatever the case may be, it's now over, we are back to square one.

The most likely scenario is a "slow freezing" of the conflict meaning now that Kiev has officially and overtly rejected the Minsk Agreements, there will be some minor, pretend-negotiations, maybe, but that fundamentally the conflict will be frozen.

That will be the last nail in the coffin of the pro-EU, pro-NATO so-called "Independent Ukraine", since the most important condition to try to salvage the Ukrainian economy, namely peace, is now gone. Furthermore, the political climate in the Ukraine will further deteriorate (the hated Nazi minority + an even worse economic crisis are a perfect recipe for disaster).

For the Novorussians, it's now clear: the rump-Ukraine* does not want them, nor will Kiev ever agree to the Minsk Agreement. That means that the LDNR will separate from the rump-Ukraine and, on time, rejoin Russia. Good bye Banderites and Urkonazis!

The rump-Ukraine will eventually break-up further: Crimea truly was the "jewel of the Black Sea" and its future appears to be extremely bright while the Donbass was the biggest source of raw materials, energy, industry, high-tech, etc. etc. etc.). What is left of the Ukraine is either poor and under-developed (the West) or needs to reopen economic ties with Russia (the South).

Besides, Zelenskii and his party are now trying to rush a new law through the Rada which will allow the sale of Ukrainian land to private interests (aka foreign interests + a local frontman). As a result, there is now a new "maidan" brewing, pitting Iulia Timoshenko and other nationalist leaders against Zelenskii and his party. This could become a major crisis very fast, especially now that is appears that Zelenskii will also renege on this promise to call for a national referendum on the issue of the sale/privatization of land .

As for the Russians, they already realize that Ze is a joke, unsurprisingly so since he is a comic by trade, and that the Ukrainians are "not agreement capable". They will treat him like they did Poroshenko in the last years: completely ignore him and not even take his telephone calls. Right now, there is just a tiny bit of good will left in Moscow, but it is drying up so fast that it will soon totally disappear. Besides, the Russians really don't care that much anymore: the sanctions turned out to be a blessing, time is on Russia's side, the Ukronazis are destroying their own state and, finally, the important stuff for Russia is happening in Asia, not the West.

The Europeans will take a long time to come to terms with two simple facts:

Russia was never a party to this conflict (if she had, it would have been over long ago). The Ukronazis are the ones who won't implement the Minsk Agreements

This means that the politicians who were behind the EU's backing of the Euromaidan (Merkel) will have to go before their successors can say that, oops, we got our colors confused, and white is actually black and black turned out to be white. That's okay, politicians are pretty good at that. The honeymoon between Kiev and Warsaw on the one hand and Berlin on the other will soon end as bad times are ahead.

Macron looks much better, and he will probably pursue his efforts to restore semi-normal relations with Russia, for France's sake first, but also eventually the rest of the EU. The Poles and the Balts will accuse him of "treason" and he will just ignore them.

As for Trump, he will most likely make small steps towards Russia, but most of his energy will be directed either inwards (impeachment) or outwards (Israel), but not towards the Ukrainian conflict. Good.

Conclusion

It's over. Crimea and the Donbass are gone forever, the first is de jure , the latter merely de facto . The rump-Ukraine is completely unconformable (barring some kind of coup followed by a government of national unity supported Moscow – I consider this hypothesis as highly unlikely).

If you live in the West, don't expect your national media to report on any of this. They will be the LAST ones to actually admit it (journos have a longer shelf life than politicians, it is harder for them to make a 180).

PS: to get a feeling for the kind of silly stunts the "Ze team" is now busying itself with, just check this one: they actually tried to falsify the Ukrainian version of the Paris Communique. For details, see Scott's report here: https://thesaker.is/kiev-attempted-to-change-the-letter-and-meaning-of-paris-summit-communique/ . If the Ukraine was a Kindergarten, then "Ze" would be a perfect classroom teacher or visiting entertainer. But for a country fighting for its survival, such stunts are a very, very bad sign indeed!

(*rump-Ukraine: In broad terms, a "rump" state is what remains of a state when a portion is carved away. Expanding on the "butcher" metaphor, the rump is what is left when the higher-value cuts such as rib roast and loin have been removed.)


Oscar Peterson , says: December 18, 2019 at 7:55 pm GMT

I said it many times, Zelenskii's ONLY chance was to crackdown on the Nazis as soon as he was elected. He either did not have the courage to do so, or his U.S. bosses told him to leave them unmolested.

Are the security forces loyal to him to the extent that he could realistically counted on them to carry out a crackdown on the "Nazis"?

For the Novorussians, it's now clear: the rump-Ukraine* does not want them, nor will Kiev ever agree to the Minsk Agreement.

So what is the Ukrainian thinking here -- that they are better off simply cutting bait on the east and letting Russia deal with the headache of the Donbass's antiquated infrastructure? And that a truncated Ukraine would at least be mostly free of internal pro-Russian sentiment?

I am sympathetic to a lot of what Putin has felt it necessary to do, but I must say, I don't buy the incessant use of the term "Ukronazi." Sounds propagandistic.

bob sykes , says: December 18, 2019 at 11:48 pm GMT
What about the Ukrainian people? A large majority of them voted for some sort of reconciliation with the separatists and Russia. They did so twice: once for Zelenskii, and once again for his party. Does that count for nothing?
Felix Keverich , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:51 am GMT
@Oscar Peterson

So what is the Ukrainian thinking here

I think the plan is to wait until Russia collapses from Western sanctions, and then invade Crimea and Donbass. They didn't give up on the territory by any means, which is why I don't think that any ceasefire in Donbass will hold. It is going to remain a slow-burning conflict, the regime will continue to complain about "Russian invasion" and international investors will continue to avoid the Ukraine.

Anonymous [176] Disclaimer , says: December 19, 2019 at 1:21 am GMT
"Russia collapses from Western sanctions" If that is the plan, then Russia has already won. And, of course, she has.
vot tak , says: December 19, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
"That reason is very simple: Ze caved in to the Ukronazis, completely. He now uses EXACTLY the same rhetoric as Poroshenko did, in spite of the fact that the only reason he was elected is that he presented himself as the ultimate anti-Poroshenko. Now all we see is Poroshenko 2.0."

This is interesting. It implies z actually meant what he said in order to gain votes to get elected. In fact, he is very similar to trump in this respect. Lied about desiring an end to the conflict (conflicts in the case of trump), but once in office continued the aggressive policies (and expanded them in the case of trump). Actually, if one considers poroshenko as the ukraine version of obama/clinton and zelinsky as trump, it looks like the ukrainian regime is following in the footsteps of the american regime.

Tsar Nicholas , says: December 21, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT
It's not just Minsk that has been abandoned by the Kiev junta. Kiev itself has been abandoned by the EU, which now looks to Nordstream-2 for its energy supplies from Russia, thus bypassing the thieves in Ukraine. Even sanctions from the Supreme Sanctioner in DC is not going to persuade the Germans to shiver in the winter.

[Dec 22, 2019] Warren, AOL, Pelosi and the Kabuki theater of Trump impeachment

Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 11:03 am

Where is AOC in all this? She was the prime mover on impeachment, specifically impeachment over a phone call rather than concentration camps and genocide.

And now with impeachment she gave Pelosi cover to sell the country out again.

I was wondering why many libreral centrists were expreasing admiration for her, a socialist. Maybe they recognized something?

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm

"Prime mover"? What planet are you from? They were Schiff, Nadler, and Pelosi. Did you miss that Russiagate was in motion while AOC was still tending bar? AOC isn't even on any of the key committees (Judiciary and Intel).

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm

I shouldn't have said THE prime mover, but ONE OF the prime movers in the House in actually pushing it over the line against Pelosi's opposition. It seems like the House Dem consensus ever since Russiagate was just to tease their base with it and milk the suspense for all it was worth, until AOC, among others, rallied the base.

AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May. In September, she tweeted, " At this point, the bigger national scandal isn't the president's lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party's refusal to impeach him for it​. " "Lawbreaking behavior" is nice and vague, but in this case it seems like she is talking about the Ukraine phone call.

There were other reps who pushed for impeachment, but AOC has one of the biggest platforms and crucially, expanded popular support for impeachment outside the MSNBC crowd. So yes, a key figure in the political/PR effort to move from conspiracy theories to actual impeachment.

Geo , December 21, 2019 at 6:09 pm

"AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May."

Liz Warren is the one who made it a part of her campaign before anyone else. Rashida Tlaib was the one who made t-shirt with her "impeach the mf'er" quote on it. A lot of them were "blasting" Pelosi for dithering. AOC also "blasted" her for giving ICE more money and a lot of their things .

Your central focus on AOC for the impeachment fiasco while ignoring her active role in spotlighting so many other issues of importance which no one else speaks about is interesting. Did you catch any of her speaking at the Sanders rally in LA today? Any other "high profile" Dems pushing such important issues and campaigns?

Carey , December 21, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for this comment. I don't trust *any of them* except Sanders, but AOC has been making more good noises than bad, and to claim that it was she who's been driving Pelosi to impeachment is quite a stretch. Poor, helpless/hapless Rep. Pelosi sure.

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Pelosi has repeatedly stared down the progressives in the House. The overwhelming majority of the freshmen reps are what used to be called Blue Dogs, as in corporate Dems. AOC making noise on this issue would not move Pelosi any more than it has on other issues.

IMHO Pelosi didn't try to tamp down Russiagate, and that created expectations that Something Big would happen. Plus she lives in the California/blue cities bubble.

What Dem donors think matters to her way more than what AOC tweets about. If anything, Pelosi (secondarily, I sincerely doubt this would be a big issue in her calculus) would view impeachment as a way to reduce the attention recently given to progressive issues like single payer and student debt forgiveness.

[Dec 22, 2019] A Decade of Liberal Delusion and Failure The New Republic

Notable quotes:
"... The problem with an unseen stimulus is that no one thinks it's helping them. Obama provided tax relief for nearly every working American, but instead of sending citizens a check, as George W. Bush had done, his economists decided to structure it as a payroll tax cut, subtly increasing the size of everyone's paycheck. The administration then intentionally did not advertise the fact that it had given nearly every working American a tax cut , in the hopes that people would be nudged into spending, rather than saving, that extra cash. Predictably, in 2010, one poll showed that only 12 percent of Americans believed they'd received a tax cut; 24 percent thought Obama had raised their taxes. ..."
"... A program that was supposed to help underwater homeowners turned down 70 percent of those applying for permanent loan modifications , even as over six million families lost their homes. The point of the program was never actually to help people stay in their homes, of course; it was to preserve the finance industry by spacing out foreclosures. In the end, it achieved its aim: The banks today are as profitable as ever, while more households are renting than in 50 years . ..."
"... The individual mandate, similarly designed to force the healthiest young invincibles to enter the market to bring down costs, is equally dead. And a decade into the ACA, it has become more apparent than ever that the best way to reduce America's absurd health care costs would simply be a single-payer program. ..."
"... The political scientist Suzanne Mettler coined the term "the submerged state" in 2010 to refer to the jungle of hidden government "programs" designed not to call attention to themselves, often perpetuated not because they are still helping the neediest, but because they are lucrative to the finance, insurance, and/or real estate industries. ..."
Dec 20, 2019 | newrepublic.com
Welcome to The Decade From Hell , our look back at an arbitrary 10-year period that began with a great outpouring of hope and ended in a cavalcade of despair.

As 2009 ended, the editors of this magazine at the time took their measure of the first year of Barack Obama's presidency and declared it, with some reservations, a modest success. "All of this might not exactly place him in the pantheon next to Franklin Roosevelt," they said of his major domestic achievements (the stimulus package, primarily, as the Affordable Care Act had not yet been signed). "But it's not a bad start, given all the constraints of the political system (and global order) in which he works."

That was the broad consensus of American liberals at the time, ranging from nearly the most progressive to nearly the most neoliberal. Over the ensuing years, that consensus would crack and eventually shatter under the weight of one disappointment after another. The story of American politics over the past decade is that of a political party on the cusp of enduring power and world-historical social reform, and how these once imaginable outcomes were methodically squandered.

The bulk of that unsigned New Republic editorial in 2009 was dedicated to Obama's foreign policy, specifically the question of whether he was waging enough war. The conclusion: He was. The editors praised "the escalation of the war in Afghanistan" as "the most consequential action of the first year of his presidency," even though it

offended the base of his party and possibly injured his future political prospects. On strategic grounds, we believe he made the right choice. But the thoroughness and logic of the process by which he arrived at this decision double our confidence in that choice. The is exactly the type of pragmatism and non-ideological policymaking that sentient humans have craved after the Bush years.

(Sure, escalate the endless wars -- but for God's sake, please do it non-ideologically .)

In December of this year, The Washington Post obtained thousands of pages of documents from a government oversight project called "Lessons Learned," which included interviews with more than 600 people involved in the war in Afghanistan at some point over its 18-year history. An interview with a National Security Council official described, according to the Post , "constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working, despite hard evidence to the contrary." Nearly every piece of data used over the last decade to try to convince Americans that the war was going well, or even going according to any sort of coherent logic or reason, was phony or meaningless.

"I don't want to be going to Walter Reed for another eight years," Obama reportedly said in 2009 , as he struggled with the decision to escalate the war. The president and his closest advisers were determined to avoid the mistakes of Vietnam. Since then, overwhelmed by billions in U.S. "aid," the country has sunk into kleptocracy. Last year, according to the United Nations, was the single deadliest year of the war for Afghan civilians. Today, around 13,000 American service members remain in Afghanistan. The Trump administration is attempting to negotiate a peace with the Taliban that would leave it in charge of the country, just as it was prior to America's invasion. The war in Afghanistan may finally end, but not before the close of this decade that began with that oh-so-carefully considered decision to escalate it.


"We Are All Socialists Now," Newsweek declared on its cover in early 2009, when it was still part of the prestige press (it is currently run by a different sort of cult ). Editor Jon Meacham, evincing the usual historical and political amnesia of airport bookstore historians, justified the claim by writing that "for the foreseeable future Americans will be more engaged with questions about how to manage a mixed economy than about whether we should have one." A mixed economy run according to Keynesian principles was, you may recall from reading slightly more rigorous historians, the primary alternative to socialism on offer in the West throughout the twentieth century. The stimulus had been large (if not large enough ), but with $288 billion of it dedicated to tax credits and incentives for individuals and businesses, it scarcely resembled socialism. Indeed, rather than giving Americans a greater hand in managing the economy, much of it was designed to be almost invisible. This was intentional. In the May 6, 2009, issue of The New Republic , Franklin Foer and Noam Scheiber described Obama's "Nudge-ocracy," a belief, inspired by behavioral economics, that the best way for the government to create good outcomes for the people was not through "heavy-handed market interventions" but via technocratic attempts to change the behavior of individuals and the incentives of market actors.

The problem with an unseen stimulus is that no one thinks it's helping them. Obama provided tax relief for nearly every working American, but instead of sending citizens a check, as George W. Bush had done, his economists decided to structure it as a payroll tax cut, subtly increasing the size of everyone's paycheck. The administration then intentionally did not advertise the fact that it had given nearly every working American a tax cut , in the hopes that people would be nudged into spending, rather than saving, that extra cash. Predictably, in 2010, one poll showed that only 12 percent of Americans believed they'd received a tax cut; 24 percent thought Obama had raised their taxes.

The flaw in this strategy was apparent to another author at this magazine. In late 2009, John B. Judis foresaw a presidency in serious political trouble, because Obama's fortunes were tied not just to the state of the economy, or even economic trends, but to people's perceptions of the state of the economy. Noting how Roosevelt "dramatized the New Deal's contribution to the economy" by creating "colorful new agencies," thereby "ensuring that Roosevelt was given credit for the rise in employment," Judis called on Obama to "introduce programs that provide jobs and capture the public's imagination." He also suggested the president

turn a deaf ear to those who are calling for fiscal responsibility. He should keep pouring money into jobs and into the pockets of people who will spend until the unemployment rate begins going down and wages begin going up.... And, whatever he does to try to mend the economy, Obama should never stop loudly trumpeting his efforts -- so that he is able to reap the credit when improvements occur.

Roosevelt liked to wrestle his enemies in public, and Team Obama preferred to be above it all.

What Judis didn't consider, though, was that Obama didn't want to do any of those things. The president, along with economists who worked for him such as Austan Goolsbee and Tim Geithner, all pointedly rejected comparisons to Roosevelt , based in part on a seemingly inaccurate understanding of the history of his first term but also seemingly based on aesthetics: Roosevelt liked to wrestle his enemies in public, and Team Obama preferred to be above it all. It's hard to remember now how wise everyone made it sound that the president and his team intentionally avoided doing things they worried would be too popular, but there would not be another New Deal. Indeed, instead of ostentatious acts of helping people, the administration almost preferred being seen standing athwart attempts to provide relief. A program that was supposed to help underwater homeowners turned down 70 percent of those applying for permanent loan modifications , even as over six million families lost their homes. The point of the program was never actually to help people stay in their homes, of course; it was to preserve the finance industry by spacing out foreclosures. In the end, it achieved its aim: The banks today are as profitable as ever, while more households are renting than in 50 years .

By far the most effective part of the Affordable Care Act, in terms of helping Americans get care, was simply expanding Medicaid. But what many Democrats and liberals were most excited about was the bill's many experimental and technocratic attempts to "bend the cost curve" -- reduce costs without price controls -- and "improve quality," mainly by encouraging insurers, with incentives, to strive for outcomes that market forces alone weren't incentivizing them to aim for. The signature example of this may be the "Cadillac tax," which was designed to nudge companies to force employees onto cheaper insurance plans with greater cost sharing -- a tax built on the belief that one of the primary drivers of health care cost inflation was people taking advantage of their too-generous employers and greedily consuming more health care than they needed. The tax never went into effect.

The individual mandate, similarly designed to force the healthiest young invincibles to enter the market to bring down costs, is equally dead. And a decade into the ACA, it has become more apparent than ever that the best way to reduce America's absurd health care costs would simply be a single-payer program.

That is not to say that the ACA did not end up having the significant long-term political ramifications its drafters promised it would. The primary non-Medicaid structure of the ACA, with its means-tested subsidies to purchase private insurance, had the predictable effect of convincing some of its beneficiaries that Obama and the Democratic Party had nothing to do with the government assistance they weren't sure they were getting. Then, as costs rose and rose over the decade, that structure also had the predictable effect of making people who receive partially subsidized private care resentful of those poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

Much of the decade we have just endured has shown how the Democratic addiction to dispensing benefits through the tax code in complicated, indirect ways -- combined with the usual insufficiency of these benefits -- was nearly perfectly designed to foment mass resentment of others, imagined or not, who might secretly be getting the Good Benefits.

The political scientist Suzanne Mettler coined the term "the submerged state" in 2010 to refer to the jungle of hidden government "programs" designed not to call attention to themselves, often perpetuated not because they are still helping the neediest, but because they are lucrative to the finance, insurance, and/or real estate industries.

One of her illustrations of the effect of the submerged state is a graph showing how many people who used particular government programs admitted so only after first telling researchers they'd received no assistance. That nearly 40 percent of people on Medicare claimed this is likely attributable to ideology (and the fact that Medicare, like Social Security, was designed to make retirees feel like they had "paid into it").

But when 60 percent of people who used tax-advantaged higher education savings accounts claim they received no government benefits, as they did in Mettler's study, it's probably because tax-advantaged savings accounts are wholly inadequate to the problem of higher education costs. Now combine this with a persistent belief (memorably described by Ashley C. Ford a few years ago) that minorities -- black kids in particular -- get to go to college for free by default, and stir in the rise of tuition costs and other expenses due to cutbacks in state investment in education. The result of this cocktail of ignorant biases and inadequate solutions might look something like the year 2019.

[Dec 22, 2019] We Live In Hysteric Times What Trump's Impeachment Really Means by James George Jatras

Uneven, but pretty biting satire...
Notable quotes:
"... It is noteworthy that not a single House Republican dared or even cared to question Schiff's framing of the issue, which was bolstered by witnesses from the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic establishment, including Trump's appointees. ..."
"... Nor is any Republican Senator likely to point out the inconvenient truth that we have no defense treaty with Ukraine, which thus is not really our "ally." ..."
"... The sole retort from Trump's establishment defenders : He released the aid to Ukraine, including the Javelin missiles Obama denied them! He's every bit the warmonger you want him to be! So there! ..."
"... Senate Demaggotic Leader Chuck Schumer gave the game away when he demanded that the World Greatest Deliberative Body receive testimony from cashiered National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney but not from the man at the center of the whole Ukraine "drug deal" (as Bolton described it): Rudy Giuliani. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"America is a corpse being consumed by maggots. Liberals are rooting for the maggots. Conservatives are rooting for the corpse."

- @Vendee_Rising

For a century and a half American political life has been the exclusive preserve of the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans, also known as the Evil Party and the Stupid Party . (If something is both Evil and Stupid, we call that "Bipartisan.") But the familiar Evil-Stupid dichotomy doesn't even begin to describe the descent into national dysfunction and galloping irrationality that characterizes the Trump impeachment hysteria.

Media chatter now centers on the nuts-and-bolts questions of "what's next?" Will House Speaker Nancy Pelosi send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate? (Yes. Even one of the legal "scholars" enrolled in the impeachment lynch mob avers that Trump isn't actually impeached until the Senate receives the articles .) Who will be the trial managers? (Who cares.) Will there be a "real trial," with witnesses? (It hardly matters.) Will Trump be removed? (Unlikely unless some bolt from the blue flips 20 GOP Senators.) Will impeachment be the Democrats' albatross going into November 2020? (Most polls show independents are turned off, but there's still almost a year to go.)

None of these questions, which are meaningful only in a mental universe of the Evils and the Stupids shadowboxing over a partisan allocation of political spoils, touch upon the grim – and occasionally sardonic – symptoms of America's seemingly unstoppable terminal slide.

With Trump's impeachment it's time to say goodbye to yesteryear's Team Evil and Team Stupid. Say hello in 2020 to Team Maggot and Team Corpse!

Even though Trump has not turned out to be the transformative and restorative president that many of his supporters might have hoped for, he certainly will be (assuming he survives impeachment, which he probably will) the lesser of evils in November 2020 compared to whoever ends up as the Maggot Party nominee. Worse from his opponents' point of view, he remains a toxic avatar of the old America they thought would be well and truly laid to rest for ever and ever, amen, when Hillary Clinton came into her kingdom. That having misfired in 2016, partisans of that legacy America's marginalization, displacement, and eventual extinction can't breathe easy while Trump remains in office lest he, however unlikely in view of his failures of performance, serve as a catalyst for revival of the historic American nation facing loss of its birthright : an organic, uncontrived, living ethnos characterized by European, mainly British origin (a/k/a, "white"); Christian, mainly Protestant; and English-speaking, as augmented by members of other groups who have totally or partially assimilated to it. The certified victim classes standing on the threshold of the permanent, total power that eluded them three years ago are haunted by the knowledge that there's still lots of them Muricans in red MAGA hats rallying to Trump out there in Flyover Country .

In short, Democrats hate Trump not so much for what he's done (which, contrary to what his passionate supporters think based on his Tweets, isn't much) but as an expression of an amorphous dread that by some mysterious populist alchemy he might still breathe life back into the Corpse Party's deplorable base.

With that in mind, here are a few things to note as we cruise on into Bizarro World :

" What do you mean 'we,' white man? "

As the impeachment spectacle unfolded in the House, one could not fail to be touched by the hushed, heartfelt reverence with which Democrat after Democrat cited the sage words of the Founding Fathers: Madison especially, but also Jefferson and Washington. No doubt they can hardly wait for this spectacle to be over so they can go back to denouncing the Founders as dead, racist, Christian, patriarchal, " Anglo ," and (presumably) heterosexual slaveholders in wigs and knee-breeches whose memory should be expunged from the historical record . It's instructive to glance at the members of the House Judiciary Committee who – solemnly, reluctantly, and prayerfully, they assure us! – voted out articles of impeachment in the name of "the American people." But which "people" might that be? Of the 23 Democrats who voted, only four even arguably fit the heritage American, male profile of the Founding Fathers. The " gender balance " (as it's ungrammatically called nowadays) on the voting majority side of the Committee is 12-11. That's not quite up to Barack Obama's exhortation that "every nation on earth" should be "run by women ," but it's progress in that direction! (Just imagine how much more serene the world would be if all countries were ruled by peaceniks like Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Condi Rice, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Michèle Flournoy, Evelyn Farkas, etc., plus a bevy of Deep State Democrats now installed in Congress .) By contrast, the 17 Republicans on the Committee have approximately the same demographic composition they'd have had in 1950 – and aside from the inclusion of two women, that of the First Congress seated in 1789.

In short, in the Congressional Maggot Caucus the approaching Dictatorship of Victims defined by race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, religion, migratory status, etc., is already becoming a reality, and they voted to get rid of Trump. Members of the Corpse Caucus defending him still belong demographically and morally to the declining legacy America, though they'd never, ever admit it. Impeachment is thus more than just the latest iteration of the years-long anti-constitutional coup to overturn a presidential election, though it is that too . Even more fundamentally, it's a coup against the people whose identity, traditions, and values the Constitution was intended to ensure for themselves and their posterity.

Foreign interference in our deMOCKracy.

Even more absurd than Democrats' presumption in lip-synching the venerable principles of an American constitutional tradition they despise almost as much as they loathe the ethnos that ordained and established it is their feigned horror – horror! – that Trump's phone chat with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky realized the Founders' worst fears of foreign influence over American domestic politics. Leaving aside the fact that Ukraine under Zelensky's predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, did try to queer the 2016 election in favor of Hillary, and that Hunter and Joe Biden are crooks, the Maggoteers' ability to maintain a straight face of shocked indignation smack in the middle of a souk, a flea market, a bazaar where both domestic and foreign interests buy, sell, and trade favors like vintage baseball cards is nothing less than heroic.

While the bipartisan leadership has not yet taken up the helpful suggestion that barcodes be affixed to legislators' foreheads so that interested persons and organizations can conveniently scan prices and self-checkout , they have provided a helpful guide to what are called " Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs )," also called coalitions, study groups, task forces, or working groups. Memberships in many but not all CMOs serve as virtual barcodes for potential (mostly legal) campaign donors, including, in the case of "friends of" this or that foreign country, contributions from ethnic compatriots who are US citizens, or at least are supposed to be. Here's a partial selection:

Argentina Caucus, Armenian Issues Caucus, Azerbaijan Caucus, Bangladesh Caucus, Bosnia Caucus, Brazil Caucus, Cambodia Caucus, Central America Caucus, Colombia Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Bulgaria, Croatian Caucus, Czech Caucus, Ethiopian-American Caucus, Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka, EU Caucus, Friends of Australia Caucus, Friends of Denmark Caucus, Friends of Egypt Caucus, Friends of Finland Caucus, Friends of Ireland Caucus, Friends of Liechtenstein Caucus, Friends of New Zealand Caucus, Friends of Norway Caucus, Friends of Scotland Caucus, Friends of Spain Caucus, Friends of Sweden Caucus, Friends of the Dominican Republic Caucus, Friends of Wales Caucus, Georgia Caucus, Hellenic Caucus, Hellenic Israel Alliance Caucus, House Baltic Caucus, Hungarian Caucus, India and Indian Americans Caucus, Iraq Caucus, Israel Allies Caucus, Israel Victory Caucus, Kingdom of Netherlands Caucus, Korea Caucus, Kyrgyzstan Caucus, Macedonia and Macedonian-American Caucus, Moldova Caucus, Mongolia Caucus, Montenegro Caucus, Morocco Caucus, Nigeria Caucus, Pakistan Caucus, Peru Caucus, Poland Caucus, Portuguese Caucus, Qatari-American Strategic Relationships Caucus, Republican Israel Caucus, Romania Caucus, Serbian Caucus, Slovak Caucus, Sri Lanka Caucus, Taiwan Caucus, UK Caucus, Ukraine Caucus, U.S.-Bermuda Friendship Caucus, U.S.-China Working Group, U.S.-Japan Caucus, U.S.-Kazakhstan Caucus, U.S.-Lebanon Friendship Caucus, U.S.-Philippines Friendship Caucus, U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish American, Uzbekistan Caucus, Venezuela Democracy Caucus

Recalling Your Working Boy 's years at the State Department – where there still exists no "American Interests Section" – the reader can search the above in vain for anything that looks remotely like "Friends of the United States of America."

Russia! Russia! Russia!

In fact, the Democrats' core impeachment narrative – Russia bad, Ukraine good – is itself an example to which American policy is in the grip of foreign antipathies and attachments against which the Father of Our Country warned us in his 1796 farewell address :

"[N]othing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."

In his closing statement before the impeachment vote House Judiciary Chairmaggot Adam "Captain Ahab" Schiff , in his frenzied hunt for the Great Orange Whale , provided a textbook example of what Washington feared:

"[W]e should care about our allies. We should care about Ukraine. We should care about a country struggling to be free and a Democracy. We used to care about Democracy. We used to care about our allies. We used to stand up to Putin and Russia. We used to. I know the party of Ronald Reagan used to. 'Why should we care about Ukraine?' But of course it's about more than Ukraine. It's about us. It's about our national security. Their fight is our fight. Their defense is our defense. When Russia remakes the map of Europe for the first time since World War II by dint of military force [ JGJ : Well, there was Kosovo, but never mind ] and Ukraine fights back, it is our fight too."

Indeed, one wonders how hysterical Democrats missed accusing Trump outright of treason , which actually is specified as grounds for impeachment in Article II, Section 4 . After all, as described by Schiff, didn't Trump's actions constitute (under Article III, Section 3 ) "adhering" to our evil enemies the Russians, and "giving them aid and comfort"? It's an open and shut case of a capital crime – and the House Majority Whip is ready to get the rope ! (Really, how did the Democrats miss this? Maybe GOP stupidity has migrated to the other side of the aisle )

It is noteworthy that not a single House Republican dared or even cared to question Schiff's framing of the issue, which was bolstered by witnesses from the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic establishment, including Trump's appointees.

Nor is any Republican Senator likely to point out the inconvenient truth that we have no defense treaty with Ukraine, which thus is not really our "ally." Partisanship is the variable; Russophobia is the constant. The sole retort from Trump's establishment defenders : He released the aid to Ukraine, including the Javelin missiles Obama denied them! He's every bit the warmonger you want him to be! So there!

Thus, even with Trump's almost (at this point) certain survival of a Senate impeachment trial, the relevant foreign inveterate antipathies and passionate attachments will remain entrenched. (Not just in the case of Ukraine/Russia but with respect to the rest of the world our habitual hatreds and fondnesses remain firmly in place and are unlikely to change for the balance of Trump's presidency, if ever. Trump's Korea initiative is on life support. Israel/Iran is a flashpoint that could explode at any time : "Israel, even less than the US, cannot take casualties. A couple of bull's eyes, a lot of Israelis go back to Brooklyn. The 82 million people in Iran have no place else to go.")

Senate Demaggotic Leader Chuck Schumer gave the game away when he demanded that the World Greatest Deliberative Body receive testimony from cashiered National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney but not from the man at the center of the whole Ukraine "drug deal" (as Bolton described it): Rudy Giuliani. Why wouldn't the assembled Maggotrats jump at the chance to grill him under oath? Because he'd dole out the real dirt on Ukraine and its legendary corruption that would make a Nigerian prince blush. For the same reason, Corpsublicans won't want to hear from him either, any more than they're interested in whether the "sub-sources" of the Steele Dossier – whose identity the US Justice Department knows and who were available to the IG's investigators – really had anything to do with the Russian government . We wouldn't want to debunk all that yammering about " fake Kremlin dirt ," would we.

Meanwhile, back in what remains of America, regardless of how impeachment turns out, the lines of irreconcilable division deepen . Whether or not Trump is reelected (the politics look good for him, the demographics don't ) he will eventually be gone, whether in 2020, 2021, or 2025. He will almost certainly be the last Republican president, depending on when Texas goes the way of Virginia . One way or the other, we'll soon see whether the corpse has any fight left in it .

[Dec 22, 2019] Dirty Nancy

Dec 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock said in reply to vig... , 21 December 2019 at 11:53 AM

If there was anyone who should have been impeached, it was George Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and George Tenet, who was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, for assisting Cheney in the Iraq WMD lies.

But...what did Nancy say then?

Nancy Pelosi: I Knew Bush Jr Was Lying About WMD To Start War, But Didn't See It As Impeachable

https://newspunch.com/nancy-pelosi-knew-bush-jr-lying-about-wmd-war-didnt-see-it-impeachable/

[Dec 22, 2019] The idea to delay Senate trial is too clever by half: Withholding the articles would allow the Senate to evade its constitutional duty

Pelosi procrastination means that the earliest plausible starting time for Donald Trump's Senate trial would be the second half of January.
Dec 22, 2019 | newrepublic.com

But there are multiple reasons not to delay a Senate trial past that window. The most common argument in favor of this tactic is that it would give Democrats some sort of leverage as the process moves beyond their control. "As a tactical matter, it could strengthen Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer's (D-N.Y.) hand in bargaining over trial rules with McConnell because of McConnell's and Trump's urgent desire to get this whole business behind them," Tribe argued earlier this week. House Democratic leaders have made similar suggestions in recent days.

The last three years suggest that the majority leader would be more than happy to keep running the Senate as a judicial-confirmation factory and a legislative graveyard.

This is unpersuasive for two reasons. First, it assumes that McConnell actually wants the Senate to hold an impeachment trial for Trump. The last three years suggest that the majority leader would be more than happy to keep running the Senate as a judicial-confirmation factory and a legislative graveyard. It's doubtful that any other Republican senators are thrilled about the prospect of acting as the president's jurors, either. Given the choice between holding a trial that could force vulnerable members of his caucus to make uncomfortable votes and not holding a trial at all, it seems more likely that McConnell would choose the latter. Second, it assumes that Trump also wants to, in Tribe's words, "get this whole business behind [him]." There's a certain logic to the proposition that Trump is eager to tell his supporters that he was acquitted in a Senate trial. But I doubt that eagerness outweighs his desire not to undermine his own case in said trial. After all, if Mulvaney or Bolton could give testimony that would exculpate Trump in the Ukraine scandal, the president would have frog-marched them to the House Intelligence Committee himself last month. (The idea that Trump truly cares about the separation of powers, as his lawyers argued when blocking those witnesses from testifying, is contradicted by the rest of his presidency.)

The other half of Tribe's argument is also unconvincing. In making the case for withholding the articles, he argues that it would vindicate higher civic and democratic ideals. "On a substantive level, [the House] would be justified to withhold going forward with a Senate trial," Tribe wrote. "Under the current circumstances, such a proceeding would fail to render a meaningful verdict of acquittal. It would also fail to inform the public, which has the right to know the truth about the conduct of its president."

[Dec 22, 2019] Nancy Pelosi's vineyard makes her fourth-richest Californian in congress.

Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Danny , December 21, 2019 at 9:38 pm

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-richest-nancy-pelosi-vineyard-story.html

Nancy Pelosi's vineyard makes her fourth-richest Californian in congress.

And, it's a tax avoidance scam on top of that

[Dec 22, 2019] Right now, it's Schrodinger's impeachment

Notable quotes:
"... My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden. ..."
"... Amfortas the hippie , December 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm ..."
"... that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries. When's super tuesday, again? surely they can engineer it so that their "high drama" coincides. ..."
"... "let's talk about universal material benefits" " ok, Vlad trying to distract us from whats really important " ..."
"... Hepativore , December 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm ..."
"... Happy winter Solstice, everyone! ..."
"... Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Please bone up on US procedure. It's not good to have you confuse readers.

The Senate can't do anything until the House passes a motion referring the impeachment to the Senate. The House ALSO needs to designate managers as part of that process.

Darthbobber , December 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Right now, it's Schrodinger's impeachment.

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Michael Tracey argued that it's only Senate rules that require that the House formally transmit the impeachment verdict. The Constitution says that the Senate has to try an impeached president, and the Constitution trumps the Senate's rules. Logically, then, the Senate could just modify its rules to try the president.

But the whole delay is weird and impeachment has only been done twice before, so not a lot of precedent.

My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden.

Amfortas the hippie , December 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm

that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries. When's super tuesday, again? surely they can engineer it so that their "high drama" coincides.

"let's talk about universal material benefits" " ok, Vlad trying to distract us from whats really important "

Hepativore , December 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Happy winter Solstice, everyone!

Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. Plus, if the Democrats get the brokered convention they are after, he can bow out, satisfied that he helped the DNC protect the donor class from the Sanders threat.

https://invidio.us/watch?v=dpBEaFtkziY

[Dec 22, 2019] The impeachment reflects the level of panic in the part of the establishment reposible for Russiagate, as it is unlear how Barr will play this game and who will be hurt

Impeachment if a counterattack of Russiagater against Barr investigation...
Dec 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

rtb61 , 2 hours ago link

The impeachment, what it means, panic in the establishment, as justice continues to creep ever closer, biting at their heels. They can feel the heat of the reformation is closing in on them, real justice, real trials and real convictions. They have good reason to fear and panic, the deep state is apparently quite shallow at the end of the day, those seeking justice for outweighing the corrupt political appointees and their falsely promoted minions and they will pursue the shadow government for the chaos, loss of life, loss of wealth and for the coming collapse as a result of shallow pathetic insatiable greed.

[Dec 21, 2019] Bill Clinton began humanitarian wars but it was Bush II and Obama who turned resource wars into routine practice and the USA into malignant overlords who decided when it is time to take it all.

Notable quotes:
"... oligarchic greed; a military dedicated to protecting the wealth of oligarchs; and, wars over resources. Granted Bill Clinton began the current charade about 'humanitarian wars' but it was Bush II and Obama who turned our focus into resource wars and the hegemons (Malignant Overlords) who decided it was time to take it all. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

rg the lg | Oct 22, 2016 8:25:27 PM | 33

http://empireexposed.blogspot.com/

Long ago (1968) after returning from Vietnam with a bullet hole in my leg (my 90 wonder, post-ROTC officer shot me when he panicked) I wondered off to a down-at-the-heel cow college. There I took a class and C Wright Mills 'The Power Elite' was required reading.

I had just finished 'War is a fraud' and read an article by Paul Ehrlich an then 'The Population Bomb' shortly thereafter. The three books created an interesting fusion in my mind:

  1. More or less after the year 2000 the world would be plagued by resource wars;
  2. The primary role of the military is to enforce what capitalists want; and
  3. Behind the alleged scenes of our form of government hovered oligarchs who would demand more and more.

I recently found a paper I had written long ago. It wasn't very well written, but even then the handwriting was on the wall: oligarchic greed; a military dedicated to protecting the wealth of oligarchs; and, wars over resources. Granted Bill Clinton began the current charade about 'humanitarian wars' but it was Bush II and Obama who turned our focus into resource wars and the hegemons (Malignant Overlords) who decided it was time to take it all.

I guess the point of all of this is (except for the details) Ehrlich, Mills and Butler warned us. As did Huxley and Orwell ... we were just too damned dumb (or distracted) to see it.

Maybe with the Queen of Chaos, the above will result in either annihilation or in a severe reduction in the numbers of people ... (hopefully including all of the oligarchic class) and the chance to start over?

Nah ... we'll just fuck it up again ... as a species we refuse to learn. Sigh ...

[Dec 21, 2019] If the plan was to sabotage Trump's second-term campaign, it seems to have backfired spectacularly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "growing evidence that the public impeachment proceedings in the House against Trump may actually be helping him politically." ..."
"... "open war on American Democracy." ..."
"... the end of his six-page letter shows that he is fully aware of the Democrats' gambit, bringing it out in the open: he wrote it not because he expected them to see reason but "for the purpose of history" and to create a "permanent and indelible record." ..."
"... It is said that history is written by the winners. That's almost true. It is made by the winners, but written by the loud. Trump is a real-estate developer and reality TV star who talked his way into the White House against two major political dynasties – Clinton and Bush – and both the Republican and Democrat establishments; through a gauntlet of US intelligence agencies, as it turns out; and in the face of near-unanimous opposition from the media. ..."
"... So his impeachment is indeed a historic moment – just not in the way his enemies think. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | astutenews.com

...If the plan was to sabotage Trump's second-term campaign, it seems to have backfired spectacularly. With every hearing before the Intelligence or Judiciary Committee, the public support for impeachment actually decreased. Even CNN was forced to admit the existence of "growing evidence that the public impeachment proceedings in the House against Trump may actually be helping him politically."

Indeed, what better way for Trump to solidify his bona fides as the populist outsider than to be impeached by the coastal elites and the Washington Swamp, in what amounted to a nakedly partisan process?

Definition of Impeachment (modern): A process by which the party out of power shows the world how they got that way. Happens most commonly right before a landslide reelection.

-- Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) December 18, 2019

...Trump never gets tired of pointing out the accomplishments of his administration: jobs, stock market growth, trade deals, etc. He did so again, in a scathing letter to Pelosi on Impeachment Eve, contrasting that to her party's "open war on American Democracy." However, the end of his six-page letter shows that he is fully aware of the Democrats' gambit, bringing it out in the open: he wrote it not because he expected them to see reason but "for the purpose of history" and to create a "permanent and indelible record."

It is said that history is written by the winners. That's almost true. It is made by the winners, but written by the loud. Trump is a real-estate developer and reality TV star who talked his way into the White House against two major political dynasties – Clinton and Bush – and both the Republican and Democrat establishments; through a gauntlet of US intelligence agencies, as it turns out; and in the face of near-unanimous opposition from the media.

So his impeachment is indeed a historic moment – just not in the way his enemies think.


By Nebojsa Malic
Source: RT

[Dec 21, 2019] Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation". ..."
"... Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia? Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'état against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. Ask yourself why ? ..."
"... Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place. ..."
Sep 01, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

opaw , August 30, 2017 8:29 PM

While I admire America's democratic society, I hate how America brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation".

I hate how America exploit the weak. president moon should offer an olive branch to fatty Kim by sending back the thaad to America and pulling out American base and troops. he should convince fatty Kim that should he really like to proliferate his nuclear missile development as deterrence, aim it only to America and America only. there is no need for Koreans to kill fellow Koreans.

Try Harder , August 31, 2017 2:45 AM

Very good ide