Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

CIA influence on presidential elections bulletin, 2019

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2014

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Aug 09, 2020] The CIA Democrats by Patrick Martin

Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called "Red to Blue" program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats -- in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop. ..."
"... The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter's website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election. ..."
Apr 30, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Part one

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored "star" recruit. A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, "homeland defense" and cyber warfare. Elissa Slotkin

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called "Red to Blue" program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats -- in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call "spy vs. spy."

The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter's website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.

CNN's "State of the Union" program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday's primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a "career civil servant." However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, "Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy" (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).

According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as "senior advisor for trade enforcement," a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.

[Jun 03, 2020] Not The Onion: NY Times Urges Trump To Establish Closer Ties With Moscow

Highly recommended!
Jul 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

2016 a Russia-Trump campaign collusion conspiracy was afoot and unfolding right before our eyes, we were told, as during his roll-out foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., then candidate Trump said [ gasp! ]:

" Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries. Some say the Russians won't be reasonable. I intend to find out."

NPR and others had breathlessly reported at the time, "Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the U.S., was sitting in the front row" [ more gasps! ].

This 'suspicious' "coincidence or something more?" event and of course the infamous Steele 'Dodgy Dossier' were followed by over two more years of the following connect-the-dots mere tiny sampling of unrestrained theorizing and avalanche of accusations...

Here's a very brief trip down memory lane:

2017, Politico: The Hidden History of Trump's First Trip to Moscow

2017, NYT: Trump's Russia Motives (where we were told: "President Trump certainly seems to have a strange case of Russophilia.")

2017, Business Insider: James Clapper: Putin is handling Trump like a Russian 'asset'

2017, USA Today: Donald Trump's ties to Russia go back 30 years

2018, NYT: Trump, Treasonous Traitor

2018, AP: Russia had 'Trump over a barrel'

2018, BBC: Russia: The 'cloud' over the Trump White House

2018, NYT: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered

2018, USA Today: " From Putin with love"

2019, WaPo: Here are 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian asset

2019, Vanity Fair: "The President Has Been Acting On Russia's Behalf": U.S. Officials Are Shocked By Trump's Asset-Like Behavior

2019, Wired: Trump Must Be A Russian Agent... (where we were told...ahem: " It would be rather embarrassing ... if Robert Mueller were to declare that the president isn't an agent of Russian intelligence." )

Embarrassing indeed.

"The walls are closing in!" - we were assured just about every 24 hours .

It's especially worth noting that a July 2018 New York Times op-ed argued that President Trump -- dubbed a "treasonous traitor" for meeting with Putin in Helsinki -- should "be directing all resources at his disposal to punish Russia."

Fast-forward to a July 2019 NY Times Editorial Board piece entitled "What's America's Winning Hand if Russia Plays the China Card?" How dizzying fast all of the above has been wiped from America's collective memory! Or at least the Times is engaged in hastily pushing it all down the memory hole Orwell-style in order to cover its own dastardly tracks which contributed in no small measure to non-stop national Russiagate hype and hysteria, with this astounding line:

President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia... -- Editorial Board, New York Times, 7-22-19

That's right, The Times' pundits have already pivoted to the new bogeyman while stating they agree with Trump on Russian relations :

"Given its economic, military and technological trajectory, together with its authoritarian model, China, not Russia , represents by far the greater challenge to American objectives over the long term . That means President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia and peel it away from China ."

[... Mueller who? ]

Remember how recently we were told PUTIN IS WEAPONIZING EVERYTHING! from space to deep-sea exploration to extreme climate temperatures to humor to racial tensions to even 'weaponized whales' ?

It's 2019, and we've now come full circle . This is The New York Times editorial board continuing their call for Trump to establish "sounder" ties and "cooperation" with Russia :

"Even during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union often made progress in one facet of their relationship while they remained in conflict over other aspects. The United States and Russia could expand their cooperation in space . They could also continue to work closely in the Arctic And they could revive cooperation on arms control."

Could we imagine if a mere six months ago Trump himself had uttered these same words? Now the mainstream media apparently agrees that peace is better than war with Russia.

With 'Russiagate' now effectively dead, the NY Times' new criticism appears to be that Trump-Kremlin relations are not close enough , as Trump's "approach has been ham-handed " - the 'paper of record' now tells us.

Or imagine if Trump had called for peaceful existence with Russia almost four years ago? Oh wait...

" Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries." -- Then candidate Trump on April 27, 2016

Cue ultra scary red Trump-Kremlin montage.

[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).

[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] 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] It should be abundantly clear by now that the Democratic Party leadership will be selecting a CIA connected candidate in 2020 in all ways identical to Hillary Clinton but perhaps with a less tawdry past and less of an appetite for Goldman-Sachs speaking fees by Louis Proyect

Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump has been transforming American society not by legislation but by using his executive powers to put people in charge of government agencies who are inimical to their stated goals. It is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse ..."
"... By contrast, Trump is imposing a regime that was incubated long ago by people such as Grover "Starve the Beast" Norquist and every other libertarian think-tank funded by the Koch Brothers et al. The big bourgeoisie might not like the bad taste, racism and thuggish behavior of the Trump administration but they couldn't be happier with the results. This is an elected government that has fulfilled its deepest policy aspirations and that shows a willingness to push the Democrats back on their heels, so much so that someone like Mikie Sherrill lacks the courage to defend policies that might win elections down the road. After all, if she is unseated, she can always go back to a job as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey. What happens to someone working in Walmart's is not her business, after all. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Ever since the Democratic Party abandoned its New Deal legacy and adopted the neoliberal centrism associated with the Carter presidency and then cast in stone by the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985, each election loss has generated a chorus of remonstrations in the left-liberal press about the need to run "progressive" candidates if the party wants to win. The latest instance of this was a post to the Jacobin FB page that stated: "By running to the right, Democrats insist on losing twice: at the polls and in constructing an inspiring agenda. Bold left-wing politics are our only hope for long-term, substantive victory."

The question of why Democrats are so okay with losing has to be examined closely. In some countries, elections have huge consequences, especially in Latin America where a job as an elected official might be not only a source of income for a socialist parliamentarian but a trigger for a civil war or coup as occurred in Costa Rica in 1948 and in Chile in 1973 respectively.

In the 2010 midterm elections, there was a massive loss of seats in the House of Representatives for the Democrats. In this month's midterm elections, the Democrats hoped that a "Blue Wave" would do for them what the 2010 midterms did for the Republicans -- put them in the driver's seat. It turned out to be more of a "Blue Spray", not to speak of the toothless response of House leader Nancy Pelosi who spoke immediately about how the Democrats can reach across the aisle to the knuckle-dragging racists of the Republican Party.

Out of curiosity, I went to Wikipedia to follow up on what happened to the "losers" in 2010. Did they have to go on unemployment? Like Republicans who got voted out this go-round, Democrats had no trouble lining up jobs as lobbyists. Allen Boyd from Florida sent a letter to Obama after the BP oil spill in 2010 asking him to back up BP's claim that seafood in the Gulf of Mexico was okay to eat. After being voted out of office, he joined the Twenty-First Century Group, a lobbying firm founded by a former Republican Congressman from Texas named Jack Fields. A 1980 article on Fields describes him as a protégé of ultraright leader Paul Weyrich.

Glenn Nye, who lost his job as a Virginia congressman, his considerable CV that included working for the Agency for International Development (AID) and serving in various capacities during the occupation of Iraq to land a nice gig as Senior Political Advisor for the Hanover Investment Group.

John Spratt from South Carolina was described by Dow Jones News as "one of the staunchest fiscal conservatives among House Democrats." That was enough for him to land a job with Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that was supposed to come up with a strategy to reduce the deficit. Just the sort of thing that was calculated to lift the American economy out of the worst slump since the 1930s. Not.

Pennsylvania's Chris Carney was a helluva Democrat. From 2002 to 2004, he was a counterterrorism analyst for the Bush administration. He not only reported to Douglas Feith in the Office of Special Plans and at the Defense Intelligence Agency, researching links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, but served as an interrogator in Guantanamo. These qualifications landed him a job as director of homeland security and policy strategy for BAE Systems when the House of Representatives gig ended. A British security and munitions powerhouse, BAE won a contract worth £4.4bn to supply the Saudis with 72 fighter jets – some of which were used to bomb Red Cross and Physician Without Borders hospitals in Yemen.

With such crumb-bums losing in 2010, you'd think that the Democrats would be convinced that their best bet for winning elections would be to disavow candidates that had ties to the national security apparatus and anything that smacked of the DLC's assault on the welfare state. Not exactly. When the candidates are female, that might work in the party's favor like sugar-coating a bitter pill.

In Virginia, former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger and retired Navy Commander Elaine Luria defeated Republican incumbents. Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, former CIA analyst Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, and former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey also helped the Democrats regain the House. Sherill calculated that moving to the center would serve her own and the party's interests. She told MSNBC: "As a Navy helicopter pilot I never flew Republican missions or Democratic missions, I would have had a very short career. This is something I do think vets bring to the table, this willingness to work with everyone."

An article titled "' Montclair Mikie' Sherrill recast as 'Moderate Mikie' as Webber attacks in NJ House race " described her Road to Damascus conversion to DLC principles:

For Sherrill, a newcomer to politics, the 11th has proved to be a tricky terrain. She is seen as a progressive, but appears wary of carrying the "Trump resistance" banner into the fray. At Wednesday's debate, Sherrill was determined to show she is more Morris Plains than Montclair.

There were no heated vows to fight Trump, even though being "appalled" by the president was what motivated her to run in the first place. The Nov. 6 midterms loom as a referendum on Trump's presidency, but you would never have guessed that watching Wednesday's contest.

Sherrill repeatedly promised to be bipartisan -- a far cry from the combative, confrontational tone that many in the party's grass roots are demanding.

On tax policy she sounded more centrist Republican than mainstream liberal Democrat, and she refused to endorse issues like free community college tuition, which has become a popular talking point for Democrats and was launched by Gov. Phil Murphy this summer.

"Without understanding how that would be paid for, I haven't supported it because it sounds like it would raise taxes on our families,'" she said.

The moderate tone puzzled some of her ardent "resistance" activists who mobilized around her candidacy.

For Eric Fritsch, 32, a Teamster for the film and television industry from West Orange, it was jarring to hear Sherrill oppose Democratic Party wish-list items like free community college tuition or "Medicare-for-all" coverage out of fear that it may raise taxes. She used the same excuse to sidestep supporting a "carbon tax" to reduce global warming.

"By going on the defensive about taxes she is accepting a Republican framing that we don't want to be responsible with taxes in the first place,'" said Fritsch, who insisted that he remains a "very enthusiastic" Sherrill supporter.

It should be abundantly clear by now that the Democratic Party leadership will be selecting a candidate in 2020 in all ways identical to Hillary Clinton but perhaps with a less tawdry past and less of an appetite for Goldman-Sachs speaking fees. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, et al have no intention of allowing upstarts like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to spoil their plans, even if it means a second term for Donald Trump.

No matter. Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara urges his readers and DSA comrades to plunge ahead trying to consolidate a "socialist" caucus in the Democratic Party. From his perspective, working in the Democratic Party seems to be the "most promising place for advancing left politics, at least in the short term." Keep in mind that Sherrill raised $1.9 million for her campaign and my old boss from Salomon Brothers Michael Bloomberg ponied up another $1.8 million just for her TV ads. Does anybody really think that "socialist" backed candidates will be able to compete with people like Sherrill in the primaries? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was able to defeat the hack Joe Crowley on a shoestring but that was something of a fluke. Until there is a massive shake-up in American society that finally reveals the Democratic Party to be the capitalist tool it has been since Andrew Jackson's presidency, it is likely that a combination of big money and political inertia will keep the Democratic Party an agent of reaction.

Furthermore, the takeover of the House might turn out to be a hollow victory in the light of how Trump rules. His strategy hasn't been to push through legislation except for the tax cut. Remember the blather about investing in infrastructure? His minions in Congress have no intention of proposing a trillion or so dollars in highway or bridge repair, etc. With Nancy Pelosi fecklessly talking about how the two parties can collaborate on infrastructure, you can only wonder whether she has been asleep for the past two years.

Donald Trump has been transforming American society not by legislation but by using his executive powers to put people in charge of government agencies who are inimical to their stated goals. It is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse as Malcolm X once put it. Two days ago, the NY Times wrote about how the "Trump Administration Spares Corporate Wrongdoers Billions in Penalties". It did not need legislation to help big banks rip off the public. All it took was naming former head of BankOne Joseph Otting comptroller of the currency. Senator Sherrod Brown, one of the few Democrats with a spine, called Trump out: "The president's choice for watchdog of America's largest banks is someone who signed a consent order -- over shady foreclosure practices -- with the very agency he's been selected to run."

For all of the dozens of articles about how Trump is creating a fascist regime, hardly any deal with the difference between Trump and Adolf Hitler. Hitler created a massive bureaucracy that ran a quasi-planned economy with generous social benefits that put considerable restraints on the bourgeoisie. Like FDR, he was taking measures to save capitalism. Perhaps if the USA had a social and economic crisis as deep as Germany's and left parties as massive as those in Germany, FDR might have embarked on a much more ambitious concentration camp program, one that would have interred trade unionists as well as Japanese-Americans. Maybe even Jews if they complained too much.

By contrast, Trump is imposing a regime that was incubated long ago by people such as Grover "Starve the Beast" Norquist and every other libertarian think-tank funded by the Koch Brothers et al. The big bourgeoisie might not like the bad taste, racism and thuggish behavior of the Trump administration but they couldn't be happier with the results. This is an elected government that has fulfilled its deepest policy aspirations and that shows a willingness to push the Democrats back on their heels, so much so that someone like Mikie Sherrill lacks the courage to defend policies that might win elections down the road. After all, if she is unseated, she can always go back to a job as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey. What happens to someone working in Walmart's is not her business, after all.

[Dec 29, 2019] People you are voting for actually serve as representatives of MIC, not you: House Dems Unanimously Vote to Condemn Withdrawal From Syria

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

yaridanjo , 21 minutes ago link

Congress' constitutional duty is putting Israel first!

Reality_checkers , 18 minutes ago link

MIGA!

yaridanjo , 11 minutes ago link

You can find here who the warmongers in congress are:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/116-2019/h560

the warmongers voted 'yea' to get their bribes from the Rothschild Banking Cartel!

[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] 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] 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] The Great Cover Up Of The Biggest Scandal In American History

Dec 25, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via The Z-Man blog,

Joe diGenova has been talking about the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election for at least a year, maybe longer. Unlike a lot of the people commenting on this in the mass media, he is not using it to sell books or boost his cable career. He also knows how the FBI and DOJ works from a practical matter. Being knowledgeable makes him a rare guy in the commentariat. Most of the people brought on as experts for the cable chat shows know very little about their alleged areas of expertise.

Regardless, he has been one of the most hawkish people on the Barr investigation, claiming that it is a real investigation with real criminal targets. In this recent radio interview he goes into the details of both the Barr investigation and the ongoing impeachment fiasco. He is a Trump partisan, so his opinions on impeachment are predictable, but his thoughts on the conspiracy are interesting. He probably has access to information from the Trump White House.

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

The interesting thing about all of this is just how widespread the conspiracy was during the 2015-2016 period. In that interview he talks about former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, who is allegedly cooperating with Barr and Durham. What makes the Rogers issue interesting is that he was the original whistle-blower. He is not treated as such, because the media hates Trump and anyone associated with him, but Rogers was the guy who blew the whistle on the spying to the Trump people.

What's also interesting about Rogers is he seems to have been a good guy, who decided to put an end to the shenanigans with regards to access to top-secret data by FBI contractors. He closed off their access at some point in 2016, which put him in bad odor with the Obama administration. He was eventually pushed out, which suggests the conspiracy has roots into the Obama inner-circle. That may explain why the easy cases to be made against the FBI conspirators are on hold.

That's the other thing about the Rogers case. As CTH explains in that post , his addition to the story reveals that the use of the NSA database by political contractors working for the Democrats goes back to at least 2012. It is an axiom of white-collar crime that the practice always goes back much further than the evidence initially reveals. Anyone who has done forensic accounting knows this. You find the first evidence of a crime, but it turns out that the pattern goes back much further.

That may be what lies beneath all of this. The great puzzle thus far has been the lack of prosecutions, despite ample evidence. The FBI agents are all guilty of crimes that have been detailed in public documents and the IG reports. There is now proof that Comey perjured himself many times. Just from a public relations perspective alone, rounding up these guys and charging them with corruption seems like a no-brainer. Almost a year into his tenure and Barr has charged no one with a crime.

One obvious explanation is that Barr is running a long con on Trump and the rest of the country, on behalf of the inner party. Robert Mueller was supposed to use his investigation to hoover up all the data so it could not be made public, in addition to harassing the Trump White House. His incompetence meant Barr took over the job and is now hoovering up all the information on the various parties. That way, everyone has an excuse for not doing anything about plot.

One bit of evidence in support of this is the handling of the James Wolfe issue. He was the Senate staffer caught leaking classified information to one of the prostitutes hired by the Washington Post. Big media hires good looking young women to sleep with flunkies like Wolf in order to get access to information. Wolf was caught and charged, but instead of getting a couple years in jail, he got two months . He will come out and land into a six-figure job as a reward for being a good soldier.

An alternative explanation is that what started as a straight forward political corruption case bumped into a long pattern of behavior. In the course of investigating that pattern, the trail went much further back than the 2016 election. If there is evidence of abuse going back to 2012, maybe it goes back further. It was the Bush people, after all, who pushed for the creation of secret courts and secret warrants. Maybe Dick Cheney was listening to your phone calls after all.

It is not just the linear aspect of this. The sheer number of people involved in just the FBI scandal is phenomenal. There are at least 20 FBI people named and dozens of bit players in the media and DOJ. So far, the "contractors" with access to the NSA database have not been revealed, but that could be hundreds of people, given that it seems to have been a free-for-all. The corruption may not only go back a long time, but cover a wide swath of official Washington.

That may be the answer to the great cover up. That's what we are seeing. This is a great cover up of the biggest scandal in American history. To date, no one has been charged with a crime, despite hundreds of crimes being documented. Many of the principals are now enjoying high six figure lives, based on the fact they were part of the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election. Instead of the scandal of the century, it is the celebration of the century for the inner party.

One of the signs of ruling class collapse is when they can no longer enforce the rules that maintain them as a ruling class. When the Romans started making exceptions to republican governance, it was a matter of time before someone simply decided the rules no longer applied to them. Perhaps the robot historians will consider Obama our Marius or Sulla. Maybe that person is in the near future. Either way, the rule of law is over and what comes next is the rule of men.

[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] If the British were the ones to organise an independence referendum in Crimea, they would probably push as many people as possible into postal voting and reduce the number of polling stations as part of this strategy.

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Jen December 23, 2019 at 2:23 pm

If the British were the ones to organise an independence referendum in Crimea, they would probably push as many people as possible into postal voting and reduce the number of polling stations as part of this strategy.

Postal vote fraud seems to be an ongoing problem in the UK as detailed a 2016 report on electoral fraud by Sir Eric Pickles:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sir-eric-pickles-publishes-report-into-tackling-electoral-fraud

[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] When is a CIA asset not an asset?

Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

timbers , December 23, 2019 at 8:21 am

"80% sure that Mifsud is dead". What has become of the Russiagate professor? InsideOver (Furzy Mouse).

When is a CIA asset not an asset?

When the asset is made up out of thin air.

Somebody should make a movie out of this. Yes, Ghost Writer comes close and I highly recommend it if you've not seen it. But this takes it a big set forward.

Of course, the director will have to be especially attentive to character development. That could be difficult unless it's thought thru.

Polar Socialist , December 23, 2019 at 9:13 am

Cue the book and the movie: Our Man in Havana.

While not strictly speaking CIA, still a good match for a whole network of assets made out of thin air, vacuum cleaner parts and unchecked hubris.

Baby Gerald , December 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Top recommendation, Polar Socialist. Alec Guinness by way of Graham Greene makes for an excellent combination to poke fun at the whole world of state-sponsored spycraft.

DJG , December 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm

timbers: The story posted today is bizarre indeed. So the university consortium (Agrigento doesn't have its own university and the plan is to continue to sponsor a branch of the University of Palermo) wants a leader and ends up with Mifsud?

From Italian Wikipedia, entry Agrigento:
Agrigento, oltre ad essere sede di varie scuole medie superiori (alle quali sono iscritti anche studenti provenienti dalla provincia), ospita una sede distaccata dell'Università degli Studi di Palermo. Il polo universitario della provincia di Agrigento nell'anno accademico 2008/2009 contava 3.613 studenti iscritti, così suddivisi nelle 6 facoltà attivate nella sede decentrata

Mifsud, head of a small branch of a major university? Odd. And then he starts grifting.

Yet Agrigento is the home turf of Andrea Camilleri and, supposedly, one of the models for his city of Vigàta. This story is definitely something for Inspector Montalbano.

Background: Il Giornale was founded by Indro Montanelli, who was a "classic" Italian conservative. He was notoriously stubborn. Kneecapping didn't stop him. One of the products of Il Giornale is Marco Travaglio, who founded Il Fatto Quotidiano. So the source is legitimate. I can't find an Italian version of the article, which is strange.

But the oddities of the obviously dodgy Mifsud and the hapless Papadopoulos are just part of the whole saga of the current palace coup.

No wonder Nancy Pelosi can't figure out to send the charges to the Senate.

integer , December 23, 2019 at 8:06 pm

Link Campus University is a spook university:

George Papadopoulos says Mueller report 'shows that I was clearly set up' AP

In March 2016, Papadopoulos first met Mr. Mifsud impromptu at Link Campus University, a for-profit college in Rome that instructs NATO intelligence personnel.

And from Wikipedia :

Link Campus instructs NATO intelligence personnel[2] and the US intelligence and law enforcement officials are also involved with Link.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have sent their officers to lecture at Link.

Regarding "the mysterious audio file sent to the editors of Adnkronos and Il Corriere della Sera", that was found to be fake by the "expert in forensic sciences, one of the most important in Italy working in the field", it is interesting to note that NATO-aligned propaganda outlet Bellingcat claims the voice in the recording is authentic (i.e. Mifsud).

Bellingcat deciding to "investigate" something is always a giant red flag.

[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


To the top
© 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. <div><img src="https://mc.yandex.ru/watch/10970266" alt=""/></div>

[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] Ukraine, Trump, Biden -- The Real Story Behind 'Ukrainegate'

Dec 23, 2019 | astutenews.com

The argument to be presented here is that Trump, in this phone call, and generally, was trying not only to obtain help with evidence-gathering in the "Crowdstrike" matter (which A.G. Barr is now investigating, and which also is the reason why Trump specifically mentioned "Crowdstrike" at the only instance in the phone-call where he was requesting a "favor" from Zelensky), but to change the policy toward Ukraine that had been established by Obama (via Obama's coup and its aftermath). This is a fact, which will be documented here. Far more than politics was involved here; ideology was actually very much involved. Trump was considering a basic change in US foreign policies. He was considering to replace policies that had been established under, and personnel who had been appointed by, his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama. Democrats are extremely opposed to any such changes. This is one of the reasons for the renewed impeachment-effort by Democrats. They don't want to let go of Obama's worst policies. But changing US foreign policy is within a President's Constitutional authority to do.

Trump fired the flaming neoconservative John Bolton on 10 September 2019. This culminated a growing rejection by Trump of neoconservatism -- something that he had never thought much about but had largely continued from the Obama Administration, which invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, Syria in 2012-, Yemen in 2015-, and more -- possibly out-doing even George W. Bush, who likewise was a flaming neocon. Trump's gradual turn away from neoconservatism wasn't just political; it was instead a reflection, on his part, that maybe, just maybe, he had actually been wrong and needed to change his foreign policies, in some important ways. (He evidently still hasn't yet figured out precisely what those changes should be.)

For example, on 15 November 2019, the impeachment focus was on the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump had recently ( in May 2019 ) fired as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Democrats presented her as having been the paradigm of professionalism and nonpartisanship in America's foreign service. She was actually a neoconservative who had been appointed as an Ambassador first by President George W. Bush on 20 November 2004, after her having received an M.S. from the National War College in 2001.

Obama appointed her, on 18 May 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt ( shown and heard in this video confidentially receiving instructions from Obama's agent controlling Ukraine-policy, Victoria Nuland ) as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Obama had selected Yovanovitch because he knew that (just like Pyatt) she supported his polices regarding Ukraine and would adhere to his instructions. Yovanovitch was part of Obama's team, just as she had previously been part of George W. Bush's team.

All three of them were staunch neoconservatives, just as Ambassador Pyatt had been, and just as Victoria Nuland had been, and just as Joe Biden had been.

A neoconservative believes in the rightfulness of American empire over this entire planet, even over the borders of the other nuclear superpower, Russia. Obama's standard phrase arguing for it was "The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation" , meaning that all other nations are "dispensable." This imperialistic belief was an extension of Yale's 'pacifist' pro-Nazi America First movement , which was supported by Wall Street's Dulles brothers in the early 1940s , and which pro-Nazi movement Trump himself has prominently praised. Unlike the progressive US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had planned the UN in order to be the anti -imperialist emerging first-ever global world government of nations, which would democratically set and ultimately enforce international laws of a new global federation of nations -- a global democratic federation of sovereign republics -- neoconservatives are US imperialists, who want instead to destroy the UN, and to extend American power over the entire world, make America not only the policeman to the world but the lawmaker for the world, and the judge jury and executioner of the world, the global dictator. The UN would be weakened to insignificance. This has gradually been occurring. It continued even after what had been thought to have been the 1991 end of the Cold War, and after Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his deceptive rhetoric. Yale's John Bolton was the leading current proponent of the America First viewpoint, much more straightforward in his advocacy of it than the far wilier Obama was; and, until recently, Trump supported that unhedged advocacy for the neoconservative viewpoint: US imperialism. Regarding the campaign to take over Russia, however, he no longer does -- he has broken with Bolton on that central neoconservative goal, and he is trying to reverse that policy, which had been even more extreme than Obama's policy towards Russia was (which policy had, in fact , produced the coup in Ukraine).

When the Cold War had supposedly ended in 1991, it ended actually only on the Russian side, but secretly it continued and continues on as policy on the American imperialists' side . The neoconservative side, which controlled the US Government by that time (FDR's vision having been destroyed when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981), has no respect whatsoever for Russia's sovereignty over its own land, and certainly not over the land of Russia's neighbors, such as Ukraine, which has a 1,625-mile border with Russia. Neoconservatives want US missiles to be pointed at Moscow all along Russia's border. That would be as if Russia had wanted to position Russian missiles all along Canada's and Mexico's borders with the US; it would disgust any decent person, anywhere, but neoconservatives aren't decent people. Neoconservatives (US imperialists) seek for all of Russia's neighbors to become part of the US empire, so as to isolate Russia and then become able to gobble it up. All neoconservatives want this ultimately to happen. Their grasp for power is truly limitless. Only in the tactical issues do they differ from one-another.

In her testimony behind closed doors to Senators, on 11 October 2019 , Yovanovich stated her views regarding what America's policies toward Ukraine should be, and these were Obama's policies, too; these views are the neoconservative outlook [and my own comments in brackets here will indicate her most egregious distortions and lies in this key passage from her]:

Because of Ukraine's geostrategic position bordering Russia on its east, the warm waters of the oil-rich Black Sea to its south, and four NATO allies to its west, it is critical to the security of the United States [this is like saying that Mexico and Canada are crucial to the security of Russia -- it's a lie] that Ukraine remain free and democratic [meaning, to neoconservatives, under US control] , and that it continue to resist Russian expansionism [like Russia cares about US expansionism over all of the Western Hemisphere? Really? Is that actually what this is about? It's about extending US imperialism on and across Russia's border into Russia itself] Russia's purported annexation of Crimea [but, actually, "Clear and convincing evidence will be presented here that, under US President Barack Obama, the US Government had a detailed plan, which was already active in June 2013, to take over Russia's main naval base, which is in Sevastopol in Crimea, and to turn it into a US naval base." ] , its invasion of Eastern Ukraine, and its defacto control over the Sea of Azov, make clear Russia's malign intentions towards Ukraine [not make clear Russia's determination not to be surrounded by enemies -- by US-stooge regimes. For Russia to avoid that is 'malign', she says] . If we allow Russia's actions to stand, we will set a precedent that the United States will regret for decades to come. So, supporting Ukraine's integration into Europe and combating Russia' s efforts to destabilize Ukraine [Oh, America didn't do that destabilization ?] have anchored our policy since the Ukrainian people protested on the Maidan in 2014 and demanded to be a part of Europe and live according to the rule of law [But Ukrainians before Obama's takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 didn't actually want to be part of the EU nor of NATO, and they considered NATO to be a threat to Ukraine. "In 2010, Gallup found that whereas 17% of Ukrainians considered NATO to mean 'protection of your country,' 40% said it's 'a threat to your country'." ] That was US policy when I became ambassador in August 2016 [after Obama's successful coup there took over its media and turned Ukrainian opinion strongly against Russia] , and it was reaffirmed as that policy as the policy of the current administration in early 2017. [Yes, that's correct, finally a truthful assertion from her. When Trump first came into office, he was a neoconservative, too.] The Revolution of Dignity [ you'll see here the 'dignity' of it ] and the Ukrainian people's demand to end corruption forced the new Ukrainian Government to take measures to fight the rampant corruption that long permeated that country's political and economic systems [and that still do, and perhaps more now than even before] .

That's just one example -- it's about the role of Ambassador Yovanovitch. But the focus of Ukrainegate isn't really that. It's not Yovanovitch. It is what Trump was trying to do, and what Joe Biden was trying to do, and what Obama had actually done. It is also about Joe Biden's son Hunter, because this is also about contending dynasties, and not only about contending individuals. Trump isn't certain, now, that he wants to continue being a full-fledged neoconservative, and to continue extending Obama's neoconservative policies regarding Ukraine. So: this is largely about what those policies actually were. And here is how Joe Biden comes into the picture, because Democrats, in trying to replace President Donald Trump by a President Mike Pence, are trying to restore, actually, Barack Obama's policy in Ukraine, a policy of which the Bidens themselves were very much Obama's agents, and Mike Pence would be expected to continue and extend those policies. Here will be necessary to document some personal and business relationships that the US news-media have consistently been hiding and even lying about, and which might not come up even in the expected subsequent Senate hearings about whether to replace Trump by Pence:

The real person who was the benefactor to, and the boss of, Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, at the Ukrainian gas-exploration company Burisma Holdings, was not the person that the American press says was, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had been part of the Ukrainian Government until Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, but it was instead Ihor Kolomoysky, who was part of the newly installed Ukrainian Government, which the Obama Administration itself had actually just installed in Ukraine (and that phone-conversation appointing Ukraine's new leader is explained here ), in what the head of the "private CIA" firm Stratfor has correctly called "the most blatant coup in history." ( Here's more explanation of that coup which was done by Obama. )

One cannot even begin accurately to understand the impeachment proceedings against America's current President Donald Trump ("Ukrainegate"), unless one first knows and understands accurately what the relationships were between Trump and the current Government of Ukraine, and the role that the Obama Administration had played in forming that Government (installing it), and the role that Hunter Biden had been hired to perform for his actual boss at Burisma, Kolomoysky, soon after Obama (via Obama's agent Victoria Nuland) had installed Ukraine's new Government.

As I had written on 28 September 2019 , "In order to understand why Ukraine's President Voldomyr Zelensky doesn't want the dirt about Joe Biden to become public, one needs to know that Hunter Biden's boss and benefactor at Burisma Holdings was, at least partly, Zelensky's boss and benefactor until Zelensky became Ukraine's President, and that revealing this would open up a can of worms which could place that former boss and benefactor of both men into prison at lots of places ."

That article, at the phrase " dug up in 2012," discussed and linked to a careful 2012 study of Burisma which had actually been done in Ukraine by an investigative nonprofit (Antac) funded by America's billionaire George Soros (who was another major funder of the 2014 Ukrainian coup , as well as of Barack Obama's political career itself) in order to help to bring down Yanukovych. However, what this study found was not the incriminating evidence against Zlochevsky which had been hoped. It found instead that the person who owned the controlling interest in Burisma was not really the Yanukovych-supporter Mykola Zlochevsky; it was, in fact, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, who supported Yanukovych's overthrow. Kolomoysky, shortly after the coup, became appointed as the governor in a region of Ukraine, by the Obama Administration's post-coup Ukrainian Government. Obama's financial backer Soros knew, or should have known, that Zlochevsky had sold almost all of his Burisma holdings to Kolomoysky in 2011, but Obama's Administration was nonetheless trying to get the newly installed Ukrainian Government to prosecute Zlochevsky because Zlochevsky was associated with the Ukrainian President whom Obama had just overthrown. Hunter Biden's function was to help to protect Mr. Kolomoysky against being targeted by the newly installed Government in the anti-corruption campaign that the Obama Administration and the EU were pressing upon that new Ukrainian Government. Hunter Biden was to serve as a US fixer for his new boss Kolomoysky, to deflect the anti-corruption campaign away from Kolomoysky as a target and toward Zlochevsky as a target. And Hunter's father, Joe Biden, followed through on that, by demanding that Ukraine prosecute Zlochevsky, not Kolomoysky. Soros isn't really against corruption; he is against corruption by countries that he wants to take over, and that he uses the US Government in order to take over. Neoconservatism is simply imperialism, which has always been the foreign-affairs ideology of aristocrats and of billionaires. (In America's case, that includes both Democratic and Republican billionaires.) So, it's just imperialism in America. All billionaires who care at all about international relations are imperialists; and, in America, that's called "neoconservative." The American issue regarding Ukraine was never actually Ukraine's corruption. Corruption is standard and accepted throughout the US-and-allied countries; but against countries they want to take over it becomes a PR point in order to win acceptance by the gulls, of their own country's imperialism and its own associated corruption. "Our country's corruption is acceptable, but yours is not," is the view. That's the standard imperialist view. Neoconservatism -- imperialism anywhere, actually -- is always based on lies. Imperialism, in fact, is part of nationalism, but it is excluded by patriotism; and no nationalist is a patriot. No patriot is a nationalist. Whereas a nationalist supports his country's billionaires, a patriot supports his country's residents -- all of them, his countrymen, on a democratic basis, everyone having equal rights, not the richest of the residents having the majority or all of the rights. A nationalist is one-dollar-one-vote; a patriot is one resident one vote. The only people who are intelligently nationalist are billionaires and the agents they employ. All other nationalists are their gulls. Everyone else is a patriot. Ordinarily, there are far more gulls than patriots.

Information hasn't yet been published regarding what Trump's agent Rudolph Giuliani has found regarding Burisma, but the links in the present article link through to the evidence that I am aware of, and it's evidence which contradicts what the US-and-allied press have been reporting about the Bidens' involvement in Ukraine. So: this information might be what Trump's team intend to reveal after the Democratic-Party-controlled House of Representatives indicts Trump (send to the Republican Senate a recommendation to replace him by Mike Pence as America's President), if they will do that; but, regardless, this is what I have found, which US-and-allied news-media have conspicuously been not only ignoring but blatantly contradicting – contradicting the facts that are being documented by the evidence that is presented here .Consequently, the links in this article prove the systematic lying by America's press, regarding Ukrainegate.

After the Soros-funded Antac had discovered in 2012 that Kolomoysky ruled Burisma, the great independent Australian investigative journalist who has lived for 30 years in and reported from Moscow, John Helmer , headlined on 19 February 2015 one of his blockbuster news-reports, "THE HUNT FOR BURISMA, PART II -- WHAT ROLE FOR IGOR KOLOMOISKY, WHAT LONDON MISSED, WHAT WASHINGTON DOESN'T WANT TO SEE" , and he linked there not only to Ukrainian Government records but also to UK Government records, and also to corporate records in Cyprus, Panama, and elsewhere, to document that, indeed, Kolomoysky controlled Burisma. So, all of the US-and-allied 'news'-reporting, which merely assumes that Zlochevsky controlled this firm when Hunter Biden became appointed to its board, are clearly false. (See this, for example, from Britain's Guardian , two years later, on 12 April 2017, simply ignoring both the Antac report and the even-more-detailed Helmer report, and presenting Zlochevsky -- Kolomoysky's decoy -- as the appropriate target to be investigated for Burisma's alleged corruption.) So: when Joe Biden demanded that Ukraine's Government prosecute Zlochevsky, Biden was not, as he claims he was, demanding a foreign Government to act against corruption; he was instead demanding that foreign Government (Ukraine) to carry out his own boss, Barack Obama's, agenda, to smear as much as he could Viktor Yanukovych -- the Ukrainian President whom Obama had overthrown. This isn't to say that Yanukovych was not corrupt; every post-Soviet Ukrainian President, and probably Prime Minister too, has been corrupt. Ukraine is famous for being corrupt. But, this doesn't necessarily mean that Zlochevsky was corrupt. However, Kolomoysky is regarded, in Ukraine, as being perhaps the most corrupt of all Ukrainians.

Perhaps Kolomoysky's major competitor has been Victor Pinchuk, who has long been famous in Washington for donating heavily to Bill and Hillary Clintons' causes. For example, on 11 March 2018, the independent investigative journalist Jeff Carlson, bannered "Victor Pinchuk, the Clintons & Endless Connections" and he reported that

Victor Pinchuk is a Ukrainian billionaire.

He is the founder of Interpipe, a steel pipe manufacturer. He also owns Credit Dnipro Bank, some ferroalloy plants and a media empire.

He is married to Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Pinchuk's been accused of profiting immensely from the purchase of state-owned assets at severely below-market prices through political favoritism.

Pinchuk used his media empire to deflect blame from his father-in-law, Kuchma, for the September 16, 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Kuchma was never charged but is widely believed to have ordered the murder. A series of recordings would seem to back up this assertion.

On April 4 through April 12 2016, Ukrainian Parliamentarian Olga Bielkov had four meetings – with Samuel Charap (International Institute for Strategic Studies), Liz Zentos (National Security Council), Michael Kimmage (State Dept) and David Kramer (McCain Institute).

Doug Schoen filed FARA documents showing that he was paid $40,000 a month by Victor Pinchuk (page 5) – in part to arrange these meetings.

Schoen attempted to arrange another 72 meetings with Congressmen and media (page 10). It is unknown how many meetings took place.

Schoen has worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Schoen helped Pinchuk establish ties with the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal reported how Schoen connected Pinchuk with senior Clinton State Department staffers in order to pressure former Ukrainian President Yanukovych to release Yulia Tymoshenko – a political rival of Yanukovych – from jail.

The relationship between Pinchuk and the Clintons continued.

A large network of collaborators, all connected to NATO's PR agency the Atlantic Council, were also discussed and linked to; and, in one of the video clips, Victoria Nuland headed a panel discussion in Munich Germany at which numerous leading Democratic Party neoconservatives, and neoconservative foreign leaders, discussed how wonderful the "Deep State" is, and praised the Republican neocon John McCain, who had helped Victoria Nuland to install the fascist Government of Ukraine.

On 6 October 2019, Helmer headlined "UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH VICTOR PINCHUK IS PUTTING HIS MONEY ON JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT AT $40,000 PER MONTH – THAT'S $3,000 MORE PER MONTH THAN BURISMA WAS PAYING HUNTER BIDEN" . He reported:

Joe Biden's campaign for president, as well as his defence against charges of corrupt influence peddling and political collusion in the Ukraine, are being promoted in Washington by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk through the New York lobbyist, candidate adviser and pollster, Douglas Schoen (left).

This follows several years of attempts by Pinchuk and Schoen to buy influence with Donald Trump, first as a candidate and then as president; with Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani; and with John Bolton, Trump's National Security Adviser in 2018 and 2019. Their attempts failed.

Pinchuk has been paying Schoen more than $40,000 every month for eight years. The amount of money is substantially greater than Biden's son Hunter Biden was paid by Pinchuk's Ukrainian rival Igor Kolomoisky through the oil company Burisma and Rosemont Seneca Bohai, Biden's New York front company.

Pinchuk's message for the Democratic candidates and US media, according to Schoen's Fox News [4] broadcast in August, is: "Stop killing your own, stop beating up on your own frontrunner, Joe Biden."

On November 12th, the New York Times headlined "Ukraine's President Seeks Face-to-Face Meeting With Putin" and reported that Zelensky is now sufficiently disturbed at the declining level of the EU's and Trump Administration's continuing support for Ukraine's Government, so that Zelensky is desperately trying to restore friendly relations with Russia. The next day, that newspaper bannered "A Ukrainian Billionaire Fought Russia. Now He's Ready to Embrace It." This report said: "Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine's most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia ." Kolomoysky, in other words, who had been on Obama's team in Ukraine, no longer is on the US team under Trump. A reasonable inference would be that Kolomoysky increasingly fears the possibility of being prosecuted. Continuation of the Obama plan for Ukraine seems increasingly unlikely.

Here are some crimes for which Kolomoysky might be prosecuted:

Allegedly, Kolomoysky, along with the newly appointed Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, masterminded the 2 May 2014 extermination of perhaps hundreds of people who had been trapped inside Odessa's Trade Unions Building after those victims had distributed anti-coup flyers.

Allegedly, Kolomoysky, on 20 March 2015, brought to a board meeting of Ukraine's gas-distribution company UkrTransNafta, of which Kolomoysky was a minority shareholder, his hired thugs armed with guns , in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate the rest of the board to impose Kolomoysky's choice to lead the company. Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, soon thereafter, yielded to the pressure from Ukraine's bondholders to fire Kolomoysky as a regional governor, and then nationalized Ukraine's biggest bank, PrivatBank, which had looted billions of dollars from depositors' accounts and secreted the proceeds in untraceable offshore accounts, so that the bank had to be bailed out by Ukraine's taxpayers. (Otherwise, there would have been huge riots against Poroshenko.) Zelensky is squeezed between his funder and his public, and so dithers. For example, on 10 September 2019, the Financial Times reported that "The IMF has warned Ukraine that backsliding on Privatbank's nationalisation would jeopardise its $3.9bn standby programme and that officials expect Ukraine to push for recovery of the $5.5bn spent on rescuing the bank." Stealing $5.5B is a big crime, and this was Obama's Ukrainian Government. Will it also be Trump's?

There are others, but those could be starters.

So, both Kolomoysky and Zelensky are evidently now considering to seek Moscow's protection, though Kolomoysky had previously been a huge backer of, and helped to fund, killing of the Donbassers who rejected the Obama-imposed Russia-hating Ukrainian regime.

Any such prosecutions could open up, to international scrutiny, Obama's entire Ukrainian operation. That, in turn, would expose Obama's command-complicity in the ethnic cleansing operation , which Kolomoysky's co-planner of the 2 May 2014 massacre inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building, Arsen Avakov, euphemistically labelled the "Anti Terrorist Operation" or "ATO," to eliminate as many as possible of the residents in the former Donbass region of Ukraine, where over 90% of the voters had voted for Yanukovych.

It could also open up the enormous can of worms that is George Soros, because though Trump doesn't at all care about corruption in Ukraine (nor should he, since that's a Ukrainian domestic matter and therefore not appropriate and certainly not a matter of US national-security interest), Soros himself was quite possibly breaking both national and international laws in his interventions in Ukraine, and possibly also in his related investments or his threats not to invest there. Not only was he deeply involved in the coup but afterward he was regularly advising Victoria Nuland. Whether even America's laws against insider-trading were violated should also be considered.

If Putin offers no helping hand to Zelensky, what will happen to Ukraine, and to Ukrainians? Might Trump finally campaign for the United States to become one of the "States Parties" to the International Criminal Court , so that Obama, Nuland, Soros, and others who had overthrown Ukraine's democratically elected Government could be tried there? How would Trump be able to immunize himself for such crimes as his own 14 April 2018 unprovoked missile-attack against Syria ? How likely is it that he would ever actually become a supporter of international law, instead of an imperialist (such as he has always been) and therefore opponent of international law? He, after all, is himself a billionaire, and no billionaire has ever fought for international law except in an instance where he benefited from it -- never for international law itself . Trump isn't likely to be the first. But here's how it could happen:

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with neoconservatives. There's not much distance between his policies toward Ukraine versus Barack Obama's and Joe Biden's. However, after Trump becomes impeached in the House (if that happens) and the impeachment trial starts in the Republican US Senate, there will then be a perfect opportunity for Trump to embarrass the Democratic Party profoundly by exposing not only Joe Biden but Biden's boss Obama as having caused the war in Ukraine . In order for him to do that, however, he'd also need to expose the rot of neoconservatism. Nobody in Washington does that, except, perhaps the rebelling Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, and she's rejected in the national polls now by the public within her own Party . Neoconservatism is the uniform foreign-policy ideology of America's billionaires, both Republican and Democratic, and this is why Washington is virtually 100% neocon. In America, wealth certainly doesn't trickle down, but ideology apparently does -- and that's not merely neoliberalism but also its international-affairs extension: neoconservatism. Nonetheless, if a Trump re-election ticket were Trump for President, and Gabbard for Vice President, it might be able to beat anything that the Democrats could put up against it, because Trump would then head a ticket which would remain attractive to Republicans and yet draw many independents and even the perhaps 5% of Democrats who like her. Only Sanders, if he becomes the Democratic nominee (and who is the least-neoconservative member of the US Senate), would attract some of Gabbard's supporters, but he wouldn't be getting any money from the 607 people who mainly fund American politics. The 2020 US Presidential contest could just go hog-wild. However, America's billionaires probably won't let that happen. Though there are only 607 of therm, they have enormous powers over the Government, far more than do all other Americans put together. The US Supreme Court made it this way, such as by the 1976 Buckley decision , and the 2010 Citizens United decision .

So: while justice in this impeachment matter (and in the 2020 elections) is conceivable, it is extremely unlikely. The public are too deceived -- by America's Big-Money people.

As the neoconservative Democratic Representative from Vermont, Peter Welch, said in the impeachment hearings, on November 19th :

And you know, I'll say this to President Trump. You want to investigate Joe Biden? You want to investigate Hunter Biden? Go at it. Do it. Do it hard. Do it dirty. Do it the way you do, do it. Just don't do it by asking a foreign leader to help you in your campaign. That's your job, it's not his.

My goal in these hearings is two things. One is to get an answer to Colonel Vindman's question ["Is it improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a United States citizen and political opponent?"] . And the second coming out of this is for us as a Congress to return to the Ukraine policy that Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy both support, it's not investigations, it's the restoration of democracy in Ukraine and the resistance of Russian aggression.

Though Zelensky had won Ukraine's Presidency by a record-shattering 73% because he had promised to end the war (which the US had started), America's Deep State are refusing to allow that -- they want to force him to accept more US-made weapons and more US training of Ukraine's troops in how to use them against its next-door neighbor Russia.

Furthermore, in some respects, Trump is even more neoconservative than Obama was. Trump single-handedly nullified Obama's only effective and good achievement, the Iran nuclear deal. Against Iran, Trump is considerably more of a neocon than was Obama. Trump has squeezed Iranians so hard with his sanctions as to block other countries from buying from and selling to Iran; and this blockade has greatly impoverished Iranians, who now are rioting against their Government. Trump wants them to overthrow their Government. His plan might succeed. Trump's biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson , hates Iranians, and Trump is his man. On Iran, Trump remains a super-neocon. Perhaps Adelson doesn't require him to hate Russians too.

Furthermore, on November 17th, the same day when riots broke out in Iran against Iran's Government, Abdullah Muradoğlu headlined in Turkey's newspaper Yeni Safak , "Bolivia's Morales was overthrown by a Western coup just like Iran's Mosaddeg" , and he presented strong circumstantial evidence that that coup, too -- which had occurred on November 10th -- had been a US operation. How could Trump criticize Obama for the coup against Ukraine when Trump's own coup against Bolivia is in the news? America is now a two-Party fascist dictatorship. One criminal US President won't publicly expose the crimes of another criminal US President who was his predecessor.

The next much-discussed witness that the Democrats brought forth to testify against Trump was America's Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, on November 20th. Sondland was a hotels and real-estate tycoon like Trump. Prior to Trump's becoming President, Sondland had had no experience in diplomacy. At the start of 2017, "four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee" ; and, then, a year later, Trump appointed him to this Ambassadorial post. Sondland evasively responded to the aggressive questioning by Senate Democrats trying to get him to say that Trump had been trying to "bribe" Zelensky. Then, the Lawfare Blog of the staunchly neoconservative Brookings Institution's Benjamin Wittes headlined "Gordon Sondland Accuses the President of Bribery" and Wittes asserted that "today, Amb. Gordon Sondland, testifying before the House in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, offered a crystal clear account of how President Trump engaged in bribery." But Sondland provided no evidence except his opinion, which can be seen online at "Opening Statement before the United States House of Representatives" , when he said:

Fourth, as I testified previously, Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.

However, in his prior (closed-door) 17 October 2019 testimony to the Senators, he had said (pp. 35-6) that on September 9th:

I asked the President, what do you want from Ukraine? The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall that the President was really in a bad mood. I tried hard to address Ambassador Taylor's concerns because he is valuable and [an] effective diplomat, and I took very seriously the issues he raised. I did not want Ambassador Taylor to leave his post and generate even more turnover in the Ukraine Mission."

That "Ambassador Taylor" was William. B. Taylor Jr. , a West Point, Army, and NATO neoconservative, whom George W. Bush had made US Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006-9, and whom Trump, at the suggestion of Trump's neoconservative Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , had appointed to succeed Ambassador Yovanovitch in May.

The testimony of all of these people was entirely in keeping with their neoconservatism and was therefore extremely hostile toward anything but preparing Ukraine to join NATO and serve on the front line of America's war to conquer Russia . Trump might be too stupid to understand anything about ideology or geostrategy, but only if a person accepts neoconservatism is the anger that these subordinates of his express toward him for his being viewed by them as placing other concerns (whether his own, or else America's for withdrawing America from Obama's war against Russia) suitable reason for Congress to force Trump out of office. Given that Trump, even in Sondland's account, did say "The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times," there is nothing that's even close to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard which is provided by their personal feelings that Trump had a quid-pro-quo about anything regarding Ukraine -- a policy of Obama's that Trump should instead firmly have abandoned and denounced as soon as he became President. Testimony from his own enemies, whom Trump had been stupid enough to have appointed, when he hadn't simply extended Obama's neoconservative policies and personnel regarding Ukraine, falls far short of impeachable. But right and wrong won't determine the outcome here anyway, because America has become a two-party, one-ideology, dictatorship.

This is what happens when billionaires control a country . It produces the type of foreign policies the country's billionaires want, rather than what the public actually need. This is America's Government, today. It's drastically different than what America's Founders had hoped. Instead of its representing the states equally with two Senators for each, and instead of representing the citizens equally, with proportional representation in the US House, and instead of yet a third system of the Electoral College for choosing the Government's Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, it has become thoroughly corrupted to being, in effect, one-dollar-one-vote -- an aristocracy of wealth controlling the entire Government -- exactly what the Founders had waged the Revolution in order to overthrow and prevent from ever recurring: a dictatorial aristocracy, as constituting our Government.

PS: Though I oppose almost everything that the hearings' Ranking Minority Member, the neoconservative (and, of course, also neoliberal) Republican Devin Nunes , stands for, I close here with his superb summary of the hearings, on November 21st , in which he validly described the Democrats' scandalously trashy Ukrainegate case against Trump (even though he refused to look deeper to the issues I raise in this article -- he dealt here merely with how "shoddy" the case the Democrats had presented was):

Throughout these bizarre hearings, the Democrats have struggled to make the case that President Trump committed some impeachable offense on his phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The offense itself changes depending on the day ranging from quid pro quo to extortion, to bribery, to obstruction of justice, then back to quid pro quo. It's clear why the Democrats have been forced onto this carousel of accusations. President Trump had good reason to be wary of Ukrainian election meddling against his campaign and of widespread corruption in that country. President Zelensky, who didn't even know aid to Ukraine had been paused at the time of the call, has repeatedly said there was nothing wrong with the conversation. The aid was resumed without the Ukrainians taking the actions they were supposedly being coerced into doing.

Aid to Ukraine under President Trump has been much more robust than it was under President Obama, thanks to the provision of Javelin anti-tank weapons. As numerous witnesses have testified, temporary holds on foreign aid occur fairly frequently for many different reasons. So how do we have an impeachable offense here when there's no actual misdeed and no one even claiming to be a victim? The Democrats have tried to solve this dilemma with a simple slogan, "he got caught." President Trump, we are to believe, was just about to do something wrong and getting caught was the only reason he backed down from whatever nefarious thought crime the Democrats are accusing him of almost committing.

I once again urge Americans to continue to consider the credibility of the Democrats on this Committee, who are now hurling these charges for the last three years. It's not president Trump who got caught, it's the Democrats who got caught. They got caught falsely claiming they had more than circumstantial evidence that Trump colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 election. They got caught orchestrating this entire farce with the whistleblower and lying about their secret meetings with him. They got caught defending the false allegations of the Steele dossier, which was paid for by them. They got caught breaking their promise that impeachment would only go forward with bipartisan support because of how damaging it is to the American people.

They got caught running a sham impeachment process between secret depositions, hidden transcripts, and an unending flood of Democrat leaks to the media. They got caught trying to obtain nude photos of President Trump from Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians, and they got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative, who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts, and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings. That is the Democrats pitiful legacy in recent years. They got caught.

Meanwhile, their supposed star witness testified that he was guessing that President Trump was tying Ukrainian aid to investigations despite no one telling him that was true, and the president himself explicitly telling him the opposite, that he wanted nothing from Ukraine. Ladies and gentlemen, unless the Democrats once again scramble their kangaroo court rules, today's hearing marks the merciful end of this spectacle in the Impeachment Committee, formerly known as the Intelligence Committee. Whether the Democrats reap the political benefit they want from this impeachment remains to be seen, but the damage they have done to this country will be long lasting. Will this wrenching attempt to overthrow the president? They have pitted Americans against one another and poison the mind of fanatics who actually believe the entire galaxy of bizarre accusations they have levelled against the president since the day the American people elected him.

I sincerely hope the Democrats in this affair [end this] as quickly as possible so our nation can begin to heal the many wounds it has inflicted on us. The people's faith in government and their belief that their vote counts for something has been shaken. From the Russia hoax to this shoddy Ukrainian sequel, the Democrats got caught. Let's hope they finally learn a lesson, give their conspiracy theories a rest, and focus on governing for a change. In addition, Mr. Chairman, pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 2(j)(1), the Republican members transmit a request to convene a minority day of hearings. Today you have blocked key witnesses that we have requested from testifying in this partisan impeachment inquiry. This rule was not displaced by H.Res.660, and therefore under House Rule 11 clause 1(a), it applies to the Democrats impeachment inquiry. We look forward to the chair promptly scheduling an agreed upon time for the minority day of hearings so that we can hear from key witnesses that you have continually blocked from testifying.

I'd also like to take a quick moment on an assertion Ms. Hill made in the statement that she submitted to this Committee, in which she claimed that some Committee members deny that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. As I noted in my opening statement on Wednesday, but in March, 2018, Intelligence Committee Republicans published the results of a year long investigation into Russian meddling. The 240 page report analyzed 2016 Russian meddling campaign, the US government reaction to it, Russian campaigns in other countries and provided specific recommendations to improve American election security. I would [have] asked my staff to hand these reports to our two witnesses today just so I can have a recollection of their memory. As America may or may not know, Democrats refused to sign on to the Republican report. Instead, they decided to adopt minority views, filled with collusion conspiracy theories. Needless to say, it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time, and Republicans believe we should take meddling seriously by all foreign countries regardless of which campaign is the target.

Later that same day, the New York Times headlined "The Impeachment Hearings Revealed a Lot -- None of It Great for Trump" , and CNN headlined "The public impeachment hearings were a total GOP disaster" . The non-mainstream news-medium Zero Hedge instead bannered, "Amid Impeachment Circus, Dems Sneak PATRIOT Act Renewal Past The American People" , and reported that the "bill was pushed through with not a single Republican vote." The following day, the AP headlined "Analysis: Mountain of impeachment evidence is beyond dispute" and closed "Asked what the consequences are if Congress allows an American president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, [Fiona] Hill said simply, 'It's a very bad precedent.'"

The latest (2019) Reuters international survey in which over 2,000 people in each one of 38 countries were asked whether they agree that "You can trust most news most of the time" shows that the United States scores #32 out of the 38, at the very top of the bottom 16% of all of the 38 countries surveyed, regarding trust in the news-media. Reuters had previously found, in their 2018 edition , that, among Americans, "those who identify on the left (49%) have almost three times as much trust in the news as those on the right (17%). The left gave their support to newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times while the right's alienation from mainstream media has become ever more entrenched." In the 2019 edition, what had been 49% rose now to 53%, and what had been 17% sank now to 9%: the billionaires' (i.e., mainstream) media are trusted now almost only by liberals. What the media report is considered trustworthy almost only by liberals, in today's America. By 53% to only 9% -- an almost 6 to 1 ratio -- the skeptics of the billionaires' press are Republicans. Of course, if the media are distrusted, then the nation can't be functioning as a democracy. But the media will be distrusted if they lie as much as America's do. Untrusted 'news'-media are a sure indication that the nation is a dictatorship (such as it is if the billionaires control the media). In America, only liberals think that America is a democracy and therefore might possess the basic qualification (democracy) to decide what nations need to be regime-changed (such as America did to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Bolivia, and is still trying to do to Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran again, Syria, and Yemen; but not to -- for examples -- Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel). Liberals trust America's dictatorship as if it were instead a democracy. Conservatives do not; nor, of course, do progressives. FDR's vision, of a United Nations which would set and enforce the rules for international relations (neither the US nor any other country would do that), is now even more rejected by the Democratic Party than by the Republican Party. And the politically topsy-turvy result is Democrats trying to impeach the Republican Trump for his trying to cut back on Obama's imperialistic ( anti -FDR) agenda. Trump, after all, didn't do the coup to Ukraine; Obama did .


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

[Dec 23, 2019] How 2 Soviet migr s Fueled the Trump Impeachment Flames - The New York Times

Dec 23, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

Over a dinner of the "Presidential Cheeseburger" and wedge salad, Mr. Parnas relayed a rumor that Marie L. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador to Ukraine, was bad-mouthing the president -- an unsubstantiated claim that Ms. Yovanovitch has denied, according to two people with knowledge of the dinner.

The exchange foreshadowed the role that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman would come to play in Mr. Trump's Ukrainian campaign.

Less than two weeks later, Mr. Parnas met with another critic of Ms. Yovanovitch, Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, in his Washington congressional office. Mr. Parnas, who had recently met Mr. Sessions at a fund-raiser, showed him a map of a crucial pipeline related to their gas venture, a photo shows.

By the end of the meeting, though, the topic had shifted to Ms. Yovanovitch, and Mr. Parnas reiterated what he had heard, a person briefed on the meeting said. After the meeting, Mr. Sessions sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch had spoken disdainfully of the Trump administration, and suggesting her removal. Mr. Sessions, who lost his re-election bid last year, has previously said he wrote the letter independently of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, after speaking to congressional colleagues.

Federal prosecutors contend in the indictment against Mr. Parnas that he was not just making small talk but sought to oust Ms. Yovanovitch "at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials," which could be a violation of federal laws that require Americans to register with the Justice Department when lobbying for foreign political interests. The indictment did not name any Ukrainian officials.

The men have not been charged with anything related to Ms. Yovanovitch, but prosecutors have said that additional charges are likely, at least for Mr. Parnas .

... ... ...

[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] How 2 Soviet migr s Fueled the Trump Impeachment Flames - The New York Times

Dec 23, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

Over a dinner of the "Presidential Cheeseburger" and wedge salad, Mr. Parnas relayed a rumor that Marie L. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador to Ukraine, was bad-mouthing the president -- an unsubstantiated claim that Ms. Yovanovitch has denied, according to two people with knowledge of the dinner.

The exchange foreshadowed the role that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman would come to play in Mr. Trump's Ukrainian campaign.

Less than two weeks later, Mr. Parnas met with another critic of Ms. Yovanovitch, Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, in his Washington congressional office. Mr. Parnas, who had recently met Mr. Sessions at a fund-raiser, showed him a map of a crucial pipeline related to their gas venture, a photo shows.

By the end of the meeting, though, the topic had shifted to Ms. Yovanovitch, and Mr. Parnas reiterated what he had heard, a person briefed on the meeting said. After the meeting, Mr. Sessions sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch had spoken disdainfully of the Trump administration, and suggesting her removal. Mr. Sessions, who lost his re-election bid last year, has previously said he wrote the letter independently of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, after speaking to congressional colleagues.

Federal prosecutors contend in the indictment against Mr. Parnas that he was not just making small talk but sought to oust Ms. Yovanovitch "at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials," which could be a violation of federal laws that require Americans to register with the Justice Department when lobbying for foreign political interests. The indictment did not name any Ukrainian officials.

The men have not been charged with anything related to Ms. Yovanovitch, but prosecutors have said that additional charges are likely, at least for Mr. Parnas .

... ... ...

[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] Adam Schiff Has 'No Sympathy' For FBI Victim Carter Page; Page Responds

Dec 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Adam Schiff Has 'No Sympathy' For FBI Victim Carter Page; Page Responds by Tyler Durden Sun, 12/22/2019 - 13:00 0 SHARES

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says it's hard to feel sympathetic for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, despite the fact that he was spied on by the FBI after the agency fabricated evidence to obtain a surveillance warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

After the FISA court denied their request, FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith fabricated evidence to exclude the fact that Page was a CIA source, with "positive assessment," despite the fact that the CIA informed Clinesmith of Page's prior work for the agency.

Schiff, however, has no love for Page despite DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz finding 16 significant 'errors' in the FBI's FISA applications used to surveil Page.

"I have to say, you know, Carter Page came before our Committee and for hours of his testimony, denied things that we knew were true, later had to admit them during his testimony ," Schiff told PBS News ' Margaret Hoover. " It's hard to be sympathetic to someone who isn't honest with you when he comes and testifies under oath . It's also hard to be sympathetic when you have someone who has admitted to being an adviser to the Kremlin ."

Hoover countered, noting "But then was also informing the CIA," to which Schiff replies "Yes, yes."

"Which we didn't know about," replied Hoover.

" Who was both targeted by the KGB but also talking to the United States and its agencies and that should have been included , made clear, and it wasn't, according to the inspector general," Schiff responded.

. @RepAdamSchiff is unsympathetic to Carter Page, telling @FiringLineShow that Page "denied things that we knew were true" in testimony, admitted to being an advisor to the Kremlin & "was apparently both targeted by the KGB, but also talking to the United States and its agencies." pic.twitter.com/GkjdGQZWLV

-- Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) December 20, 2019

After Schiff's comments were published, Page responded on Twitter: "There have been various allegations of dishonesty regarding FBI lawyer Clinesmith. On information, belief and firsthand experience since 2017, I have actually found @RepAdamSchiff to be even more untrustworthy and dangerous with his misuse of @DNC lies. "

There have been various allegations of dishonesty regarding FBI lawyer Clinesmith. On information, belief and firsthand experience since 2017, I have actually found @RepAdamSchiff to be even more untrustworthy and dangerous with his misuse of @DNC lies: https://t.co/kMkRYFceGs

-- Carter Page, Ph.D. (@carterwpage) December 21, 2019

Greenwald weighs in:

If you don't feel sympathy for someone who was wrongly smeared for years as being a traitor, and who was spied on by his own government due to FBI lying & subterfuge, then you're not only unqualified to wield power but probably also a sociopath.

In other words: Adam Schiff. https://t.co/HGoroBIWv8

-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 22, 2019

[Dec 23, 2019] The Afghanistan Papers - TTG - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Dec 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The President of the USofA has no power to turn this ship around. The seat of power is no longer residing in the hands of civilian/political actors prime ministers or presidents though they may be.

Candidate Trump indicated very early on that he intended to withdraw from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he soon succumbed to his advisors and generals advice of increasing troop strength in 2017 as part of a surge strategy. This makes him no better or worse than his two predecessors who succumbed to the same kind of advice.

However Trump has recently restarted negotiations with the Taliban and has renewed his pledged to remove several thousand troops. "We're going down to 8,600 [from the 12,000 and 13,000 US troops now there] and then we make a determination from there as to what happens," Trump told Fox last August. "We're bringing it down." Of course the drawdown will be seen by the neocons as a unilateral concession to the Taliban. That shouldn't phase Trump. I think he plans to reannounce this withdrawal next month. DoD officials have said that the smaller US military presence will be largely focused on counterterrorism operations against groups like al Qaeda and IS, and that the military's ability to train and advise local Afghan forces will be reduced considerably. Sounds like they're still looking for a reason to stay.

Trump can break the cycle. He holds no ideological conviction for staying in Afghanistan. If he could get over his BDS (Bezos derangement syndrome), he could seize this Washington Post series, or at least the SIGAR lessons learned reports, and trumpet them through his twitter feed and helicopter talks. I believe he alone can generate a public cry for getting the hell out of Afghanistan and carry through with that action no matter how much his generals scream about it. But without a loud public outcry, especially from his base, Trump has no incentive to break the cycle. So all you deplorables better start hootin' and hollerin'. Hopefully enough SJWs will join you to pump up the volume.

TTG

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/


Mathias Alexander , 23 December 2019 at 04:37 AM

If someone wanted to destabilize China,Russia and Central Asia the parts of Afghanistan America controls might be usefull for that.
JMH , 23 December 2019 at 07:11 AM
Excellent, right up to the last sentence. SJWs are mere tools of people like George Soros and have zero anti-war agenda nor do they care about America's manufacturing base ect.. In fact, many are chomping at the bit to join, what was once termed in the SST comments, the LGBTQ-C4ISR sect. I refer you to mayor Pete's exchange with Tulsi on the matter; he even invoked our sacred honor as a reason to stay the course in Afghanistan.
Eric Newhill -> The Twisted Genius ... , 23 December 2019 at 03:38 PM
TTG,
It's a shrinking cohort. For some of these types, their TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is actually causing them to side with the CIA and military. Enemy of my enemy.....and since there's no draft, they have no skin in that game.
Serge , 23 December 2019 at 07:35 AM
For the past 2-3 years many generals and politicians have been using the threat of ISKP as the new bogeyman for staying in Afghanistan. This threat is not wholly unfounded, a disproportionately large number of US airstrikes since 2015-2016 have been against ISKP in Nangarhar(remember the MOAB?) rather than against the Taliban. If my memory serves me correctly ISKP was responsible for every single US casualty in 2016-2017. In the past two months however ISKP has been collapsing in its erstwhile stronghold of Nangarhar, surrendering to the ANA rather than fall into the hands of the Taliba,à la Jowzjan in summer 2018. I was very surprised by the number of foreign fighters and their families to come out of there. We have the Taliban to thank for these two collapses.
turcopolier , 23 December 2019 at 11:59 AM
TTG

IMO American "exceptionalism" doomed our effort in Afghanistan Very few of us are set up mentally to accept the notion that other peoples are legitimately different from us and that they don't want to be like us and do things our way. I attribute this deformation on our part to the puritan heritage that you much admire. In your case your recent immigrant past seems to have immunized you from this deformation. As SF men we rightly fear and dread the attitudes of The Big Army, but, truth be told, it is we who are the outlier freaks in the context of American culture with its steamroller approach to just about everything.

The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 23 December 2019 at 01:40 PM
Ah yes, all that shining city on the hill stuff biting us in the ass once again. Like the Puritans, we seem to believe we alone are His chosen people and are utterly shocked that all others don't see this. In truth, Jesus probably sees our self righteous selves and our pilgrim forefathers much as he saw the Pharisees... a bunch of douche nozzles.

[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.